This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
UN sexual and reproductive health agency celebrates 50 years of existence
The UN agency mandated with protecting sexual and reproductive health (UNFPA) turned 50 this week, celebrating its role saving millions of women’s lives and protecting their futures.
In a video message to mark this milestone, Secretary-General António Guterres congratulated UNFPA on its work, improving the well-being of people around the world, warning that “today, the world needs UNFPA more than ever”.
“Your efforts have been particularly instrumental in enabling women and couples to access the sexual and reproductive health care they need”, he said, and in preventing gender-based violence, tackling female genital mutilation and child marriage practices.
UNFPA supports reproductive health care for women and youth in more than 150 countries – home to more than 80 per cent of the world’s population.
Gains by UN Abyei mission, advance resolution of border issues between Sudan and South Sudan
Briefing the UN Security Council, the UN peacekeeping chief said on Tuesday that the United Nations security force for Abyei, known by the acronym UNISFA, remains essential to stability in the disputed border region between Sudan and South Sudan.
Jean-Pierre Lacroix proposed the creation of a civilian unit to support progress towards a political resolution, and requested a six-month extension of UNISFA’s mandate.
“This modest shift in the mission’s role is necessary to match the reality on the ground,” he added, explaining that a civilian component would enable the mission to support the parties, the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel and the African Union Commission, to provide daily solutions.
Stressing that while the situation generally remains calm – amid efforts by the Ngok Dinka and Misseriya communities to preserve peace through dialogue – Sudan and South Sudan have made no progress on the issue of Abyei.
UN refugee agency’s Goodwill Ambassador Ben Stiller shares stories of Syrian refugees
Actor and director Ben Stiller testified on the humanitarian impact of the eight-year war in Syria on Capitol Hill in Washington DC on Wednesday.
The brutal conflict has displaced over 5.6 million people since 2011.
The Hollywood star appeared before the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee in his capacity as Goodwill Ambassador for the UN refugee agency, UNHCR.
Highlighting the desperate circumstances faced by Syrian families he had met in refugee camps, he reminded US politicians that behind the numbers there are “real stories, real people”.
Mr. Stiller shared the story of Syrian twins Razan and Yazan who left Syria when they were 4 months old. Eight years later, Yazan works selling vegetables in Lebanon, to help his family make ends meet.
“We all want the same things, to see our children grow up and achieve their dreams”, he added.
Syria accounts for the world’s largest number of forcibly-displaced people according to UNHCR. Mr. Stiller has traveled on mission to Guatemala, Germany and Jordan to meet with refugees who have fled their war-torn homes.
Ana Carmo, UN News.