Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief, observed on 22 August:
The Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, in connection with the examination of the fourth report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in Colombia (document S/2019/1017), agreed to convey the following messages through a public statement by the Chair of the Working Group:
Following explosions in Beirut on 4 August, the United Nations is requesting $565 million to help Lebanon move towards recovery and reconstruction. Peacekeepers with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) are also donating blood and have joined the “#UN4Beirut” initiative to clean up devastated city streets.
Polio immunization campaigns have resumed in Afghanistan and Pakistan, months after COVID-19 left 50 million children without their polio vaccines, UNICEF said today. There is concern that up to 1 million children in Afghanistan could miss out as door-to-door vaccinations are not possible in some areas.
In Somalia, more than 150,000 people have fled their homes since late June — including 230,000 in the last week alone — due to flooding in the south. Some 650,000 people across the country having been displaced by heavy rains since January, with many now living in overcrowded, makeshift shelters. Food is in short supply and many are going hungry.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees called on Guatemalan authorities to fully investigate the violent death of a transgender woman found dead at her home on Saturday in Guatemala City. She had sought asylum in Guatemala after fleeing violence in El Salvador due to her gender identity.
In Zimbabwe, where 60 per cent of the population is projected to be food insecure by the end of 2020, the World Food Programme appealed for $250 million to prevent a human catastrophe. A nationwide COVID-19 lockdown has led to joblessness in urban areas, growing hunger in rural areas and hyperinflation that has made basic goods unaffordable.
The World Health Organization warned today of the threat that COVID-19 poses to health workers across Africa, with more than 10,000 in 40 countries having been infected with the virus so far. The warning comes as COVID-19 cases in Africa appear to be gathering pace, with more than 750,000 cases and over 15,000 deaths.