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News in Brief 30 May 2024

News in Brief 30 May 2024

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

As Israeli ground incursions into Gaza continue, aid is cut by two-thirds

The flow of vital lifesaving aid into Gaza has fallen by more than two-thirds since the Israeli military stepped up its campaign in Rafah and seized the key border crossing there, UN humanitarians have warned.

“Humanitarian facilities in Rafah are forced to close one after another,” according to the UN aid coordination office, OCHA, as the UN World Food Programme called on Thursday for “all access points” into the enclave to be opened.

Before the Israeli military seized the Rafah crossing three weeks ago, it had been the key entry point for food, water, fuel and medicine into Gaza, as well as the route for sick and wounded people to leave the enclave.

Although desperately-needed supplies have been delivered on the Palestinian side of the Kerem Abu Salem crossing located close to Rafah, UN humanitarians have repeatedly stressed that it is not safe to fetch them because of the ongoing hostilities, impassable roads, unexploded weapons, fuel shortages and delays at checkpoints.

Aid officials have also frequently reiterated the responsibility of Israel as the occupying power to ensure that aid reaches those who need it, in line with international humanitarian law.

Sudan: ‘Noose of war’ tightens on civilians in El Fasher

To Sudan, where the top UN aid official there has warned that civilians are under attack from all sides in El Fasher, in the west of the country. 

In a statement on Thursday, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan, Clementine Nkweta-Salami, said that the “noose of war” was tightening around non-belligerents.

“Families, including children and elderly people, are being prevented from leaving the city as they search for safety,” she said, adding that “wars have rules that must be respected by all, no matter what”. 

News of reported casualties and human rights abuses are appalling, the UN aid official continued, amid heavy clashes between Sudan’s rival militaries, which recently intensified in and around the North Darfur city.

“We are receiving deeply worrying reports that medical facilities, displacement camps and critical civilian infrastructure have been targeted by parties to the conflict,” Ms. Nkweta-Salami said, adding that many parts of El Fasher are without electricity, water or other basic services.

Latest data from the UN migration agency, IOM, indicates that the war has displaced more than seven million people inside Sudan, more than half of them children. This is in addition to an estimated two million who have fled to neighbouring countries since the conflict erupted in April 2023.

Humanitarians say that some 18 million people across the country are going hungry and five million are on the brink of famine. 

Mali in rights spotlight over widespread recruitment of children in conflict zones

To Mali, where the widespread recruitment of children in conflict zones has been in the spotlight at the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

Independent rights experts from the panel said that they remained “deeply concerned” about the practice in Mali, where central and northern areas continue to be threatened by attacks by non-state armed groups.

Speaking in Geneva, the experts said that more than 1,500 schools have closed in Mali, affecting half a million children.

“Dropping out of school, lack of access to school…have effects at all levels, particularly in terms of poverty, recruitment by armed forces and child labour,” the rights committee said, as it published the conclusions of its latest review of Mali and other UN Member States.

To protect children from abuse, the committee urged the Malian Government to explicitly criminalize the recruitment and involvement of children by armed forces or non-state armed groups in hostilities.

All those proved to have violated children's rights in the context of the armed conflict should also be prosecuted promptly and effectively, the panel of independent child rights experts also insisted.

In response, the Malian delegation insisted that the recruitment of children into armed groups is a war crime.

Daniel Johnson, UN News.

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  • As Israeli ground incursions into Gaza continue, aid is cut by two-thirds
  • Sudan: ‘Noose of war’ tightens on civilians in El Fasher: top UN official 
  • Mali in rights spotlight over widespread recruitment of children in conflict zones
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Daniel Johnson, UN News.
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