This is the News In Brief from the United Nations.
Guterres strongly condemns latest attack on oil tankers in Gulf
UN chief António Guterres strongly condemned the latest attacks on oil tankers in one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes on Thursday, saying the world “cannot afford” a major confrontation in the Gulf region.
Dozens of crew members were rescued from two oil tankers hit by explosions, following on from attacks against four tankers which were hit off the coast of the United Arab Emirates a month ago.
According to news reports, Iran said it had rescued sailors from the two vessels and denied having any connection to the incidents.
No group or nation has claimed any responsibility or involvement in any of the attacks.
Speaking at a Security Council meeting on cooperation between the UN and the League of Arab States, Mr. Guterres said a major confrontation in the Gulf, had to be avoided.
“I note with deep concern this morning’s security incidents in the Strait of Hormuz. I strongly condemn any attack against civilian vessels. Facts must be established, and responsibilities clarified. And if there is something the world cannot afford, it is a major confrontation in the gulf region.”
‘Heated clashes’ lead to 17 deaths in Darfur; AU-UN Mission launches investigation
Heated clashes between nomads and villagers in Central Darfur have led to the death of 17 people with at least 15 others injured, said the joint African Union-UN Mission to the volatile Sudanese region, on Thursday.
UNAMID said that after despatching a team to Deleij village on Tuesday, which has a population of around 150,000, locals had told them the violence erupted over an increase in commodity prices at the local market.
In addition to the deaths and injuries, around 100 houses were also burnt.
UNAMID Joint Special Representative Jeremiah Mamabolo said the Mission was deeply concerned about these developments and appealed to “all involved in these clashes to show restraint and opt for peaceful means to resolve differences.”
Against the backdrop of a violent military crackdown in the capital Khartoum following the overthrow of former leader Omar el-Bashir, he said that peaceful mediation was the “only course of action that can satisfy the interest of the people of Darfur at this delicate time.”
UNAMID said it would intensify confidence-building measures in the affected area to promote inter-communal dialogue.
UNICEF report ranks the best and worst ‘family-friendly’ nations
UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, revealed its latest rankings on Thursday for countries which practice the most family-friendly policies; seen as critical to fostering childhood development.
Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Estonia and Portugal top the list, among the 31 rich, mainly European nations, where data is available, according to the new UNICEF report.
Switzerland, Greece, Cyprus, the United Kingdom and Ireland rank the lowest.
The policies seen as most effective, include paying parental leave at the equivalent of a full salary, and the State provision of childcare services for children up to the age of six.
The report is part of UNICEF’s early childhood development policy and programming, and the Early Moments Matter campaign.
“There is no time more critical to children’s brain development – and therefore their futures – than the earliest years of life,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.
“We need governments to help provide parents with the support they need to create a nurturing environment for their young children,” she added.
Matt Wells, UN News.