Push to silence the guns in South Sudan
The situation in the southern part of South Sudan, is “extremely volatile” with rampant rights violations that “may amount to war crimes,” the UN Commission on Human Rights in the country revealed on Wednesday in its third report to be presented to the Human Rights Council in March.
Commission Chair Yasmin Sooka said that “there is a confirmed pattern of how combatants attack villages, plunder homes, take women as sexual slaves and then set homes alight often with people in them.”
The Commission urged the Government, the region and the international community to “take urgent steps” to respect the cessation of hostilities, implement the Revitalized Agreement signed five months ago and “push to silence the guns completely.”
According to the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, 25 per cent of those targeted by sexual violence are children, including girls as young as seven. Elderly and pregnant women have also been raped, while sexual violence against men and boys is underreported because its stigma is higher than that of raping and killing the young and the elderly.
Good health care paves way for SDGs
Meanwhile, a new World Health Organization (WHO) report on global health expenditure reveals that spending on health is outpacing the rest of the global economy, accounting for 10 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP).
Health spending is made up of government expenditure, out-of-pocket payments and other sources, such as voluntary health insurance and employer-provided health programmes.
While reliance on out-of-pocket expenses is slowly declining around the world, the report highlights that in low- and middle-income countries, domestic public funding for health is increasing and external funding in middle-income countries, declining.
The report also points to ways that policy makers, health professionals and citizens alike can continue to strengthen health systems.
Dr Agnés Soucat, WHO’s Director for Health Systems, Governance and Financing said: “Health is a human right and all countries need to prioritize efficient, cost-effective primary health care as the path to achieving universal health coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Education, employment ‘fundamental’ to youth development’
The United Nations launched on Wednesday its biennial World Youth Report, which gauges the progress made in addressing youth issues, assesses policy gaps and charts possible policy responses.
Noting that there are 1.2 billion 15- to 24-year-olds in the world today, the report points out that 142 million youth of upper secondary age are out of school, 71 million young people are unemployed, and millions of others are in precarious or informal work.
It underscores that although all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are critical, education and employment are “fundamental to overall youth development.”
While emphasizing that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development offers innumerable opportunities for young people to thrive, the report spells that more political commitment, financing and targeted interventions are needed, particularly in the areas of education and employment where “large gaps remain.”
Ana Carmo, UN News.