This is the news in brief from the United Nations.
Three out of five babies are not breastfed within first hour of life, putting them ‘at risk’
Around 78 million babies — or 3 in 5 — are not breastfed within their first hour of life, putting them at higher risk of death and disease and making them less likely to continue breastfeeding, according to a report released on Tuesday by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, the UN Children’s Fund.
The report released at the start of World Breastfeeding Week, found that breastfeeding rates within the first hour of birth are highest in Eastern and Southern Africa, and lowest in East Asia and the Pacific.
Nearly 9 in 10 babies born in Burundi, Sri Lanka and Vanuatu are breastfed within the first hour. By contrast, this only happens for 2 in 10 babies born in Azerbaijan, Chad and Montenegro.
The report urges Governments, donors and other decision makers to adopt measures to restrict the marketing of infant formula and other breastmilk substitutes.
‘International solidarity’ and more support needed for countries hosting exodus of Nicaraguans, fleeing violence
The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, on Tuesday called for international solidarity and support for countries hosting Nicaraguan refugees and asylum seekers, as thousands flee mounting political tensions and violence there.
UNHCR said that in recent months, the number of asylum applications by Nicaraguans in neighbouring Costa Rica and other countries has increased exponentially.
Around 300 protesters have been killed and many injured, following three months of anti-Government demonstrations, which have been violently supressed by police and pro-Government militias.
Nearly 8,000 asylum claims by Nicaraguan nationals have been registered in Costa Rica since April, and some 15,000 more have been given appointments for a later date, as national processing capacities have been overwhelmed. Panama, Mexico and the United States have also recorded growing claims by Nicaraguans.
More from UN Spokesperson, Eri Kaneko.
“UNHCR is strengthening its presence in Costa Rica’s northern border region and working with the Government to provide protection and assistance to thousands of Nicaraguan refugees and asylum seekers. In Nicaragua itself, UNHCR is closely following up on the situation of more than 700 refugees and asylum seekers, mostly from El Salvador and Honduras.”
UN Syria envoy chairs informal talks on reviving peace talks and constitutional change
The UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, chaired informal consultations on Tuesday, with senior Iranian, Russian and Turkish representatives as part of talks aimed at bolstering efforts to end the brutal conflict which has engulfed Syria since 2011.
The consultations focused on realizing further progress on a peace deal and a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned constitutional committee, facilitated by the UN, within the framework of the Security Council-mandated Geneva peace framework.
UN Spokesperson Eri Kaneko said that the UN remains deeply concerned over the reported ongoing large-scale displacement across parts of Syria and its impact on the civilian population.
In the first half of 2018, nearly 1.2 million people were reportedly internally displaced, an average of over 6,500 people per day or close to 200,000 per month.
“The largest movement of internally displaced people occurred in Idleb in the first quarter of the year as the Syrian Government offensive displaced nearly 400,000 people, and more recently in Dara’a, where military operations displaced more than 300,000 people. The magnitude of ongoing displacement places significant strain on host communities, some of which are overstretched to support the large numbers of people arriving.”
Omar Musni, United Nations.