Editor’s note: Here’s a brief overview of what the international community has been up to over the past week, as seen from United Nations headquarters.
Ukraine is asking the UN to send experts to investigate possible Iranian drones
Ukraine has invited UN experts to examine debris from allegedly Iranian-made drones sold to Russia in violation of international sanctions and used in attacks on Ukrainian cities. Both Iran and Russia deny the allegations. Experts say the drones are likely Iranian-made Shahed-136 UAVs. Russia says it made the drones. It has warned that the UN Secretariat has no mandate to conduct an investigation and if it does, Moscow will “reconsider” its cooperation with the UN body. Great Britain, France and Germany wrote to the UN on Friday asking them to investigate.
Ukraine invites UN experts to examine Iranian drone debris
Meanwhile, humanitarian workers are working to reach as many Ukrainians as possible with winter aid as temperatures begin to drop. Denise Brown, UN resident and humanitarian coordinator in Ukraine, spoke to VOA this week about the challenges humanitarian workers face and the people they help.
Millions of Ukrainians unreachable as Russia blocks access to UN aid in areas it controls
Security Council sanctions Haitian gang leaders
The UN Security Council unanimously decided on Friday to impose targeted sanctions, including asset freezes, travel bans and an arms embargo on gang leaders in Haiti, fueling widespread violence against civilians and blocking access to essential fuel supplies. The vote follows a meeting Monday when Haiti’s foreign minister spoke of the “unfathomable reality” of the difficulties facing Haitians.
UN approves sanctions against Haitian gangs
Northern Ethiopia ‘getting out of control’
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Monday that the situation in northern Ethiopia was “getting out of control” and that he saw no military solution to the conflict. He called on the international community to come together to end the nearly two-year conflict between the government and Tigraya’s armed forces that has killed and injured thousands and left millions on the brink of starvation. Guterres said the United Nations stands ready to support the African Union-led peace talks effort “in any way it can.” A private UN Security Council meeting on Friday to discuss the issue ended without action. Diplomats said China and Russia blocked a press statement calling for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire at Ethiopia’s behest.
UN chief: Ethiopia’s Tigray ‘getting out of control’
Separately, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned Wednesday that “there is now a very narrow window to prevent genocide in Tigray.”
This warning was reinforced by Alice Nderitu, UN Special Adviser on Genocide Prevention, who said that “targeting of civilians based on their ethnicity or their perceived affiliation with the warring factions remains a key feature of the conflict and is worsening to appalling proportions of hate speech and incitement to violence.” The United Nations has warned that such language can lead to atrocities.
– The World Health Organization said on Tuesday that as of Oct. 14 there had been 15,823 suspected cases of cholera in Syria, including 807 confirmed cases and 68 reported deaths. The rise in cases is being exacerbated by severe nationwide water shortages and drought-like conditions. Water infrastructure has been destroyed or damaged in a decade of conflict, leaving people dependent on unsafe water sources. Aid groups say they are facing shortages of cholera supplies, including medicines.
– Four UN peacekeepers from Chad were killed and two seriously injured this week in northern Mali when their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device in Tessalit, in the Kidal region. They were on a minesweeping and reconnaissance patrol. A dozen peacekeepers have been killed in Mali this year.
– The United Nations on Thursday expressed concern over flooding in Nigeria, which the government says has killed more than 600 people and displaced 1.3 million. Food security is an issue as more than 440,000 hectares of farmland have been partially or totally damaged. Before the floods, 19 million people across Nigeria faced severe food insecurity. The Food and Agriculture Organization forecast grain production is expected to fall 3.4% from 2021 due to the flooding, high agricultural production costs and uncertainty.
“We cannot separate the dangerous state of peace in our world from the destructive effects of patriarchy and the silence of women’s voices. The challenges we face today — from escalating conflicts to escalating attacks on human rights — are in many ways related to the trampling of human rights, women’s rights, and to deep-rooted misogyny around the world.”
UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed urged nations to question misogyny and the structures that support it while addressing Thursday’s Security Council debate on women, peace and security.
What we see next week
The African Union hopes to hold peace talks to end the war in Ethiopia’s Tigray region starting Monday in South Africa. The talks were due to take place earlier this month but have been delayed. UN chief Guterres says the situation is “getting out of control” and has joined AU calls for an immediate ceasefire.
mark your calendar
Monday October 24th is United Nations Day. It marks the day in 1945 when the UN Charter came into effect and the organization was officially launched. “On UN Day, let us renew our hope and belief in what humanity can achieve when we work together as one and in global solidarity,” Secretary-General Guterres said in his message this year.