India should ‘unlock’ freedom curbs in disputed Kashmir, urges UN human rights chief
The people of Indian-administered Kashmir continue to be deprived of basic freedoms, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Tuesday, urging Indian authorities “to unlock the situation”.
The appeal over the territory – which both India and Pakistan claim as sovereign - follows months of escalating tensions, linked to earlier suicide attacks and the Indian Government’s decision in August to revoke Kashmir’s partial autonomy.
This led to widely reported restrictions on peaceful protests, a communications blackout and a curfew.
On Tuesday, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said that an “undeclared curfew” had been lifted from much of the Jammu and Ladakh regions.
But it was reportedly still in place “in large parts of the Kashmir Valley”, preventing people’s movement, their right to expression, healthcare, education and freedom of religion and belief.
The development comes amid allegations of excessive use of force against protesters involving “pellet-firing shotguns, tear gas and rubber bullets”, with unconfirmed reports of at least six civilian killings since August.
According to the UN human rights office, although fixed telephones now function along with a partial mobile phone service, all internet services remain blocked in the Kashmir valley.
UN confirms delivery of food aid to more than 300,000 vulnerable Syrians in troubled northeast
To Syria now, where more than 300,000 people have received emergency food aid from the UN in the last three weeks, in response to the recent military operations in the north-east of the country.
According to the World Food Programme, WFP, this number includes people fleeing hostilities and families providing shelter to the displaced.
In addition, the agency is scaling up regular food assistance to nearly 600,000 people in Hasakeh and Raqqa governorates, including many who were uprooted by the Turkish incursion in Kurdish-controlled areas.
Highlighting the ongoing humanitarian emergency elsewhere in the wartorn country, the UN agency noted that some 400,000 people have sought shelter in camps in northern Idlib in recent months.
In the south of the country, meanwhile, WFP said that conditions in a makeshift camp on the border with Jordan have deteriorated further.
Spokesperson Hervé Verhoosel told journalists in Geneva that some displaced children living in Rukban had reportedly died of preventable causes, while humanitarian organizations had only limited access and means to alleviate the squalid conditions there.
El Salvador’s ‘double burden’ of malnutrition and obesity is equivalent to 10% of GDP – WFP report
To El Salvador finally, where researchers have found that undernutrition and obesity cost the country 10 per cent of its economic output.
In the first of a series of studies into countries in the region to highlight the cost of poor nutrition, the World Food Programme and partners said that in 2017, this “double burden” amounted to $2.5 billion.
Most of this came from lost productivity, while one-third was linked to extra healthcare costs, the agency said, highlighting that that many families often experience malnutrition and obesity at the same time.
According to the study, one in six children in the central American country are chronically undernourished and six in 10 adults are overweight or obese.
The brake on development is clear, WFP says, since four in 10 malnourished children do not finish primary school and one million Salvadorans now suffer from diabetes and hypertension as a result of being overweight, which require expensive healthcare treatments.