Editor’s note: Here is a fast take on what the international community has been up to this past week, as seen from the United Nations perch.
UN Libya Envoy Resigns One Month Before Elections:
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres accepted his Libya envoy’s resignation Tuesday, just a month before presidential and parliamentary elections are due to take place in that country. The U.N. Security Council threatened sanctions Wednesday against anyone who undermines the vote or instigates violence.
UN Security Council Threatens Sanctions Against Libya Election Spoilers
New COVID-19 Variant Raises Concerns:
The World Health Organization’s technical working group meets Friday to discuss the emergence of a new coronavirus variant detected in South Africa. Several countries have already suspended travel from South Africa and several neighboring nations over transmission fears.
South African Scientists Detect New Virus Variant; WHO to Assess It
Sudan PM Returns Under Controversial Deal:
Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was released from house arrest Tuesday following the October 25 military coup. In a deal agreed upon Sunday, he is to lead a government of technocrats in a power-sharing transition with the military. Thousands of citizens oppose the move and took to the streets Thursday.
Thousands Protest in Sudan Against Deal Between Prime Minister, Military
News in Brief:
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres traveled to Colombia this week, where he participated Wednesday in commemorations marking the fifth anniversary of the signing of the Final Peace Agreement between the government of Colombia and the former FARC-EP (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia). He met separately with President Iván Duque, as well as with ex-FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño, now president of the Comunes political party, as well as civil society representatives.
As the security situation in Ethiopia continues to deteriorate, the United Nations said Tuesday that “out of an abundance of caution” it is temporarily moving the dependents of its international staff out of the country. The U.N. has just over a thousand international personnel and dependents in the country. Staff will remain to carry out their work.
Some Good News:
The U.N. has been struggling for more than a month to get any aid into northern Ethiopia’s Tigray region where more than 5 million people are suffering under a de facto government blockade. On Wednesday, the U.N. said it was finally able to move nearly 40 aid-laden trucks into the region, as well as resume humanitarian air cargo flights that had been suspended due to air strikes last month. However, the U.N. says 500 trucks of aid supplies are needed weekly to meet needs in Tigray.
Quote of Note:
“Violence against women is an existing global crisis that thrives on other crises. Conflict, climate-related natural disasters, food insecurity and human rights violations all contribute to women and girls living with a sense of danger, even in their own homes, neighborhoods, or communities. The COVID-19 pandemic, which necessitated isolation and social distancing, enabled a second, shadow pandemic of violence against women and girls, where they often found themselves in lockdown with their abusers.”
Sima Bahous, U.N. Women executive director on Thursday, launching the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.
What we are watching next week:
On Tuesday, the U.N. General Assembly’s 9-member credentials committee will meet. This panel reviews and approves who represents nations at the world body. It will have two thorny credentials to review: Myanmar’s military junta wants to replace the previous democratically elected government’s envoy with one of their own, and Afghanistan’s Taliban also seeks to do the same. Neither group has received international recognition as those country’s formal governments.
Source: Voice of America