This is the News in Brief from the United Nations
UN refugee agency stepping up support for Iran’s flood-hit communities
Heavy rains and flooding in the Islamic Republic of Iran have left more than two million people in need of immediate humanitarian assistance, including refugees, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Wednesday.
A planeload of essential aid items from the agency landed last week in Tehran, while supplies from existing stocks inside Iran, were handed over to authorities, who are battling previously unseen levels of flooding in parts of the country.
UNHCR’s assistance includes family tents, sleeping mats, blankets and kitchen equipment.
Highlighting the fact that “Iran has hosted millions of refugees for 40 years”, UNHCR’s Director for Asia and the Pacific, Indrika Ratwatte, called on the international community to support the country, “as it faces one of the worst natural disasters in decades”.
According to government estimates, some 78 people have lost their lives, over 1,000 are reported injured and about 500,000 people have been displaced, since mid-March.
WHO unveils first digital health care guidelines
For the first time ever, global guidelines have been released showing how to use digital technology – via mobile phones, tablets and personal computers - to improve people’s health across the world.
Published on Wednesday by the World Health Organization (WHO), its 10 recommendations cover a range of everyday needs.
These includes medical professionals seeking a second opinion on patient diagnosis, how to collect data on births and deaths efficiently, and how to manage stocks of medicine in hospitals.
One so-called “digital intervention” that WHO says is already having a positive effect, is a reminder service for pregnant women to attend antenatal care appointments.
The guidelines are the result of a request by the international community in 2018 to the UN health agency to develop a global digital health strategy.
“Harnessing the power of digital technologies is essential for achieving universal health coverage,” said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus.
“Ultimately, digital technologies are not ends in themselves”, he said, “they are vital tools to promote health, keep the world safe, and serve the vulnerable.”
The objective of the guidelines is to be applicable to all countries and all health workers in all settings, according to WHO’s Dr. Garrett Mehl, who directs Digital Innovations and Research.
“Protect and empower children online”: UN human rights expert calls for global efforts
And finallly, the independent UN human rights expert on privacy, Joe Cannataci, has called for coordinated global efforts to simultaneously protect and empower children as they use the internet.
Aiming to improve safeguards to protect children’s privacy worldwide, Mr. Cannataci has initiated a two-year programme, including public consultations, with a view to creating a set of recommendations focusing on protection and protocol while children are online.
The recommendations will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in 2021.
Mr. Cannaraci welcomed recent developments in the United Kingdom, including draft legislation published last week on reducing harm to children online, and the start of a consultation process to establish a new code for ‘Age Appropriate Design’.
Adding that he “wants to hear first-hand" from corporations like Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, and Twitter, over the feasibility of new guidelines, the UN Special Rapporteur encouraged all stakeholders to contribute to the ongoing consultation exercises.
Ana Carmo, UN News.