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News in Brief 26 January 2023 |


This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

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

The top UN official for the Middle East peace process, said on Thursday he was “deeply alarmed and saddened” at the continuing cycle of violence in the occupied West Bank, after nine Palestinians were killed during an Israeli military operation.

Tor Wennesland described the deaths which included militants and reportedly, an elderly woman, as another “stark example”.

The Israeli military said that troops were involved in an operation to arrest Islamic Jihad militants. The Palestinian presidency described it as a “massacre”.

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.

Peru: Guterres calls for prompt and impartial investigations into mounting protest deaths

The UN Secretary-General has again raised concern over the rising death toll of protesters in Peru, following on from the ousting of former president, Pedro Castillo last month and the ensuing political crisis.

At least 55 people have reportedly died, and hundreds of police officers have been injured during clashes across the country, with security forces accused of using brutal tactics against peaceful demonstrators, many of whom want fresh elections amid rising inequality and corruption allegations.

In a statement issued late on Wednesday, António Guterres said he was concerned over the number of civilian deaths, and urged the authorities “to conduct prompt, effective and impartial investigations”, and avoid stigmatizing victims.

Security forces and the national government must comply with international human rights law, he added, calling for restraint on all sides and for protests to be peaceful, even during this period of public emergency.

UN report shows Myanmar opium cultivation up by a third

A new survey on opium growing in Myanmar published on Thursday by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC, estimates that poppy cultivation is up by an estimated 33 per cent, on the previous season.

The results of the 2022 opium survey for Myanmar, covering the first season following the brutal military takeover in February 2021, point towards more sophisticated farming practices and intensive farming of the crop that produces the illegal narcotic, heroin.

UNODC Regional Representative Jeremy Douglas, said the economic and political disruptions caused by the military coup which overthrew the democratic government, have left farmers in remote regions with “little option but to move back to opium” cultivation.

In 2022, the area growing poppies was estimated at just over 40,000 hectares. This estimate is 33 per cent – about 10,000 hectares – more than the previous year, reversing a downward trend that started in 2014.

Matt Wells, UN News.


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