This is the News in Brief from the United Nations
$1.4 billion needed for UNRWA budget
A minimum of $1.4 billion is needed to fund the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, known as UNRWA, the acting chief said on Friday.
Christian Saunders said the funds would provide essential services throughout 2020, including life-saving humanitarian assistance for 5.6 million registered Palestine refugees across the Middle East.
He noted that the support UNRWA received at the General Assembly in December was “an overwhelming validation of the agency and of our mandate” and stressed the importance of donors and partners matching that support, to allow the agency to provide Palestine refugees with “protection and those critical services considered a basic human right”.
“In return”, he said, UNRWA would ensure “that every penny of public funding we receive is used wisely, properly and effectively.”
US Middle East plan a ‘one and a half State solution’
And, staying in the Middle East region, an independent UN expert has expressed alarm over US President Donald Trump’s proposal launched on Tuesday, to resolve the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict, maintaining that it favoured one side far too much over the other.
"What the Trump plan offers is a one and a half State solution," said Michael Link, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Palestine.
President Trump’s ‘Vision for Peace, Prosperity and a Brighter Future’ would legalize Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and would also allow Israel to annex around 30 per cent of the West Bank.
In response, the UN underlined its longstanding commitment to realize a two-State solution, with Israelis and Palestinians “living side by side in peace and security within recognized borders, on the basis of the pre-1967 lines.”
“This is not a recipe for a just and durable peace but rather endorses the creation of a 21st century Bantustan in the Middle East,” he said, referring to the so-called “independent” homelands established for black South Africans during the apartheid era.
Do not confuse food charity with ‘right to food’, UN expert tells Italy
And in Europe, a sophisticated Italian food system is placing a heavy burden on Italy’s workers and farmers.
This from an independent UN human rights expert, following an 11-day visit to the country that many regard as the world’s food capital.
Despite an estimated gross domestic product of $2.84 trillion, world-renowned innovative businesses, a large agriculture sector and modern manufacturing capabilities, smallholder farmers are being exploited in Italy, the expert said.
While Italy is active in promoting human rights internationally, particularly the right to food, “this does not altogether resonate nationally”, Hilal Elver, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, said on Friday.
Following conversations with people who depend on food banks and charities for their next meal, she said people in agriculture “work excessively long hours, under difficult conditions and with a salary too low to cover their basic needs.”
Liz Scaffidi, UN News.