Mon, 05 Jun 2023

UN Weekly Roundup: April 1-7, 2023

Voice of America
08 Apr 2023, 07:05 GMT+10

united nations - 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.

Taliban bans Afghan women from working for UN

The United Nations said Wednesday that it will not comply with a Taliban decree banning Afghan women from working for the organization and called on them to revoke it. Taliban officials informed the United Nations verbally on Tuesday that an existing ban on women working for humanitarian organizations has been extended to include the U.N. The U.N. is continuing to engage with the Taliban to try to get the edict reversed. In the meantime, it has instructed both female and male Afghan staff to work from home.

UN Demands Taliban Reverse Ban on Afghan Female Staff

Q&A: Linda Thomas-Greenfield

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield spoke to VOA Monday about her recent trip to Costa Rica for the 2023 Democracy Summit and the important role of youth in government, her concerns about Russia's and China's influence in the region and calls for a non-U.N. international force to help Haiti.

Q&A: US UN Envoy: 'Standing with Russia is a Losing Proposition'

ICC-indicted Russian official briefs Security Council

The Russian official charged alongside President Vladimir Putin by the International Criminal Court for the alleged abduction of thousands of Ukrainian children said Wednesday that Moscow is "fully open" to cooperation in the interest of the children. Maria Lvova-Belova told an informal Security Council meeting via video link that Russia is protecting children in its custody. Ukraine says more than 16,000 children have been forcibly abducted to Russia during the 13-month war. Several council members walked out in protest when Lvova-Belova made her remarks.

Russian Official Indicted by ICC Briefs UN Security Council

Report: Enforced disappearances rife in Iraq

A U.N. watchdog committee is urging the Iraqi government to take action to stop the practice of enforced disappearances, which has resulted in the abduction and disappearance of up to a million people in the past five decades. The U.N. Committee on Enforced Disappearances expressed "deep concern" that the practice is not criminalized and continues to be widespread and practiced with impunity.

Up to 1 Million Iraqis Are Victims of Enforced Disappearance

Mozambique battles cholera after cyclone

The World Health Organization says Mozambique is experiencing its worst cholera outbreak in 20 years, following the devastation of Cyclone Freddy, which killed hundreds of people in Mozambique, Madagascar and Malawi in February and March. Tom Gould reports for VOA from Quelimane, Mozambique, on the outbreak.

Mozambique Battles Cholera in Record Cyclone's Aftermath

In brief

- Cindy McCain took up her post as executive director of the World Food Program on Wednesday. It is a challenging time for the agency, which delivered food last year to a record 158 million people as it deals with funding shortages and unprecedented levels of global food insecurity. Since 2021, McCain has served as the U.S. ambassador to the three U.N. food and agriculture agencies in Rome. She succeeds David Beasley, who held the post from 2017 until earlier this week.

- International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Mariano Grossi went to Kaliningrad, Russia, on Wednesday, where he met with officials on his efforts to secure a demilitarized zone in and around Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. The plant has come under repeated shelling and blackouts during the war and is currently occupied by Russian troops. A team of IAEA experts is also based at the facility. Grossi met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the city of Zaporizhzhia last week.

- A new report by the World Health Organization this week said 1 in 6 people worldwide is experiencing infertility. The WHO said this shows the urgent need to increase access to affordable, high-quality fertility care for those in need. In most countries fertility treatments are largely paid out of pocket, putting the cost of starting a family beyond the reach of many.

Good news

The U.N. said Thursday that it has secured a supertanker to replace the decaying oil tanker FSO Safer, which is moored off the coast of Yemen and poses a serious environmental threat. The Nautica set sail from Zhoushan, China, this week and will arrive in Yemen in early May. A salvage company will oversee the transfer from the Safer to the Nautica of more than a million barrels of oil that the U.N. has warned for years would cause a catastrophic environmental disaster if the nearly 50-year-old Safer started leaking or exploded. Read more from our archive about the efforts to get this mission underway.

UN Buys Oil Tanker to Begin Salvage Operation Off Yemeni Coast

Did you know?

The World Health Organization turned 75 on Friday. When the United Nations was founded in San Francisco in 1945, diplomats agreed there was a need for a body to encourage collaboration to control the spread of dangerous diseases, and the WHO was born. On April 7, 1948, the WHO's constitution entered into force. Now that day is recognized as World Health Day. The health agency began with a focus on mass campaigns against tuberculosis, malaria, yaws, syphilis, smallpox and leprosy. When the polio vaccine was developed in 1952, the agency began work to eradicate the disease worldwide. The WHO also brings health care to refugees, displaced persons and people living in conflict zones. Most recently, the WHO has been at the forefront of coordinating the global response to the COVID-19 virus, including vaccinations.

More Beijing News

Access More

Sign up for Beijing News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!