This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Honouring victims of religious-based violence
In his message for the first-ever International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief, UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Thursday recalled that world religions “espouse tolerance and peaceful coexistence in a spirit of shared humanity”.
And yet, over the past few months, there have been an increasing number of religious-based attacks.
Assaults in New Zealand, Sri Lanka and the United States have specifically targeted places of worship. And from Syria to Central African Republic, entire communities have been attacked on the grounds of their faith.
“On this Day, we reaffirm our unwavering support for the victims of violence based on religion and belief,” stated the UN chief.
“And we demonstrate that support by doing all in our power to prevent such attacks and demanding that those responsible are held accountable,” he concluded.
New climate reality in Asia and the Pacific
Turning to the environment, the relentless sequence of natural disasters in Asia and the Pacific over the past two years has been beyond prediction.
That is according to the latest report by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, ESCAP.
The Asia-Pacific Disaster Report 2019, launched on Thursday, reveals that recent disasters, especially those triggered by climate change, have grown in intensity, frequency and complexity – making disaster preparation more difficult.
In 2018, almost half of the world’s 281 natural disasters occurred in the region, including eight out of the ten deadliest.
Armida Alisjahbana, the Executive Secretary of ESCAP, said that while “countries across the region have committed themselves to the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030…. they cannot achieve many of the SDG targets if their people are not protected from disasters”.
The Report calls for transformative change, with social policies and disaster resilience no longer treated as separate policy domains.
UN chief condemns Burkina Faso violence
And to Africa now, Secretary-General António Guterres condemned a 19 August attack on the military camp of Koutougou, in Burkina Faso, which official reports say was one of the country’s deadliest attacks this year.
He expressed “deep condolences” to the victims’ families, the people and the Government.
The UN chief further condemned the “ongoing indiscriminate attacks against civilian populations” and called for the authorities to swiftly bring the perpetrators to justice.
Mr. Guterres stated that military actions must be “conducted in accordance with international human rights and international humanitarian law”.
Liz Scaffidi, UN News.