On international day, UN chief upholds ‘invaluable’ role of a free press
Promoting a free press is standing up for our right to truth.
That’s the message from the UN Secretary-General, in a video to mark World Press Freedom Day, observed annually on 3 May.
António Guterres said a free press is essential for peace, justice and human rights for all.
He urged Governments to protect the men and women who bring us the news.
“Journalists and media workers shine a light on local and global challenges and tell the stories that need to be told. Their service to the public is invaluable. Laws that protect independent journalism, freedom of expression and the right to information need to be adopted, implemented and enforced. Crimes against journalists must be prosecuted. On World Press Freedom Day 2018, I call on Governments to strengthen press freedom and to protect journalists. Promoting a free press is standing up for our right to truth.”
UN chief ‘optimistic’ over peace efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula
The Secretary-General also expressed optimism on Thursday over the chances of achieving the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, following last week’s historic declaration from the leaders of the North and South.
In an interview with the BBC during his current visit to London, the Secretary-General also called for the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement — designed to prevent the country from acquiring nuclear weapons — to be maintained, amid concerns that the United States may withdraw from the deal.
Mr. Guterres spoke by telephone with the leader of South Korea on Monday, who asked for the UN’s help in verifying the closure of the ballistic missile testing site in DPRK, otherwise known as North Korea.
Mr. Guterres said that real progress was being made to end DPRK’s nuclear weapons programme, now the two Koreas were on a path to peace.
“I am optimistic […] I think now things are on track for a meaningful negotiation and I believe it’s in everybody’s interests.”
CAR authorities urged to investigate recent deadly violence
The UN chief is calling for calm in the Central African Republic in the wake of recent violence which has left at least 22 dead and more than 100 injured.
Gunmen attacked a church in the capital, Bangui, on Tuesday following the arrest of a member of a criminal group.
Two staff members with the UN Mission in the country, MINUSCA, were among the wounded.
The Secretary-General urged the authorities to investigate the attacks and bring those responsible to justice.
Mr. Guterres also expressed continued concern over inflammatory rhetoric “that seems to be prevalent”, according to a statement from his Spokesman.
There is no justification for incitement to violence or hate speech, he said.
UN agencies appeal for global support to save lives in the Sahel
Millions of people in West Africa’s Sahel region could go hungry unless the world acts now to save lives.
The warning comes from three UN agencies which collectively are calling for nearly $700 million to meet the needs.
They report that 5 million people require food assistance, while 1.6 million children are at risk of “severe acute malnutrition”.
Another 2.5 million pastoralists also require urgent livelihood assistance.
The partners said poor rainfall in pastoralist areas in the Sahel has ruined livestock and harvests, leading to an early onset of the hunger season, which runs from June to September, and which is expected to be the worst in four years.
At the same time, there has also been an increase in insecurity in the region which has disrupted basic services and forced scores to flee their homes, they added.
The three agencies launching the appeal are the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN Children’s Agency (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP).
They have developed a plan to cover food needs, protect livelihoods and fight malnutrition to address immediate needs and reduce the impact of the looming crisis.
However, they said longer-term interventions are needed, including to prevent further similar shocks in the future.