This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
$10 billion Syria appeal looks to fulfil emergency and long-term needs
All Syrians affected by a decade of war are at “breaking point” and they need the international community’s help more than ever.
That’s the message from the UN at a pledging conference for the war-shattered country and its people, for whom COVID-19 has worsened immediate humanitarian needs and made development problems even more acute.
“There is no respite for civilians in Syria”, said top UN emergency relief official Mark Lowcock, pointing to “10 years of despair and disaster for Syrians, plummeting living conditions, economic decline, hunger, malnutrition and disease.
The aim of the Brussels pledging conference is to raise $10 billion.
Across Syria and in the region, 24 million are in need of humanitarian or other forms of assistance – four million more than last year – and the highest since the conflict started.
Myanmar: condemnation for military’s ‘shameful, cowardly’ attacks on protesters
Senior UN officials have condemned “systematic” attacks on peaceful demonstrators in Myanmar after more than 100 people were killed on Saturday in the latest military crackdown on dissent sparked by the 1 February coup.
In an appeal for the international community to protect people from atrocities by Myanmar security forces, UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet and Alice Wairimu Nderitu, Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, spoke out against the widespread, lethal, increasingly systematic attacks against peaceful protesters.
“The shameful, cowardly, brutal actions of the military and police – who have been filmed shooting at protesters as they flee, and who have not even spared young children – must be halted immediately”, they said in a joint statement.
The development follows multiple credible reports that at least 107 people were killed at the weekend - including seven children – during attacks in some 40 locations throughout Myanmar.
Ms. Bachelet and Ms. Nderitu also called on the Security Council to build on its statement of 10 March condemning the violence and for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and wider international community to protect people from atrocities.
Stricken Suez ship now afloat, but will hit cargo volumes hard
To the Suez Canal finally, where the gigantic container ship the Ever Given, is now afloat after running aground last week, an episode that’s likely to cause a 40 per cent drop in shipping deliveries from Asia to Europe in April.
The forecast from UNCTAD, the UN trade and development organisation, comes after tugs and diggers managed to dislodge the 1,300 foot vessel from the sides of the maritime channel that links the Gulf to Continental Europe.
Here’s shipping expert Jan Hoffman, Chief of Trade Logistics at UNCTAD:
“For us here in western Europe about 20 per cent in total of what we eat and drink and dress comes from east of Suez…and for some products, that’s electronics, office equipment, textiles, this reaches 40 to 50 per cent, for some of these goods, better be prepared for some delays of your online orders.”
Mr Hoffman said that smaller cargo ships were once again navigating along the Suez Canal, while larger vessels had already detoured around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa – a longer journey, that would likely lead to greater emissions as ships travelled faster to make up lost time.
Daniel Johnson, UN News