This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
‘Conflict trap’ a growing obstacle to sustainable development: UN chief
Greater international efforts are needed to help countries break out of a “conflict trap” that’s holding back their development, the UN Secretary-General told the Security Council on Wednesday.
In a discussion on maintaining peace and security in fragile contexts, António Guterres warned that conflicts have become more complex, fuelled by greater regionalization, as well as by increasing numbers of non-State armed groups with links to crime and terrorism.
Mr. Guterres cited World Bank data indicating that one in five people in the Middle East and North Africa lives in close proximity to a major conflict – and that needs have reached their highest levels since the Second World War.
And it was no coincidence that of the 15 countries most susceptible to climate risks, eight host a United Nations peacekeeping operation or special political mission, the UN chief said.
From the Sahel and Central Africa to the Horn of Africa, Mr. Guterres noted that changes in rainfall had disrupted cattle-herding patterns, leading to recurring clashes between communities across national borders.
To break this cycle of poverty and conflict, the UN Secretary-General called for more “targeted and tailored investments” to building and sustaining peace.
Guterres welcomes declaration on resolving ‘Gulf rift’
To the Middle East now, where the Gulf Cooperation Council’s declaration recognizing the importance of unity among its members has been welcomed by the UN Secretary-General.
The Gulf bloc’s announcement comes after regional relations soured in 2017, when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar, alleging that it supported terrorist organizations, a claim that Qatar denied.
In a statement issued by his Office, António Guterres expressed his gratitude to those from the region and beyond - including the late Emir of Kuwait and late Sultan of Oman – who he said had “worked tirelessly towards resolving the Gulf rift”.
The UN chief also welcomed the announcement on opening the airspace, land and sea borders between Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt and Qatar.
Rights expert welcomes court’s refusal to extradite Julian Assange to US
An independent UN human rights expert has welcomed a British court’s refusal to extradite Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to the United States, on the basis that he would be exposed to oppressive conditions of imprisonment.
Nils Melzer, United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture, noted that such conditions would almost certainly lead to Mr. Assange’s suicide.
“If extradited to the United States, he faces a sentence of up to 175 years imprisonment under inhumane conditions of near total isolation”, Mr. Melzer said.
Mr. Assange is being held in prolonged solitary confinement in prison in London, under a US extradition request for espionage and computer fraud.
During a visit to high security Belmarsh Prison in 2019, the rights expert and a medical team said that Mr. Assange showed all the symptoms typical for prolonged exposure to psychological torture.
Daniel Johnson, UN News