This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Rohingya refugees must not become ‘a forgotten crisis’
With the Rohingya refugee crisis now in its fourth year, Bangladesh needs robust support for the safety and wellbeing of its stateless exiles, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Friday.
Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded vulnerabilities for refugees and host communities alike.
UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic called for renewed international commitment, support and solidarity, warning: “This must not become a forgotten crisis”.
The 2021 Joint Response Plan for the Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis is due to be launched at a donor conference on Tuesday.
The $943 million plan seeks to assist over 880,000 Rohingya refugees and 472,000 Bangladeshis in the surrounding Cox’s Bazar District communities, where some 740,000 fled violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State in 2017.
Co-hosted by the Government of Bangladesh, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UNHCR, the virtual 2021 launch event will highlight the most immediate needs and ongoing humanitarian response.
Preventing future animal-to-human pandemics
Turning to the Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO said on Friday that animal-to-human diseases are the primary source of most infectious diseases, launching a new initiative to help prevent future pandemics.
Currently, South Asia is in the hotseat, as COVID-19 continues to claim lives and ruin the health and livelihoods of millions across the region.
FAO’s Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases, known as ECTAD, has kicked off a two-week series of meetings to map out a five-year plan on how to predict, prevent and, if necessary, combat the next potential transboundary animal pandemic in Asia and the Pacific.
ECTAD consists of a team of veterinary scientists, epidemiologists, and other multi-disciplinary experts who plan and deliver assistance to member countries responding to the threat of animal health crises.
Outbreaks such as COVID-19, Ebola and many others, began because a virus jumped from animals to humans.
Colombia: UN experts condemn peaceful protestor crackdown, urge impartial investigation
And finally, independent UN and other human rights experts have condemned a violent Government crackdown on peaceful demonstrators and journalists across Colombia.
As the COVID pandemic has triggered the loss of income for millions there, protests erupted when the Government proposed a tax increase last month.
Three weeks later, despite the proposed tax plan withdrawal, the demonstrations are continuing.
Amidst reports of at least 26 killings, over 1,800 cases of police violence, some 168 enforced disappearances and 963 cases of alleged arbitrary detention, the human rights experts stated that they are “deeply distressed by the excessive and unlawful use of force by police” and the country’s Mobile Anti-Riot Squad.
The experts have been engaging with authorities, and are calling for a thorough and independent investigation.
They also urged the authorities to respect the right to peaceful assembly and to ensure that force is used “only in compliance with the principles of precaution, necessity and proportionality.”
Liz Scaffidi, UN News