This is the news in brief from the United Nations
Venezuela exodus ‘one of largest population movements in history’: UNHCR
One of the largest population movements in Latin American history is underway from Venezuela, according to UNHCR.
On Friday the UN Refugee Agency confirmed that it is stepping up assistance to neighbouring Ecuador, where the influx is accelerating.
Spokesperson William Spindler said that many of the new arrivals have endured an “odyssey of days” and even weeks in precarious conditions, often arriving at the border where they are forced to beg.
“The exodus of Venezuelans from the country is one of Latin America’s largest mass-population movements in history. Since the beginning of the year, some 547,000 Venezuelans have entered Ecuador through the Colombian border at a daily average of between 2,700 and 3,000 men women and children. However, the influx is now accelerating, and in the first week of August, some 30,000 Venezuelans entered the country. That’s more than 4,000 a day.”
According to UN Migration Agency, IOM, there has been a 900 per cent increase in the number of Venezuelan nationals living abroad in Latin America from 2015 to 2017 – up from 89,000 to 900,000.
Worldwide, the number has risen from 700,000 to more than 1.6 million in the same period.
Yemen bus attack condemned as just the latest outrage against civilians
An airstrike on a busy market area in Yemen that reportedly killed scores of people including more than 20 children on a bus is likely the worst attack on youngsters in the conflict so far, and just the latest in a recent spate of violence targeting civilians, UN agencies said on Friday.
According to the UN Human Rights Office, OHCHR, and UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, at least 21 boys died when their coach was hit on Thursday in Saada, in the north of the country.
More than 30 boys were also injured in the strike, which was carried out by a Saudi-led international coalition that backs Yemen President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi against Houthi opposition forces.
Here’s UNICEF spokesperson Christophe Boulierac:
“We believe, in UNICEF, that this is the single worst attack (on children) since 2015. The bus attack, no such number of children have been involved in one incident before.”
The development follows condemnation of the incident by UN Secretary-General António Guterres who called for an “independent and prompt investigation” into the matter.
In Geneva, UN Human Rights Office spokesperson Liz Throssell stressed that the attack followed a series of more minor – but deadly – airstrikes that claimed youngsters’ lives last month.
To date, the UN office has documented more than 17,000 civilian casualties in Yemen since fighting escalated in March 2015, including nearly 6,600 dead and around 10,500 injured.
The majority of these casualties – 10,471, were as a result of airstrikes carried out by the Saudi-led Coalition, it said in a statement.
Birth registration initiative promises to boost vital services to children
And finally, in case you didn’t know, Friday 10 August is Africa’s first Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Day.
It’s a big deal, potentially, for millions of children whose births are not registered by the authorities, taking away their right to basic services including healthcare and citizenship.
According to UN Children’s Fund UNICEF, the African continent has the lowest civil registration coverage on the planet.
In sub-Saharan countries, fewer than one in two children under the age of five are registered.
That means that at current trends, 115 million children will be left without access to a legal identity and basic social services in their country by 2030.
To turn the situation around, UNICEF has developed data collection tools using mobile phones to record births and deaths.
The agency is also promoting partnerships between health providers and birth registration administrators, noting that in Uganda, birth registrations have doubled thanks to the initiative.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.