Monday’s Daily Brief: 70,000 children displaced in northeast Syria, Guterres commends UN-led peace deal for Ecuador, deadly airstrikes in Libya's Tripoli

14 October 2019

A recap of Monday’s stories: UNICEF estimates some 70,000 children have been newly displaced in northeast Syria; UN chief sounds alarm on threat of ISIL amid fighting in Syria; Secretary-General welcomes start of Ecuador peace dialogue; Deadly Libya attacks 'blatant violation' of human rights; Food agencies reveal scale of global food waste problem. 

UNICEF counts some 70,000 displaced children in northeast Syria amid violence

As violence continues to escalate in Syria’s northeast, the UN children’s agency (UNICEF) has renewed its call on all parties to the conflict to protect children at all times, after confirming at least four children have been killed, and nine others injured in the region

Another seven children have reportedly also been killed in Turkey, the agency said in a Monday statement. “UNICEF is concerned that at least 170,000 children could need humanitarian assistance as a result of the ongoing violence in the area”, the agency’s Executive Director, Henrietta Fore, said.  

“Three health facilities and health vehicles and one school came under attack. The A’louk water station supplying water to nearly 400,000 people in Al-Hasakeh is out of service” she added. UNICEF will continue to work through partners to deliver immediate assistance, from supplying water, to arranging health consultations and nutrition screenings. 

Ms. Fore urged "those fighting in the northeast and elsewhere in Syria must protect civilian infrastructure and not use it for military gains.” 

Military operation in northeast Syria could see unintentional release of ISIL affiliates: UN chief  

The ongoing Turkish military incursion in northeast Syria could unintentionally lead to the release of scores of people associated with the terrorist group ISIL, the UN Secretary-General has warned. 

Kurdish militia and their associates have been holding more than 12,000 suspected ISIL members in prisons in north-east Syria, according to media reports  

António Guterres on Monday called for an immediate de-escalation of the fighting which has generated many civilian casualties and displaced up to 160,000 people in less than a week.   

Our story here. 

Guterres praises UN-led peace talks to end Ecuador’s unrest 

The Secretary-General on Sunday welcomed the announcement of the start of a UN-led peace dialogue between the Government of Ecuador and indigenous organizations

The talks, facilitated by the Episcopal Conference and the United Nations, began late Sunday to reverse President Lenin Moreno’s plans for rises in fuel costs, which ignited an uproar of protests turned violent, with reportedly seven dead and more than 1,000 injured in nearly two weeks’ time.  

The UN chief calls on “all concerned to commit to inclusive and meaningful talks, and to work in good faith towards a peaceful solution to the pressing challenges facing the country”, according to a statement issued by his spokesperson.  

The Secretary-General also called on all actors to reduce tensions, refrain from acts of violence and exercise maximum restraint.  

UN implores defense of Libyans’ rights following deadly attacks

The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has condemned “in the strongest possible terms” an attack on a civilian-populated area in the capital city of Tripoli which killed three young girls, all sisters, and wounded their mother and a fourth sister.  

In a statement the Mission said that “once again, innocent children pay the ultimate price”, in reaction to a Monday airstrike, reportedly conducted by a fighter jet belonging to the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), which began an offensive on the southern outskirts of Libya’s capital, Tripoli, in April.  

UNSMIL added that it was “shocked by this attack”, noting “it is particularly egregious” that such an act comes days after an attack on the Equestrian Club, a riding club, in Tripoli, also resulting in a number of children injured.  

Reaffirming that “it will not stand idly by”, the Mission urged Member States and relevant international institutions to take all necessary measures, “to put an end to the repeated blatant violation of international humanitarian and human rights law in Libya.” 

Stop the waste: UN food agencies call for action to reduce global hunger 

With one-third of food produced for human consumption lost or wasted, and millions still going hungry, the UN’s food-related agencies are shining a spotlight on the issue: on Monday, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) published its annual State of Food and Agriculture report with findings that could lead to a reduction in food loss and waste, and, earlier in October, the World Food Programme (WFP) launched its #StopTheWaste campaign to raise awareness of the problem.  

The study contains fresh estimates of the scale of the problem, enabling a better understanding of the challenge, and suggesting possible solutions, by looking into why, and where, loss and waste take place.  In addition, the report provides suggestions for policy interventions that could reduce loss and waste, including cost-effective incentives for farmers and producers.

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Ecuador: UN ‘stands ready’ to support talks, in bid to end political turmoil

Amid violent street protests that have rocked Ecuador’s Government, fomenting a political crisis, the UN Secretary-General has voiced his concern, saying the Organization is standing by to help mediate if politicians can agree to sit down for talks.  

Can we feed the world and ensure no one goes hungry?

Enough food is produced today to feed everyone on the planet, but hunger is on the rise in some parts of the world, and some 821 million people are considered to be “chronically undernourished”. What steps are being taken to ensure that everyone, worldwide, receives sufficient food?