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UN launches investigation into Lebanon explosion that injured peacekeepers

In a statement released on Saturday, UNIFIL spokesperson Andrea Tenenti, said that the casualties –  three military observers from the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) and a Lebanese language assistant – have been evacuated for medical treatment.

The Lebanese state-run National News Agency reported that the UN peacekeepers were “subjected to an Israeli strike” carried out by drones. However, in a Tweet, Israeli military spokesperson Avichay Adraee said that the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) did not target any UNIFIL vehicles in the Rmeish area.

Mr. Tenenti explained that the UNTSO observers, who are part of Observer Group Lebanon (OGL), support UNIFIL in implementing the force’s mandate, which includes monitoring the cessation of hostilities, helping to ensure humanitarian access to civilian populations and assisting the Lebanese government in securing the country’s borders.

The spokesperson underlined the responsibility of all actors in the conflict, under international law, to ensure protection for non-combatants, and called for a cessation of heavy exchanges of fire “before more people are unnecessarily hurt”.

In a media interview, Mr. Tenenti told reporters that, following the 7 October Hamas attacks on Israel, the situation in southern Lebanon has become increasingly tense, with shelling taking place deeper within Lebanon which “could potentially trigger a much wider conflict”.

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Two days before the explosion, UNIFIL expressed concern over a “surge of violence” occurring across the Blue Line, which has caused a “high number of civilians and the destruction of homes and livelihoods”. The force called for a ceasefire, and urged all sides in the conflict to begin the process toward a sustainable political and diplomatic solution.

Later on Saturday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a statement that the situation along the Blue Line continues to be of grave concern, referring to the daily exchanges of fire that have taken place between non-state armed groups based in Lebanon and the Israel Defense Forces since 8 October 2023.

The civilian fatalities reported, destruction of residential and agricultural areas, and displacement of tens of thousands of people on both sides of the Blue Line, is unacceptable, declared the UN chief, and threaten the security and stability of Lebanon, Israel, and the region.

From Desperation to Determination: Indonesian Trafficking Survivors Demand Justice

Rokaya needed time to recover after illness forced her to quit as a live-in maid in Malaysia and return home to Indramayu, West Java. However, under pressure from her agent who claimed two million Rupiah for her initial placement, she accepted an offer of work in Erbil, Iraq.

There, Ms. Rokaya found herself responsible for taking care of a family’s sprawling compound—working from 6 a.m. until after midnight, seven days per week.

As exhaustion worsened the headaches and vision problems that had originally forced her to leave Malaysia, Ms. Rokaya’s host family refused to take her to a doctor and confiscated her mobile phone. “I was not given any day off. I barely had time for a break,” she said. “It felt like a prison.” 

Physical and sexual abuse

The hardships Ms. Rokaya endured will be familiar to the 544 Indonesian migrant workers the UN migration agency (IOM) assisted between 2019 and 2022, in association with the Indonesian Migrant Workers’ Union (SBMI). Many of them experienced physical, psychological and sexual abuse overseas. That caseload comes despite a moratorium Jakarta imposed on work in 21 countries in the Middle East and North Africa in 2015, following Saudi Arabia’s execution of two Indonesian maids. 

To mitigate the humanitarian impact of trafficking in person, IOM works with Indonesia’s Government to shore up the regulatory environment on labour migration; trains law enforcement to better respond to trafficking cases; and works with partners like SBMI to protect migrant workers from exploitation – and, if necessary, repatriate them.

Rokaya stands in front of her house in Indramayu, West Java.
© UNIC Jakarta

Rokaya stands in front of her house in Indramayu, West Java.

“Cases like Ms. Rokaya’s underscore the need for victim-centric approaches and for strengthening the protection system to prevent migrant workers from falling prey to trafficking in persons,” says Jeffrey Labovitz, IOM’s Chief of Mission for Indonesia.

After a clandestinely recorded video of Ms. Rokaya went viral and reached SBMI, the government intervened to get her released. However, she says her agency illegally extracted the cost of her return airfare from her wages and—with a hand around her throat—forced her to sign a document absolving them of responsibility. She now knows better: “We need to really be careful about the information that is given to us, because when we miss key details, we pay the price.”

Ms. Rokaya is relieved to be back home, she adds, but has no recourse to claim the money extorted from her.

Indonesian fishers.
© UNIC Jakarta

Indonesian fishers.

A fear of failure

It is an all-too-common situation, says SBMI’s chairman Hariyono Surwano, because victims are often reluctant to share details of their experience overseas: “They fear being seen as a failure because they went overseas to improve their financial situation but returned with money problems.”

It is not only victims’ shame that affects the slow progress of trafficking case prosecutions. Legal ambiguity and the difficulties authorities face prosecuting cases also pose obstacles, compounded by the police sometimes blaming victims for their situation. SBMI data shows around 3,335 Indonesian victims of trafficking in the Middle East between 2015 and the middle of 2023. While most have returned to Indonesia, only two per cent have been able to access justice. 

Around 3.3 million Indonesians were employed abroad in 2021, according to Bank Indonesia, on top of more than five million undocumented migrant workers the Indonesian agency for the protection of migrant workers (BP2MI) estimates are overseas. More than three quarters of Indonesian migrant labourers work low-skill jobs that can pay up to six times more than the rate at home, with some 70 per cent of returnees reporting that employment abroad was a positive experience that improved their welfare, according to the World Bank. 

"I’m willing to keep going, even if it takes forever,” says fisherman Mr. Saenudin, a trafficking survivor.
© UNIC Jakarta

“I’m willing to keep going, even if it takes forever,” says fisherman Mr. Saenudin, a trafficking survivor.

Unpaid 20-hour days

For those who become victims of trafficking, the experience is rarely positive. At SBMI’s Jakarta headquarters, fisherman Saenudin, from Java’s Thousand Islands, explained how in 2011 he signed a contract to work on a foreign fishing vessel, hoping to give his family a better life. Once at sea, he was forced to work 20-hour days hauling in nets and dividing catch and was only paid for the first three of his 24 months of gruelling labour.

In December 2013, South African authorities detained the vessel off Cape Town, where it had been fishing illegally, and held Mr. Saenudin for three months before IOM and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs helped him and 73 other Indonesian seafarers to repatriate. 

In the nine years since, Mr. Saenudin has been fighting to recover 21 months of missing pay, a legal battle that forced him to sell everything he owns except his house. “The struggle tore me from my family,” he says.

An IOM survey of more than 200 prospective Indonesian fishers provided actionable insights to the government for enhancing recruitment processes, associated fees, pre-departure training, and migration management. In 2022, IOM trained 89 judges, legal practitioners, and paralegals on adjudicating trafficking in persons cases, including the application of child victim and gender-sensitive approaches, as well as 162 members of anti-trafficking task forces in East Nusa Tenggara and North Kalimantan provinces. 

For Mr. Saenudin, improvements in case handling can’t come soon enough. Still, the resolve of the fisherman shows no cracks. “I’m willing to keep going, even if it takes forever,” he said.

First Person: Japanese town leads the way to a low waste society

Citizens recycling in Osaki, Japan
UNIC Tokyo/Ichiro Mae

Citizens recycling in Osaki, Japan

Ms. Fujita moved to Osaki in 2021 to work with the municipality, business sector and local community to help prepare the town for a more sustainable future. Today, Osaki, with a population of around 12,000, recycles a remarkable 80 per cent of its waste, and was able to avoid building an incineration plant.

“I have always wanted to work for something related to the climate crisis, and strongly felt that I needed to act. That is why I came to Osaki. Here, waste is sorted into 27 different categories. Since there is no incineration plant, only blue bags go directly to the landfill without getting incinerated, whilst the other 26 categories are sorted and recycled properly.

For example, plastics will be separated into different types and then compressed. The compressed waste will then be taken to recycling factories all over the country.

We can all make a difference

Food waste is collected three times a week with a blue bucket. It is crushed into smaller pieces. Pruned plants will also be brought in here, and they are mixed together with the food waste. The pruned plants contain many native microorganisms. As they decompose, the waste turns into a rich compost, almost all which is used as on Osaki’s farms. 

I think the process is very simple and can be practiced anywhere in the world. In fact, our process has been introduced to Indonesia: Osaki Town officials and the recycling centre staff went there to demonstrate our techniques for separating and composting food waste. This may become a solution to a problem that many developing nations face right now.

I really feel people should learn more about the process of what happens to products after we use them, and how complex the issue of waste is. At the same time, they will realize that we can reduce waste. Businesses and local governments also need to understand the situation. We have to mobilize everyone to make a difference.”

First Person: ‘Courageous’ 12-year-old reports relative after being raped in Madagascar

UN News spoke to Commissioner Aina Randriambelo, who described what efforts her country is making to promote gender equality and a better understanding of what constitutes sexual exploitation and abuse.

Commissioner Aina Randriambelo, Madagascar’s Chief Inspector of Police.
UN News/Daniel Dickinson

Commissioner Aina Randriambelo, Madagascar’s Chief Inspector of Police.

“I was really surprised when I heard that a 12-year-girl who had attended one of our school-based sensitisation sessions had revealed to a police officer that she had been allegedly raped over a period of two years by her 40-year-old stepfather. 

She was courageous enough to explain that she had been a victim of this abuse, given the stigmatisation that entails in our society. In some cases, families do reject children who make these types of allegations.

She is a minor, so we had to tell her mother, who said she knew nothing of this abuse, that she had the legal obligation to make this accusation, which she did. We explained her legal position, but also the fact that as a mother, she was the first line of protection for her daughter. 

I have been working on gender-based violence issues for over 20 years, and while it is important for me to retain my professionalism, these events do affect you. But, but I am also pleased that we were able to make a difference by acting very quickly to stop this abuse.

Arrested and awaiting trial 

The police reported this on social media as a warning to others and to alert other victims who are in the same type of situation of abuse. The man is now in prison awaiting trail, and if he is found guilty, he faces a sentence of up to 12 years.

The national police set up a protection of minors department 20 years ago and in 2017 established protocols for dealing with gender-based violence. These protocols include access to medical care. 

We also have instituted nine local women-only brigades of police officers to support victims of abuse. Moreover, there are new laws in our penal code which enable the quick prosecution of cases involving abuse.

As a society, we still have work to do to ensure people recognise the rights of individuals, especially in domestic situations. Some women do not even understand the concept of consent. Men often don’t understand the difference between showing parental authority within their family and being violent, and there is a sense that what goes on at home is a private matter. So, violence is often accepted as a normal part of family life.  People are often unwilling to denounce it, so it will take time to change the mentality of people.

The police in Madagascar have publicised the arrest of an alleged abuser.
UN News/Daniel Dickinson

The police in Madagascar have publicised the arrest of an alleged abuser.

Human rights training sessions

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has supported training sessions on human rights issues. This is important as it is only when people understand their rights that they are able to realise that their rights have been abused. So, a victim may not know she is a victim and so will not come forward to report a possible abuse.

From a police perspective, I look forward to justice being served

We are also ensuring that women and children recognise the importance of a medical examination after sexual violence has been perpetrated. This is a key piece of evidence in any case brought to trial.

UNICEF has helped us to establish a centre for the care of child victims of sexual violence, which includes the package of integrated care services they need: psychosocial support and accompaniment by social workers deployed by the population department and medical care by hospital doctors.

There are police officers on hand to take complaints because if victims go back home, it is possible that they will retract their statements especially if they are threatened with reprisals.

UNICEF has also supported the training of social workers.

I’m told the young girl is doing well, but I do ask myself how she may be affected in the long term. Will she be able to have sexual relations, will she be stigmatised and what type of counselling will she receive to deal with her trauma?

From a police perspective, I look forward to justice being served.”

Gaza: World court issues fresh measures for Israel as crisis deepens

The world court issued the new order in response to a recent request made by South Africa, which submitted a case in December accusing Israel of genocide in Gaza, based on its continuing offensive following Hamas-led attacks in southern Israel which left almost 1,200 dead and more than 240 taken hostage. 

Since then, more than 32,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli strikes and attacks, according to figures from Gaza’s health ministry.

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Israel to ensure aid deliveries

The ICJ provisional measures state that Israel, “in view of the worsening conditions of life faced by Palestinians in Gaza, in particular the spread of famine and starvation”, shall take “all necessary and effective measures to ensure, without delay, in full cooperation with the United Nations, the unhindered provision at scale by all concerned of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance to Palestinians throughout Gaza”.

The measures outline that the required aid includes food, water, electricity, fuel, shelter, clothing, hygiene and sanitation requirements, as well as medical supplies and medical care.

Orders to open more land crossings

The fresh ICJ order also calls on Israel, as a signatory to the Genocide Convention, to undertake those measures, “including by increasing the capacity and number of land crossing points and maintaining them open for as long as necessary”.

Additional measures call for Israel to ensure “with immediate effect that its military does not commit acts which constitute a violation of any of the rights of the Palestinians in Gaza as a protected group” under the Genocide Convention.

This includes “by preventing, through any action, the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance”, according to the ICJ.

The court also decided that Israel shall submit a report to the ICJ on all measures within one month.

UN: All Member States must abide by ICJ decisions

UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric reminded journalists at his daily briefing that the ICJ operates independently.

“We do believe as a matter of principle that all Member States abide by decisions of the court,” he said.

The ICJ was established by the UN Charter as the principal judicial organ of the UN.

Read our explainer on the ICJ here.

New $1.4 billion plan to support South Sudanese refugees

Since the start of the conflict in South Sudan over 10 years ago, growing humanitarian needs compounded by dire food shortages, continued insecurity, and the impacts of climate change, have kept refugees in exile and prompted new displacement.

Four consecutive years of flooding have also destroyed homes and livelihoods, sparking further cross-border movements. 

Scattered across the region 

South Sudan remains Africa’s largest refugee crisis, UNHCR said.

While the war in neighbouring Sudan has forced nearly 200,000 South Sudanese to relocate to safer areas within the country, and hundreds of thousands of others to return to their homeland prematurely, over two million across the region remain in need of international protection.

The South Sudan Regional Refugee Response Plan will meet the needs of 2.3 million citizens now living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda.

A similar number of people in local communities in the five countries will benefit from services and support.

“While significant strides and commendable efforts have been made over the last 10 years by partners, this year’s Regional Refugee Response Plan builds on the incremental progress made and demonstrates that if given the resources, humanitarian aid combined with investments in resilience – for both refugees and the host communities that welcomed them – will facilitate longer term solutions,” said Mamadou Dian Balde, UNHCR’s Regional Director for the East and Horn of Africa and Great Lakes region. 

Protection and response 

The regional refugee plan complements a humanitarian appeal launched earlier this year, aimed at reaching 5.9 million people in South Sudan

Humanitarian partners will build on gains already made with host Governments and regional bodies to improve the protection environment for refugees and asylum-seekers through enhanced access to asylum and civil documentation.  

The plan also aims to support efficient delivery of humanitarian assistance and protection services, including to prevent and respond to gender-based violence and sexual exploitation. 

Mental health a priority 

The inclusion of refugees and asylum-seekers in national healthcare, education and other systems, as well as initiatives to boost self-reliance through employment opportunities, are at the heart of the plan.  

Priority will also be given to mental health, particularly among young South Sudanese refugees, as many are losing hope for the future due to limited opportunities.  

This year’s plan also includes a new element focused on partnerships and increased financing to enable both displaced people and host communities to become more climate resilient.  


Health system ‘barely surviving’ as OCHA calls for Gaza aid restrictions to end

In a social media post, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that only 10 out of 36 hospitals are now partially functioning in the enclave.

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Al-Amal Hospital in the southern city of Khan Younis closed on Tuesday, Tedros noted, after media reports indicated that Israeli troops forced medical teams and patients to evacuate.

The development came as the UN aid coordination office, OCHA, underscored that obstacles continue to prevent the flow of humanitarian supplies throughout Gaza and as the UN’s top rights official said it was “plausible” that Israel is using starvation as a weapon of war in the enclave.

‘Brutal obstacle course’

In a tweet, OCHA described the delivery of essential aid as tantamount to a “brutal obstacle course”, calling on Israel to end restrictions.

Some 1.1 million people in Gaza face “an extreme level of food insecurity”, and there is no alternative to the large-scale transportation of aid by land, especially for those facing the prospect of widespread famine in the north.

The UN relief agency for Palestinians, UNRWA, tweeted that the “clock is ticking fast towards famine in Gaza” and that, although the agency is the backbone of the humanitarian operation, its food convoys “are prevented from reaching the north, where famine is imminent”.

Jonathan Fowler, senior communications officer for UNRWA, described the north as the epicentre: “we simply need to have access to get food supplies in.”

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Civilian death toll rises in South Lebanon

Airstrikes by Israel and rocket barrages by Hezbollah militants along the border region with southern Lebanon on Wednesday, linked to the war in Gaza, led to the deadliest day in months of escalating tensions along the frontier.

In a statement released on Thursday, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon, Imran Riza, said that “the tragic events of the past 36 hours have resulted in a significant loss of life and injuries” in the southern region.

“Up to 11 civilians were killed in a single day, including 10 paramedics. I am deeply disturbed by the repeated attacks on health facilities and health workers who risk their lives to provide urgent assistance to their local communities,” he said.

Rocket fire by Hezbollah reportedly killed an Israeli man on Wednesday. Tens of thousands of civilians on both sides have been displaced since the 7 October attacks. 

Mr. Riza reminded that attacks on healthcare “violate international humanitarian law and are unacceptable”.


Security Council resolution ‘binding and mandatory’

Meanwhile, high level diplomacy to end the fighting and spillover from the war in Gaza continues in the wake of Monday’s Security Council resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire during the holy month of Ramadan – the first to avoid a veto.

Ambassador Pedro Comissário Afonso of Mozambique addresses the Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question.
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Ambassador Pedro Comissário Afonso of Mozambique addresses the Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question.

Following the US abstention in the vote, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield referred to the resolution as “nonbinding”, a view reiterated by other senior officials in Washington.

Speaking to UN News’s Portuguese service on Wednesday, Pedro Comissário, the ambassador of Mozambique to the UN, called for all States to respect Monday’s Security Council resolution.

Mozambique had introduced the resolution on Monday on behalf of the 10 elected members of the Council (E-10), who drafted the short text. 

Resolutions issued and adopted by the Security Council are, of course, binding and mandatory. This is the reason why we have the Security Council,” he underscored. 

“Otherwise, it would have made no sense. Our hope is that all Security Council members, and those to whom the resolution is addressed – I’m talking about Israel, the Palestinian Authority and all other states – will be in a position to respect and implement that resolution. [Not implementing the resolution] is a defiance against the Charter of the United Nations, against our human conscience, against all that makes us human beings”.

Mr. Comissário referred to the symbolism of the adoption of the resolution and the hope that it will lead to peace: “The main issue is to cease the conflict in Gaza, to free all hostages detained by Hamas and to allow humanitarian assistance to flow so that we can provide an adequate assistance to the Palestinian people and in particular to the people in Gaza”.

Sewage and waste collects near the tents of internally displaced people in Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip.
© UNICEF/Eyad El Baba

Russia: Rights experts condemn continued imprisonment of Evan Gershkovich

The 32-year-old Wall Street Journal reporter was arrested last March in Yekatarinburg on espionage charges and is being held at the infamous Lefortovo prison in Moscow. 

Mariana Katzarova, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Russian Federation, and Irene Khan, Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, condemned his continued arbitrary detention.

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“Russian authorities have yet to provide any credible evidence to substantiate the egregious espionage claims against Gershkovich,” they said in a statement.

Targeting independent voices 

On Tuesday, the Moscow City Court extended his detention for another three months, until June.

“This fits a well-documented pattern of Russian authorities using politically motivated administrative and criminal charges that allow for multiple renewals of pre-trial detention, targeting dissidents and independent voices opposed to Russia’s war on Ukraine,” they said.

The experts voiced deep concern that Mr. Gershkovich has not been brought to trial even after a year, a situation which “raises serious concerns about the presumption of innocence and the overall fairness of the legal process.”

‘A disturbing trend’ 

They stressed that anyone arrested or detained on criminal charges must be brought promptly before a judge and tried within a reasonable time, or released. 

“Gershkovich’s arrest is indicative of a disturbing trend in Russia, which has seen an unprecedented increase in the number of journalists—both Russian and foreign citizens—imprisoned for their work,” they charged. 

They noted that since the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, the number of imprisoned journalists in Russia has reached an all-time high, underlining the Government’s intention to control the narrative both domestically and internationally. 

Furthermore, 12 of the 17 foreign-national journalists detained worldwide are being detained in Russia, according to recent reports. 

Appeal for international support 

Mr. Gershkovich’s detention is emblematic of the general crackdown on free speech and journalism in Russia, particularly in relation to independent reporting on the war against Ukraine, they said.

“As journalists face imprisonment and threats, public access to independent and critical information has diminished,” they added. “We urge the international community to support independent journalists who courageously carry out their work both in Russia and from abroad.”

At least 30 journalists are known to be detained and facing lengthy prison sentences, they continued, including on spurious charges of so-called crimes such as “disseminating false information” and “discrediting” the actions of the Russian armed forces.

Release all journalists 

Another journalist with US citizenship, Alsu Kurmasheva, has also been arbitrarily detained in Russia since 18 October.

Ms. Kurmasheva, who worked for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, is accused of violating the provisions of the Russian law on “foreign agents” and may face additional charges. 

“Gershkovich, Kurmasheva and all other journalists imprisoned for reporting from Russia must be released immediately and unconditionally,” the experts said, strongly condemning flagrant violations of international human rights obligations by Russian authorities.

Special Rapporteurs are appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor and report on specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world.

The experts are not UN staff and are independent from any government or organisation.

They serve in their individual capacity and do not receive a salary for their work. 


World News in Brief: Russia vetoes DPR Korea sanctions resolution, children under fire in Sudan, drought plagues Malawi

This in effect abolishes the monitoring of UN sanctions against the country, more commonly known as North Korea, blocking the extension of the panel for another year.

Russia’s Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said the sanctions regime adopted with the intention of preventing nuclear weapons proliferation was losing its relevance and also “to a great extent, detached from reality”.

He said that an “unprecedented” Western-led policy was in place to “strangle Pyongyang”, including harsh unilateral sanctions, “aggressive propaganda” and “direct personal threats”.

He said the “active militarisation” of the Korean Peninsula due to action by the NATO alliance was making matters worse and was directly threatening Russia’s interests in the region.

China abstains

The vote in the 15-member Council was 13 in favour, Russia against and China abstaining.

Deputy Permanent Representative Robert A. Wood of the United States addresses the UN Security Council meeting on the mandate of the 1718 Committee Panel of Experts monitoring the sanctions imposed on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Deputy Permanent Representative Robert A. Wood of the United States addresses the UN Security Council meeting on the mandate of the 1718 Committee Panel of Experts monitoring the sanctions imposed on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The resolution does not alter the sanctions in place and they remain in force.

The US Deputy Permanent Representative Robert Wood said that Russia’s veto was nothing more than an attempt “to silence the independent objective investigations into DPRK Security Council violations”.

He said the veto had been used solely because the panel had in recent months begun reporting on “blatant violations” and persistent sanctions-busting “within Russia’s jurisdiction”.

He explained that today’s vote would only embolden North Korea to act with impunity.

The Republic of Korea’s Ambassador Hwang Joonkook told the Council before the vote that the panel of experts had been faithfully carrying out its duty for 15 years, and their work played a “crucial role” towards better sanctions implementation.

He said faced with DPRK’s continued provocations and sanctions evasion, the role of the panel was all the more essential.

Read a full account here later in the day on our Meetings Coverage pages.

Sudan’s 24 million children have a right to live in peace: UNICEF 

Almost a year since war broke out in Sudan between rival militias, UN humanitarians warned on Thursday that hunger is everywhere, and people are resilient but desperate for assistance.

The alert from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) follows a recent mission to the city of Omdurman near Khartoum, where one hospital performed 300 amputations in a month and where two to three patients share a bed.

Jill Lawler, UNICEF chief of field operations in Sudan, said that millions of people have been affected and displaced across the country. 

Listen to the full interview below where she describes the predicament of young mothers who are too weak to breastfeed their babies:


UNICEF says that 24 million children in Sudan have been exposed to conflict, and a staggering 730,000 are severely acutely malnourished.

Some women and girls who were raped in the first months of the war are now delivering babies, the UN agency has learned, while many young people can also be seen carrying arms.

Although humanitarian supplies are available in Port Sudan, the key challenge is securing safe aid access to affected populations, UNICEF said.

UN and partners support Malawi’s battle against severe drought

The UN and aid partners are assisting Malawi’s efforts to respond to a severe drought in the African nation which has prompted the government to declare a state of emergency.

So far, 23 out of 28 districts are on alert, amounting to around nine million people, or two million rural families.

A health worker at a camp in southern Malawi, talks to displaced people about cholera prevention measures.
© UNICEF/Thoko Chikondi

A health worker at a camp in southern Malawi, talks to displaced people about cholera prevention measures.

More than 40 per cent of the country’s agricultural land has been impacted by the El Niño weather system, UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told reporters in New York on Thursday, “with rains and prolonged dry spells as well as flooding severely damaging crops and food production”.

Scaling up

He said humanitarians are scaling up emergency assistance, including food and nutrition supplies as well as water, sanitation and hygiene support. They are also providing health, protection, education and livelihood assistance despite limited funding.

“Malawi, like other countries in southern Africa, is grappling with the effects of a severe droughts,” he said, as last month marked one of the driest Februarys in the region in more than 40 years, resulting in widespread crop failures in some areas.

Stories from the UN Archive: A seminal moment for youth climate action

Ahead of Zero Waste Day, marked annually on 30 March since 2022, we looked back at how that simple but heart-rending statement, a child’s plea to protect the East, echoed across the world.

Long before activist Greta Thunberg launched the global Fridays for Future school strike movement in 2018, Ms. Cullis-Suzuki’s speech woke up the world and inspired generations of young activists.

On #ThrowbackThursday, UN News is showcasing pivotal moments across the UN’s past. From the infamous and nearly-forgotten to world leaders and global superstars, stay tuned for a taste of the UN Audiovisual Library’s 49,400 hours of video recordings and 18,000 hours of audio chronicling.

Visit UN Video’s Stories from the UN Archive playlist here and our accompanying series here. Join us next Thursday for another dive into history.

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