This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
UN chief calls for ‘peaceful, credible and inclusive poll’ in Bangladesh
In the run-up to the general elections in Bangladesh, set to take place on Sunday, the UN Secretary-General has called on stakeholders to help ensure a “peaceful, credible and inclusive poll.”
In a statement from his office, António Guterres said that a successful election would require an environment “free of violence, intimidation and coercion,” before, during and after Bangladeshi citizens go to the polls.
With tension rising between the governing party, known as the Awami League, and opposition alliances, pre-election violence has left dozens injured and news reports suggest that six have died in clashes.
“All Bangladeshi citizens, including minorities and women, must feel safe and confident in exercising their right to vote,” said the UN chief, while “civil society and electoral observers should be fully supported to play their role in the process.”
He underscored the UN’s continued commitment to support a peaceful and democratic Bangladesh.
World Food Programme prepares to aid Indonesia tsunami survivors
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is working to assess the needs of people affected by the deadly tsunami that struck the coastline of Indonesia’s Sunda Strait region on 22 December.
Working with the Ministry of Social Affairs, the agency is preparing to deploy staff to gauge what’s needed for the nearly 27,000 displaced and more than 1,000 injured.
The UN’s humanitarian wing (OCHA) reports that as of Thursday, 430 people are dead and another 125 reportedly missing, according to the Indonesian National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB). Some 1,000 houses are damaged or destroyed, along with 69 villas, more than 400 boats, and 65 vehicles.
Thousands of personnel from NGO’s have joined the Indonesian government-led response, leading evacuations, search and rescue operations, and providing medical services and supplies including food, water, sanitation, tarpaulins and blankets.
WHO condemns armed attacks in Libyan hospital
The World Health Organization (WHO) has strongly condemned an armed attack in Al Jala Hospital in Libya’s second-largest city of Benghazi, which took place on Christmas Day.
Although nobody was reportedly killed, WHO said that there had been panic among patients and health workers inside the hospital, and damage to building infrastructure.
The trauma hospital is already struggling with resources and suffering a lack of medical supplies, which are being stretched to meet the needs of people across eastern Libya.
WHO warned that repeated attacks could lead to the closure of the hospital, causing further suffering and deprivation for patients.
Such tragedies should be avoided “by taking all necessary precautionary measures,” the agency declared, “and perpetrators must be brought to justice.”
Natalie Hutchison, UN News.