This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
WHO’s Tedros welcomes China announcement on COVID-19 team visit
With COVID-19 infections standing at more than 88 million globally, the news that a team of international experts will now visit China to look for the origins of the virus has been welcomed by the head of the World Health Organization, WHO.
In a tweet on Monday, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted China's reported comments that the investigators had been cleared by China to begin their visit on Thursday.
A week ago, the WHO chief insisted that the mission was a “priority”, after researchers had to turn back from China, upon finding that permissions for their visit had not been finalised.
Although the group's itinerary has not been disclosed. Chinese officials have been reported as saying that they will accompany the WHO team to Wuhan.
It was in the central Chinese city that the health agency announced more than a year ago that the authorities had identified the new coronavirus.
“We look forward to working closely with our China counterparts on this critical mission to identify the virus source and its route of introduction to the human population”, Tedros tweeted.
UNAIDS unveils new targets on HIV prevention amid rise in stigma
The UN agency tasked with helping people infected with HIV seek treatment has called on countries everywhere to do more to tackle stigma; failing to do so could result in an additional 440,000 AIDS-related deaths between now and 2030.
Nearly four decades since AIDS first surfaced, discrimination against HIV carriers “continue to slow or entirely block progress towards ending the epidemic”, UNAIDS said on Monday.
In 25 out of 36 countries reviewed, the agency said that data indicated that more than half of those aged 15-49, displayed prejudice against people with HIV.
Although regions such as eastern and southern Africa have seen discrimination consistently decline, the opposite has happened in others, UNAIDS said, without specifying where.
By 2025, the agency said that in response to the growing burden of HIV in vulnerable and marginalised populations, it wants to see fewer than 10 per cent of people with HIV reporting being victims of stigma.
UNAIDS also called for the same threshold to apply to healthcare workers who treat HIV carriers, and law enforcement officials.
Rights expert calls for reversal of Israel’s eviction order against 16 Palestinian families
A UN-appointed independent expert has urged Israel to reverse eviction orders for Palestinian families living in occupied East Jerusalem, calling them part of an alarming pattern to change the demography of the city.
Sixteen Palestinian families have been served eviction orders from their homes in recent months, in the neighbourhoods of Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan.
They include several extended families and two women raising children alone, said UN Special Rapporteur, Michael Lynk.
Mr. Lynk maintained that the eviction orders were not random and focused on an area in East Jerusalem known as the “Historic Basin”.
Clearing away Palestinian homes would allow for “more illegal Israeli settlements” to be built, the rights expert said, warning that it would effectively segregate and fragment East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank.
The increase in evictions, home demolitions and settlement expansion has seen historic Palestinian neighbourhoods such as Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan, either gradually disappear or become completely “surrounded and isolated by Israeli settlements”, Mr. Lynk said.
He cited data from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs indicating that 877 people, including 391 children, were at risk of forced evictions.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.