UN Weekly Roundup: May 6-12, 2023

Here is a fast take on what the international community has been up to this past week, as seen from the United Nations perch.

Sudan’s generals agree to guidelines on allowing humanitarian aid and protection

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed Thursday’s signing by Sudan’s warring parties of a declaration of commitment to protect civilians and guarantee the safe passage of humanitarian aid in the country. The negotiations took place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. However, a cease-fire remained beyond reach. More than 700,000 Sudanese have fled their homes since the violence broke out April 15, and hundreds more have been killed and wounded.

Sudan’s Warring Sides Sign Commitment to Secure Humanitarian Aid

In Geneva on Thursday, the U.N. Human Rights Council adopted a resolution at an emergency session condemning the human rights violations committed after the October 25, 2021, military coup in Sudan and the conflict that erupted in April. The resolution calls for the U.N.-designated expert on human rights in Sudan to monitor and document all allegations of human rights abuses since the 2021 military takeover.

UN Experts Urge Accountability for Atrocities Against Sudanese

Black Sea grain deal could expire May 18

The United Nations says it has no backup plan if Russia pulls out of the deal that allows Ukraine to export grain to international markets and helps facilitate Moscow’s grain and fertilizer exports. Russia has repeatedly threatened to withdraw from the Black Sea Grain Initiative on May 18, claiming it is not benefiting enough, which U.S. officials say is “farcical.” The United Nations says the 10-month-old deal has helped bring global food prices down and allowed grain and other foodstuffs to reach developing nations.

UN: No Plan B if Russia Withdraws from Grain Deal

Record number of internally displaced persons worldwide

The number of internally displaced people globally hit a record 71.1 million at the end of last year, according to a report released Thursday by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center — a 20% increase from 2021. Nearly three-quarters of internally displaced people around the world were in 10 countries: Syria, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ukraine, Colombia, Ethiopia, Yemen, Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan.

Number of Internally Displaced People Hits Record High

In brief

— The United Nations Children’s Fund said Thursday that violence in Haiti is driving up severe acute malnutrition in children. This year, more than 115,000 Haitian children are expected to suffer from the deadliest form of malnutrition, also known as severe wasting, compared to 87,000 last year. Gang violence has made moving about the Caribbean Island nation extremely dangerous — the U.N. says more than 600 people were killed in April alone — making it difficult for families to access food and health care. The children’s agency is appealing for $17 million to scale up its operations in Haiti.

— The U.N. Human Rights office said in a new report Friday that “there are strong indications” that more than 500 people were killed — most summarily executed — by Malian troops and foreign military personnel during a five-day military operation in the village of Moura in the Mopti region of central Mali in March 2022. U.N. investigators were denied access to Moura by Malian officials during the months-long investigation. The U.N. team documented at least 238 victims and said at least 58 women and girls were raped. Read the full report in French.

— Floods and landslides in the Congo’s South Kivu Kalehe Territory have killed at least 420 people and local authorities say as many as 5,000 more could be missing. At least 3,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed. The U.N. and partners have mobilized emergency teams to support the government’s response efforts. The World Health Organization and UNICEF have provided medical supplies, equipment, clean water and sanitation kits. The World Food Program began distributing eight tons of food on Wednesday. Humanitarians say access is challenging as the main road leading to the area is damaged from the floods.

— The U.N. Refugee Agency and the International Organization for Migration called Friday for “a collaborative approach” to better respond to the movement of refugees and migrants throughout the Americas. Their joint statement comes as the United States lifted coronavirus restrictions on asylum seekers. Title 42, as it is known, allowed the U.S. to turn back migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border since 2020 under the auspices of protecting public health. UNHCR and IOM expressed concern that new U.S. restrictions on access for asylum-seekers who arrive irregularly after transiting through another country is incompatible with principles of international refugee law. The agencies said, “returns should only be conducted following due process and necessary safeguards, and in accordance with States’ obligations under international law.”

UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi was at the State Department on Thursday to discuss the Sudan crisis, forced displacement and other issues with Richard Verman, deputy secretary for management and resources.

— The cash-strapped WFP said Thursday that it will have to end food assistance to 200,000 Palestinians by June. Without a funding infusion, the agency says by August it will be forced to completely suspend operations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. WFP is appealing for $51 million to continue its food and cash assistance for Palestinians until the end of the year. The appeal comes as Israel and the Palestinians are in yet another cycle of violence. The U.N. Security Council met in a closed meeting Wednesday to discuss the latest deadly Israeli air strikes on Gaza and a raid on the West Bank town of Nablus as well as Palestinian rocket fire at Israel.

— Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict Virginia Gamba traveled to Ukraine on Wednesday through May 13, to meet with government officials to discuss the impact of the war on children, including how to enhance the protection of boys and girls in Ukraine and prevent grave violations.

Quote of note

“Peace must never be underestimated or taken for granted. We must work to make peace and to keep it, every day, tirelessly. In a world that is tearing itself apart, we must heal divisions, prevent escalation, and listen to grievances. Instead of bullets, we need diplomatic arsenals.”

— Secretary-General Guterres in his acceptance speech of the Carlos V European Award on May 9 at the Yuste Monastery in Spain. The award is given to people, organizations, or initiatives that have contributed to the general knowledge and the enhancement of Europe’s cultural and historical values or EU integration.

What we are watching next week

The Black Sea Grain Initiative could expire on May 18 if Russia withdraws from the deal. An earlier brief suspension on Moscow’s part in late October was essentially ignored by Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations. But it remains to be seen if Russia will make it impossible to allow ships to pass safely through the Black Sea to the Bosporus Straits if it unilaterally decides the deal should end.

your ad here

leave a reply