UN Weekly Summary: 16-22 April 2022
Editor’s note: Here’s a quick look at what the international community has been up to over the past week, as seen from the perch of the United Nations.
UN secretary general to visit Moscow to meet Putin and Lavrov
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Tuesday and hold meetings and a working lunch with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the UN said on Friday.
The UN chief had written to Putin on Tuesday asking for a meeting to discuss next steps towards peace in Ukraine. He also wrote to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Guterres’ representative said his office was in contact with the Kyiv government to plan a visit there as well.
No Easter humanitarian break for Ukraine
The secretary-general on Tuesday called for a four-day humanitarian pause to coincide with Orthodox Easter, which is celebrated in Ukraine and Russia on April 24. The temporary truce, which Guterres suggested taking effect on Thursday, has so far failed to materialize.
“A horror story of violations” against Ukrainian civilians
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said on Friday that her office had detailed “a horror story of violations perpetrated against civilians” in Ukraine. She said Russia’s indiscriminate shelling and shelling of populated areas, the killing of civilians and the destruction of hospitals, schools and other civilian infrastructure could constitute war crimes.
The five UN veto holders could face scrutiny
Since the UN was founded in 1945, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – Britain, China, France, USSR/Russia and the United States – have used their vetoes around 295 times to block measures that they did not see as in their country. interest. The former Soviet Union, then replaced by the Russian Federation, did so most often. Today, the war in Ukraine has brought the dynamics of the veto into the spotlight and shown how it can tie the hands of the Security Council to act in the performance of its task of keeping the peace and international security. On Tuesday, the General Assembly is due to vote on a resolution that would ask a permanent member who vetoes to come and explain to the full membership why he did so. The measure should receive strong support.
Yemen’s Houthi rebels agree to stop recruiting child soldiers
The United Nations said on Monday that Houthi rebels in Yemen had signed an action plan to prevent and end the recruitment or use of children in armed conflict, killing or maiming children and attacking schools and schools. hospitals. More than 10,200 children have been killed or injured since the war began in 2015. It is unclear how many have been combatants.
20 million people could face drought-induced famine in the Horn of Africa
The World Food Program warned on Tuesday that as many as 20 million people in drought-stricken regions of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia could face catastrophic levels of hunger if the current rainy season fails for the fourth year. consecutive.
– The United Nations said on Wednesday that more than 5 million people have fled Russia’s war in Ukraine for safety elsewhere. The refugee crisis is the fastest and largest since World War II. Another 7.1 million people are internally displaced.
— Secretary General António Guterres expressed concern on Wednesday about the deteriorating security situation in Jerusalem and called for an immediate end to provocations, especially around holy sites. Fighting has intensified in recent weeks between Israelis and Palestinians as Christians, Jews and Muslims all simultaneously observe holy days. Palestinians have accused Israeli police of using excessive force against them at holy sites, while Israeli police say Palestinians initiated the violence.
“What we are currently witnessing is a major disruption to harvesting, planting and supply chains for essential food and materials. What we are currently witnessing is the direct and indirect acceleration of the hunger for tens of millions of people Collateral damage of an unjustified and unwanted war.
Irish Ambassador to the UN Geraldine Byrne Nason on the global impact of Russia’s war on Ukraine during an informal meeting of the UN Security Council on Thursday on the link between conflict and hunger . The United Nations says 139 million people worldwide are already suffering from hunger caused by conflict and warns that 47 million more people could go hungry this year due to the impact of the Russian invasion on rising prices and availability of food, fertilizer and fuel.
Some good news
More than one million children in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi have now received one or more doses of the world’s first malaria vaccine through a pilot program coordinated by the World Health Organization. The WHO says malaria vaccine pilots have shown that the RTS,S/AS01 vaccine is safe and convenient to administer, and that it significantly reduces fatal severe malaria. If the vaccine is widely administered, the WHO says it could save the lives of an additional 40,000 to 80,000 African children each year.
What we’re watching next week
On April 27, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister will address an informal meeting of the UN Security Council on accountability for Russia’s wartime crimes in his country. The Arria-format meeting will hear remarks from High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan and Ukraine’s Attorney General Iryna Venediktova, among others.
Did you know?
The Knotted Gun sculpture, where General Secretary Antonio Guterres this week made his appeal for an Easter truce in Ukraine, was created by Swedish sculptor Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd. The bronze statue depicts an oversized .357 Magnum revolver with its knotted barrel. The original sculpture was also known as ‘Nonviolence’ and Reuterswärd created it as a tribute to the Beatle John Lennon after he was shot outside his apartment building in New York in December 1980. The original statue has been installed at the UN in 1988, and since then 30 replicas have been displayed in various locations around the world, according to the Non-Violence Foundation website. You can see it in the plaza inside the UN compound near the visitors’ entrance.