This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Ukraine war now ‘apocalyptic’, warn humanitarians in call for safe access
On day 13 since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet repeated her call to all parties to end the war, which humanitarians on Tuesday described as “apocalyptic”.
At the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Ms. Bachelet said that since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February, at least 1,335 civilians have been confirmed wounded or killed.
The true number is likely to be much higher, the High Commissioner’s Office said, noting that most civilian casualties were “from airstrikes and explosive weapons used by Russian forces with wide area effects, including heavy artillery and multiple launch rocket systems”.
From the Red Cross, spokesperson Ewan Watson repeated the call to establish safe passage for aid workers:
“This situation is really apocalyptic for people, it is getting worse, they are running out of essential supplies… So, when you ask if this is a matter of life or death, or is it lifesaving? Yes. For us, it is essential that humanitarian aid gets into a city like Mariupol and to other cities that are in the midst of conflict in Ukraine today.”
The situation also remains dire for all those in need of healthcare in areas subjected to shelling. According to the UN health agency, 16 attacks on health facilities have now been verified claiming nine lives, and injuring 16.
Tigray crisis marked by uptick in airstrikes, warns UN rights chief
In Ethiopia’s Tigray, conflict has “deteriorated significantly”, UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet has warned, as fighting has extended to other parts of the country.
In an update to the Human Rights Council covering the last four months in Tigray, Ms. Bachelet said that “multiple air strikes” had apparently been carried out by the Ethiopian Air Force there.
Further strikes have happened in neighbouring Afar, resulting in deaths of civilians and casualties and the destruction of property, the UN rights chief said, noting that her Office has recorded more than 300 killings from aerial bombardments during the most recent reporting period, covering the last four months.
The Office of the High Commissioner also received reports of more than 300 rapes by Tigrayan forces in the Amhara region between 1 November and 5 December 2021, Ms. Bachelet said; adding that most survivors had not received any form of support.
‘Turn the clock forward on women’s rights’: Guterres
International Women’s Day is celebrated on 8 March and to mark the date, UN chief António Guterres has insisted that the world must not emerge from COVID-19 “with the clock spinning backwards on gender equality”.
The Secretary-General, who has long championed the role of women in senior management positions within the United Nations, highlighted the contribution that women have made to ending the COVID-19 pandemic.
He also hailed the ideas, innovations and women activists who are changing our world for the better, but pointed out that women and girls have often been hit by the worst consequences of the coronavirus, from being shut out of schools and workplaces, to being victims of rising poverty and domestic violence – and having to do the vast majority of the world’s unpaid but essential care work.
To remedy the situation, Mr. Guterres urged ongoing efforts to guarantee quality education for every girl, massive investments in women’s training and decent work, effective action to end gender-based violence, and universal healthcare.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.