This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Domestic workers among hardest hit by COVID crisis, warns ILO
Domestic workers globally have been among the hardest hit by the COVID crisis, losing more jobs and working hours than other sectors, the UN labour agency ILO said on Tuesday.
ILO Director-General Guy Ryder insisted that despite “real progress” in labour laws and social security provision in some countries in the last decade, these “essential service providers” had rarely been so vulnerable in many others.
New ILO data shows the number of domestic workers in the second quarter of 2020 fell 25 to 50 per cent in most Latin American and Caribbean countries – and by 70 per cent in Peru – compared with pre-pandemic levels.
Countries need to take action, because eight in 10 domestic workers are informally employed and therefore lack legal and welfare protection, the ILO chief said:
“Many domestic workers are migrant workers, so their status inside the country can be called into question if they lose their jobs (and) many domestic workers live in with their employees, so they could lose their lodgings where they live, if they lose their jobs as well. So, behind the aggregated numbers there is a sort of deeper human impact which accentuates even more the suffering involved in the latent economic impact of the COVID pandemic.”
‘Digital dumpsites’ study highlights growing threat to children: UN health agency
The health of children, adolescents and expectant mothers worldwide is at risk from the illegal processing of old electrical or electronic devices, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.
Launching the UN agency’s first report on the problem, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that the health threat was growing, in line with the “mounting ‘tsunami of e-waste’”.
An estimated 12.9 million women work in the informal waste sector - potentially exposing themselves and their unborn children to toxic e-waste.
Globally, more than 18 million youngsters – and some as young as five - are said to be “actively engaged” in the wider industrial sector, of which e-waste processing is a small part.
WHO said that children are particularly vulnerable to the toxic chemicals they are looking to retrieve from disused appliances, because they absorb more pollutants relative to their size and they are less able than adults to eradicate harmful substances because their organs are not fully developed.
UN calls for immediate access to 33,000 children in inaccessible Tigray
Finally, to Tigray in Ethiopia, where at least 33,000 children in hard-to-reach parts of the province are severely malnourished and face imminent death without immediate help, UN Children’s Fund UNICEF said on Tuesday.
The appeal for access follows months of fighting between government troops and forces loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.
The situation has led to mobile health and nutrition teams being turned away from front lines, leaving an unknown number in dire need of assistance.
UNICEF spokesperson James Elder told journalists in Geneva that the biggest needs from this man-made catastrophe were water and child protection.
“We’ve had conversations on access, which needs to be unfettered. We’ve been told many times that there are no Eritrean forces on the ground; we’ve seen that based on uniforms and language of armed groups, (it’s) simply not the case….but our access is grossly inadequate to reach those children, and fortunately it’s good enough to on the one hand to truck water to a million people, and on the other hand, to know what is not being done for those kids most in need.”
Humanitarians need access to 21 districts to carry out upcoming measles, polio, vitamin A and nutrition campaigns across all areas of the Tigray region.
Mr. Elder also warned that food insecurity is expected to worsen over the coming months if crops are not planted soon.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.