This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
UN given permission to assess stranded supertanker off Yemen coast
In Yemen, permission has been given for the UN to access and inspect a rusting supertanker that was abandoned off the coast five years ago with more than one million barrels of oil on board.
The development follows agreement in writing by Houthi militants who have been fighting Yemeni Government forces since 2015 to let the inspection of the ship happen, although no date has been set.
Announcing the news - on Monday - UN spokesperson for the Secretary-General Stephane Dujarric told journalists that the Houthi leaders had sent a letter “indicating their approval” for the UN-led expert mission to the tanker.
The vessel, named Safer, is afloat near the key port of Hudaydah which the Houthis control.
Earlier this month, UN-appointed independent rights expert on toxics, Marcos Orellana, insisted that everything should be done to assess the “dilapidated” tanker in order to avert the threat of an oil spill and an environmental disaster.
Alert over growing use of cluster munitions despite stockpile reduction successes
An alert now over the use of cluster munitions in old and new conflicts around the world, from Syria to Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh.
According to a new UN-backed civil society report on the devices, they continue to kill and maim civilians in many places.
Over the last decade, the hair-trigger devices have caused more than 4,300 recorded casualties in 20 countries, according to the Cluster Munition Monitor 2020.
They have also been deployed in seven countries that have not signed the global disarmament treaty banning them; they are Cambodia, Libya, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen.
And although their use in these countries has been largely “sporadic”, Syria has seen “continual use since 2012”, explaining why the country consistently accounts for more than 80 per cent of all cluster munition casualties worldwide, with children making up four in 10 victims.
16 days of action against gender-based violence launches on international day
Finally, to the chronic and worsening issue of violence against women and how seeing orange – not red - could help victims everywhere.
In his message to mark the International Day against gender-based violence - on Wednesday - UN Secretary-General António Guterres reiterated his call for all countries to tackle the scourge.
It is “critical that services for survivors of violence remain open” during COVID-19 restrictions, he said, adding that this “shadow pandemic” of abuse can only be tackled “with adequate resources - and measures in place - to support health, social and justice responses”.
To show how people can get involved, the UN has launched 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based violence”, using the colour orange to get the message across.
It will see various world landmarks lit up orange – including UN Geneva and the Swiss city’s iconic water fountain, to reinforce the many simple things people can do to help victims.
These include standing with survivors, speaking up for victims and not blaming them for being abused, said UN Women, which has warned that domestic violence has escalated dramatically since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.