Wednesday’s Daily Brief: ending rape in war, Khashoggi, forced displacement, North Korea and Mali

19 June 2019

On Wednesday, these are the main stories: International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict; the UN independent investigator for the killing of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi presents findings which show State responsibility; in 2018, world hit record number of war-displaced people; South Korea sends food aid to North; new attack in northern Mali.

Ripple effect of sexual violence in conflict threatens ‘collective security’, stains ‘our common humanity’, says UN chief

Sexual violence in conflict is a “threat to our collective security” and a “stain on our common humanity”, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said in his message commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, on Wednesday.

Calling the scourge “a tactic of war, to terrorize people and to destabilize societies”, he underscored that its effect can echo across generations through trauma, stigma, poverty, long-term health issues and unwanted pregnancy. He urged that survivors should be heard and their needs recognized.

Read our full coverage here.

Saudi Arabia in spotlight as UN-appointed independent investigator publishes full Khashoggi findings

Responsibility for the killing of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi lies with “high-level officials” of the monarchy, a UN-appointed independent investigator said on Wednesday, in a renewed call for full State accountability for the crime.

In a 100-page report to be presented to the Human Rights Council next week, Special Rapporteur Agnès Callamard discusses the circumstances leading up to Mr. Khashoggi’s death and considers steps that might have prevented his murder.

Find our full story here.

Record displacement shows ‘we're almost unable to make peace’, warns UN refugee agency chief

A record 70.8 million people fled war, persecution and conflict in 2018, UN refugee agency chief Filippo Grandi said on Wednesday, appealing for greater international solidarity to counter the fact that “we have become almost unable to make peace”.

Unveiling new data indicating that global displacement numbers are at “the highest level” that the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, has seen in its almost 70-year existence, Mr. Grandi noted that these were “conservative” estimates.

Read our story here.

South Korea sends food aid to North

South Korea has sent a landmark donation of 50,000 metric tons of rice and US$4.5 million in cash to support the North Korean people, who have been hit hard by droughts and poor harvests. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) thanked South Korea for its donation on Wednesday, and pointed out that the North needs at least 300,000 metric tons of food, valued at around $275 million, to meet the country’s humanitarian needs.

A food security assessment, released jointly by the WFP and UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in May, found that food production in 2018 had dropped dramatically, putting 10.1 million people at risk from severe food shortages over the coming months.

Listen to our interview with WFP Spokesperson Hervé Verhoosel: 

 

Another attack in northern Mali further jeopardizes the peace process

Late on Monday, unidentified armed individuals attacked the villages of Yoro and Gangafani, in the Mopti region in central Mali, near the border with Burkina Faso. Initial reports indicate that at least 38 people were killed and many wounded. The Malian defense and security forces were deployed to the area to secure the zone and investigate the attacks.

“As the Secretary-General has stated repeatedly, the cycle of violence in the centre of Mali must end,” UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told the press at UN headquarters in New York, on Wednesday. “Perpetrators of acts of violence must be brought to justice and efforts to promote reconciliation between communities must be accelerated,” he stressed.

Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix is currently in Mali with Pedro Serrano, the European Union’s Deputy-Secretary-General for Common Security and Defense Policy and Crisis Response of the European External Action Service. They will be in in the country until 21 June to discuss ways to enhance support by the UN and the European Union to accelerate the implementation of the 2015 peace agreement and the restoration of State authority in northern and central Mali.

The delegation will meet with Government authorities at the highest level, signatory armed groups, political representatives, civil society, women groups and international partners.

 

Listen to or download our audio News In Brief for 19 June on SoundCloud:  

 

 

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News Tracker: Past Stories on This Issue

‘Now is the time to act’ for victims of violence in Sudan, ICC Prosecutor urges Security Council

The UN Security Council must “seize this moment” presented by the current turmoil in Sudan, to provide justice at long last for the victims of violence in Darfur, and those who have suffered at the hands of the brutal military crackdown earlier this month.  

Syria: Humanitarian disaster in Idlib ‘unfolding before our eyes’ says top UN relief official

Unabating violence, destruction and a downward sprial in overall conditions for the desperate people trapped in north-western Syria’s Idlib were in the spotlight as the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator told the Security Council on Tuesday that “we are faced with a humanitarian disaster unfolding before our eyes”.