This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
UN experts call for urgent action to end racial discrimination, in wake of New Zealand attack
States must take urgent action, to “stem the tide of hate and discrimination” which helped fuel the deadly shootings in two New Zealand mosques last Friday by a self-declared white supremacist, several top UN officials and human rights experts have stressed.
Marking the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on Thursday, they said that the tragedy “reminds us that racism, xenophobia and religious hatred are deadly.”
They also noted the growing political appeal of racially-based populism in some countries, saying that the result of “supremacist ideologies is racial violence, exclusion and discrimination.”
“Racial discrimination still has not been banished to the history books,” said Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Describing it as a “vicious form of exclusion and intolerance” she noted that it’s become common “on the sports field, in the media, on the streets, in the workplace and even in the corridors of power.”
‘Massive and protracted’ humanitarian crisis in DR Congo can be ‘beaten back’ if donors step up
“Urgent and sustained funding” for a Government-led response to what is now a “massive and protracted” humanitarian crisis across the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is required, said the heads of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN emergency coordination office, OCHA.
Following on from a fact-finding mission to DRC this week, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore and the UN’s top Humanitarian Affairs official, Mark Lowcock, said the funds were urgently needed to meet the needs of children, families and vulnerable communities, including people with disabilities.
“The peaceful political transition taking place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is an opportunity that we must seize on,” the top officials said in a statement, referring to the first peaceful transfer of power following elections on 30 December.
“We can beat back the massive and protracted humanitarian crisis,” said Mr. Lowcock. But donors urgently need to provide further generous funding in the face of overwhelming needs.
Idai disaster: Stranded victims still need rescue from heavy rains as UN scales up response
Dire conditions persist in vast areas of southern Africa affected by Cyclone Idai as heavy rain continues to cause “massive destruction”, the UN said on Thursday, while aid teams scale up efforts to reach those most in need.
Warning that the situation is likely to deteriorate, the World Food Programme (WFP) said that people are still stranded on rooftops after the storm began its sweep through Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe six days ago.
In Mozambique alone, the agency is seeking more than $121 million to help 1.7 million people affected through the next three months, said WFP, after the Government declared a state of national emergency.
The UN emergency coordination office, OCHA, reported that the latest death toll stood at 242 in Mozambique, with numbers expected to rise.
Ana Carmo, United Nations.