Weekend Roundup – UN News
A selection of news stories from last week via media partner UN News
UNICEF urges governments to repatriate thousands of foreign children stranded in northeast Syria
The agency estimates nearly 28,000 children from more than 60 countries remain trapped in the region, mostly in displacement camps. This includes almost 20,000 from Iraq.
“Children, whether in the northeast or elsewhere inside Syria, must not be abandoned while the walls of war close in around them”, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said in a statement issued on Monday.
The UN agency reports that more than 80 per cent of the stranded foreign children in northeast Syria are under the age of 12, and half are under-fives.
Additionally, around 250 boys are being held in detention, though that number is likely to be higher. Some are as young as nine.
Many are born to suspected ISIL extremists, who were militarily defeated following the Kurdish-led and United States-backed operation to take back territory across the region. This left thousands of mostly women and children to be housed in often overcrowded camps administered by local Kurdish authorities, which have reportedly been destabilized by the Syrian offensive.
Coal addiction ‘must be overcome’ to ease climate change
The world’s addiction to coal “remains a major threat in relation to climate change and one of the messages in the summit will be very clearly that countries in these areas that are countries that are in one of the most vulnerable areas to climate change”, Mr. Guterres underscored.
The UN chief informed the press of a recently published report saying that climate change was causing ocean levels to rise much faster than previously forecasted.
“According to this new report, unless we are able to…defeat climate change, in 2050, the research has forecasted that 300 million people will be flooded by sea water in the world”, Mr. Guterres stated, and called climate change “the biggest threat to the planet at the present moment, [and] the defining issue of our time”.
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‘When journalists are targeted, societies as a whole, pay a price’
A new study from the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, underscores the risks that journalists face, showing that almost 90 per cent of those found responsible for the deaths of more than 1,100 of them, between 2006 and 2018, have not been convicted.
The report, “Intensified Attacks, New Defences”, also notes that killings of journalists have risen by some 18 per cent in the past five years (2014-2018), compared to the previous five-year period.
The deadliest countries for journalists, according to the statistics, are Arab States, where almost a third of the killings took place. The Latin American and Caribbean region (26 per cent), and Asian and Pacific States (24 per cent) are the next most dangerous.
Journalists are ofen murdered for their reporting on politics, crime and corruption, and this is reflected in the study, which reveals that, in the past two years (2017-2018), more than half of journalist fatalities were in non-conflict zones.