This is the News In Brief from the United Nations
Afghanistan bloodshed mars 100 years of independence
Afghanistan is at a “crucial moment” in its history as it marks 100 years of independence, the head of the UN Mission there said on Monday, following a series of terror attacks in recent days.
In a statement on Monday, Tadamichi Yamamoto, who’s the Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), said that despite decades of conflict, Afghans are committed to a nation that is stable, peaceful and prosperous, and that upholds the human rights of women and men alike.
Mr. Yamamoto also expressed hope that elections due to take place next month would give voice to the people of Afghanistan, while also maintaining that there was “a real possibility for breakthroughs in peace” after so many years of war – a reference to on-going negotiations between Taliban extremists and the United States.
The UNAMA chief’s comments come amid numerous recent terror attacks on civilians, including a suicide bomb strike on a wedding party on Saturday, that claimed the lives of 63 people and injured more than 180.
World Humanitarian Day honours life-saving contribution of women aid workers
August 19 is World Humanitarian Day; designated by the UN General Assembly in 2008, the day shines a light on the half a million or so aid workers across the globe and the dangers they face.
All over the world, special events are taking place to honour the life-saving contributions of female aid workers, who make up about 40 per cent of all humanitarian staff.
One country with exceptionally high humanitarian needs is the Democratic Republic of the Congo, DRC.
This year alone, nearly 13 million people there will need humanitarian aid as a result of protracted conflict and violence, endemic disease – and the year-old Ebola outbreak in the north-east.
Here’s Silvia Risi, a project manager for the Food and Agricultural Organization; she’s based in Goma, eastern DRC:
“I have worked in countries where a woman cannot show any part of her body or where a man would not even look at me while talking to me…I think the biggest pro being a woman is that I have better access to the women we assist and we work with, and therefore a better understanding of the needs and the desire and the thoughts, and also it puts me in a better and more privileged position to sit with them …Where in some contexts for a man it would not be possible to have a free conversation with a woman.”
According to the UN, in 2018, 131 humanitarians were killed in attacks, 144 were wounded and another 130 were kidnapped.
The most dangerous countries for aid workers are South Sudan, Syria and the DRC.
UN renews call to Yemen’s warring parties to down weapons
To Yemen now, and staying with World Humanitarian Day, the UN’s top aid coordinator in the country, has renewed her appeal for an end to the conflict.
In a statement on Monday, Ms. Grande insisted that every aid worker in Yemen understands that the most important development the country’s people can hope for is for the belligerents to lay down their weapons and allow humanitarians better access.
Despite the dangers of working in Yemen, as Government forces continue to battle Houthi opposition forces in the north-west, Ms. Grande said that more than 12.5 million people still receive life-saving aid every month.
These people “would not survive without us”, Ms. Grande insisted, in reference to the fact that nearly eight in 10 Yemenis – 24 million people – need assistance, making it the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.