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News in Brief 11 April 2022

News in Brief 11 April 2022

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

Ukraine resilience programme launches with focus on most vulnerable

A UN-led plan for Ukraine launched on Monday to provide immediate economic help and longer-term assistance to millions of people left struggling to meet basic needs, as a result of the Russian invasion.

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) aims to counter the devastation that’s been caused by the shelling of cities, and early projections that two decades of economic progress could be lost, if the war continues.

The announcement came as The World Bank issued an alert that Ukraine’s economy is set to shrink by 45 per cent this year, because of the war.

Hit by unprecedented sanctions, Russia’s economy has already plunged into a deep recession with output projected to contract by 11.2 percent in 2022, The World Bank also noted.

Launching the UNDP initiative, its agency chief, Achim Steiner, said that the UN remained committed to helping local economies in Ukraine so that people’s jobs were protected.

The war “continues to inflict immense human suffering”, Mr. Steiner said, adding that nine out of 10 people are at risk of falling into poverty”.

Brazil: rights expert decries erosion of democracy

In Brazil, a top rights expert appointed by the Human Rights Council has spoken out against “appalling levels of violence” faced by activists, women journalists and indigenous communities there.

Traditional communities and in particular those of African descent, face the greatest threats, said Clément Voule - Special Rapporteur on the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of association.

He was speaking at the end of an official visit to Brazil, where he urged the State “to create …a safe and enabling environment” where people could express their views freely.

The Special Rapporteur highlighted the “frequent excessive use of force by law enforcement during protests” and said that violence “against …politically elected leaders, in particular Afro-descendant and trans women, posed a serious threat to political participation and democracy”.

Ahead of general elections in October, Mr. Voule urged the State to ensure that all polls were “non-discriminatory, free of misinformation, fake news and hate speech”.

He also called on the Brazilian authorities to protect candidates from any threats or attacks online and offline.

COVID-19: UN health agency panel repeats warnings over low vaccine coverage

COVID-19 vaccines have been distributed to nearly every country around the world in the last year, but more than 20 still have less than 10 per cent of their populations protected, the UN health agency, WHO, said on Monday.

At a meeting of the World Health Organization’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization, they said that the most vulnerable populations in these 21 countries were still “at high risk” from the coronavirus.

More widely, the WHO panel noted that available data indicated that vaccine protection among high priority groups was “insufficient” to provide protection against severe disease and death.

Health worker vaccine coverage is 65 per cent globally, but this level falls below 50 per cent in low and middle-income countries; and vaccine coverage of older adults is 69 per cent globally – but as low as 24 per cent in some regions.

Daniel Johnson, UN News.

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  • Ukraine resilience programme launches with focus on most vulnerable

  • Brazil: rights expert decries erosion of democracy

  • COVID-19: UN health agency panel repeats warnings over low vaccine coverage

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Daniel Johnson, UN News - Geneva
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© UNDP/Oleksandr Ratushniak