This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Yemen sees return to alarming levels of food insecurity - FAO
Humanitarians have expressed deep concern at crisis levels of hunger in Yemen after the release of new food security assessments in the war-torn country on Wednesday.
According to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis by UN agencies, 3.2 million people will likely be in dire need in the next six months, up from two million now.
Last year famine was avoided, thanks to a massive scale-up of humanitarian assistance.
But escalating conflict and above all, the economic meltdown in the Arabian State, have caused rising food prices and a near total depletion of foreign exchange reserves.
In a statement, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, Lise Grande, said that disaster will only be avoided if funding is provided now.
In addition to a new wave of violence in Al Jawf and Marib, the resilience of war-weary Yemenis has been hit by flash floods, Desert Locusts and Fall Armyworm infestations.
COVID lockdowns leave 40 million children out of pre-school: UNICEF
At least 40 million children worldwide are not receiving pre-school education owing to closures linked to the coronavirus pandemic, UN child experts have said.
Spearheading the alert, the head of UNICEF, Henrietta Fore, warned that COVID-19 “is making a global childcare crisis even worse”.
According to the UN Children’s Fund research, shutdowns of childcare and early learning centres have also left many parents struggling to look after their children and earn a living.
The situation is placing a larger burden on women who spend more than three times longer on care and housework than men, the UN agency noted.
The study shows that in 54 low and middle-income countries, around 40 per cent of three to five-year-olds were not receiving social, emotional and cognitive stimulation from any adult in their household.
For millions of parents - and especially women working in the informal sector who have no welfare protection – their only option is to take their children to work.
UNICEF says that more than 90 per cent of women in Africa, and almost 70 per cent in Asia and the Pacific, work informally.
UN experts call on Tanzania to end crackdown on civic space
To Tanzania finally, which has been urged to heed international calls to allow peaceful gatherings to take place ahead of elections later this year - and step back from laws described as “draconian”.
In their appeal on Wednesday, three UN-appointed independent rights experts - known as Special Rapporteurs - also maintained that the Government was not being transparent enough, after it stopped releasing statistics on COVID-19 cases.
They cited the amended Basic Rights and Duties Enforcement Act, which “will ultimately prevent organisations from filing cases on behalf of victims” of rights abuses.
In a statement, the Special Rapporteurs warned that the changes had been “fast-tracked through Parliament”, and were just “the latest in a string of newly enacted draconian legislation”.
It was being used to intimidate activists, silence journalists and further restrict freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association, insisted Special Rapporteurs Clément Voule, Mary Lawlor, and David Kaye.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.