UN Recap: October 17-22, 2021


Here is a fast take on what the international community has been up to this past week, as seen from the United Nations perch:

Airstrikes target Mekelle

The Ethiopian government launched a series of airstrikes this week on Tigray’s capital, Mekelle, one of which forced a U.N. aid flight to turn around midair.

New provocations from DPRK

North Korea has continued to test-fire missiles, spurring the United States, Britain and France to call a U.N. Security Council meeting on Wednesday.

Africa hardest hit by climate change

A new U.N. climate report says the African continent is warming faster and to a higher temperature than other parts of the world, despite being responsible for less than 4% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Human rights discussions

The U.N. General Assembly’s third committee had its annual briefings Friday from the special rapporteurs on the human rights situations in North Korea and Myanmar.

News in brief

— UNICEF said Tuesday that 10,000 children have been killed or maimed in Yemen since fighting started in March 2015. That is the equivalent of four children every day. And that is the number of cases the U.N. children’s agency has been able to verify; the real number is likely higher.

— UNICEF said the numbers of women (71) and children (30) kidnapped for ransom in Haiti in the first eight months of 2021 have surpassed the totals for all of 2020. The overwhelming majority of abductees are Haitians and are taken in the capital, Port-au-Prince.

— The U.N. Security Council has set off on its first field mission since before the pandemic. The 15 members are heading to Mali and Niger through Tuesday. They are checking on Mali’s transition and discussing terrorism, the effects of climate change in the Sahel and other issues with leaders, civil society and U.N. country teams.

— U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the U.N. Security Council separately welcomed the declaration of a unilateral cease-fire on October 15 by President Faustin Archange Touadéra in the Central African Republic. That country has been trying to restore state authority after years of intercommunal violence and territory grabs by armed groups.

Some good news

The United Nations said a national house-to-house polio vaccination campaign in Afghanistan will resume November 8, after a three-year halt, with the support of the Taliban authorities.

Quote of note

“Today, women’s leadership is a cause. Tomorrow, it must be the norm,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Friday on the 21st anniversary of Resolution 1325, which demands the full and equal participation of women in conflict resolution, peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction.

Next week

The G-20 meets in Rome ahead of a critical U.N. climate conference in Scotland in early November. On Tuesday, the U.N. General Assembly will hold its own pre-conference high-level session on delivering climate action.

Did you know?

U.N. peacekeepers are called “blue helmets” because of the color of their berets and helmets. There are more than 87,000 peacekeepers from 121 countries currently deployed in a dozen missions. Their missions are authorized by U.N. Security Council resolutions to protect civilians and strengthen security in post-conflict and fragile states.

Source: Voice of America

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