This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Global COVID-19 infections rise for fourth consecutive week
COVID-19 confirmed cases continued to rise around the world for a fourth consecutive week, with around 3.3 million new cases reported in the past seven-day period, the UN health agency said on Wednesday.
The number of new deaths reported, levelled off after a six-week decrease, with just over 60,000 new deaths reported.
The European Region and the Americas continued to account for nearly eight in 10 of all cases and deaths.
The only region to report a decline in new deaths was the Western Pacific, where deaths fell by nearly a third, compared to the previous week.
There was also a notable increase in the number of new infections in South East Asia, the Western Pacific, Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean, according to the World Health Organization’s Weekly Epidemiological Update.
Brazil saw a three per cent rise in infections with 508,000 new cases, France saw 204,840 new infections – a 26 per cent rise - and India recorded 240,082 new cases, a 62 per cent spike.
Globally, there have been more than 123.4 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 2.7 million deaths; 403 million vaccine doses have been administered.
UN chief reaffirms solidarity with Niger, as second deadly attack rocks country
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has reaffirmed the Organization’s solidarity with Niger, after a second deadly attack against civilians in less than a week in the west African nation.
Mr. Guterres spoke out after unidentified gunmen attacked three villages in the Tahoua region which borders Mali, killing at least 137 people, including 22 children, on Sunday.
The attacks took place as people were fetching water, according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Only last week, gunmen killed at least 58 civilians, including six children, as they were returning from a weekly market in the Banibangou department.
In a call for greater efforts to protect civilians, the UN chief urged the authorities to “spare no effort” in bringing the perpetrators to justice.
UN’s top rights body supports resolutions for action on Belarus, Myanmar
The UN’s top rights forum passed resolutions calling for an end to abuses of fundamental freedoms in Belarus and Myanmar on Wednesday, in response to ongoing concerns over the human rights situation in both countries.
Ahead of the adoption of the Myanmar resolution without a vote by the 47-member body, the European Union, which was the main sponsor of both texts, condemned abuses in the Asian State before and after the military coup on 1 February.
The EU also maintained that the Myanmar military had “increased its brutal repression and must be held to account”, before calling for the immediate release of President Win Myint, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, and all those who have been arbitrarily detained.
On Belarus, the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on the situation of human rights in the country in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election and in its aftermath, with 20 countries voting for, seven against and 20 abstentions.
Presenting the resolution, EU representative Ambassador Rui Macieira of Portugal told the Council that it was imperative to maintain international scrutiny on Belarus, and to take “all necessary steps to ensure that perpetrators of human rights violations do not remain unpunished”.
Daniel Johnson, UN News