This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Palestinian refugees’ mental health worsening, warns UN relief agency
The health and wellbeing of many Palestinian refugees is at risk if greater funding is not found soon to offset higher costs caused by the global economic crisis, the UN relief agency for Palestinians, UNWRA, said on Tuesday.
In Lebanon, where there are around 480,000 refugees registered with UNWRA, its medical director Dr Akihiro Seita, said that the agency was the “only solution” for primary and lifesaving hospital care for these displaced people.
But medicines now cost more because of price inflation, and hospital costs for those with mental health problems in Lebanon had risen from $90 per night before the current economic crisis, to $200 per night now, Dr Seita explained.
And he added that in the Gaza Strip, around a year since deadly clashes between Israel and Hamas, “the economy is still deteriorating and life is not coming back” for around one million Palestinian refugees:
“For many Palestine refugees like in Gaza, in the mental health, they become sick simply because their life is tough. Their life is very difficult to survive. So, for many Palestine refugees, then they fall sick … not only because of their access to health services but because of access to dignity and life. That’s the main cause of the (ill) condition of the Palestine refugees.”
The UNRWA official said that in the next quarter, more than $72 million was needed for Gaza alone, to provide the food assistance that people require.
Monkeypox outbreak can still be contained, insists UN health agency
The monkeypox outbreak that has been confirmed by the UN health agency in 16 countries and several regions of the world, can still be contained and the overall risk of transmission is low, it said on Tuesday.
Latest data from Member States provided to the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that there have been more than 250 cases of confirmed and suspected cases of Monkeypox to the 22nd of May.
According to the UN health agency, this Monkeypox outbreak has been transmitted primarily by close skin-to-skin contact among men who have sex with men, although the virus “can affect anyone”, stressed Dr Rosamund Lewis, who heads WHO Emergencies Programme’s Smallpox Secretariat.
Dr Lewis told journalists in Geneva that smallpox vaccines could be used to provide protection against Monkeypox, as the two viruses are similar:
“The World Health Assembly where we are today has mandated in 1980 at the time that it was declared that smallpox was eradicated, the World Health Assembly Member States mandated WHO to maintain a vaccine stockpile. That has been the case. But it has been 40 years and these stockpiles may need to be refreshed - they certainly need to be revisited - and WHO has been working on that and has been looking at that also now.”
Nicaragua probe investigators appointed
Finally to Nicaragua, where alleged mass rights abuses since April 2018 are in the spotlight, after the appointment on Tuesday of a panel of three independent rights experts who will report back to the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
The development follows repeated alerts by the UN rights office, OHCHR, about shrinking freedoms in Nicaragua, where widespread protests in 2018 met with a violent clampdown, forcing thousands to flee to neighbouring Costa Rica.
Inside Nicaragua, media outlets and political parties have been shut down while journalists and activists have been imprisoned, according to OHCHR.
And since 2018, more than 200 civil organizations have been shut down in the country, including 137 so far this year.
Earlier this month, the UN rights office also condemned the introduction of a new law that forced NGOs to seek Government approval for their activities.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.