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News in Brief 21 December 2020

News in Brief 21 December 2020

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations. 

Voters in Central African Republic will have their say 

The United Nations and the Organization’s partners in the Central African Republic have issued a strong message to armed groups amid an uptick in pre-election violence, insisting that the national poll will go ahead as planned. 

The statement by the G5 group – which includes the European Union, Russia, the United States and the World Bank – calls for the immediate and unconditional end to “coordinated offensives” and scaremongering which threaten the electoral process. 

Instability in the Central African Republic dates back decades; violence has displaced hundreds of thousands in the country, which despite immense natural mineral wealth, is one of the poorest in the world. 

To date, more than 1.8 million citizens have registered to vote and voting cards have been distributed throughout the country ahead of Sunday’s poll, according to the group, which also includes Mankeur Ndiaye, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General. 

Mr. Ndiaye took to Twitter at the weekend to reassure citizens that UN peacekeepers would do their utmost to ensure the security of the electoral process.  
He also called on people not to panic. 

In its statement the G5 said that it condemned “all …efforts to force the country into a new political transition” in violation of the constitution. 

It named former President Francois Bozize and unnamed armed elements, before calling on them to ‘lay down their weapons immediately”. 

The G5 statement also firmly condemned “all collusion between political actors and armed groups looking to create disorder and panic among the population to prevent them from their sovereign right to vote.” 

Unitaid welcomes Norway’s $40 million donation for COVID-19 treatments, tests 

Global health agency Unitaid has welcomed a $40 million contribution from Norway towards its COVID-19 treatment and testing work for the benefit of low and middle-income countries. 

Unitaid said that it would collaborate with partners to push forward the development of high-quality, affordable self-tests for coronavirus “that are suitable for use in low-resource settings”. 

The UN agency also intends to adapt existing COVID-19 treatments and help countries to prepare to roll out promising treatments. 

These include monoclonal antibodies - lab-made drugs that mirror the body’s immune response.  

UNESCO still awaiting Azerbaijan’s response over Nagorno-Karabakh mission 

Efforts to assess priceless cultural heritage in and around Nagorno-Karabakh to help promote a lasting peace have stalled, UNESCO said on Monday. 

In an appeal to Azerbaijan’s Government to allow experts to access the enclave and border regions, the UN cultural, scientific and educational agency said that all countries had an obligation to protect cultural heritage. 

This is in line with the 1954 Convention, to which Armenia and Azerbaijan are parties.  

Ernesto Ottone, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture, said that the authorities in Azerbaijan had been approached several times for permission to enter without success.  

He added that the opportunity offered by the ceasefire agreed between Azerbaijan and Armenia on 9 November should not be lost. 

Ahead of the truce, six weeks of escalating conflict over Nagorno-Karabkh left thousands reportedly killed and more than 100,000 displaced.  

 Daniel Johnson, UN News. 

  • Voters in Central African Republic will have their say 

  • Unitaid welcomes Norway’s $40 million donation for COVID-19 treatments, tests 

  • UNESCO still awaiting Azerbaijan’s response over Nagorno-Karabakh mission 


Audio Credit
Daniel Johnson, UN News - Geneva
Photo Credit
MINUSCA/Hervé Serefio