This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
We are burning our future, UN’s Bachelet tells Human Rights Council
The Human Rights Council opened in Geneva on Monday with a warning from the UN’s top rights official that, with forest fires raging in the Amazon, “we are burning up our future, literally”.
In an appeal to the forum’s 47 Member States to unite to tackle climate change, Michelle Bachelet insisted that every region of the world stands to be affected.
In the short-term, however, the worst effects of the fires and “drastic acceleration of deforestation” in Bolivia, Paraguay and Brazil, were on the families living in these areas, she explained.
“Climate change is a reality that now affects every region of the world. The human implications of currently projected levels of global heating are catastrophic. Storms are rising and tides could submerge entire island nations and coastal cities. Fires rage through our forests, and the ice is melting. We are burning up our future – literally.”
Citing UN reports that the climate emergency has caused a sharp increase in global hunger levels, the High Commissioner also noted that warmer temperatures will likely contribute to an additional 250,000 deaths per year between 2030 and 2050 from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress.
Her comments come 14 days before UN Secretary-General António Guterres opens a Climate Action Summit in New York.
Venezuela situation having a ‘devastating toll’
Staying with the Human Rights Council, Ms. Bachelet also said on Monday that the situation in Venezuela continues to take a devastating toll on the people of the country.
She warned Member States that developments were having what she called “destabilizing impacts” across Latin America.
The rights chief explained that this was the reason for her commitment to continue cooperating with the authorities there, in order to achieve “substantial changes”.
Regarding detention centres and detainees, “there have been recent advances”, she continued, while acknowledging that although the Government led by Nicolas Maduro has released a number of prisoners, other cases were “still pending”.
Turning to the economic and social situation in Venezuela, it continues to “rapidly deteriorate” and affect millions of people, the High Commissioner said, before repeating concerns about the “potentially severe impact” of new sanctions imposed by the United States.
With food and medicine increasingly scarce in Venezuela, Ms. Bachelet also noted reports that more than three in 10 children under-five, are chronically malnourished in some areas.
Hurricane Dorian health response urgently needs $3.5 million: WHO
And finally, as efforts continue to help the people of the Bahamas affected by Hurricane Dorian, the World Health Organization has issued a $3.5 million appeal to cover initial health care and other needs.
Latest data indicates that 73,000 people have been affected in the north-western islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama, with 43 fatalities officially reported, linked to the Category 5 storm.
In addition to “significant destruction” of medical equipment, supplies and electrical and water installations, the WHO - along with the Pan American Health Organization - say that hundreds of people remain in shelters in the disaster zone.
Immediate priorities include restoring access to essential health services, ensuring water quality in affected communities, and restoring decent hygie ne and sanitation.
In addition, waste management and control of disease-carrying insects such as mosquitoes are key, both agencies have maintained.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.