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News in Brief 18 September 2023

News in Brief 18 September 2023

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

Guterres calls on leaders to transcend divisions as world gathers at the UN in New York 

All eyes are on New York as the UN General Assembly High Level Week begins, bringing world leaders together to accelerate action to mitigate urgent development, climate and health challenges. 

Speaking to UN News, UN chief António Guterres warned ahead of the meetings that division and conflict were shrinking the world’s capacity to act on potential dangers including global warming and artificial intelligence, which lacks an effective global governance system.

“Unfortunately, at the present moment, the world is not united facing these challenges and that is why it is so important that the war in Ukraine ends because it is one of the factors that is undermining the capacity of the world to come together.” 

First up this week are discussions on how best to “rescue” the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the mid-way point to the ambitious 2030 deadline. 

It will be followed by a Climate Ambition Summit highlighting “first movers” towards clean energy and global health meetings on tuberculosis, universal health coverage and pandemic preparedness.

Ethiopia: mass killings and rape continue, risk of further atrocities: rights experts

 In Ethiopia, war crimes have continued unabated almost a year after a ceasefire between the country’s government and forces from the northern Tigray region, UN-appointed independent rights experts said on Monday.

The latest report from the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia documents atrocities perpetrated “by all parties to the conflict” since 3 November 2020, including mass killings, rape, starvation, destruction of schools and medical facilities, forced displacement and arbitrary detention.

Here’s Commission Chair Mohamed Chande Othman speaking to reporters in Geneva:

“Violent confrontations in Ethiopia are now at a near-national scale, with significant violations ongoing in Tigray, in Oromia and increasingly in Amhara region. Entrenched patterns of grave violations and increasing securitization of the State through curfews and states of emergency bear hallmarked risks of further atrocities and crimes.”

In their report the Commissioners maintained that Ethiopia’s Government has “failed to effectively prevent or investigate violations” and that the transitional justice consultation process which it has initiated is “flawed” and insufficiently inclusive.

‘Real solutions’ needed to refugees’ and migrants’ tragedy: Grandi

UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi has said that “nobody should politicize the tragedy of refugees and migrants” after more than 8,000 reportedly arrived in the past three days on the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa.

On the social platform X on Sunday, Mr. Grandi called for “real solutions” including a “shared, predictable European response” to the drama of close to 150,000 people risking their lives each year to cross the Mediterranean, fleeing conflict and abuse, poverty and climate disasters.

Mr. Grandi also highlighted the need to “reverse the decrease in aid in Africa and beyond”.

“Otherwise, more Lampedusa[s] will happen,” he warned.

UNHCR representative in Italy Chiara Cardoletti said on Sunday that the agency, together with the UN migration agency IOM and the UN Children’s Fund UNICEF will continue to work closely with the Italian Government and the European Commission “both in Italy and in transit countries such as Tunisia” to identify and assist vulnerable people before they undertake the treacherous sea crossing.

Dominika Tomaszewska-Mortimer, UN News.

  • Transcend divisions, Guterres urges world leaders gathering in New York.

  • Ethiopia: Mass killings and rape continue, risk of further atrocities: rights experts

  • Lampedusa: ‘Real solutions’ needed to refugees’ and migrants’ tragedy: Grandi
Audio Credit
Dominika Tomaszewska-Mortimer, UN News - Geneva
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Photo Credit
UN Photo/Cia Pak