This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
UNICEF condemns attack in Taiz that claims lives of seven children
Nowhere is safe in Yemen, the head of UN Children’s Fund UNICEF said, after an attack in the city of Taiz claimed the lives of 12 civilians including seven youngsters – the latest victims of the country’s more than four-year war.
In a statement condemning reported airstrikes on a petrol station in the south-western city on Friday, Henrietta Fore said that the children who died were aged between four and 14.
The attack in the east of Taiz pushed up confirmed child casualty numbers in the war-torn country to 27 in just over 10 days, according to Ms. Fore, who warned that the actual numbers “are likely to be even higher”.
Since March 2015, UNICEF has confirmed that at least 7,300 children were killed or seriously injured in Yemen amid clashes between supporters of Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi and Houthi opposition groups.
The development comes as UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for “caution and restraint” from belligerents, “both in terms of actions and in terms of rhetoric”.
In response to questions last Friday about President Hadi’s reported criticism of UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, Mr. Guterres’s spokesperson reiterated the Secretary-General’s “full confidence in Mr. Griffiths and his work”.
The spokesperson added that a letter to the Yemen President from Mr. Guterres also underlined the UN’s commitment to the ceasefire deal agreed in Sweden last December.
UN Libya Mission’s alarm over latest Tripoli attacks, kidnapping
To the Libyan capital Tripoli now, where the shelling of “civilian targets” in densely populated areas of the city has been condemned by UNSMIL – the UN Support Mission in Libya.
In a statement issued amid intensifying conflict in and around Tripoli - instigated by forces loyal to General Khalif Haftar on 4 April - UNSMIL reported that a compound that was hit by an airstrike had been used by members of the Libya’s UN-recognized government.
In addition, the mission expressed serious concern at the reported kidnapping of a member of the High Council of State from the Qasr Ben Ghasheer neighbourhood in the capital, along with two more attacks against ambulances carrying medical staff, which claimed the lives of two health workers.
Since the offensive on Tripoli began, more than 500 have been killed, including at least 29 civilians.
More than 2,400 people have been injured and some 75,000 had been forced from their homes - the majority civilians, with half of the displaced women and children.
Innovate for sustainable city life, urges UN chief as first UN Habitat conference begins
And finally, with more than half the world’s people now living in cities, what innovations can be found to make their quality of life better?
That’s the key challenge that delegates must find answers to at the first UN-Habitat Assembly, which began on Monday in Nairobi.
During a week of discussions, all 193 UN Member States are expected to adopt global norms and policies that will guide how cities and communities are planned, managed and governed.
In a message to the meeting, UN chief António Guterres warned that “about 60 per cent of the urban infrastructure needed by 2030 is yet to be built”.
This could create opportunities for inclusive growth and sustainable, low-emission development, Mr. Guterres said in a video message.
But he also warned that without well-planned and managed cities, rapid and unplanned urbanization could “generate severe problems, such as pollution, crime, inequality, disease, vulnerability to disasters and a lack of affordable housing”.
Cities also account for about 70 per cent of harmful emissions worldwide, according to the UN Secretary-General, who insisted that these challenges “can be overcome”.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.