This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
10.3 billion appeal: Starvation, death from disease and violence can be stopped
A huge increase in the number of people facing starvation because of the COVID-19 crisis is one of many problems that the UN is determined to prevent, the world body said on Friday.
In an appeal for $10.3 billion, agencies highlighted acute food insecurity from Africa to Asia and Latin America, dangerously low levels of vaccination among children and an alarming rise in gender-based violence, linked to coronavirus lockdowns.
The funding is needed to alleviate suffering in 63 vulnerable countries, as Jens Laerke from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) told journalists in Geneva:
“Rich countries are wisely protecting their own economies and people with enormous relief packages, but it is dangerously short-sighted not to invest to protect the world's most vulnerable people as well. The risk is otherwise, that we are going to see multiple new crises, on the back of the COVID-19.”
Mr. Laerke warned of a “huge increase” in the number of starving people which could reach some 270 million by the end of the year.
To tackle this, the Global Humanitarian Response Plan for COVID-19 has a $500 million request for famine prevention alone.
Rights expert welcomes UK court’s decision to allow ‘ISIL teenager’ home
The decision by a UK court to allow a British teenager who allegedly joined ISIL extremists to return home from a camp in Syria, has been welcomed by a senior UN-appointed independent rights expert.
Fionnuala Ní Aoláin’s comments follow a ruling by the UK Court of Appeal that Shamima Begum should come back to London to challenge the decision to take away her British passport.
She described Ms. Begum as “a child who may have been groomed online, and who had no meaningful capacity to participate in the legal proceedings depriving her of citizenship”.
Ms. Ní Aoláin also described citizenship as a “gateway right”, without which individuals “are profoundly vulnerable to harm”.
Aged 15, Ms. Begum married an alleged ISIL combatant and gave birth to two children while still a minor, and then a third after turning 18.
All three children died, the third while they were detained at Al Hol refugee camp, in northern Syria.
Now 20, she was found last year at another of Syria’s largest refugee and IDP camps, according to media reports.
Calling for the urgent return and repatriation of foreign fighters and their families from conflict zones, the UN Special Rapporteur expressed concern that Ms. Begum was among “other abandoned women and children…eking out” their survival in an overcrowded camp, under conditions that amount to torture under international law.
We won’t be distracted by COVID in new DRC Ebola fight: WHO
To the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where the UN health agency has said that it is doing everything it can to stop a new outbreak of deadly Ebola virus.
Since infections were announced in Mbandaka health zone on 1 June, the disease has spread to six new zones.
To date, there have been 56 cases, 53 of which have been confirmed, and 12 deaths.
World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson, Fadela Chaib, said that so far, 12,000 people had been vaccinated against Ebola:
“This is the 11th outbreak of Ebola in this country. In some parts of Equateur province, we are experiencing some community resistance; this is why it is very important to mobilise communities to understand and to work together to put an end to this outbreak…it’s challenging, it’s difficult, but it’s not impossible. We know how to do it.”
Ms. Chaib underscored the challenge of overcoming this latest Ebola outbreak, given the remoteness of where infections have surfaced, a lack of funding and the distraction of COVID-19.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.