Wednesday’s Daily Brief: Afghan child abuse, DR Congo measles deaths, Palestinian solidarity

27 November 2019

A recap of Wednesday’s stories in brief: UN Afghan Mission calls for probe into school paedophile ring; thousands of children dying from measles in DRC; UN reaffirms solidarity with Palestinians; migrants send billions back home; trust and security “essential” in digital space; and FAO recommends switch to traditional diets.

UN Mission in Afghanistan supports child sex abuse allegations

The UN Mission in Afghanistan is calling for an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse committed against children. International media have published claims that a paedophile ring has been operating in schools in Logar province, allegedly involving more than 500 boys.

Reportedly, the two civil society activists who exposed the abuse, were initially detained by security forces, after attempting to meet with the EU ambassador in the capital, Kabul.

The UN Mission released a statement on Tuesday evening, calling for the immediate release of the activists and, on Wednesday, it was reported that the pair had been released and handed over to the Afghanistan Human Rights Commission.

President Ashraf Ghani said on Tuesday he was “deeply disturbed” by the allegations of sexual abuse, and that he had ordered the education ministry to undertake a thorough investigation, and report back to him as soon as possible.

Thousands of children killed by measles in DR Congo

More than 5,000 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo have died of measles so far this year, and practically all of them are children under the age of five, says the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF.

The UNICEF Representative in DRC, Edouard Beigbeder, released a statement on Wednesday, citing violence and insecurity, lack of access to healthcare, and a shortage of vaccines and medical kits, as some of the reasons for the high death toll.

Cultural beliefs and traditional health care practices, said Mr Beigbeder, also contribute to children not getting the vaccinations, and other treatment, they need.

Full story here

Migrants send hundreds of billions back home

The number of international migrants in 2019 is now estimated at 270 million and the top destination remains the United States, at nearly 51 million, the UN migration agency said on Wednesday.

In its latest global reportIOM noted that the overall figure represents just a tiny fraction of the world’s population, although it is a 0.1 per cent increase on the level indicated in its last report, published two years ago.

“This figure remains a very small percentage of the world’s population (at 3.5 per cent), meaning that the vast majority of people globally (96.5 per cent) are estimated to be residing in the country in which they were born,” IOM’s Global Migration Report 2020 said.

According to the UN agency, more than half of all international migrants (141 million) live in Europe and North America.

An estimated 52 per cent are male, and nearly two-thirds of all migrants are looking for work; that’s around 164 million people.

Full story here

UN commemorates International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

The United Nations has underlined its unwavering commitment to the Palestinian people in their ongoing struggle to achieve self-determination, independence and sovereignty.

Senior officials joined ambassadors and other representatives from the international community in New York on Thursday to commemorate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, officially observed each year on 29 November.

Established in 1977, it marks the day in 1947 when the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution partitioning Palestine into an Arab State and a Jewish State.

Full story here

Trust, security and stability in digital space ‘essential’, UN economic affairs chief

“The positive power of the Internet and ICTs can only be harnessed if people have a real sense of public trust, security and stability in the digital space’, Liu Zhenmin, the head of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, or DESA, said at the Internet Governance Forum on Wednesday.

The UN event, which is taking place in Berlin, is an annual meeting where issues of public policy relating to the Internet are discussed.

Addressing a meeting on Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in the Digital Age, Mr. Liu expressed his confidence that new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, 5G and the Internet of Things, can help bring about the Goals, and improve the lives of all.

The DESA chief underscored the importance of international cooperation in solving the problems of the digital space, such as rising inequality, uneven growth, climate change and fast-paced technological change.

Eat the Mediterranean way: UN food agency

As many parts of the world gear up for a season of feasting, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), is promoting the benefits of traditional diets, which are healthier and better for the planet.

At an event held on Wednesday in Rome, the agency recommended the Mediterranean diet, which involves various vegetables, beans and pulses, fruits, herbs and olive oil; the New Nordic diet, which contains less sugar and fat than the average Western diet; the seafood-rich Japanese diet; and southern Chinese cuisine.

In a statement, the agency said that the diets help lower cholesterol, and prevent heart disease and diabetes; as well as creating food systems that advance sustainable development.

Listen to or download our audio News in Brief for 27 November on SoundCloud:  

 

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