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News in Brief 15 February 2022

News in Brief 15 February 2022

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

Somalia: 1.4 million children face threat of acute malnutrition

The UN Children’s Fund, (UNICEF) warned on Tuesday that more than 1.4 million children in Somalia, or nearly half the country’s under-five population, are under threat of acute malnutrition.

According to the latest Somalia Food Security and Nutrition Assessment, the ongoing drought has left 4.1 million people on the brink, and around 329,500 children likely to suffer from severe malnutrition this year.

UNICEF Representative Angela Kearney said that the alarming numbers meant that thousands of children risk death, unless urgent action is taken.

Three consecutive seasons of failed rains combined with ongoing conflicts in many parts of Somalia have left a quarter of the population grappling for food assistance.

And the humanitarian situation facing poor and displaced populations is expected to deteriorate even further, between now and June.

UNICEF is urgently appealing for $7 million before the end of March to procure ready-to-use therapeutic foods, to treat children with severe acute malnutrition.

Singapore urged to halt executions

Turning to Singapore, the UN human rights office, OHCHR, on Tuesday urged the Government to halt the imminent execution of two men who have spent the last 14 years in jail, convicted of drug offences.

According to Spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani, Roslan Bin Bakar and Pausi Bin Jefridin were arrested in 2008 and convicted in 2010 on charges of drug trafficking.

Having lived for the past 12 years on death row, only last week they were reportedly informed of their imminent execution, which is scheduled for Wednesday.

Ms. Shamdasani reminded that the death penalty for drug-related offences is “incompatible” with international human rights law and should only be imposed for the “most serious crimes”.

Moreover, the death penalty has not been proven to be an effective deterrent, while some facing execution, as well as their families, have suffered a range of human rights violations.

OHCHR called on the Government to commute their sentences and bring an end the death penalty.

WHO simplifies advice on COVID vaccines during pregnancy

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday published a new easy to use guide on COVID-19 recommendations for pregnant women, including transgender men and other gender diverse people who may have the capacity to become pregnant.

Produced in Q&A format, the recommendations include the vaccines which have been approved by WHO for emergency use  - including while pregnant - which cover Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Janssen, Sinopharm, Sinovac-CoronaVac, Bharat Biotech and Novavax.

All the vaccines are expected to work as well for pregnant women, as those who aren’t expecting.

WHO acknowledged that although pregnant women were not included in the initial clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines, evidence on their safety and effectiveness in preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death during pregnancy has increased.

And given the substantial risks from COVID-19 during pregnancy, WHO maintains that it is “critical” for pregnant women, and those planning to become pregnant, to have access to emergency listed COVID-19 vaccines as soon as they are available.

Liz Scaffidi, UN News.

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  • Somalia: 1.4 million children face threat of acute malnutrition

  • Singapore urged to halt executions

  • WHO simplifies advice on COVID vaccines during pregnancy

Audio Credit
Liz Scaffidi, UN News
Audio
3'15"
Photo Credit
World Bank/Chhor Sokunthea