United Nations World Today

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New York, 7 January 2022 (TDI): United Nations world today is a contemplative look at the daily press briefing from the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General in New York.

Kazakhstan Situation

This latest situation in Kazakhstan is being closely monitored by the United Nations. Several contacts have also taken place between the UN and Kazakhstani authorities, including a phone call this morning between Natalia Gherman, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Central Asia, and Akan Rakhmetullin, Kazakhstan’s Deputy Foreign Minister.

During these exchanges, Natalia Gherman expressed the appeal of the Secretary-General to exercise restraint, refrain from violence, and promote dialogue to resolve the situation.

UN World Today’s Comments on Kazakhstan Situation

Several news agencies report that protests began on Sunday after the government lifted its price cap on LPG, or liquefied petroleum gas, which many people use for their cars and heating, but the unrest has since spread to include longstanding political problems.

Kazakhstan’s President has requested the deployment of Russian forces following violent crackdowns on anti-government protests. In the aftermath of a fuel price hike, days of unrest ended in the deaths of protesters and police.

 

Several countries, including the United Nations, the United States, the United Kingdom, and France, have called for an end to violence. The President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, blamed foreign-trained “terrorists” for the unrest.

On Wednesday, the President made an appeal on state television for support from the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). CSTO members are Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Tajikistan, and Armenia.

Flames engulfed the presidential residence and the mayor’s office in Almaty on Thursday. The military has now regained control of the airport following its seizure by protesters.

On the subject of Victims

Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, called upon everyone, including the security forces, protesters, and others, to refrain from violence and seek a peaceful resolution.

The protests have resulted in more than 1,000 injuries. According to international law, people have the right to peaceful protest and freedom of expression. Nevertheless, protesters, no matter how angry or aggrieved they may be, should not resort to violence against others, Bachelet said.

Demonstrators seized government buildings in Almaty, burned them, and attempted to storm police stations. Police allegedly used tear gas and flashbang grenades against demonstrators.

Additionally, Bachelet referred to reports that on January 6, heavy gunfire erupted between armed individuals and the military in front of Almaty’s city hall. According to the High Commissioner, force must be used only in cases of absolute necessity and under strict conditions of the law. Kazakh officials have also been informed that more than 2,000 people have been taken into police custody.

Bachelet has called for the immediate release of all those arrested and detained solely for exercising their right to free assembly and expression. A thorough investigation should be conducted on any allegations of human rights violations, according to her.

Several Internet services have been severely disrupted since Sunday, ultimately leading to a complete shutdown. The High Commissioner for Human Rights believes that shutting down the Internet is not the solution to the crisis, but it may fuel violence and unrest.

She requested the authorities to restore Internet services as soon as possible in order to provide emergency health services in the event of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Kazakh government recently expressed its intention to engage in a constructive dialogue with protesters. Bachelet has stated that now is the time for all steps to be taken to ensure that the dialogue takes place, and to ensure that human rights are respected and protected during the state of emergency and thereafter.

Ethiopian News

Concerning Ethiopia, the UN has provided quite an extensive humanitarian update. The UN humanitarian staff has issued a warning due to the volatile and unpredictable situation in the country’s north.

A deteriorating humanitarian situation persists in Tigray, where tensions prevent humanitarian supplies from moving along the only available route between Semera and Abala to Mekelle. The entry of humanitarian aid trucks into Tigray has been prohibited since December 15, 2021.

Approximately 1,338 trucks have entered Tigray since July 12, 2021, which is less than 12% of the number of trucks that are needed. To meet the humanitarian needs of the people of Tigray, the humanitarian assistance operations require about 100 trucks per day.

According to UN partners, there were only around 10,000 liters of fuel left in Tigray as of January 3, 2019. Approximately 60,000 liters of fuel are required to dispatch the limited food supplies available in Mekelle at this time.

A number of UN agencies and non-governmental organizations will be forced to cease operations if humanitarian supplies, fuel, and cash are not delivered to Tigray very soon.

UN humanitarian officials have reported that displacement continues, including in Afar and Amhara, as well as in the western part of Tigray. Additionally, people have returned, as have those in need of food, water, sanitation, and shelter.

Continuing to work with authorities, UN partners are ensuring that the return is well planned, voluntary, and dignified and that returnees are provided with adequate support.

Despite challenges, aid organizations continue to provide critical assistance. During the past week, more than 33,000 people in Amhara had access to shelter and other forms of assistance, bringing the total number of people assisted to 586,000.

The distribution of food to the people of Afar, Amhara, and Tigray continues but clearly remains substantially below the necessary level. It is urgent that all parties allow unhindered and sustained access to people in Tigray, Amhara, and Afar.

UN World Today’s Comments on Ethiopia

Ethiopia continues to use undiplomatic language and deny all evidence of its discriminatory acts, using the old methods of their political regime by distributing allegations in bulk across the globe. The regime of this country lives in the hallucination of conspiracy, making them believe that the UN organs and all the nations in the region are exerting pressure on their government.

Ethiopia has denied allegations made in a new Human Rights Watch report that thousands of ethnic Tigrayans deported from Saudi Arabia were subjected to detention and forced disappearances upon arrival in Ethiopia.

An official with the government described the accusations as fabrications. According to Dina Mufti at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the report is part of a concerted effort to put pressure on the government.

“Human Rights Watch has written several fictions about Ethiopia,” Dina explained. “This is one of those fictions.”

Since the outbreak of war 14 months ago in the northern part of the country, human rights groups have accused authorities of discriminating against ethnic Tigrayans living in Addis Ababa and other cities. Several allegations have been made against the government, including the closure of businesses owned by Tigrayans and arbitrary detentions.

Today, UN news reported that two children were killed in an airstrike in the Tigray refugee camp

Grandi urged parties to the conflict to “respect the rights of civilians, including refugees,” following yesterday’s attack that left three Eritrean refugees dead, two of whom were children. He emphasized UNHCR’s call to all parties to “respect the rights of civilians, including refugees.”

Refugee settlements must always be protected according to international law, which applies to all who take up arms. Those who lost a loved one were offered his deepest condolences.

Destruction, looting, and violence

During this time, Ethiopia has faced a wide humanitarian crisis since hostilities began between government forces and fighters of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). Approximately 5.2 million people in the northern regions of Tigray, Amhara, and Afar are in need of assistance.

According to Human Rights Watch, thousands of people have been killed and more than two million have been forced to flee their homes because of widespread human rights violations.

Furthermore, killings, looting, and destruction of health centers and agricultural infrastructure, including irrigation systems essential to production, have contributed to the deterioration of humanitarian conditions over the past few months.

According to the UN humanitarian agencies, the situation in the northern part of the country is unpredictable and volatile.

Back to the humanitarian situation Yemen

Concerning Yemen, which also presents a bleak humanitarian picture, the UN humanitarian branch reports that funding shortages are continuing to hamper the humanitarian effort in Yemen.

The 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan received only 58% of the funding it required, leaving a $1.6 billion shortfall. The result is that aid agencies have been compelled to scale back and close essential programs.

Previously it was reported that emergency food assistance was being reduced for eight million people nationwide, back in December 2021. Other programs such as reproductive health services, water, and protection are also being cut.

The UN encourages the international community to continue to fund the humanitarian response in Yemen, which represents a lifeline for 16 million people. As well as promoting the strengthening of the Yemeni economy in 2022, the UN will also work closely with all stakeholders to combat the economic collapse, which is a major contributor to increased humanitarian needs.

UN World Today’s Comments on Yemen

At a high-level UN meeting on Wednesday, Saudi Arabia, the United States, the European Union, and other nations announced hundreds of millions of dollars in additional humanitarian and development aid for Yemen.

According to Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Rabeeah, supervisor-general of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, Saudi Arabia is providing an additional $90 million in humanitarian assistance to war-torn Yemen.

According to him, Saudi Arabia has contributed more than 18 billion dollars to Yemen over the last six years. The Saudi Arabian government has contributed over $848 million this year alone.

As a result of this latest pledge, Saudi Arabia remains the largest humanitarian aid donor to Yemen. Al-Rabeeah warned that only monetary donations could not alleviate the crisis in Yemen.

In his words, “Unless we work together to end the conflict and reduce obstacles to the provision of humanitarian assistance, the situation will continue to deteriorate.”

Yemen’s miserable conditions are made worse by the continuous aggression of the Houthi militias against the United Nations and international NGOs. Al-Rabeeah expressed the Kingdom’s wish that the international community supports its plan to put an end to the conflict and restore long-term peace for Yemenis.

The US has also announced an additional $290 million in contributions for 2021, while the EU has announced an additional contribution of €119 million ($139.65 million) that has been described as a “joint humanitarian and development aid commitment” by Jutta Urpilainen, the EU’s Commissioner for International Partnerships.

Furthermore, she noted that “our immediate assistance will help families gain access to food and basic commodities,” while “in the long run, the EU is committed to aiding Yemen in transitioning from crisis to recovery.” She highlighted the importance of investing in youth and women in this regard.

Canada, Qatar, Sweden, and Brazil have pledged a further $120 million in additional donations, some of which will be provided to UN organizations such as the World Food Program to assist their activities in Yemen.

The UN meeting resulted in the announcement of approximately $600 million in additional humanitarian funding. As much food security, sanitation, healthcare, and education as possible will be provided to as many Yemenis as possible as part of this assistance.

On Journalists’ Affairs

According to figures from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 55 journalists and media workers were killed across the globe in 2021.

In over a decade, this has been the lowest ever recorded death toll by UNESCO. Yet, impunity is still widespread for many crimes committed against journalists. In addition, journalists continue to be exposed to a variety of dangers.

There have been two-thirds of the murders of journalists in countries without armed conflict, a sign that journalists still face a highly dangerous environment when they report on wrongdoing on a daily basis.

More than two-thirds of the victims died in just two regions: Asia and the Pacific, where 23 people died, and Latin America and the Caribbean, where 14 people perished.

The Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, clarified once more in 2021 that too many journalists have paid the ultimate price for bringing the truth to light, adding that the UN must do more to make sure those who have dedicated their careers to this do so without fear.

UN World Today’s Comments on the victimization of Journalists

UNESCO reports that 55 journalists and media workers died worldwide in 2021. Despite this, UNESCO claims impunity remains “alarmingly common” for these crimes. In fact, 87% of all journalist killings since 2006 remain unresolved.

Additionally, the organization states that imprisonment, physical attacks, and intimidation are also threats to the press. Once again, in 2021, the truth was revealed, but far too many journalists paid the ultimate price.

UNESCO director-general Audrey Azoulay stated that independent, factual information is more important now than ever. “We need to do more to ensure that those who work tirelessly to provide this information won’t be afraid to do so.”

The majority of deaths occurred in two regions of the world that were particularly dangerous for journalists. There were 23 deaths in the Asia-Pacific alone, and 14 in Latin America and the Caribbean.

In addition, the UNESCO Observatory of Killed Journalists has reported two cases in the European Union. The killing of George Karaivaz in Athens in April and the shooting of Peter in Amsterdam in April. Approximately 1,000 people were injured during the unrest, according to the Kazakhstani health ministry.

Regarding the Lebanon Incident

Unknown perpetrators attacked peacekeepers serving the purpose of maintaining security and stability in south Lebanon on Tuesday night, the UN confirmed yesterday evening. UN vehicles were vandalized and items belonging to the UN were stolen.

The restrictions on freedom of movement and any aggression against UNIFIL against those working for peace are unacceptable and are in violation of the Status of Forces Agreement between the United Nations and the Government of Lebanon.

According to Security Council Resolution 1701 (2006), the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon must have full access to its area of operations. Several media outlets have subsequently reported that the peacekeepers were not taking photos or on private property as some media outlets reported.

Their mission for the day was to join up with colleagues from the Lebanese Armed Forces on a routine patrol. The UN calls on all parties involved to respect the freedom of movement of peacekeepers, which is fundamental to the successful execution of UNIFIL’s mandate as set out in UN Security Council Resolution 1701 (2006) and urges the Lebanese authorities to swiftly investigate and prosecute those who are responsible for these crimes.

UN World Today’s Comments on Lebanon

As reported by UN news, the blue helmets were attacked on Tuesday night by unknown perpetrators. The blue helmets’ UN vehicles were vandalized, and items belonging to the UN were stolen.

In contrast to some subsequent media misinformation, the peacekeepers were not taking photos or on private property. Stephane Dujarric, the UN Spokesman, told reporters in New York on Thursday that they were en route to meet with colleagues from the Lebanese Armed Forces on a routine patrol.

The peacekeepers are stationed with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which was originally established in 1978 to confirm the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon. After fighting in 2006, the mission was substantially strengthened in order to oversee the cessation of hostilities between Israel and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

According to Dujarric, denying UNIFIL’s freedom of movement and any aggression against those who serve the cause of peace is unacceptable and is in violation of the Status of Forces Agreement between the United Nations and the Lebanese government.

Furthermore, according to UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which was adopted in 2006, the mission must have full and unhindered access throughout its area of operations.

Earlier this month, UN Secretary-General AntĂłnio Guterres paid an official visit to Lebanon, where he affirmed solidarity with the Lebanese people. Several challenges continue to confront Lebanon, including political turmoil, an economic and financial crisis, and the devastating impact of the August 2020 blast at the Beirut port.