This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Release prisoners and detainees in Yemen, urge UN rights experts
In Yemen, the authorities must release detainees and political prisoners from “appalling” and overcrowded detention facilities before COVID-19 hits the war-ravaged country, UN-appointed independent rights experts said on Monday.
The Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen made their appeal saying that those under lock and key are “particularly vulnerable and exposed to substantial risk” if a major outbreak occurs.
In their latest report to the Human Rights Council, Kamel Jendoubi, Melissa Parke and Ardi Imseis, highlighted how Yemen’s health system is already on the brink of collapse.
There is a lack of adequate food and an absence of minimum standards of hygiene and health care for detainees, the experts say in a statement.
Many are often in poor health owing to the “pervasive” violence they have endured, the experts also note, while also warning that physical distancing and self-isolation are “impossible” in such overcrowded facilities.
Assistance ramped up to Pacific islands facing COVID-19
To the Pacific region now, where the UN is engaging with island Governments to help communities prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 170,000 essential medical and laboratory items have already been transported there by UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, and the World Health Organization (WHO).
In a statement on Monday, UNICEF Pacific Representative Sheldon Yett said that their main aim was to help stop transmission of the virus and keep children and families safe. “Children are the hidden victims of this pandemic,” Mr Yett said. “In just a few months, COVID-19 has upended the lives of children around the Pacific. Thousands of children are not in school. Parents and caregivers have lost their jobs. Borders have been closed.”
To date, there have been more than 635,000 confirmed cases of new coronavirus and over 30,000 deaths.
2.5 trillion dollar rescue package needed for emerging economies: UNCTAD
The economic fallout from COVID-19 is likely to get “much worse” before it gets better for some six billion people living in developing economies, the UN said on Monday, in an appeal for a $2.5 trillion rescue package to boost their resilience to further hardship.
An economic downturn in these vulnerable countries was already evident last year – before the new coronavirus outbreak emerged in central China late last December.
The added pressure of the new coronavirus could have a catastrophic impact, said Richard Kozul-Wright, UNCTAD director of globalization and development strategies:
“The health crisis is still to come in many developing countries. Now, if that crisis comes as these countries have been significantly weakened by the economic shockwaves from the crisis. And that is a…very vicious combination of an economic crisis and a health crisis. So, we’ve got to find ways of strengthening the healthcare system and services in developing countries and building up resilience on that front very quickly.”
Mr. Kozul-Wright said that commodity-rich exporting countries face a $2 to $3 trillion drop in investment from overseas in the next two years.
To counter this, richer nations should support a $1 trillion investment injection for weaker economies, and halt or cancel $1 trillion in debt owed by struggling countries.
In addition, they should inject $500 billion into poorer countries’ emergency health services and social relief programmes, and prevent surging capital outflows away from these developing nations.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.