This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Myanmar: ‘World is watching’, UN Special Envoy tells military
The UN Special Envoy on Myanmar has called on the country’s military leadership to step back from violence and respect human rights and the rule of law, amid ongoing protests against the takeover by security forces two weeks ago.
Special Envoy Christine Schraner Burgener made her appeal to Myanmar’s Deputy Commander-in-Chief, Soe Win, underlining that “the world is watching closely”, and that “any form of heavy-handed response is likely to have severe consequences”, UN spokesperson Farhan Haq said on Monday.
Protests across Myanmar have grown steadily since the 1 February military takeover and arrest of top political leaders, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint.
There have been reports of excessive force by police and military against demonstrators, as well as of arbitrary detentions.
Atrocities in eastern DR Congo complicate work of tackling new Ebola outbreak
The difficult task of overcoming the new Ebola virus outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (or DRC) has been complicated further by the “ongoing atrocities” of armed groups.
The warning from the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, comes amid a mass displacement of millions, caused by violence.
According to UNHCR, in 2020, more than 2,000 civilians were killed in three eastern provinces -- including 590 people in North Kivu, where the latest Ebola outbreak has already claimed two lives and infected others.
Here’s Dr. Margaret Harris from the UN health agency now:
“Insecurity adds a much, a higher-level complexity and certainly makes it much more difficult to do the work that is already difficult because you’re in a geographically difficult area as well.”
According to the UN refugee agency, more than 88,000 displaced people live in 22 sites that it supports, along with the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Spokesperson Babar Baloch said that armed groups launch attacks because they suspect civilians of collaborating with rival groups or the Congolese security forces, but also purely to “disrupt civilians’ lives, instill fear and create havoc”.
Desperate daily quest for food stalks people of South Sudan
To South Sudan now and an alert in Jonglei state, where UN humanitarians warned that hunger levels have never been so high, since the country gained independence a decade ago.
The World Food Programme (WFP) said that more than 31,000 children are at risk of dying “if no treatment is received”.
People face a “desperate daily quest for food” in areas most affected by conflict, climate change and poverty linked to COVID-19, the agency noted.
In December, WFP announced that hard-to-reach areas in six counties were at “risk of famine”.
The situation has worsened further since then, with more than one million people affected by floods that have swept across the eastern and central regions, submerging homes, fields and livestock.
To reach more than 5.3 million people in South Sudan this year with food and nutrition assistance, the UN agency needs $275 million for the next six months alone.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.