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News in Brief 22 February 2024

News in Brief 22 February 2024

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

‘Shocking, unsustainable and desperate’ conditions across Gaza

The UN’s top Middle East envoy briefed the Security Council on Thursday highlighting that after months of unrelenting war in Gaza, and tensions spilling into the wider region, there is still no end in sight to the fighting.

Tor Wennesland said there was no end to the trauma of those impacted by the horrors unleashed on 7 October in Israel and no end to the suffering and desperation of people in Gaza.

He was in the shattered enclave earlier this week and described the humanitarian situation there as shocking, unsustainable and desperate.

Christopher Lockyear, Secretary General of Médecins Sans Frontières or Doctors Without Borders, said he was “appalled” by the United States’ repeated use of its veto power to obstruct efforts demanding a ceasefire, as it did again on Tuesday this week. 

“We live in fear of a ground invasion” in Rafah, he said.

Calling Washington’s new proposed draft resolution “misleading at best”, he said the Council should reject any resolution that will further hamper humanitarian efforts on the ground, and also tacitly endorses “the continued violence and mass atrocities in Gaza”.

Ukraine: Report reveals war’s long-term impact which will be felt ‘for generations’

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, entering its third year, has exacted a “horrific human cost”, inflicting immense suffering on millions of civilians that will be felt “for generations”, UN human rights chief Volker Türk said on Thursday.

The war “continues to cause serious and widespread human rights violations, destroying lives and livelihoods,” he said in a statement launching the latest UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission report.

It verified 30,457 civilian casualties since 24 February 2022, including 10,582 killed and 19,875 injured, with the actual numbers likely to be significantly higher.

Millions have been displaced, thousands have lost their homes, and hundreds of medical and educational institutions have been damaged or destroyed, significantly impacting people’s rights to health and education.

And the UN independent expert on the situation of human rights in Russia called for accountability and solidarity with all the war’s victims, including Russian activists.

The war has devastated millions of Ukrainians and “unleashed a war against Russians at home”, Mariana Katzarova said in a statement on Thursday.

Refugee agency welcomes AU commitment to end statelessness

UN refugee agency UNHCR on Thursday welcomed this week’s adoption by the African Union of a Protocol to eradicate statelessness and advance inclusion for millions without a country to call home on the continent.

It was adopted last weekend during the AU Assembly of the Heads of State and Governments. 

 UNHCR stressed that statelessness is a worldwide phenomenon with those affected denied the right to recognition as citizens of any country.

As a result, they are often prevented from full social participation, becoming politically and economically marginalized, and vulnerable to discrimination, exploitation and abuse.

The Protocol seeks to provide solutions to legal barriers that will ensure that stateless people – and those at risk of statelessness – can exercise their rights and have better access to them, as well as national services such as health, education, and the right to work legally.

Matt Wells, UN News.

  • Shock and desperation throughout Gaza, Security Council hears
  • Horrific war in Ukraine will be felt ‘for generations’ warns rights chief
  • UNHCR welcomes AU Protocol to end scourge of statelessness
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Matt Wells, UN News
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© UNICEF/Eyad El Baba