This is the News In Brief from the United Nations.
Civilians need ‘urgent’ help amid Tripoli airstrikes, clashes
To Libya now, where civilians are trapped by fighting around the capital, Tripoli, and access to food is “becoming a greater challenge”, the UN humanitarian coordinating office, OCHA, has said.
The violence comes after years of instability that have followed the overthrow of President Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, with the UN-recognized Government of National Accord under assault from forces loyal to military commander Khalifa Haftar.
On Monday morning, Ghassan Salamé, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the UN Support Mission in Libya, told French radio that the fighting had reached a “military stalemate” and the frontline had barely moved since General Haftar’s offensive began, three weeks ago.
In an appeal for humanitarian shipments to Libya to be speeded up to meet “urgent” needs, OCHA said that indiscriminate shelling and rocket attacks have continued.
Airstrikes were also reported at the weekend, impacting residential areas in Ain Zara and Al Twaisha, with unconfirmed reports of at least one civilian death, as well as damage to people’s homes.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the fighting has claimed 345 lives and injured more than 1,650.
Of that number, 96 civilian casualties have been confirmed: 22 dead and 74 wounded, while some 40,000 people have now fled the fighting, which began 24 days ago.
UN, global health agencies sound alarm on drug-resistant infections
Drug-resistant diseases are set to “skyrocket” in the next two decades and cause 10 million deaths a year by 2050, the UN health agency, WHO, said on Monday.
According to a new report, by the UN Ad hoc Interagency Coordinating Group on Antimicrobial Resistance, more and more common diseases are becoming untreatable.
This includes respiratory tract infections, sexually transmitted diseases and urinary tract problems.
The report also warns that lifesaving medical procedures are becoming much riskier and our food systems are increasingly at risk, because of the use of antimicrobial products in farming.
Today, at least 700,000 people die each year from drug-resistant diseases.
Among the report’s recommendations is a call for countries to invest in awareness-raising programmes for the prudent use of essential medicines in human, animal and plant health.
Investment is also needed for ambitious research for new technologies to combat antimicrobial resistance, the authors say.
UN’s prevention of genocide official co-hosts summit to tackle hate speech
And finally to the UN in Geneva, where a major summit to counter hate speech has begun, with the twin aim of boosting the protection of religious minorities, refugees and migrants.
Co-hosted by Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, the event chimes with a wish by UN Secretary-General António Guterres to combat extremism and devise an international plan of action.
According to the organizers, the second Global Summit on Religion, Peace and Security, comes a time of “increasing divisions between nations and peoples”.
They maintain that amid growing economic and social inequality, specific groups are being increasingly targeted with stereotyping, hate speech and hate crimes – not least religious minorities, migrants and refugees.
Last month Mr. Dieng expressed concern about spiralling intercommunal violence in central Mali which claimed 134 villagers’ lives in one single attack, including women and children.
He warned that it could degenerate if nothing is done to stop it.
“Over the recent months, violence has reached unprecedented levels amid retaliatory attacks and serious violations of human rights in central Mali impacting on all communities. Unless these concerns are immediately addressed, there is a high risk of further escalation of the situation in which atrocity crimes could be committed.” Mr. Dieng said.
Earlier this month at an event supporting the elimination of racial discrimination, Mr. Guterres said that everyone should help to dismantle “the harmful and specious notion of racial superiority”.
The recent surge of neo-Nazi thinking and white supremacist ideology must be buried “once and for all”, Mr. Guterres insisted, saying that this can be supported by national legislation that promotes non-discrimination, and by politicians and religious leaders who speak out against intolerance and hate speech.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.