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 appeals for safe corridors in Ukraine for civilians, humanitarians
The United Nations humanitarian chief appealed Monday for safe passage for civilians fleeing Ukraine and for humanitarians delivering urgent assistance to the country, as humanitarian needs continued to rapidly grow.
UN: Safe Corridors Needed for Civilians, Humanitarians in Ukraine
80,000 Ukrainian women due to give birth in next 3 months
As health care facilities in Ukraine are increasingly being targeted by Russia, the U.N. Population Fund said Thursday that about 80,000 women are due to give birth in the coming three months and must be protected.
Pregnant Women in Russia’s Crosshairs as Health Care Comes Under Attack in Ukraine
Human rights deteriorate in Northern Ethiopia as Tigray conflict spreads
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said Tuesday that her office has documented killings and injuries of hundreds of civilians in northern Ethiopia due to airstrikes by the Ethiopian government. At the same time, she said the Tigrayan forces and other armed groups have carried out devastating attacks in Afar and Amhara, resulting in scores of deaths and hundreds of injuries.
UN: Human Rights and Security Deteriorate in Northern Ethiopia as Tigray Conflict Spreads
Syrian Civil War enters 12th year
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Friday that courage must be shown to reach a political settlement in Syria’s civil war. “We cannot fail the Syrian people. The conflict must cease,” he said in a statement marking 11 years of unrest.
UN Chief Appeals for Courage to End Syrian War
— Ukrainians and third-country nationals have been pouring out of Ukraine this week as Russia steps up its air and land war. In just two weeks, more than 2.5 million people — mostly women, children and elderly — have sought safety in Poland, Hungary, Moldova, Slovakia, Romania and other European countries. A small number have also gone to Russia and its ally Belarus. Nearly 2 million more are displaced inside Ukraine. The U.N. has warned that the number of displaced inside and outside the country could rise to 10 million if the war does not stop.
— The United Nations confirmed this week that Ukraine is withdrawing all of its 308 peacekeepers from six U.N. missions to return them home. The most significant presence is the 250 military personnel and eight helicopters in MONUSCO in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the U.N. is looking at the impact of their departure and will be speaking to other countries about replacing them. Another 58 Ukrainian peacekeepers are spread among missions in in South Sudan, Mali, Cyprus, Abyei and Kosovo.
— A report from the U.N. human rights office has found that hostilities and civilian casualties in Afghanistan have sharply decreased since the Taliban took power in August. However, it also says the human rights situation for many Afghans has worsened, and 20 million people are suffering from acute hunger.
Quote of note
“All these women who are giving birth in makeshift shelters, in subway stations, in the basements of buildings — oftentimes without skilled attendants — all of these women are also casualties of war.”
— Jaime Nadal, the U.N. Population Fund’s representative in Ukraine, in a briefing call with reporters Thursday.
What we are watching next week
Yemen enters its seventh year of conflict this month and the resulting humanitarian crisis has left nearly 21 million people in dire need of assistance. In recent weeks, the World Food Program has had to cut rations due to funding shortfalls. The United Nations will co-host a pledging conference on March 16 with Sweden and Switzerland in hopes of raising sufficient funds to avoid the situation from slipping into famine this year.