This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Syrian conflict has ‘erased’ children’s dreams: new UN report
Nearly nine years of conflict in Syria has robbed boys and girls of their childhood and subjected them to “unabated violations of their rights”, including being killed, maimed, displaced, tortured, raped or forced into sexual slavery.
Those are some of the findings in the latest report by the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria, released on Thursday.
Commission chair Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro said he was “appalled by the flagrant disregard for the laws of war and the Convention on the Rights of the Child by all parties involved in the conflict”.
The study is based on approximately 5,000 interviews conducted between September 2011 and October last year with Syrian children, but also eyewitnesses, survivors, relatives of survivors, medical professionals, defectors, members of armed groups, healthcare professionals, and lawyers.
The Commission said the use of cluster munitions, barrel bombs and chemical weapons by pro-Government forces, have caused scores of child casualties.
Here’s Mr. Pinheiro speaking to UN News by phone:
“We have seen also in some situations intensification of child labour, that is also disasterous. Everything has become worse because children at the beginning of the war, now have become adolescents, and most of their dreams have been erased.”
45 million going hungry in southern Africa: World Food Programme
A record 45 million people across southern Africa - mostly women and children are gravely food insecure following repeated drought, widespread flooding and economic instability, said the World Food Programme (WFP) on Thursday.
The agency is calling on international donors to step up, in order to save lives and enable communities to adapt to climate change.
“This hunger crisis is on a scale we’ve not seen before and the evidence shows it’s going to get worse,” said WFP’s Regional Director for Southern Africa, Lola Castro.
She said with the start of the cyclone season, the region could not stand another year of devastation, and resilience-building had to be a priority, alongside immediate needs.
WFP is calling on the international community to accelerate both emergency assistance to the hungry, and long-term investments to enable the region’s vulnerable to withstand the worsening impacts of climate change.
To date, only $205 million of the $489 million required has been received, and WFP has had to borrow funds internally to reach those in need.
UN ‘deeply relieved’ following release of abducted aid workers in Nigeria
The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, expressed his deep relief on Thursday that some civilians, including three aid workers abducted by non-State armed groups, had been safely released.
Edward Kallon said they were dedicated humanitarians working to provide life-saving support to millions of Nigerians living in the vulnerable north-eastern region of Borno State, home to the Boko Haram terrorist insurgency.
He also voiced concerned over the fate of other civilians abducted in the same incident.
“They should never have been a target” or been forced to “endure the trauma of being held captive,” he said, calling for their immediate and safe release.
Boko Haram has terrorized northeastern Nigeria for the past decade, forcing some seven million people to flee their homes, according to UN estimates.
A total of twelve aid workers lost their lives in 2019 in Nigeria.
Matt Wells, UN News.