This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Ethiopia expulsions could affect aid operation, warn UN humanitarians
The decision to expel United Nations staff from Ethiopia could affect the emergency aid operation in the north of the country where needs are more critical than ever, UN humanitarians have warned.
The development comes after the Ethiopian Government on Thursday declared seven UN staff persona non grata and ordered them to leave the country within 72 hours.
Those affected by the announcement were five members of the UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, a representative from UN Children’s Fund UNICEF and a team leader from the UN human rights office, OHCHR.
The move was condemned swiftly by UN Secretary-General António Guterres who voiced his shock at the announcement, followed by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, whose Office rejected accusations of “meddling” by Addis Ababa.
In Geneva, here’s Jens Laerke from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, which is overseeing the emergency aid operation in northern Ethiopia:
“The issue is not that we’ve been asked to stop operations, and as of now there’s no indication that it stops the operations; but of course, when senior leaders are asked to stop in this abrupt way it may have repercussions, no doubt about that.”
Only 11 per cent of the aid trucks required to meet the needs of more than 5.2 million people in Tigray have been able to access the wartorn region, according to OCHA.
This at a time of unprecedented levels of hunger, with nearly eight in 10 pregnant and lactating women diagnosed with acute malnutrition in Tigray, the aid office said in its latest update.
UN rights chief Bachelet shocked by killing of Rohingya activist
The killing of a prominent Rohingya activist in Cox’s Bazar refugee camp has been condemned by UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet, who on Friday called for a prompt investigation into his death.
Her Office said that Mohib Ullah was shot dead on Wednesday by unknown assailants in the Kutupalong Cox’s Bazar refugee camp in southern Bangladesh.
The camp complex was set up in August 2017 and is home to more than 750,000 Rohingya who fled mass killings, rapes and persecution by the Myanmar army and security forces.
In a tribute to Mr. Ullah, the High Commissioner for Human Rights said that he had spent his life fighting to ensure that the plight of Myanmar’s Rohingya people was known worldwide.
Here’s spokesperson for the High Commissioner, Rupert Colville, speaking in Geneva:
“We fully understand the huge challenges Bangladesh has faced in hosting the Rohingya refugees, and the need for more external support. However, the safety and protection, as well as basic rights of refugees and those hosted in Cox’s Bazar and Bhasan Char, must be ensured.”
Mr. Colville said that Mr. Ullah’s death is a clear example of the insecurity in the camp, and the apparent attempts to silence moderate civil society voices.
2.5 million face ‘dire situation’ as drought persists in Kenya: OCHA
Immediate action is needed to respond to the severe drought that is ravaging communities in northern Kenya, the UN said on Friday.
Two and half million people are already experiencing deep food insecurity after two back-to-back rainy seasons failed.
By November, needs will have nearly tripled since the same time last year in the country’s Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL), said UN aid coordination office, OCHA, which has appealed for nearly $140 million to assist 1.3 million people.
Stephen Jackson, UN Resident Coordinator for Kenya, described the situation as “dire”:
“Yesterday in Wajir, Northern Kenya, people I spoke with said it had been more than a year since they had last felt rain. At the El-Nur Clinic yesterday – which is supported by WFP and UNICEF – I spoke with a young mother Zeinab, who told me she could not feed her children that morning and did not know if she would be able to put food on the table that evening, and that many of her livestock have already died because of the drought.”
The UN official added that malnutrition rates are rising rapidly, posing an imminent risk to children and pregnant women. This comes on top of the 2017 drought, COVID-19 and the recent locust infestations.
The Flash Appeal appeal brings together 45 humanitarian partners, including UN agencies and NGOs to complement the Government’s response to the drought crisis in the region.
Daniel Johnson, UN News. MW