This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
‘Absolutely abhorrent’ attack on ambulance in Libya
An attack on a clearly-marked ambulance in Libya drew sharp condemnation from UN humanitarians on Thursday, including World Health Organization country representative, Syed Jaffar Hussain, who called it “a shocking and intolerable violation of international humanitarian law”.
The armoured emergency vehicle in Tripoli was carrying the Director of the Ambulance and Emergency Medical Services, who was critically injured in Wednesday’s attack, reportedly carried out by fighters affiliated with the self-styled Libyan National Army, led by General Khalifa Haftar.
Two paramedics were also injured.
WHO’s Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, Ahmed Al-Mandhari, warned it could “jeopardize field hospitals, ambulance teams and health staff “from performing their life-saving duties”.
The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya, Maria Ribeiro, said the “direct attack” on a marked ambulance was “absolutely abhorrent and should not be tolerated”, adding that those who ordered and carried out the attack “must take legal and moral responsibility for this heinous act”.
Since the conflict in and around the capital escalated in early April, it has claimed over 400 lives and wounded more than 2,000 others.
UN rights expert urges Cambodia to change ‘political culture’
A new political culture in Cambodia that focuses on issues, rather than “on personalities,” will create a solid basis for durable peace, sustainable development and human rights, according to Rhona Smith, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the country.
She spelled out that it should be based on “respect for open and constructive debate involving multiple voices and the free expression of ideas”, including dissenting views.
Ms. Smith urged “a stronger focus” on UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 to increase Cambodia’s ambition to achieve access to justice for all, end violence, combat corruption, strengthen the rule of law, protect fundamental freedoms and combat discrimination.
Moreover, she encouraged the Government to adopt a comprehensive understanding of who might be at risk of being left behind so that development efforts are targeted where they are most needed.
“The poor and near-poor need to be brought from behind” she said.
Swine fever linked to food price spike: FAO
And turning now to our wallets, global food prices have risen to their highest level in almost a year, the UN said on Thursday, triggered in part by the rapid spread of African Swine Fever in China, which is home to half the world’s pig population.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, or FAO, while rice has remained stable, meat, dairy products, vegetable oil and sugar all cost more in April than they did in March.
On cereals, which saw a fourth monthly price fall in a row, FAO said that projected record grain harvests this year – of more than 2.7 billion tonnes – indicated that prices “are likely to remain under pressure”.
Turning to the impact of African Swine Fever in China, FAO said that the sickness could cause a near 20 per cent decline in China’s hog numbers, which would in turn have a noticeable effect on world markets for meat and animal feed.
In a related development, the UN agency stated that although that the price of importing food is falling, poorer nations are unlikely to benefit as much as richer States.
The Food Outlook report suggests that this is because their currencies are weakening against the US dollar, which is the primary international trading currency.
Liz Scaffidi, UN News.