This is the News in Brief, from the United Nations.
UNICEF spotlights degree of vulnerability for Syrian children living in conflict
Violence in Syria continues to kill and maim civilians, with reports that at least 12 people were killed in missiles strikes in the northwest and dozens more wounded, including children.
And at least 10 children have died in the northeast, with another 28 maimed since 9 October, following the Turkish military incursion into Kurdish-held Syrian territory, UNICEF’s Syria representative, Fran Equiza, told journalists in Geneva.
In 2018, the UN confirmed 1,106 children dead, linked to fighting in the nearly-nine-year war - the highest number of children killed in a single year since the onset of fighting.
In addition, around 74,000 people, including 31,000 children remain displaced in the northeast, while an estimated 250 children are being held in detention centres.
With less than two months until the year’s end, the agency’s emergency operations in the country are only about 60 per cent funded.
Of the $295 million required for 2019, the UN Children’s Fund has received around $180 million.
Governments ‘failing’ to tackle business-related rights abuses
Governments “are simply not doing enough” when it comes to implementing protection measures that guard people against business-related human rights abuses, a UN working group of independent experts warned on Thursday ahead of the largest global gathering on business and human rights, kicking off next week.
It is the “duty, not an option” of governments “to protect people against business-related harms”, including labour abuse, trafficking, environmental pollution and attacks against human rights defenders, the experts said.
“Despite positive steps by some States”, they are calling into question the effectiveness of efforts made overall and what they call a “lack of concrete action”.
Many States are not meeting the mark, the experts noted, and records demonstrate large gaps in the health protections they offer.
In addition, holes in policy reflect weak government leadership at national, regional and global levels, and are a threat to the human rights and dignity of workers, said the experts.
From 25 to 27 November, 2,500 participants will gather in Geneva for the Forum on Business and Human Rights, to discuss national, international, mandatory and voluntary steps that can be taken.
Stark disparity in overall prisoner health versus persons walking free, new study shows
Turning to the health of prisoners in Europe now, which a Thursday report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed is disproportionately poor, in stark contrast to the general population.
WHO’s status report on prison health, collected data on the health conditions of people in prison and prison health systems from 39 countries, and demonstrated “an enormous difference” in the wellbeing of people incarcerated, versus those on the outside.
“A prison sentence takes away a person’s liberty; it should not also take away their health and their right to health” WHO’s Dr. Bente Mikkelsen, who specializes in noncommunicable diseases, stressed in the statement.
The research also found the quantity of monitoring and surveillance systems for health in prisons to be insufficient and suggests that a lack of data could impede the development of evidence-based policies that could lead to improvements.
Natalie Hutchison, UN News