This is the News in Brief from the United Nations
Quality immunization, surveillance help stop polio in three African countries: WHO
Three African countries have halted recent polio outbreaks, indicating that the disease can be stopped elsewhere in the region, the United Nations health agency said on Monday.
Polio, a highly infectious viral disease that can lead to paralysis, mainly affects children under five. And while there is no cure, the disease can be prevented through a simple vaccine.
Over the past 24 months, Kenya, Mozambique and Niger curbed different outbreaks of vaccine-derived poliovirus that affected 14 children.
Although wild poliovirus virus has not been detected in Africa since 2016, roughly 12 countries are currently facing outbreaks of vaccine-derived poliovirus.
“Ending outbreaks in the three countries is proof that response activities along with high quality immunization campaigns and vigilant disease surveillance can stop the remaining outbreaks in the region”, said Dr. Modjirom Ndoutabe, coordinator of World Health Organization (WHO)-led polio outbreaks Rapid Response Team for the African Region.
UN concerned for over three million in Idleb
From Africa we go next to the Middle East where the UN remains deeply concerned for the safety and protection of over three million civilians in Syria’s northwestern city of Idleb.
UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric informed reporters on Monday that following ongoing reports of airstrikes in the area, over half the people there have been internally displaced.
On Saturday, the UN negotiated a six-hour humanitarian pause that enabled safe passage for more than 2,500 people to flee. And the UN continues to pursue efforts with all parties to advocate for the protection and safe passage of all who wish to leave the affected areas.
Mr. Dujarric said that over the past three days, “some 39 communities were reportedly impacted by shelling in northern Hama, southern Idleb and western Aleppo governorates”.
The newly displaced adds to the over 400,000 women, children and men that have evacuated hostilities since the end of April, many multiple times.
“The United Nations urges all parties to ensure the protection of civilians, and to allow sustained and unhindered access by all humanitarian parties to provide life-saving assistance to all in need”, concluded the spokesperson.
Much work needed to target racism in Ecuador: UN experts
And finally, to South America where independent UN human rights experts said that Ecuador must implement and enforce laws and policies to protect the rights of people of African descent.
After visiting the country, the UN Working Group on People of African Descent concluded that the Government must step up efforts to enforce the law and implement plans to end the “discrimination, exclusion and extreme poverty” suffered by Afro-Ecuadorians.
In a statement, Working Group Chair Ahmed Reid spelled out: “People are suffering particularly in their ability to access justice, security, land, clean water, education, healthcare, housing and economic opportunity”.
The UN Experts concluded by calling for an end to the impunity surrounding these human rights violations.
Liz Scaffidi, UN News