Thursday’s Daily Brief: DR Congo warlord sentenced, Iraq protest latest, UN food outlook report, Syrian humanitarian update, tech and the food chain

7 November 2019

A recap of Thursday’s UN News stories: ‘Terminator’ warlord handed 30-year sentence; UN chief calls for ‘meaningful dialogue’ in Iraq; Disease slashes global meat output; Hostilities in northeast Syria a grave concern; and how the Montreal Protocol is impacting the food chain.

‘Terminator’ warlord Bosco Ntaganda sentenced to 30 years in prison for DR Congo atrocities

The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Thursday handed down a maximum 30-year prison sentence for mass murder and numerous other atrocities, to Bosco Ntaganda, the heaviest sanction yet imposed by judges at The Hague, in the Netherlands.

Known as “The Terminator”, the former warlord was found guilty “beyond reasonable doubt” of war crimes and crimes against humanity in attacks on villages in Ituri province, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), in 2002 and 2003.

Here’s our full coverage.

UN chief calls for ‘meaningful dialogue’ in Iraq to end wave of protests

UN chief António Guterres has expressed his serious concern over the rising number of deaths and injuries during ongoing demonstrations there.

Amidst disturbing reports of the continued use of live ammunition against demonstrators, despite Wednesday’s reported Government ban on live fire, he urged all actors to refrain from violence.

The Secretary-General also called on the Government to “investigate all acts of violence seriously”, renewing his appeal for “meaningful dialogue”.

More than 250 have been killed and thousands injured since anti-Government demonstrations against corruption, poor services and high unemployment began on 1 October.

Disease slashing global meat output, cereals boom, bananas under watch: FAO

A rapid spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) is wiping out pig herds in China, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Thursday, and the killer disease has led to a drop in world meat production for the first time in more than 20 years, with other global staples also facing new threats

The Organization’s latest Food Outlook, published on Thursday, anticipates ASF will lead to a contraction of at least 20 per cent in the output of pork products in China, the world’s largest producer, accounting for half of all global production. 

Read more here.

Hostilities in northeast Syria a grave concern, says senior UN humanitarian adviser

The safety and protection of hundreds of thousands of civilians affected by a recent escalation of hostilities in northeast Syria remain a grave concern, a senior UN humanitarian adviser said after visiting the war-torn country.

While the intensity and scope of violence have declined in recent weeks, Najat Rochdi, Senior Humanitarian Adviser to the Special Envoy for Syria, told a Humanitarian Task Force meeting in Geneva on Thursday that localized heavy fighting continues.

She explained that of the more than 200,000 people who fled the fighting in recent weeks, close to 100,000 have yet to return home, dispersed across improvised camps and shelters.

These recent displacements are compounding an already dire situation in which some 710,000 people were already displaced and approximately 1.8 million remain in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the UN adviser. 

While humanitarian actors continue to mobilize and, when possible, help people affected by the hostilities, Ms. Rochdi urged all parties to do more to facilitate guaranteed safe, unimpeded and sustained access for the UN and its humanitarian partners.

Montreal Protocol in the food chain

And turning to the environment, the chief of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO, said on Thursday that international co-operation and climate friendly technologies are critical to address global food waste.

Around 1.3 billion tonnes, or one third of all food produced for consumption around the world, is either lost or wasted, according to FAO.

Food loss mainly occurs in developing countries where 821 million people still suffer from chronic malnutrition. It also impacts climate change.

In Rome, at a meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, Qu Dongyu underscored that the Montreal Protocol is the “only a successful environmental agreement that has helped the recovery of the ozone layer and contributed to the fight against climate change”.

“It is also of great importance in protecting the food chain”, and “an excellent example of multilateral cooperation”, he added.

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‘Beyond reasonable doubt’, international court convicts notorious DR Congo rebel leader of war crimes

The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Monday, found former Congolese rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda guilty “beyond reasonable doubt”, of 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, in the volatile Ituri district of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), between 2002 and 2003.