Wednesday’s Daily Brief: Sudan, Libya, Yemen updates, solutions for e-waste, flood response in Iran, online security for children

UNAMID/Albert Gonzalez Farran 18 March 2014. Saraf Omra: A group of women in the new settlement for displaced people in the vicinity of the UNAMID base in Saraf Omra, North Darfur.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


At the top of the news agenda on Wednesday: updates on violence in Sudan’s Darfur and in Libya, how e-waste can become an employment opportunity, help for the 2 million affected by floods in Iran, and efforts to make the internet safer for children.

Violence on the rise in Darfur following Sudan military takeover, but UN-AU peacekeeping mission maintains ‘robust posture’

Security across the volatile Darfur region of Sudan has deteriorated since last week’s military takeover in Khartoum, the UN Security Council heard on Wednesday, but the peacekeeping mission in Darfur has “remained vigilant” in the face of rising violence.

Jeremiah Mamabolo, Joint Special Representative for hybrid mission UNAMID, updated members on events since the ousting of former president of 30 years, Omar al-Bashir, with news reports suggesting on Wednesday that he had now been transferred to prison.

Full story here.

Libya: Heavy shelling and civilian deaths ‘blatant violation’ of international law – UN envoy

Heavy shelling overnight on Tuesday which hit a densely-populated neighbourhood of Libya’s capital, Tripoli, was condemned “in the strongest terms” by the head of the UN Mission there, after “scores” of civilians were reportedly killed and injured.

“Horrible night of random shelling of residential areas”, tweeted UN Special Representative Ghassan Salame on Wednesday, after the Abu Slim district was hit. “For the sake of 3 million civilians living in Greater Tripoli, these attacks should stop. NOW!”

Read more here.

‘Grave concern’ over failure of Yemeni Government and Houthis to implement Stockholm agreement

The members of the Security Council expressed their “grave concern” on Wedneday night, that four months after the agreements reached by the Government of Yemen and the Houthi rebel leadership in Stockholm to stop the fighting in and around the key port city of Hudaydah, “those agreements have not yet been implemented.”

Council members also underlined their full support for the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, who led the UN-backed talks that led to last December’s accords in Sweden, and the Chair of the Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC) in Hudaydah, welcoming “their tireless efforts to support implementation of the Stockholm Agreement.”

The statement “welcomed the agreement by the Government of Yemen and the Houthis to the Concept of Operations for Phase 1 of redeployments under the Hodeidah Agreement.”

They called on both parties to engage constructively with the Special Envoy and the Chair of the RCC to swiftly agree on local security force arrangements and the Concept of Operations for Phase 2 of redeployments, and noted that “bureaucratic impediments, including at a local level, continued to hamper the UN’s ability to operate effectively”.

Members “reiterated their concern about the continued deterioration of the humanitarian situation across Yemen” and encouraged the international community to fully support the 2019 UN Humanitarian Response Plan.

They urged all parties to “facilitate the rapid, safe and unhindered access for humanitarian personnel and supplies into and across all areas of Yemen, as well as the rapid and sustained access to humanitarian facilities, including food storage facilities and hospitals.”

UN refugee agency stepping up support for Iran’s flood-hit communities

Heavy rains and flooding in the Islamic Republic of Iran have left more than two million people in need of immediate humanitarian assistance, including refugees, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Wednesday.

A planeload of essential aid items from the agency landed last week in Tehran, while supplies from existing stocks inside Iran, were handed over to authorities, who are battling previously unseen levels of flooding in parts of the country.

UNHCR’s assistance includes family tents, sleeping mats, blankets and kitchen equipment.

Highlighting the fact that “Iran has hosted millions of refugees for 40 years”, UNHCR’s Director for Asia and the Pacific, Indrika Ratwatte, called on the international community to support the country, “as it faces one of the worst natural disasters in decades”.

According to government estimates, some 78 people have lost their lives, over 1,000 are reported injured and about 500,000 people have been displaced, since mid-March.

Turn toxic e-waste into a source of ‘decent work’, UN labour agency urges

A “toxic flood of electric and electronic waste” that is growing by the day across the world, should be urgently converted into a source of decent work, that can also protect populations from its harmful effects, the United Nations labour agency said on Wednesday.

Governments, workers and employer organizations reached agreement at a meeting of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva, urging that “at all levels”, countries should look to increase and invest in better waste management infrastructure and systems to deal with “the rapidly growing flows of e-waste in ways that advance decent work”.

“Protect and empower children online”: UN human rights expert calls for global efforts

The independent UN human rights expert on privacy, Joe Cannataci, has called for coordinated global efforts to simultaneously protect and empower children as they use the internet.

Aiming to improve safeguards to protect children’s privacy worldwide, Mr. Cannataci has initiated a two-year programme, including public consultations, with a view to creating a set of recommendations focusing on protection and protocol while children are online.

The recommendations will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in 2021.

Mr. Cannataci welcomed recent developments in the United Kingdom, including draft legislation published last week on reducing harm to children online, and the start of a consultation process to establish a new code for ‘Age Appropriate Design’.

Adding that he “wants to hear first-hand” from corporations like Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, and Twitter, over the feasibility of new guidelines, the UN Special Rapporteur encouraged all stakeholders to contribute to the ongoing consultation exercises.

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