Tuesday’s Daily Brief: Guatemala, Hurricane Dorian, Yemen, Nigeria, Somalia and post-Brexit UK trade

3 September 2019

A recap of Tuesday’s stories: International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala successfully completes mandate; UN prioritizes Hurricane Dorian assistance; Nowhere to hide in Yemen; Insecurity and Violence in Nigeria; Post-Brexit export losses likely in billions for UK; Hunger in Somalia.

International Commission helped strengthen Guatemalan rule of law

After more than 12 years of operation, the mandate of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) successfully wrapped up on Tuesday, having helped the country strengthen its rule of law, according to the UN chief.

Beginning its mandate amidst armed conflict, poverty and violence, CICIG investigated and prosecuted government corruption and organized crime, rebuilding the people’s trust in the country’s legal system.

Secretary-General António Guterres expressed his gratitude to CICIG staff “for their professionalism and commitment to assist in the cause of justice”.

In a statement, he also said he trusts that “efforts to fight impunity will continue” and expressed the UN’s “readiness to continue cooperating with Guatemala in strengthening the rule of law”.

Mr. Guterres expects that “the rights of those involved in the fight against impunity in Guatemala will be protected”, added the statement.

UN ‘prioritizing needs’, ramping up aid, as Hurricane Dorian continues to batter the Bahamas

Renewed warnings of deadly destruction in the Bahamas caused by Hurricane Dorian have been issued by UN agencies and partners, who said on Tuesday that they’re worried “for every single” person on two of the worst-hit Caribbean islands.

Briefing journalists in Geneva, Jens Laerke from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that initial assessments from Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands - where the storm made landfall and is effectively stationary as of Tuesday morning, local time - were “rather catastrophic”.

Read our full coverage here.

 Nowhere safe to hide in war-torn Yemen, say independent rights experts

The people of Yemen have been subject to “numerous” possible war crimes in recent years including forced recruitment of children and sexual abuse in detention, UN-appointed senior rights experts said on Tuesday, in an appeal to the international community to do more to end the conflict.

At the launch of its second report into alleged violations committed in the Arabian Peninsula State, where the internationally recognized Government of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi is fighting chiefly Houthi opposition forces, the Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen insisted that there had been “a pervasive lack of accountability”.

Read more here.

Insecurity and violence turn Nigeria into a ‘pressure cooker’ that must be addressed, says UN rights expert

Nigeria is a pressure cooker of internal conflicts and generalized violence that must be addressed urgently, an independent United Nations expert said on Tuesday, following a fact-finding visit to the country.

“The overall situation that I encountered in Nigeria gives rise to extreme concern”, with issues like poverty and climate change adding to the crisis, said Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard after presenting a preliminary statement at the end of her 12-day mission.

She pointed out that if ignored, the ripple effects of unaccountability on such a large scale, had the potential to destabilize the sub-region if not the whole continent.

Here’s our full coverage.

UK economy could lose almost $2 billion in exports, post-Brexit

The United Kingdom could lose close to $2 billion in exports unless more roll-over trade deals are concluded before Brexit, or the day the UK plans to leave the European Union, according to new research from UN trade body, UNCTAD.

Although some bilateral deals have been done with several countries which would allow the UK to continue with preferential access to the huge EU market, about 20 per cent of UK non-EU exports are at risk of facing higher tariffs from countries such as Turkey, South Africa, Canada and Mexico.

The UNCTAD research published on Tuesday shows that if more agreements are not concluded by exit day, it could cost the UK economy almost $2 billion, with sectors such as apparel, textiles, motor vehicles and processed food products facing  higher tariffs.

Losses could be as high as $750 million in the motor vehicles sector alone, UNCTAD estimates.

These outcomes pale in comparison to the export losses that the UK will experience in the EU market in the case of a so-called “no-deal” Brexit.

UNCTAD’s research indicates that would result in UK losses of at least $16 billion, representing an approximate 7 per cent loss of overall UK exports to the EU.

Somalia: worst harvest since 2011, with more than 2 million expected to go hungry

Somalia’s 2019 cereal harvest is the poorest the country has seen since 2011, when famine strained already scarce resources, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), announced on Tuesday, blaming unreliable weather patterns and “climatic shocks”.

Delayed rains during what is known as the “Gu” peak season for crop growing (April-June), and parched river beds, have produced harvest levels up to 70 percent below average in some parts, according FAO’s Food Security and Nutrition Analysis United (FSNAU) latest data report, with severe hunger looming for more than 2 million people in desperate need.

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News Tracker: Past Stories on This Issue

Top officials say UN will support Bahamas’ rescue, relief efforts as Hurricane Dorian churns in Atlantic

United Nations leaders on Monday expressed solidarity with the people and Government of the Bahamas and all those impacted by Hurricane Dorian, the massive storm pummeling the region with high winds and torrential rainfall.

With Caribbean island life under threat, UN chief pushes to face ‘headwinds together’

To counter global challenges that are a particular threat to vulnerable island nations like those in the Caribbean, it’s vital to “face the headwinds together”, especially in the face of the destruction being wrought by climate change, the UN chief told the annual Caribbean Community (CARICOM) conference in Saint Lucia on Wednesday.