This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Generations of progress for women and girls at risk due to COVID
The UN Secretary-General on Monday called for a major push to prevent “years, even generations” of progress towards the full empowerment of women and girls from being lost, due to COVID-19.
In an address to a virtual townhall bringing together civil society organizations, António Guterres said the pandemic has already reversed decades of limited and fragile progress on gender equality and women’s rights.
“Without a concerned response, we risk losing a generation or more of gains”, he cautioned.
The UN chief underscored the vital role played by women, as healthcare workers, essential staff, teachers and carers, helping millions globally – both within and outside their homes.
However, few get the recognition or full rights, that are their due.
Amid disturbing reports from around the world of skyrocketing gender-based violence, he said many women were “effectively confined with their abusers, while resources and support services are redirected”.
Sudan peace agreement hailed by UN Darfur mission chief
The Joint Special Representative for the African Union-UN mission in Darfur (UNAMID), has hailed Monday’s initialing of a peace agreement between Sudan’s transitional Government and five rebel groups, as a significant commitment to peace.
Jeremiah Mamabolo attended the ceremony in the South Sudanese capital, Juba, on behalf of the UN and AU, and congratulated the Sudanese people on the “significant step” adding that he commended “in particular the signatory parties for their determination, courage and commitment to lasting peace”.
Mr. Mamabolo hoped that those who remain outside the agreement will soon join the peace process to fulfill the aspirations of Sudan’s political transition.
“To that end, the United Nations and the African Union remain committed to supporting this process to the very last day of UNAMID’s mandate”, he concluded.
Senior UN official condemns burning of Koran in Sweden
The High-Representative for the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), which leads the Organization’s effort to safeguard religious sites, has expressed his “unequivocal condemnation” of the burning of a Koran by far-right extremists in the Swedish city of Malmo.
Miguel Moratinos said Friday’s desecration of Islam’s holy book, which triggered riots in the city, was “despicable and totally unacceptable nor justifiable.”
He noted that hate-mongering acts such as burning sacred texts, “including by far-right extremists and other radical groups, incite violence and tear apart the fabric of our communities.”
The UNAOC works to promote mutual respect and understanding and strengthen intercultural and interreligious dialogue.
The High-Representative re-iterated that the desecration of sacred books and places of worship as well as religious symbols should be vehemently repudiated by all faith actors.
Matt Wells, UN News.