This is the News in Brief, from the United Nations.
Belarus-Poland crisis: Human rights of trapped migrants are paramount
Amid growing concerns over the plight of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers at the Poland-Belarus border, UN agencies on Friday urged all parties to respect their human rights and refrain from their use for political gains.
There have also been unconfirmed reports of soldiers staging mock executions of migrants.
Earlier this week, news reports showed migrants located between Poland and Belarus, attempting to dodge teargas to make their way through barbed wire fences, following weeks of rising tension.
Liz Throssell from the UN rights office, OHCHR, told journalists in Geneva that the human rights of the migrants and refugees should be fully respected “regardless of their nationality, status or circumstance”:
“It is a terrible situation, we are seeing people in terrible circumstances, in the bitter cold, even reports that people have died…The human rights of migrants and refugees have to come first”.
The UN health agency also issued a protection alert on Friday that six in 10 migrants that it had spoken to on the Belarus-Lithuania border needed medical attention.
UN Special Advisor urges bolder action on #COP26 draft text
The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, has urged negotiators at the climate summit in Glasgow to include bolder action to help the world’s most vulnerable people.
The agency’s Special Adviser on Climate Action, Andrew Harper, said that poorer nations were already in the grip of weather extremes, with millions forced from their homes by weather-related disasters already.
And they were clamouring for assistance with adaptation measures, he said:
“A key stat that we have is that last year there were something like 30 million people or over 30 million people displaced by extreme weather events, that is one person per second. If that is not a serious call to sort of act, then what is. What does it take for the international community to say that there is not a zero-sum game for continuing to pollute the world and destroy the environment.”
DR Congo’s massive hunger catastrophe
To the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) now, where 27 million people require immediate humanitarian assistance, according to latest food insecurity data.
This is the highest number in the world, UN humanitarians said on Friday, with six million just one step away fr om famine.
Although aid relief has increased to the country, where insecurity and ongoing conflict in the east have caused mass displacement, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) said that development funding has not kept up.
From the World Food Programme (WFP), spokesperson Tomson Phiri said that the situation was getting worse, even in places where food was normally available, like the capital Kinshasa.
Here he is now, talking about the situation in Ituri province:
“I was recently in Djugu, which is one of the regions that is mostly affected. It is completely off-road, and starvation begins where the road ends, you can actually see people struggling, and armed groups control and patrol most of these areas”.
According to WFP, more than 850,000 children and 468,000 women are likely suffering from acute malnutrition.
The agency plans to reach 8.7 million people this year, which is two million more than last year, despite the extremely tough operating environment. It needs $99 million to fund this work until next April 2022.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.