Africa 

Millions of children and families in Niger struggle as humanitarian needs mount – UNICEF

Exacerbated by instability in the region that has led to an influx of thousands of refugees, returnees, internally displaced persons and migrants, simultaneous emergencies are stretching the capacities of humanitarian partners to respond. “In a context of constrained resources and limited social services, the communities that host displaced populations are showing extraordinary resilience and sharing the little they have”, said Félicité Tchibindat, UNICEF Representative, following a visit to the conflict-affected region of Diffa. 2.9 million people, including 1.6 million children, affected by one or more of humanitarian crises in Niger,…

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Africa 

As Libya talks resume in Geneva, UN negotiator seeks to overcome sticking points

Speaking to reporters at the UN headquarters in Geneva, Mr. Salamé, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Libya, said that the port of Tripoli had been attacked earlier on Tuesday.  “As long as these violations are frequent, it’s very, very hard to think of quiet negotiations between the two parties on any one of the three tracks we are trying to push forward.”  The UN envoy, who is facilitating discussions of the parties to the Libyan Joint Military Commission, or the 5+5 talks, added that an arms embargo on Libya has continued to be violated in the North African nation.  Since last…

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Africa 

Guterres ‘deeply concerned’ over deadly assault in northwest Cameroon

Almost two dozen villagers, including 15 children, were found dead in the anglophone village of Ngarbuh after an incident on Friday linked to separatist clashes that began in late 2017 on alleged discrimination against the francophone country’s English-speaking regions. While the opposition party are blaming the killings on the army, no one has claimed responsibility. In a statement issued on Monday, a UN spokesperson said Secretary-General António Guterres was “deeply concerned” over reports about the killing of civilians, including children, in the attack on 14 February.  The UN chief called on…

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Africa 

Newly licensed vaccine, ‘milestone in the fight’ against Ebola in Africa, UN health agency

For the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Burundi, Ghana and Zambia, the vaccine licensing means that the manufacturer can stockpile and widely distribute it to those nations at risk of Ebola virus outbreaks, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). And once licensed doses are available, use of the vaccine will not require clinical trial or other research protocols. Moreover, the vaccine, which was licensed just 90 days after WHO prequalified it, is expected to be registered in additional countries over the coming weeks. “The approval of the Ebola vaccine…

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Africa 

Guinea-Bissau: Swearing-in of new President unlikely to bring stability, says UN representative

Rosine Sori-Coulibaly updated ambassadors on developments in the wake of the November 2019 presidential election and subsequent run-off, won by ex-army general Umaro Sissoco Embaló, a former Prime Minister and candidate for the Movement for Democratic Change (MADEM-G15). Ruling party candidate Domingos Simões Pereira, also an ex-Prime Minister, contested the outcome, which the National Electoral Commission upheld. His party, known by the acronym PAIGC, later filed a complaint with the Supreme Court over the verification process.    “As a result, the legal process over the electoral outcome has yet to…

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Year-old peace agreement must be implemented for ‘lasting peace’ in Central African Republic

“The first anniversary of the Khartoum Peace Agreement, celebrated on 6 February, provided an opportunity for all parties to review its implementation, which will lead to a lasting peace”, Yao Agbetse, Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Central African Republic, said on Thursday. In pointing out that the agreement allowed armed groups to join the Government, he said it is considered “a symbol of the unification of the Republic”. “But”, he maintained, “for the agreement to be effective, all parties must sincerely implement its provisions, and…

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Africa 

‘Don’t forget Madagascar’s children’, UN appeals for long-term help as emergency worsens

Torrential rains two weeks ago affected 120,000 people, cutting off roads, destroying 174 schools and forcibly displacing 16,000, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported. Meanwhile, the World Food Programme (WFP) warned that the current lean season has left more than 700,000 people without enough to eat. And although it is helping to feed some 230,000 hungry people, the UN agency spelled out that 11.4 million in the country are undernourished. UNICEF Madagascar Deputy Representative, Jean Benoit Manhes, pointed out that the recent floods are just one of the many challenges…

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Africa 

Act now to prevent Desert Locust catastrophe in Horn of Africa: UN agencies

The infestation in Kenya is the worst in 70 years, while Somalia and Ethiopia are experiencing their worst outbreaks in 25 years, putting crop production, food security and millions of lives at risk.  Swarms crossed into Uganda overnight, and Tanzania and South Sudan are now “on the watch list”, the UN’s top humanitarian official reported.  “In this region where there is so much suffering and so much vulnerability and fragility, we simply cannot afford another major shock. And that’s why we need to act quickly”, Mark Lowcock told ambassadors, during a…

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Africa 

AU Summit: Guterres calls for ‘collective, comprehensive, coordinated’ response to challenges facing Africa

Secretary-General António Guterres told the annual gathering of 55 African nations in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, that the strategic partnership between the UN and AU is “of paramount importance” and he was deeply committed to the principle that Africa’s challenges can only be solved through African leadership.  UN Photo UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres with the heads of state at the AU summit in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, 09 February 2020 Three urgent challenges  There are three main challenges “of particular urgency” facing the continent, said the UN chief, highlighting first,…

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Africa 

Lasting Libya ceasefire: Some consensus, but further talks needed – UN Mission 

The UN Support Mission for Libya, UNSMIL, released a statement on Saturday saying that Libyan 5+5 Joint Military Commission (JMC), which began on Monday, with the involvement of UNSMIL chief Ghassan Salamé, should continue dialogue on 18 February, if the parties agree.  The Commission constitutes one of the three intra-Libyan tracks UNSMIL is organizing, along with the economic and political tracks.  “UNSMIL expresses its appreciation to both sides for coming to Geneva, for upholding in earnest the responsibilities they had been entrusted with as well as for the professional and positive spirit…

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