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News in Brief 18 October 2022 |


This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

Women and children pay heaviest price for ‘gaping inequities’

A new UN report released on Tuesday shows women’s and children’s health has suffered globally, as the impacts of conflict, COVID-19 and climate change, converge with devastating consequences for children, young people and women.

The flagship global health report, Protect the Promise, is authored by the World Health Organization (WHO), UN Children’s Fund UNICEF, the UN sexual and reproductive health agency, UNFPA, and the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health.

An estimated 25 million children were either under-vaccinated or not vaccinated at all in 2021 – 6 million more than in 2019 – increasing their risk of contracting deadly and debilitating diseases.

Millions of children missed out on school during the pandemic, many for more than a year, while approximately 80 per cent in 104 countries and territories experienced learning-loss.

Since the start of the global pandemic, 10.5 million children have lost a parent or caregiver to COVID-19.

Impact of Tigray airstrikes on civilians ‘utterly staggering’

Parties to the brutal conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region must stop fighting immediately and work towards a peaceful and lasting solution, the newly appointed UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, said on Tuesday.

He warned the latest alarming airstrikes risk seriously worsening the already devasting impact the fighting is having on civilians. 

He said numerous reports of civilian casualties and destruction across Tigray due to airstrikes and artillery, had been received since conflict flared up again in late August.

And although a communications blackout makes it particularly difficult to verify reports, it’s clear that “the toll on civilians is utterly staggering” Mr. Türk added.

He reminded that under international law, indiscriminate attacks or deliberate targeting of civilians or civilian infrastructure, amount to war crimes.

Killing and detention of children by Iran authorities ‘deeply worrying’: OHCHR

And finally, as the number of children reportedly killed in recent protests by Iranian security forces rises to at least 23, the UN human rights office, OHCHR, issued a statement on Monday condemning the “unabated violent response”.

OHCHR said reports of arbitrary arrests and the killing and detention of children were “deeply worrying”.

The nationwide protest movement began a month ago, following the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, arrested by Iran’s so-called morality police, for violating strict dress codes.

Children have been killed and many others injured in at least seven provinces by live ammunition, metal pellets at close range, and fatal beatings.

A number of schools have also been raided, and children arrested, along with some principals, detained for not cooperating with security forces.

Under human rights treaties accepted by Iran, authorities have an obligation to protect children’s right to life and their right to freedom of expression and peaceful protest, said OHCHR’s Ravina Shamdasani in Geneva.

“The continued unnecessary and disproportionate use of force against protesters must stop”, she added, calling on the authorities to hold prompt, impartial and independent investigations into all alleged violations.

Matt Wells, UN News.


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