News in Brief 8 September 2021

News in Brief 8 September 2021

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

Afghanistan: level of suffering is unimaginable, warns UN chief

People across Afghanistan face “unimaginable” suffering, UN chief António Guterres has said, before reiterating the UN’s duty to stay and help those in need.

For that to happen, the new Taliban government must provide full access for humanitarian workers and other key guarantees, Mr. Guterres insisted.

Girls must be allowed to go to school and women must be allowed to work, he explained in a BBC interview.
Highlighting the need for “a relationship of trust” between the UN and Afghanistan’s new leaders, the UN Secretary-General said that humanitarian aid “can be an important entry point” for future engagement with the Taliban.

They understood that aid is essential and that the international community will be more willing to provide assistance if those conditions are met, Mr. Guterres said, his comments coinciding with the Taliban’s appointment of senior interim leadership positions on Tuesday.

Yemen: climate of fear has worsened, all sides to blame

To Yemen now, where there’s been no let-up in more than six years of conflict, nor the “climate of fear” among civilians, UN-appointed independent rights experts said on Wednesday.

In a new report commissioned by the Human Rights Council into how the war has been waged over the last 12 months, the panel condemned the same “egregious” violations that have characterised their previous findings.

These include airstrikes by the Saudi-backed international coalition that supports the Yemen Government, and “indiscriminate” shelling of civilians, “particularly by the Houthis but also by the Government of Yemen and the Coalition”.

The Group of Eminent Experts also cited the Southern Transitional Council as being responsible for specific violations, adding that its power-sharing deal with the Government, “remains largely dysfunctional”.

Highlighting how intense hostilities have been on the Ma’rib front in the past 12 months and in many other locations, the UN-appointed panel urged a full cessation of hostilities, and an end to the supply of arms to Yemen by third parties.

They also warned that everyday life in Yemen is now “unbearable for many”, as in addition the conflict, people have to contend with disease outbreaks, the COVID-19 pandemic, flooding, import restrictions, an economic and fuel crisis and limited humanitarian aid.

DR Congo declares meningitis outbreak in troubled northeast

A meningitis outbreak has been declared in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where the World Health Organization (WHO) has been supporting the authorities to deploy emergency assistance. 

More than 260 suspected cases and 129 deaths have been reported in Tshopo Province; a high case fatality ratio of 50 per cent, the UN health agency said on Wednesday. 

Tests carried out by the Institut Pasteur in Paris, detected Neisseria meningitis.

It is one of the most frequent strains of the bacterial form of the disease, and it has the potential to cause large epidemics.

WHO said that more than 100 patients are receiving treatment at home and in health centres in Banalia, the community affected by the outbreak. 

Meningitis is potentially fatal and must be treated with antibiotics as soon as possible.

Major improvements have also been made on vaccines to treat the viral form of the disease, which is transmitted through the air by infected carriers. Although people of all ages can catch the disease, it mainly affects babies, children and young people. 

Katy Dartford, UN News.

  • Afghanistan suffering, 'unimaginable' says UN chief
  • Yemen: climate of fear has worsened, all sides to blame - rights experts
  • DR Congo declares deadly meningitis outbreak in troubled northeast
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Katy Dartford, UN News - Geneva
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