This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
I weep over children we can’t feed: UN World Food Programme chief
The UN World Food Programme - WFP - formally accepted its Nobel Peace Prize on Thursday, with a moving acceptance speech from the head of the UN agency, who appealed for help for 270 million people “marching towards starvation”.
“Please don’t ask us to choose who lives and who dies”, said David Beasley, WFP Executive Director, warning that “famine is at humanity’s doorstep. For millions and millions of people.”
“I don’t go to bed at night thinking about the children we saved, I go to bed weeping over the children we could not save. And, when we don’t have enough money, nor the access we need, we have to decide which children eat and which children do not eat, which children live, which children die. How would you like that job?”
The agency helps to feed 100 million people, 30 million of whom rely “100 per cent” on WFP “for their survival”, Mr Beasley said.
In total, 690 million people “go to bed hungry every night”, he continued, despite “massive strides in eliminating extreme poverty” in the last century – and the fact that “there is $400 trillion dollars of wealth in the world today”.
“Even at the height of the COVID pandemic, in just 90 days, an additional $2.7 trillion dollars of wealth was created”, the WFP chief said, before adding that he wept at the thought of not being able to feed children – and that with $5 billion dollars, 30 million people could be saved from famine.
$1.44 billion response plan for Venezuela refugee and migrant needs
An alert now for millions of Venezuelans hit hardest by the COVID-19 crisis.
In a $1.4 billion appeal launched on Thursday, the UN migration organization IOM and the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, warned that the pandemic has strained the capacity of Latin American and Caribbean countries to look after Venezuelan nationals.
Many refugees, migrants and their host communities now face multiple challenges that have worsened their already precarious situation, the agencies said.
“Lockdowns, loss of livelihoods and impoverishment are forcing many to become increasingly dependent on emergency humanitarian assistance for their health, shelter, food, protection and education needs,” and these needs will be targeted in 17 countries thanks to the appeal, said IOM and UNHCR.
In total, around 5.4 million people have left Venezuela, pushed by a longstanding social and economic crisis - and ongoing political deadlock.
Failure to return Rohingya to Myanmar is untenable: rights expert
To the Myanmar Rohingya refugee crisis now, and the reported transfer of some 1,600 vulnerable people sheltering in Bangladesh, to an island off the coast.
In a statement on Thursday, UN-appointed rights expert Tom Andrews expressed concern that the relocation of the Rohingya to Bhasan Char island, had happened “without an independent assessment…to verify that the island was suitable to safely host” new arrivals.
The story has its roots in the mass exodus of several hundred thousand Rohingya people, who fled violent attacks in Myanmar’s Rakhine state – linked to a Myanmar military offensive - in the summer of 2017.
Mr Andrews said that he was concerned that some of the relocations from Bangladesh camps had been done involuntarily – “through either coercion or misinformation”.
He said that it was reasonable for the Bangladesh Government to seek “options” for refugees who wanted to live elsewhere than the mega camps of Cox’s Bazar.
The rights expert also maintained that the Rohingya crisis “emanated from Myanmar and can only be solved in Myanmar”, which had “the moral and legal responsibility to end this crisis” by allowing the Rohingya to return home.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.