This is the news in brief from the United Nations
WFP prepares for Idlib displacement as insecurity mars start of school year
Emergency food supplies for hundreds of thousands of people in Syria’s Idlib are available in the event of mass displacement caused by a military offensive on the last opposition-held region.
World Food Programme (WFP) spokesperson Herve Verhoosel said that the UN agency has enough ready-to-eat food for 850,000 people for one week.
The “single greatest priority” must be to end the conflict, he insisted:
“WFP appeals to all parties to protect civilians, respect humanitarian principles and allow for the safe delivery of food to families in need, no matter where they are.”
According to WFP, the more than seven-year war has left 6.5 million Syrians food insecure and another four million are at risk of becoming so - twice as many as last year.
Meanwhile, UN Children’s Fund UNICEF has warned that the conflict has caused an education crisis, with 60 schools attacked so far this year alone.
Four million youngsters nationwide are set to go back to school this month, but two million cannot.
One in three schools have been destroyed or damaged, or else they are sheltering displaced families or are being used for military purposes, according to the UN agency
Yemen Consultations continue, opposition delegation awaited
The Geneva Consultations on Yemen are continuing and efforts are being made to ensure the Houthi opposition delegation takes part in discussions, the UN announced on Friday.
Alessandra Vellucci, Director of the United Nations Information Service in Geneva, told journalists that the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, had talked about “confidence-building measures” with the Government delegation.
“Since yesterday he has been discussing with them confidence-building measures, including the issue of prisoners, humanitarian access, the re-opening of Sana’a airport, in addition to economic issues. The Special Envoy for Yemen also met with diplomats and he is still working on getting the Ansarullah delegation to Geneva.”
As of Friday afternoon, the Houthi opposition delegation remains in Sana’a, the Yemeni capital.
UN agencies ‘ready to assess villages in Rakhine State’, awaiting access
Access to Myanmar’s Rakhine state is still needed before international monitors can begin to assess whether conditions are safe for the voluntary return of displaced Rohingya villagers, the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, has said.
Spokesperson Babar Baloch said that the assessment of nearly two dozen villages would be an “initial step” in rebuilding trust and social cohesion, following last year’s military operation against the Rohingya that the UN’s former rights chief likened to ethnic cleansing.
“One is the basic agreements on the assessments, that they can go forward. But for our staff to travel to those areas, there are special travel authorizations that are needed. So we are waiting for those. As soon as they come, UNHCR and UNDP staff are ready to go into the assessments in at least 23 villages and additional places that we have been allowed to go to.”
The development follows an agreement signed three months ago between the UN agencies and the Government of Myanmar.
In a statement, UNHCR noted that in addition to a lack of effective access to Rakhine State, the root causes of the crisis have not been addressed, namely access to citizenship for all.
On Thursday, the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced that it could prosecute Myanmar for alleged crimes against humanity.
The ruling follows a UN report released last month which called for top Myanmar generals to be prosecuted for genocide, following the mass exodus of Rohingya Muslims to Bangladesh last August.
Daniel Johnson, UN News