This is the News in Brief, from the United Nations.
Ukraine: Russian large-scale strikes are ‘unacceptable escalation’, says Guterres
In Ukraine, the UN chief António Guterres said that large-scale strikes by Russia on the capital Kyiv and other locations on Monday, were deeply shocking and represented “another unacceptable escalation”.
The strikes which have reportedly caused widespread damage to civilian areas and led to dozens of deaths and injuries, showed that once again, civilians were paying the highest price for Russia’s invasion in February, he added.
Speaking in Geneva, Filippo Grandi head of UN refugee agency, UNHCR, reported that Kyiv, Dnipro, Lviv, Zaporizhzhia, Chernihiv, and Odesa were among those hit in the latest uptick in violence, after a key bridge that connects Russian-occupied Crimea and Russia was seriously damaged in an attack.
This was “another day of anguish” for Ukrainian people, the High Commissioner for Refugees said.
Mr. Grandi also noted that that the situation across the war-torn country remains deeply concerning. “At least 6.2 million people are internally displaced and many more need humanitarian support,” he told a meeting of UNHCR’s Executive Committee.
With winter fast approaching and “millions of Ukrainians, especially the aged and disabled…counting on all of us”, the UN refugee agency head cautioned that there were limits to what humanitarians can do.
UN relief chief in call for concerted action on growing threat of extreme heat
Heatwaves already kill thousands of people every year and they could overwhelm the world’s aid response unless action is taken to mitigate climate change, the UN’s emergency relief chief said on Monday.
Without immediate financial help for the most vulnerable communities, the world is “destined for a future of ever larger and deadlier heat disasters”, Martin Griffiths told journalists in Geneva.
“The humanitarian system is not equipped, to handle crises of this scale on our own…to avoid a future of recurrent heat disasters we need massive and targeted investments, especially for the most vulnerable, and we need it now.”
Mr. Griffiths was speaking at the launch of a report published jointly by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
It details recommendations and best practice from developing countries that have put in place measures to support long-term adaptation to climate change.
According to the report, the European heatwave of 2003 was responsible for more than 70,000 deaths beyond what would normally have been expected. The Russian heatwave of 2010 killed over 55,000 people, it also noted.
Rights experts call for release of jailed Nobel winner in Belarus
Top independent rights experts appointed by the Human Rights Council called on Monday for the immediate release of Ales Bialiatski, following the Nobel Committee’s decision last week to award him the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize.
Mr. Bialiatski founded the Belarus human rights group Viasna in 1996.
He was first detained in 2011 and then sentenced to 12 years’ detention in 2021. Several of Mr. Bialiatski’s colleagues remain behind bars.
In a statement, the experts who include Anaïs Marin, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus, maintained that there was a “serious accountability gap for gross violations of human rights law in Belarus”.
“Long prison sentences handed down to human rights defenders are emblematic of the abuse of the justice system” and the impunity that Belarusian authorities enjoy, the experts continued.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.