This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Faster action needed to stop 61 million girls facing FGM
Some 61 million girls face being victims of female genital mutilation in the next 10 years – with 4.1 million in 2020 alone - UN population experts said on Thursday.
Despite this alarming estimate, girls are in fact less likely to be cut today than 30 years ago, according to the UN Population Fund, or UNFPA.
This is because support for the practice – which still happens in 21 countries - is “dwindling” among teenage girls compared with older women, the agency insisted.
Speaking in Geneva, UNFPA Director Monica Ferro hailed the courageous youngsters who are increasingly rejecting the harmful practice.
“There’s no reason behind it and there’s no benefits behind it. It often leads to bleeding, to infections, infertility, to complications that will endure a lifetime, be it by urinary infections, by complications while delivering, so there’s no benefit for a woman for undergoing FGM.”
Social media platforms were helping to communicate the message that FGM is a form of violence against women and girls, Ms. Ferro said.
Millions of CAR children still at risk
Millions of children living in the Central African Republic (CAR) continue to be at risk from violence and lack of access to food, healthcare, water and sanitation, a year on from the signing of an historic peace agreement there.
That’s according to the UN Children’s Fund representative in the country, Christine Muhigana.
She said more than 500 grave child rights violations were reported between January and December 2019, but the real numbers are almost certainly far higher.
While it’s difficult to estimate how many children remain associated with armed groups, these children are among the most vulnerable in the country and their fate remains unclear, she added, noting that there were signs of hope.
“We welcome the formal commitment of more armed groups to prevent grave violations against children and the fact that children continue to be released, either through joint advocacy efforts or through the national demobilization programme. We also welcome the country’s efforts to adopt a national Child Protection Code.”
UNESCO calls for investigation into death of Mexico butterfly experts
UNESCO, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, is calling for more light to be shed on the “extremely disturbing circumstances” which led to the recent deaths of two Mexican butterfly experts.
Raúl Hernández, and Homero Gómez González, were leading conservationists who worked at the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in the state of Michoacán.
UNESCO described both as “committed” nature activists, and foul play is suspected in both deaths.
Thousands of Mexicans have been killed in relation to on-going violence carried out by drug cartels and attacks on rights defenders.
UNESCO said it wanted to acknowledge the “courage and self-sacrifice shown by Mr Hernández and Mr Gómez in their struggle” to protect the Reserve; a World Heritage Site since 2008.
“The protection of this natural World Heritage is essential in response to the global climate crisis and is becoming more and more difficult every day, in Mexico and in many other regions of the world”, said the agency.
The agency also condemned the murder in Michoacán of prominent radio journalist Fidel Ávila Gómez, calling for a thorough investigation, and for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
He was found dead near the town of San Lucas in January with signs of gunshot wounds.
Matt Wells, UN News.