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Wednesday’s Daily Brief: Call for end to Haiti violence, Palestine refugee agency chief resigns, ICC on Libya, Mahira Khan new UNHCR ambassador

WFP aims to distribute school meals to 300,000 children every day in Haiti, but food deliveries had to be temporarily suspended due to the insecurity.
WFP aims to distribute school meals to 300,000 children every day in Haiti, but food deliveries had to be temporarily suspended due to the insecurity.

Wednesday’s Daily Brief: Call for end to Haiti violence, Palestine refugee agency chief resigns, ICC on Libya, Mahira Khan new UNHCR ambassador

Peace and Security

A recap of stories this Wednesday: Statement by UN advisory group on Haiti’s crisis; Palestine refugee agency head steps down; Libya remains ensnared by violence; Cholera campaign to guard Sudan’s Khartoum; Pakistan’s Mahira Khan named UN Goodwill Ambassador.

UN advisory group calls for end to violence as situation in Haiti worsens 

An informal settlement in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti.

In light of Haiti’s worsening political and humanitarian crisis, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Adhoc Advisory Group on the Caribbean island nation is urging all parties to reject acts of violence, and urgently commit to peace. 

UN Special Representative and Head of the UN Office in Haiti (BINUH), Helen Meagher La Lime, and her acting Deputy who is also Humanitarian and Resident Coordinator, Fernando Hiraldo, briefed the Group last week on the ongoing political deadlock plaguing the country, which has fueled insecurity, and exacerbated economic hardship across the country. 

The latest unrest stems from a power struggle between President Jovenel Moïse and a surging opposition movement, with demonstrators taking to the streets in recent weeks demanding his ouster, according to media reports.  

The protests against corruption and lack of resources have turned violent, stoking financial turmoil and leading to soaring food prices, and crumbling health facilities.  

The Group called for continued engagement from the international community and expressed its grave concern for the “deteriorating humanitarian situation”, to which it will remain “actively seized…and will continue to monitor developments closely.”  

Palestine refugee agency chief steps down amidst mismanagement probe   

Pierre Krähenbühl, the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, speaks at the launch of the fundraising campaign. UNRWA Photo by Khalil Adwan

The Commissioner-General for the UN relief and works agency serving Palestine refugees, UNRWA, resigned Wednesday afternoon, hours after the UN announced preliminary findings of an investigation into misconduct allegations, and the Secretary-General's appointment of an interim replacement.  

Former UNRWA chief, Pierre Krähenbühl was placed on leave earlier in the day, as UN chief António Guterres said that Christian Saunders was being named acting Officer-in-Charge of the agency, based on preliminary report findings from the UN’s internal oversight body.  

The findings excluded “fraud or misappropriation of funds" by the Commissioner-General however, there are “managerial issues that need to be addressed'’, Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told correspondents in New York.  

“At this time, it is vital that Member States and other partners remain committed to UNRWA and the services it provides,'' he said. 

Here’s our full coverage.  

‘Violence, atrocities and impunity’ reign throughout Libya, Council hears 

At the Qanfoodah Detention Centre in Benghazi, Libya, male African detainees wait to be declared present at a morning roll call.

Libya remains entangled in a “cycle of violence, atrocities and impunity”, International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told the UN Security Council on Wednesday, nearly a decade since the Court began its work in the country. 

“There has been an escalation of violence”, she stated, citing reports indicating a “high number of civilian deaths, thousands of persons internally displaced, and a sharp increase in abductions, disappearances and arbitrary arrests across Libya”.  

The Prosecutor underscored that without the “unequivocal support” of the Council and international community to end the Libyan conflict, the country risks being “embroiled in persistent and protracted conflict and continued fratricide”. 

She informed the room of “grave international crimes”, unlawful violence, and crimes against migrants, and flagged that the country will continue to be a priority of her Office in the coming year. 

Here’s our full story. 

Sudan cholera campaign moves to protect Khartoum state  

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has scaled up their cholera vigilance in Khartoum, Sudan.

In Sudan, a campaign is under way to prevent the spread of a deadly cholera outbreak to Khartoum state, UN medics said on Wednesday.   

Latest figures from Sudan’s health ministry indicate that there have been 332 suspected cases of cholera and eight deaths, mainly in Blue Nile and Sennar States, since the waterborne disease was declared on 2 September.   

Two cases of cholera were confirmed in Khartoum State in mid-October. “The risk of cholera spreading is very real,” said Dr Naeema Al Gasseer, World Health Organization (WHO) Representative in Sudan.    

She added that the disease could have serious consequences if it is not properly managed in Khartoum state. Our story is here

Pakistani actress Mahira Khan named UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador  

Pakistani children hold the remains of a shell that fell during clashes with India in Kashmir. Photo: Sumaira Jajja/IRIN (file)

The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, on Wednesday appointed a new National Goodwill Ambassador, actress Mahira Khan, famed in South Asia for her roles in Bollywood and her roles in television and cinema in her native Pakistan.   

Ms. Khan, who boasts some 5.1 million Instagram followers, will serve as a public face for the Agency, helping ensure its humanitarian efforts are amplified worldwide.  

Speaking at the appointment ceremony in Pakistan’s Islamabad, Ms. Khan said she felt privileged to have been chosen to serve this noble cause”, and paid tribute to the country for hosting more than a million Afghan refugees.  

Listen to or download our audio News in Brief for 6 November on SoundCloud: