Global perspective Human stories

Wednesday’s Daily Brief: Mistreatment rife during childbirth, UNICEF Cryptocurrency Fund, Synagogue attack in Germany, World Post Day

Children in the Cầu Gãy village, Ninh Thuận district of Vietnam.
© UNICEF/Truong Viet Hung
Children in the Cầu Gãy village, Ninh Thuận district of Vietnam.

Wednesday’s Daily Brief: Mistreatment rife during childbirth, UNICEF Cryptocurrency Fund, Synagogue attack in Germany, World Post Day

Humanitarian Aid

A recap of Wednesday’s stories: Alarming accounts of women mistreated in childbirth; UNICEF enters new world of cryptocurrency funding; UN chief condemns synagogue attack in Germany; mission chief calls on DR Congo political class to build on progress; UN celebrates mail services around the world.

Secretary-General condemns killings near synagogue in Germany

UN Secretary-General António Guterres addresses an interfaith gathering at Park East Synagogue in New York City (31 October 2018)

The killing of two people outside a synagogue in Germany on Wednesday, the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, was characterized by the UN Secretary-General as “another tragic demonstration of antisemitism.”

António Guterres sent his deep condolences to the families of the victims following the attack that took place close to a synagogue in the eastern town of Halle, Germany.

The UN chief has highlighted the UN Plan of Action to Safeguard Religious Sites and calls for all governments to support the plan.

“Houses of worship around the world must be safe havens for reflection and peace, not sites of bloodshed and terror,” he urged.

Our full story here.

Alarming number of women mistreated during childbirth: WHO study

21-year-old Bendu takes her newborn daughter from a midwife at the UNFPA-supported Sinje Health Centre in Liberia.

More than a third of women surveyed across four lower-income countries reported being mistreated during childbirth, a new study led by the UN’s health agency (WHO) revealed on Wednesday.

The research was published in The Lancet-an influential peer-reviewed science journal, and was carried out in Ghana, Guinea, Myanmar and Nigeria. Of the 2,016 women observed, 42 percent experienced physical or verbal abuse, stigma or discrimination during labour and childbirth.

Read our full story, here.

UN Children’s agency now accepting cryptocurrency donations

Children playing in a UNICEF-backed child-friendly space in Jesús Martínez 'Palillo' Stadium, a temporary shelter in Mexico City, Mexico, November 2018.

The UN children’s agency UNICEF as of Wednesday, will be able to receive, hold and disburse donations of cryptocurrencies and bitcoin through its newly-established Fund, a first for UN organizations.

Contributions will go toward open source technology to benefit children and youth around the world, a “new and exciting venture” for the agency, its Executive Director, Henrietta Fore, said in a statement.

“If digital economies have the potential to shape the lives of coming generations, it is important that we explore the opportunities they offer. That’s why the creation of our Cryptocurrency Fund is a significant and welcome step forward in humanitarian and development work”, she encouraged.

The fund’s first contributions will come from the non-profit Erethreum Foundation, and will be put toward the UNICEF Innovation Fund, and a project aimed at getting schools across the world connected to the internet. Foundation Executive Director, Aya Miyaguchi, stressed the ability of the Cryptofund to “improve access to basic needs, rights and resources”.

UNICEF’s Cryptocurrency Fund is part of the agency’s ongoing work with blockchain technology, which enables the exchange of digital currency and facilitates funds transfers.

DR Congo political leaders urged to support ‘winds of change’

Leila Zerrougui (on screen), Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, briefs the Security Council.

Recent positive trends could help transform the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) into a stable country, the head of the UN operation there told the Security Council on Wednesday.

Leila Zerrougui listed some of these developments which have occurred since the installation of new President Félix Tshisekedi this past January.

“Regional diplomatic initiatives have been rolled out, a coalition government has been put in place with an ambitious programme of action which is intended to stabilize the country, improve governance of the country and boost the level of economic development of the DRC,” she said, speaking via videoconference from the United Kingdom.

“It is now vital that the entire DRC political class support these winds of change and work hard to consolidate these positive developments.

Here’s our full coverage.

UN celebrates postal network on World Day

A Post Office in Nukua'lofa, the capital of Tonga. Photo: World Bank/Tom Perry

Every year, October 9 marks the anniversary of the establishment of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) in 1874 in Swiss Capital, Bern, now an annual Day dedicated to the world’s postal network.

The UPU, a United Nations agency specialized for the postal sector, declared this day World Postal Day in 1969, during the Union’s Congress, its main annual international meeting, held in Tokyo, Japan 50 years ago.

Throughout its history, the Post has embraced developments from virtual reality, the internet, blockchain, and robotic technologies among others, to enhance customer experiences worldwide.

Listen to or download our audio News in Brief for 9 October on Soundcloud: