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News in Brief 22 March 2023

News in Brief 22 March 2023

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

World comes together to address water crisis affecting billions

The UN Water Conference kicked off in New York on Wednesday, just as a major UN report shows more than a quarter of the world’s population lack safe drinking water.

Co-hosted by the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Republic of Tajikistan, the Conference is the first high-level gathering on this issue in almost 50 years, designed to accelerate progress towards universal access to safe water and sanitation by 2030.

Meanwhile a report published by the UN Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and UN Water, builds on previous alerts that two billion people “use a drinking water source contaminated with feces, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio”.

The report also warns that 3.6 billion people lack access to safely managed sanitation.

In his foreword to the report, UN Secretary-General António Guterres pointed to “unsustainable water use, pollution and unchecked global warming” as drivers of the water crisis.

The UN Water Conference, which will run until Friday, is expected to adopt a “Water Action Agenda” in which countries and other stakeholders commit to boost action on internationally agreed water-related goals and targets.

Uganda: UN rights chief calls on President not to sign anti-homosexuality bill

The adoption by Uganda’s parliament of new legislation targeting lesbian, gay and bisexual people is “devastating” and could “erode gains made over years”, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, said on Wednesday.

Mr. Türk called on Uganda’s President, Yoweri Museveni, not to allow the bill to become law, saying that it would mean lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Uganda become criminals simply “for existing”.

He warned the legislation would lead to “systematic” human rights violations.

Adopted by Uganda’s parliament on Tuesday, the bill proposes the death penalty for the offence of “aggravated homosexuality” and lengthy prison terms for related offences.

Mr. Türk stressed that the legislation “runs counter to the country’s international legal obligations on human rights and political commitments on sustainable development”, adding that it would also put people’s health and safety at risk.

 

Tanzania: first-ever outbreak of deadly Marburg Virus Disease

Tanzania has confirmed its first-ever cases of Marburg Virus Disease, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.

Lab tests were carried out after eight people in the country’s northwest developed symptoms including fever, vomiting, bleeding and kidney failure. Five of the eight have since died.

Marburg virus disease is a severe illness from the same family as Ebola. The virus is transmitted to people from a species of bats.

The disease has a fatality ratio of up to 88 per cent, and there are no vaccines or antiviral treatments. Just last month, an outbreak was confirmed in Equatorial Guinea – also a first for that country.  

WHO said it was working with the government of Tanzania to “rapidly scale up control measures” to halt the spread of the virus and “end the outbreak as soon as possible”.

Dominika Tomaszewska-Mortimer, UN News.

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  • World comes together to address water crisis affecting billions
  • Uganda: UN rights chief calls on President not to sign anti-homosexuality bill
  • Tanzania: first-ever outbreak of deadly Marburg Virus Disease
Audio Credit
Dominika Tomaszewska-Mortimer, UN News - Geneva
Audio Duration
2'55"
Photo Credit
UNEP/Lisa Murray