This is the News in Brief from the United Nations
ICC decision on Palestine war crimes a ‘momentous step’ towards accountability: UN rights expert
The decision by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to consider a formal criminal investigation into alleged war crimes in Palestine has been hailed by an independent UN human rights expert as a “momentous step forward in the quest for accountability.”
ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced on 20 December that there was reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation following the conclusion of a five-year preliminary examination related to the 2014 war on Gaza, Israeli settlements, and the killing and wounding of Palestinian demonstrators near the Gaza frontier.
Michael Lynk, the UN Special Rapporteur for the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, issued a statement on Tuesday welcoming the decision.
He observed that while the international community has adopted hundreds of UN resolutions condemning the 52-year occupation, “yet rarely has it ever combined criticism with consequences for Israel. Now, the possibility of accountability is finally on the horizon.”
Mr. Lynk observed that the ICC Prosecutor also intends to investigate whether members of Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups had committed war crimes in the period since June 2014.
2020: Year of the Nurse and the Midwife
The world will need an additional nine million nurses and midwives if people everywhere are to have access to health care by 2030, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned.
WHO and its partners will advocate for greater investment in these professionals during 2020: The Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO Director-General, described nurses and midwives as “the backbone of every health system”.
Besides preventing, diagnosing and treating diseases, and providing expert care during childbirth, they also serve people caught in humanitarian emergencies and conflicts.
Throughout the coming year, WHO will push for measures to ensure nurses and midwives can work to their full potential.
Key areas for investment include employing more specialist nurses, making midwives and nurses central to primary health care, and supporting them in health promotion and disease prevention.
Young people world’s ‘greatest source’ of hope: UN chief’s New Year's message
The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has welcomed the New Year in a video carrying a message of hope to young people.
As the world enters 2020 with “uncertainty and insecurity all around”, he called young people its "greatest source” of hope.
The UN chief observed that youth have been on the frontlines of issues such as climate action, gender equality and human rights.
With the UN turning 75 in 2020, which also marks the start of a Decade of Action for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), he called for their support.
Mr. Guterres said “the world needs young people to keep speaking out. Keep thinking big. Keep pushing boundaries. And keep up the pressure.”
You can watch the full video on our website, which is news.un.org.
I’m Dianne Penn with UN News. Happy New Year!