This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Syria’s last cross-border aid lifeline must stay open, insist UN humanitarians
The imminent closure of the last cross-border aid lifeline to northwest Syria must be postponed beyond the 10 July deadline, UN humanitarians said on Friday.
World Food Programme (WFP) spokesperson Tomson Phiri said that 2.4 million people depended entirely on cross-border assistance for their basic needs including food. The majority of these people are women and children, many of whom have been displaced multiple times.
“Today, an estimated 12.4 million Syrians are food insecure and this amounts to nearly 60 per cent of the population who do not know what they will eat tomorrow. This is an increase of 4.5 million people in only one year.”
More than 1,000 trucks have transported food, medicine and other items through the Bab al-Hawa border crossing from Turkey every month over the past year, as part of a wider UN humanitarian operation that is the biggest in the world.
Around $10 billion is needed to support people affected by the conflict, whether in the country or as refugees across the region.
Hungary’s LGBTI law in rights spotlight: UN independent expert
Legislation passed by the Hungarian government which bans sex education discussions about gender choices based on the assumption that it promotes homosexuality, lesbianism or gender change, runs counter to people’s basic human rights, a leading rights investigator said on Friday.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, UN Independent Expert on Gender Identity, Victor Madrigal-Borloz, also denounced as “disgraceful” the suggestion that homosexuality was linked to paedophilia.
Mr Madrigal-Borloz said that he had already raised his concerns with the Hungarian government that the legislation would prevent people from asserting their own gender choices, if they wished to do so:
“Human rights-based approaches require that limitations to freedom be determined by a valuable societal objective. And what is the valuable societal objective to restricting persons relating to gender? There doesn’t appear to be any evidence that would assign a justification to that.”
Today, 69 countries criminalise homosexuality or forms of gender identity, “so two billion people live in criminalised environments”, the rights expert said.
He rejected the argument offered by some countries that their legislation which outlawed homosexual, lesbian or transgender people was rarely enforced, citing “abundant evidence” that such laws “create a hostile context” that promotes blackmail and violence against the LGBTI community.
From frontline of climate change, planet-saving tips from indigenous peoples
Indigenous people living on the frontline of climate change could offer potentially ground-breaking insight into biodiversity protection and sustainability, but they urgently need help to withstand a growing number of threats to their way of life, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) said on Friday.
From the Arctic to the Amazon, the Himalayas and the Sahel, the UN agency cited indigenous communities that were “self-reliant and resilient, living sustainably and in harmony with their ecosystems”, even in harsh environments.
“They generate hundreds of food items from the environment without depleting natural resources and achieve high levels of self-sufficiency”, FAO said, before warning that indigenous traditions were at “high risk” in the near future “from climate change and …various industrial and commercial activities”.
There are some 478 million indigenous peoples in the world, according to FAO, whose research highlighted how a variety of sustainable food generation techniques were important, from hunter-gathering to fishing, pastoralism and crop rotation, along with respecting seasonal cycles.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.