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Guterres strongly condemns deadly mosque attack in Pakistan

News reports stated that a militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred at a crowded mosque. Reports showed that the bombing caused the roof to collapse on top of those inside.

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‘Abhorrent’ attack

“It is particularly abhorrent that the attack occurred at a place of worship,” the Secretary-General António Guterres said in a statement issued by his Spokesperson. “Freedom of religion or belief, including the ability to worship in peace and security, is a universal human right.”

Extending his condolences to the victims’ families and wishes for a prompt recovery to those injured, Mr. Guterres reiterated the solidarity of the United Nations with the Government and people of Pakistan in their efforts to address terrorism and violent extremism.

‘Sacred places’ must feel safe

Also condemning the attack, the High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), Miguel Ángel Moratinos, emphasized in a statement that all forms of violence and acts of terror against civilians and religious sites on account of their religion or belief, are intolerable and unjustifiable and should be unequivocally condemned.

Concern over rise in attacks

“Houses of worship are sacred places where worshippers should be able to practice and declare their faith safely and freely,” he said, also expressing deep concern at the overall rise in instances of discrimination, intolerance and all acts of violence directed against members of any religious or other communities.

This includes incidents motivated by Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and Christianophobia and prejudices against persons of other religions, beliefs, gender or race.

UN Plan of Action

Calling for mutual respect of all religions and faiths and for fostering a culture of fraternity and peace, he asked governments and other stakeholders to support the UN Plan of Action to Safeguard Religious Sites,  which has been developed by the Alliance, at the request of the Secretary-General.

@antonioguterres strongly condemns the suicide bombing at a mosque in Peshawar, Pakistan.

It is particularly abhorrent that the attack occurred at a place of worship. Freedom of religion or belief, including the ability to worship in peace & security, is a universal human right. https://t.co/nzGVJhTYiF

Two years on from Myanmar military coup, UN chief stresses international unity, as arrests, airstrikes continue

Ahead of 1 February – marking two years since the military overturned and arbitrarily detained members of the democratically elected civilian Government, including President U Win Myint and State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi – the Secretary-General, in a statement issued by his Spokesperson, raised several concerns.

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He also condemned all forms of violence as the multidimensional crisis in Myanmar continues to deteriorate and fuel serious regional implications.

Imprisonment, aerial bombardment

Drawing attention to the military’s stated intention to hold elections, he highlighted intensifying aerial bombardment and burning of civilian houses, along with ongoing arrests, intimidation and harassment of political leaders, civil society actors and journalists.

In this vein, he said without conditions permitting the people of Myanmar to freely exercise their political rights, “the proposed polls risk exacerbating instability.”

He said he continued to stand in solidarity with the Burmese people and to support to their democratic aspirations for an inclusive, peaceful and just society, alongside the protection of all communities, including the mainly Muslim Rohingya minority.

In this regard, he said “the United Nations is committed to staying in Myanmar and addressing the multiple vulnerabilities arising from the military’s actions since February 2021.” However, this requires full and unhindered access to all affected communities as well as prioritizing the safety and security of UN agencies and humanitarian partners, he added.

Security Council resolution

In light of these and other issues, he welcomed the 21 December 2022 adoption of Security Council resolution 2669 (2022) as an important step and underlined the urgency for strengthened international unity.

It demands an immediate end to violence, increased restraint on all sides, and the release of those arbitrarily detained.

As such, his Special Envoy Noeleen Heyzer will coordinate closely with the new Special Envoy of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Chair to engage intensively with all relevant parties in Myanmar to achieve an end to the violence and to support a return to democracy.

Wednesday marks two years since the Myanmar military overturned & arbitrarily detained members of the democratically elected civilian Government. @antonioguterres continues to stand in solidarity with the people of Myanmar. Full statement 👇
https://t.co/OXTaOCSdhp

Israel-Palestine: UNICEF warns children are paying ‘the highest price’ as violence escalates

Children continue to pay the highest price of violence,” the statement declared. “As the situation remains very volatile, UNICEF fears that an increasing number of children will suffer.”

Just a few weeks into the new year, seven Palestinian children and one Israeli child had been killed and many more injured.

Since 26 January alone, the terrorist attack outside a Jerusalem synagogue left at least seven Israelis dead and three injured, and the raid of a West Bank refugee camp resulted in the killing of nine Palestinians.

This year, news reports indicate that some 30 Palestinians had reportedly been killed in the West Bank – including a 14-year-old boy.

A similar pattern in 2022 led to the deaths of more than 150 Palestinians and 20 Israelis in the West Bank and Israel.

Participants in a workshop in a family centre at Anqaa society in Jabaliya, northern Gaza. (2016)
© UNICEF-SoP

Participants in a workshop in a family centre at Anqaa society in Jabaliya, northern Gaza. (2016)

Secretary-General António Guterres and top United Nations officials had condemned last week’s killings, calling for restraint and a return to peace talks.

Echoing those calls, UNICEF appealed to all parties to de-escalate, exercise the utmost restraint and refrain from using violence, especially against children, in accordance with international law, stressing that “this must end; violence is never a solution, and all forms of violence against children are unacceptable.”

For its part, UNICEF aims at helping young people in a range of ways, from hosting hackathons to tackling trauma triggered by violence and displacement, including support for 12 family centres across Gaza, providing psychosocial services to more than 15,000 children.

Guterres strongly condemns attack at Jerusalem synagogue which left at least seven Israelis dead

According to news reports, the incident happened in the Neve Yaakov district in the middle of the evening local time. Israeli police said the attacker, identified as a Palestinian from the Shu’fat refugee camp in occupied East Jerusalem, had been “neutralized” at the scene.

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In a statement issued by his Spokesperson, António Guterres extended his heartfelt condolences to the families of those killed, and wished a prompt recovery for those injured.

‘Abhorrent’ assault, on Holocaust Memorial Day

“It is particularly abhorrent that the attack occurred at a place of worship, and on the very day we commemorated International Holocaust Remembrance Day”, the statement said.

No excuse for terror

There is never any excuse for acts of terrorism.  They must be clearly condemned and rejected by all.”

Friday’s incident followed on from a worrying escalation in violence in recent months, and the deaths of nine Palestinians, militants and well as several civilians, at a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank town of Jenin on Thursday, following an Israeli raid targeting what they said was an active group of Islamic Jihad militants.

Palestinian militants in Gaza launched rockets into Israel in response, which Israeli forces met with air strikes on the Palestinian enclave.

‘Utmost restraint’ needed

“The Secretary-General is deeply worried about the current escalation of violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory”, said the statement. “This is the moment to exercise utmost restraint.”

The Security Council met behind closed doors to discuss the escalating crisis on Friday afternoon in New York.

The High Representative for the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), Miguel Ángel Moratinos, who is tasked with building bridges between faiths and fighting antisemitism, also issued a statement strongly condemning what he described as an “horrific terrorist attack” on Jewish worshippers, after Friday Sabbath prayers.  

“The High-Representative stresses that such a heinous crime is unjustifiable whenever, wherever and by whomsoever committed”, the statement added.   

.@antonioguterres strongly condemns today’s terrorist attack by a Palestinian perpetrator outside a synagogue in Jerusalem.

There is never any excuse for acts of terrorism. They must be clearly condemned and rejected by all. 👇
https://t.co/tM0Pap6ziG

Mali: ‘Critical year’ begins in country’s return to constitutional order

The envoy was addressing ambassadors at what he called a “unique juncture” in the efforts to promote lasting peace and security in the West African country.   

“Mali is ushering in a critical year in terms of returning to constitutional order,” he said, with several votes scheduled starting in March.  

Work in progress 

Mr. Wane heads the UN mission in Mali, known by the French acronym MINUSMA,  established nearly a decade ago following insecurity in the north and a military coup. 

While much has been accomplished in that time, “the objectives that were set by the Council are yet to be fully achieved, and the context has witnessed significant changes,” he said.  

“As the Council considers the recommendation of the Secretary-General, it is worth keeping in mind that stabilizing Mali is critical not only for the country itself but also for the entire region,” he added, referring to an internal review of MINUSMA, launched last year. 

‘Complex’ security situation 

Mr. Wane last briefed the Council in October, reporting on progress in restoring civilian rule in Mali in the wake of the August 2020 military coup, ongoing insecurity and rising humanitarian needs. 

Since then, the security situation remains “complex”, particularly in the centre of the country and in the tri-border region with Burkina Faso and Niger. 

Due to the activities of extremist groups, internal displacement remains high.  In December, the figure amounted to some 412,000 people.   

Overall, 8.8 million people require humanitarian assistance, a 17 per cent increase since the beginning of 2022. Two million children under five remain affected by acute malnutrition. 

El-Ghassim Wane, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), briefs the Security Council meeting on the situation in Mali.
UN Photo/Loey Felipe

El-Ghassim Wane, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), briefs the Security Council meeting on the situation in Mali.

Humanitarian operations affected  

“The armed forces have stepped up their efforts that in certain regions have allowed a reduction in the number of security incidents. However, extremist groups retain the capacity to undertake complex, coordinated operations,” said Mr. Wane.  

Meanwhile, humanitarian personnel have also come under fire. Last year, some 124 incidents were recorded against them, and five aid workers were killed in the Kayes, Ménaka and Ségou regions. 

The need for additional support to humanitarian operations also remains high, as a $686 million response plan is less than 40 per cent funded. 

Mandated to protect 

“In the last quarter, MINUSMA has continued to make a sustained effort to protect civilians. It’s done so despite the difficult environment in which it operates and the gaps in capacity, which are significant,” said Mr. Wane. 

Looking ahead, he said MINUSMA has the capacity to more effectively contribute to improving security. 

This will depend on several factors, including getting the tools they need to better protect themselves, timely replacement of troops serving at the mission, and increased coordination with the Malian defense and security forces. 

The UN envoy also highlighted the “absolute pivotal need” to respect freedom of movement, in line with the Status of Forces Agreement. 

Constitutional referendum ahead 

Addressing the transition and peace process, he noted that in less than two months, Mali will hold a constitutional referendum that will mark the first of a series of polls towards the planned restoration of constitutional order in March 2024. 

The authorities continue to demonstrate commitment to hold the polls on time, as evidenced by developments such as the establishment of a new independent electoral management body and a preliminary draft constitution. 

Yet, several challenges remain, as the new electoral management body is required to set up local offices across the country, and the ongoing constitutional review process must be finalized. 

Support inclusion efforts 

Mali’s transitional authorities have convened a series of consultations with political parties and civil society to discuss various aspects of the preparation of the constitutional referendum and other elections.  

“These initiatives must be encouraged and supported, for inclusion and consensus are crucial for the overall success of the Transition process,” said Mr. Wane. 

Two other aspects are also critical, namely the availability of financial and logistical resources and “the evolution of the security situation”, he added, while underlining the importance of UN support. 

2015 Peace Agreement 

Mr. Wane also updated the Council on momentum surrounding the 2015 Peace Agreement, signed by the authorities and two armed group coalitions, in the wake of instability in the north several years prior. 

Recent months have seen disagreements over the level of Government participation in the committee monitoring the deal, and the signatory movements have suspended their participation in the peace process. 

MINUSMA, Algeria and other members of the international community have been promoting dialogue in the interim. 

“I encourage the parties to spare no efforts to overcome the current difficulties and achieve decisive progress in the implementation of the peace agreement,” said Mr. Wane. 

“The ongoing transition offers a unique opportunity to advance the agreement: an opportunity that cannot and should not be squandered.” 

Peacebuilding must be rooted in ‘bedrock of inclusive, sustainable development’

“People’s sense of safety and security is at a low in almost every country, with six in seven worldwide, plagued by feelings of insecurity”, she stated.

The world is facing the highest number of violent conflicts since the Second World War she said, with a quarter of humanity live in war zones – triggering grave human suffering, exacerbating poverty, food insecurity, and denying millions access to education and healthcare.

“It is imposing severe constraints on people’s ability to fulfil their potential and contribute to society”, said the deputy UN chief.

Conflict and poverty are deeply intertwined – UN deputy chief

Obstacles abound

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, conflict-affected countries were lagging on the UN development goals, with projections indicating that by 2030, more than 80 per cent of the world’s extreme poor would live in fragile and conflict-affected countries.

“In other words, conflict and poverty are deeply intertwined. The pandemic has only aggravated this dire situation”, she pointed out.

Meanwhile, the Ukraine war has not only devastated life for Ukrainians but also compounded food, energy, and a global financial crisis.

“As we approach the midway point of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, we see that our current progress is far off-track”, she said.

Since the start of the pandemic over 200 million more have fallen into poverty; an additional 820 million people are going hungry; the rights of women and girls are being further trampled on; the global financial system is failing developing countries; and economies are failing to serve their citizens.

These challenges “pose a threat to our peaceful coexistence”, she flagged.

Dangerous repercussions

Lack of development drives grievances, corrodes institutions, and allows hostility to flourish, she continued.

“The triple planetary crisis of biodiversity loss, climate change and pollution does not merely threaten our environment.  It also threatens to unleash destructive forces that drive wedges in our societies, erode social cohesion and ignite instability”, explained Ms. Mohammed, urging the Council to push for more sustainable development in securing peace now, and in the future.

Women attend literacy courses at the local school in Umm al Khairat, East Darfur, Sudan – supporting inclusive, sustainable development.
PBF Secretariat in Sudan

Women attend literacy courses at the local school in Umm al Khairat, East Darfur, Sudan – supporting inclusive, sustainable development.

Peace that lasts

Peace must be built on “a bedrock of inclusive, sustainable development”.

With prevention and peacebuilding at its core, she said that “the New Agenda for Peace will provide a unique opportunity to articulate a shared vision for how Member States can come together to address these challenges”.

It will identify national prevention and peacebuilding priorities, and channel the international community’s support to nationally-owned violence reduction

Noting that “all Member States are exposed to risks”, she said “all governments must be prepared to take measures that address grievances and prevent violence”.

She underscored the importance of inclusion, particularly for the underrepresented, but also in the social, economic, and political life of every country, saying that it leads to public support, greater legitimacy and strengthened social resilience – all risk factors that can lead to war.

“Human rights are pivotal in the New Agenda”, said the deputy UN chief, adding that they are “not only right” but the wise thing to do.

Exclusion of women and the young

Meanwhile, women remain shut out of all levels of decision making and funding for their organizations declines – as military spending grows.

We need to “halt the erosion of women’s rights and ensure gender equality” to build and sustain peace, she underscored.

Turning to youth, Ms. Mohammed recalled their role in promoting peace, security and stability, and pushed for dedicated regional and national frameworks for youth engagement in peacebuilding.

Moreover, she pressed the Council to host an annual debate on youth, peace and security, as a platform to engage with youth-led civil society and young peacebuilders.

The Peacebuilding Fund is supporting activities to prevent election-related and political violence, especially against women, in Haiti.
© UNICEF/Roger LeMoyne

The Peacebuilding Fund is supporting activities to prevent election-related and political violence, especially against women, in Haiti.

Peacebuilding architecture

Highlighting the importance of the peacebuilding, the senior UN official urged the ambassadors to better leverage the Peacebuilding Commission by integrating “prevention and peacebuilding lenses” into its work.

Noting that peacebuilding investments would advance sustainable peace globally, Ms. Mohammed lauded the 2022 General Assembly resolution on Financing for Peacebuilding, as being “essential” for constructing societal resilience.

And in spotlighting assessed contributions for the Peacebuilding Fund, she reminded that it remains “the UN’s leading instrument to invest in peacebuilding and prevention”.

“We cannot allow crises – of which there are many – to divert funding away from these core efforts”, she concluded.

Addressing multifaceted challenges

In acknowledging growing obstacles to sustaining peace, Peacebuilding Commission Chair Muhammad Abdul Muhith said it was “imperative” for the ability of individuals, societies, and nations to be enhanced, to meet “challenges specific to our times”.

He commended the UN’s Our Common Agenda report as echoing the need to “enhance support for national peacebuilding priorities and the importance of the full, equal and meaningful participation of women, and of the inclusion of youth in peacebuilding processes”.

Mr. Muhith reiterated the call for “adequate, predictable and sustained financing for peacebuilding”, going forward.

UN envoy ‘deeply alarmed’ over deaths of nine Palestinians in West Bank raid

Tor Wennesland described the deaths – during an intense gun battle at a refugee camp in the city of Jenin – which included militants and reportedly, an elderly woman, as another “stark example” of the escalation in violence.

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The Israeli military said that troops were involved in an operation at daybreak to arrest Islamic Jihad militants. The Palestinian presidency reportedly described it as a “massacre”, and announced afterwards that it would suspend security coordination with Israel across the West Bank.

Around 20 others were seriously injured during the raid, according to news reports, which was reportedly the deadliest single day in the Occupied Territory for years.

Up to Thursday, around 20 Palestinians had reportedly been killed in the West Bank so far this year – including a 14 year old boy – following a major uptick in violence last year, when more than 150 Palestinians, and 20 Israelis were killed in the West Bank and Israel.

The large military operation targeting the suspected militants is the latest in a series of Israeli raids that have been on-going for nine months.

‘Negative trends’ continue

The UN Special Coordinator said that since “the beginning of this year, we are continuing to witness high levels of violence and other negative trends that characterized 2022.”

He called for tensions to be reduced immediately, to prevent further loss of life.

Mr. Wennesland urged both Israeli and Palestinian authorities to restore calm and avoid further violence.

2023 humanitarian appeal launched

The UN aid coordination office OCHA on Thursday along with humanitarian partners working in occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) launched a $502 million appeal to support around 1.6 million of the most vulnerable living there.

The 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan estimates that 2.1 million Palestinians need assistance. They represent 58 per cent of the population in Gaza and a quarter of people living in the West Bank, said UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric, briefing journalists at the regular daily briefing in New York.

He noted that the plan would fund more than 200 projects, “which will help people access essential services, such as food, water, health care and education, as well as ways to earn a living and support to improve their mental and physical wellbeing.” 

#UN Envoy @TWennesland:
Deeply alarmed & saddened by the continuing cycle of violence. Crucial to reduce tensions immediately & prevent more loss of life. Urges, & remains engaged w/, 🇮🇱 & 🇵🇸 auths. to deescalate tensions, restore calm & avoid further conflict.
Full statement 👇 https://t.co/KBIGcjnG7Q

Sudan: Progress in Darfur militia leader trial, but Government cooperation wanes

Presenting his latest report, ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan updated ambassadors on proceedings against Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman, also known as “Ali Kushayb”, charged with 31 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. 

These atrocities were allegedly committed during the Darfur conflict which began in 2003, pitting Sudanese Government forces, backed by militia groups known as the Janjaweed, against rebel movements.  Hundreds of thousands of people were killed, and millions more displaced. 

Efficient pace 

The Security Council referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC through its Resolution 1593, adopted in March 2005. 

“I’m delighted to say that the trial is making swift progress and the prosecution intends to close its case by the end of next month,” said Mr. Khan. 

“As reflected in the report, this therefore makes the pace of the trial the most efficient since the establishment of the Court,” he added. 

Confronting the accused 

The trial against Mr Abd-Al-Rahman began last April and 50 people have given harrowing testimony over a period of 78 days in session. 

“These witnesses have had the opportunity to confront the accused, to have their accounts tested before independent impartial judges, creating a record that will pave the way at the end of the process for a determination to be made on what took place and whether the accused is responsible,” Mr. Khan continued.   

Karim Khan, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, briefs the Security Council meeting on the situation in the Sudan and South Sudan.
UN Photo/Manuel Elías

Karim Khan, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, briefs the Security Council meeting on the situation in the Sudan and South Sudan.

‘New administrative hurdles’ 

Although cooperation from the Sudanese Government is critical, the ICC Prosecutor reported that many important promises and agreements – including Memoranda of Understanding signed during his visit to the capital, Khartoum, last year – remain outstanding. 

“And indeed, it’s my unfortunate duty to say that cooperation has deteriorated, not improved, since my last briefing,” he said. 

Despite commitments, access to the country has become more difficult due to “new administrative hurdles”, and “Sisyphean efforts are required in order to simply obtain a single entry visa.” 

Even when ICC staff have entered Sudan, they must wait for internal travel permits, including to go to Darfur. The Court also has not received assistance with accessing public locations such as the National Archives, nor formal approval to establish an office in Khartoum. 

Change in approach 

Mr. Khan stressed that “a change in posture is needed” in Sudan, though emphasizing his willingness to engage with the Government. 

“And if we do not see a change of approach, I may have no option in the next report but maybe to commend certain other action by Member States in the next period,” he said. 

The Prosecutor expressed hope that his next briefing to the Council will reflect “a renewed common effort” between his office and the Sudanese authorities. 

Two-thirds of Yemenis need humanitarian support and protection

The UN humanitarian affairs office OCHA is calling for $4.3 billion to reach the 17.3 million most vulnerable people in need, whose lives have been turned upside down because of protracted war, displacement and economic collapse, compounded by recurrent natural disasters.

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Yemen’s civil war began in 2014 when Houthi rebels took the capital, Sana’a, forcing the Government to leave, leading to the establishment of a Saudi-led coalition in support of the Government who launched airstrikes on the rebels in early 2015.

Slight improvement

The total projected number in need this year has decreased slightly from 23.4 million people in 2022, to 21.6 million in 2023, while the “overall intersectoral target” is down from 17.9 to 17.3 million people.

These changes are mainly due to technical modifications to so-called “cluster-level needs assessments” and revised food security projections released last October.

They do not reflect an across-the board improvement in the humanitarian outlook”, the response plan stresses, and any gains that have been registered in 2022 “remain extremely fragile”.

The humanitarian response in Yemen will support many who are facing multiple challenges, including internally displaced persons and those attempting to return; persons with disabilities; and migrants and refugees

Key aims

The response approach will be organized around three strategic objectives, the plan outlines.

First, promoting life-saving activities, second, resilience contributing to durable solutions, and finally, the core principle of providing protection.

“The response strategy in 2023 aims to address immediate and significant levels of needs, delivering urgent life-saving humanitarian assistance to 14 million people, under the first strategic objective alone”, said OCHA.

Long-term development

At the same time, it recognizes the importance of working closely with development partners to prevent a broader collapse of basic services.

The plan calls for the humanitarian, development and peace-building sectors, to engage in coordinated action under the strategic umbrella of the recently established Yemen Partners Group (YPG) and its operational structure, the Yemen Partners Technical Team (YPTT).

An increased focus on protection is at the centre of the response, OCHA said, aims to ensure strengthened leadership, coordination and collective engagement on reducing protection risks and increasing the ability of effected populations to cope.

Residents living in Al Shuhada’a neighborhood in Al Hudaydah Governorate, Yemen, which is suffering from sewage overflow.
© UNICEF/Gabreez

Residents living in Al Shuhada’a neighborhood in Al Hudaydah Governorate, Yemen, which is suffering from sewage overflow.

‘People at the centre’

“The response will further place people at the centre, building on progress made on community engagement and accountability to affected people (AAP), by implementing new collective feedback mechanisms and the roll out of community perception surveys.”

Yemen is no longer in a state of full-scale war, but neither does it benefit from a formal peace, the plan points out.

During the truce which held from 2 April to 2 October across Yemen, at which point it lapsed due to lack of consensus, conflict-related displacement decreased by 76 per cent.

At the same time however, victims of land mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW), including unexploded ordnance (UXO) increased by 160 per cent.

Costs keep rising

“Essential services and the economy continued to deteriorate. The cost of the minimum household expenditures basket rose by over 50 per cent in the space of a single year.”

Without a comprehensive political settlement, continued displacement, the economic situation, and lack of infrastructure, are likely to remain a key driver of needs, the plan notes.

An estimated 4.5 million people – or 14 per cent of the population – are currently displaced, most of whom have been displaced multiple times.

Natural disasters and climate-induced events, such as drought and flooding, are key drivers of displacement and heighten the humanitarian crisis.

Throughout 2023, humanitarian needs are likely to hold steady and the resilience of vulnerable populations is likely to lessen.

An estimated 5.4 million in need across Yemen are affected by access constraints, said OCHA, the “vast majority” of which, are related to bureaucratic impediments, which mainly include denials of movement and delays of travel permits.

#Breaking

The Humanitarian Country Team in #Yemen today released the 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan seeking $4.3 billion to assist 17.3 million most vulnerable people.

Sustained funding is needed to prevent the humanitarian situation from further deterioration.

Police overwhelmed, development stalled, as gang violence spirals in Haiti

“Years of hard-fought recovery gains are being undone, and Haitians are grappling with setting the country back on a path to democracy,” said Helen La Lime, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Haiti.   

Turf wars 

Briefing the 15-member Council, Ms. La Lime said more than 2,100 murders and some 1,300 kidnappings were reported in 2022, and gang violence overall reached levels not seen in decades.   

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Turf wars involving two gang coalitions, namely the G9 coalition and G-Pep, reached unprecedented levels in several neighbourhoods of Cité Soleil.  

“This violence is part of well-defined strategies designed to subjugate populations and expand territorial control,” she said, citing the deliberate killing of men, women and children with snipers positioned on rooftops. 

Brutal tactics 

Dozens of women and children as young as 10 years old have also been brutally raped as a tactic to spread fear and destroy the social fabric of communities under the control of rival gangs. 

In addition, she said, gangs are besieging and displacing whole populations who already live in extreme poverty, by intentionally blocking access to food, water and – amidst a cholera outbreak – health services.   

Nearly five million people face conditions of acute hunger across Haiti, and while most schools are now operating, thousands of children, especially those living in gang affected areas, have yet to start their school year. 

Support ‘yet to materialize’ 

Against that backdrop, the Special Representative reiterated her calls for the deployment of an international specialized force to assist the Haitian National Police (HNP).  

That force was first requested by the Government in October, but has yet to materialize. 

“Haitians overwhelmingly want this assistance so they can go about their daily lives in peace,” she said. 

In a December briefing to the Security Council, Ms. La Lime stressed that, despite Government investment, the HNP “continues to be under-resourced and insufficiently equipped to address the enormity of the task ahead.” 

Sanctions on spoilers 

Nevertheless, the Special Representative welcomed the Council’s adoption of a new sanctions regime on those who support criminal activities and armed  group violence in the country, as well as new bilateral sanctions.  

She also praised incremental progress towards holding critical elections by February 2024. 

“[Haiti] urgently needs to see those in positions of influence and leadership – whether at the national, or local levels, and including the diaspora – put aside their differences and do their part for the restoration of legitimate state institutions,” she said. 

On #Haiti, Special Representative Helen La Lime reported that the National Consensus Agreement and sanctions are two important developments that can meaningfully contribute to overcoming the crisis and help alleviate untold suffering of Haitians. Her full remarks👇@BINUH_UN https://t.co/C4BfXF7mz4 https://t.co/REjScaKG9w

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