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World News In Brief: Haiti, Lebanon, UNEP Welcomes Iran Prisoner Release, Healthcare For The Displaced


UN humanitarians on Monday made clear the
emergency response in Haiti’s capital continues despite
ongoing insecurity caused by months of gang-led violence
there.

Since early March, the World Food
Programme (WFP) has reached more than
500,000 people, providing school meals, social protection
and emergency activities nationwide.

The agency has
also served some 500,000 hot meals to over 76,000 internally
displaced persons in 57 sites in the greater Port-au-Prince
metropolitan area.

Aid partners have also delivered
nearly four million litres of drinking water to 29
displacement sites benefiting more than 60,000 people, UN
Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told reporters at UN
Headquarters in New York.

Gender-based
violence

He added that UN children’s agency UNICEF’s response to a
proliferation of gender-based violence has reached over
4,500 people, including psychosocial support. This includes
passing on information about risks and services to combat
gender-based violence in communities.

The UN sexual
and reproductive agency (UNFPA)
continues to provide services through two hotlines – one
for psychological support and the other dealing with
referrals and case documentation.

‘Unrelenting
cycle of strikes and counterstrikes’ in Lebanon must
end

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Marking six months of escalating exchanges of
fire across the Blue Line that marks the frontier between
south Lebanon and northern Israel, two top UN officials in
the country have issued an urgent appeal to all sides to
recommit to ending hostilities, in line with Security
Council
resolution
1701
.

In a
joint statement on Monday
, the Special Coordinator for
Lebanon, Joanna Wronecka, and the Head of the Interim Force
in Lebanon (UNIFIL), Lt. Gen.
Aroldo Lázaro, said combatants needed to use all means
available to avoid further escalation, while there is still
space for diplomacy.

Dozens of civilians have
tragically lost their lives while many more have lost homes
and livelihoods, they added.

Suffering has gone on
too long

“The unrelenting cycle of strikes and
counterstrikes in breach of the cessation of hostilities
constitute the most serious violation of Security Council
resolution 1701 since its adoption in 2006,” the statement
continued, referring to the last major conflict involving
Israeli forces and Hezbollah militants.

“The
violence and suffering has gone on too long. It must
stop,” they declared.

Both officials underscored the
importance of focusing anew “on the overarching objective
of a permanent ceasefire”, saying the UN stands ready to
support such efforts.

“A political process”
anchored in the resolution “is now more crucial than ever
to address the root causes of the conflict and ensure
long-term stability”.

UNEP welcomes imminent
release of conservationists from Iranian prison

The
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said
on Monday
it welcomed the impending release of four
conservationists imprisoned in Iran, including former UNEP
colleague, Niloufar Bayani.

According to the
announcement from Tehran, Ms. Bayani will be freed along
with Taher Ghadirian, Houman Jokar and Sepideh
Kashani.

“UNEP looks forward to their effective
release in the coming days,” the agency said.

Ms.
Bayani and seven environmental conservationists were
imprisoned in February 2018 and subsequently sentenced to
lengthy jail terms.

Cheetah
conservation

Between 2012 and 2017, Ms. Bayani worked
as a consultant based out of UNEP’s Geneva office,
returning to her home country to work on efforts to conserve
the Persian or Asian cheetah, one of the most endangered
large cat species in the world.

She was arrested in
2018 along with other internationally recognised experts in
the field of nature conservation who have all dedicated
their lives to conserving Iran’s wildlife, UNEP
said.

“Over the past six years, we at UNEP have
consistently called for the release of Ms. Bayani and the
other conservationists,” the statement
continued.

“As our natural world faces grave threats
and the world reels from the impact of climate change,
nature and biodiversity loss, desertification and dust
storms and pollution and waste, environmental
conservationists are critical allies in protecting the human
right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. They
are essential to building a sustainable world for current
and future generations.”

Healthcare and education
‘inaccessible’ for displaced

Only one in two
countries offer guaranteed healthcare and educational access
to all migrants, UN migration
experts said on Monday
.

In a new report into
migrants’ rights and opportunities, the International
Organization for Migration (IOM) found that
only 18 per cent of European countries provided access to
healthcare and just 27 per cent offered free
schooling.

That’s well below the 70 per cent of
countries offering medical coverage in the Americas, where
primary and secondary education is available in 58 per cent
of the region’s States.

Although the constitutions
of many countries prohibit any discrimination based on
nationality, race or place of birth, guaranteed access for
migrants to health and education is rarely specified in
other legislation, although IOM pointed out that The Gambia
and Portugal have done so since 2008 and 2020,
respectively.

Explicit guarantees

All
countries should explicitly guarantee essential services for
all migrants, IOM said, just as Brazil did in 2020, “for
migrant children and adolescents, refugees, stateless people
and asylum-seekers” wanting to go to
school.

Portugal in 2019 also amended health laws to
include “foreign permanent…and temporary residents,
stateless persons, applicants for international protection
and migrants”.

IOM’s findings came from surveying
100 countries, including 37 from Africa, 27 from the
Americas, 25 from Asia and the Pacific and 11 from
Europe.

© Scoop Media

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