News in Brief 11 September 2017 (PM)

Myanmar violence “putting all civilians at risk”

Violence in the northern part of Rakhine State in Myanmar which has driven more than 300,000 mainly Muslim Rohingya across the border with Bangladesh, is “putting all civilians at risk” said the UN on Monday.

Humanitarian activities in Rakhine have been either suspended or severely interrupted, resulting in 170,000 people missing out on food supplies and 15,000 going without primary healthcare.

The violence began at the end of August with alleged Rohingya militants targeting government security forces, but news reports and eyewitness accounts indicate many have died in reprisals attacks with villages burned to the ground.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said that the government backlash may amount to “textbook ethnic cleansing”.

More from UN Spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric.

“The UN and its partners are helping the Government and the local community respond to the situation by providing food, shelter, health care and water, among other means of support. The UN and the Government are also urgently looking at solutions to allocate land to accommodate the new arrivals. The scale and speed of the influx of people from Myanmar has overwhelmed capacity on the ground and additional resources are needed. Aid agencies have prepared a preliminary response plan of $77 million to deliver urgent, life-saving assistance to over 300,000 new arrivals.”

Arms deal “needs universal support” to halt damaging illicit trade

The illegal arms trade has a hugely damaging impact across the world, but a new international treaty could limit that, through greater transparency.

That’s the consensus among Member States taking part in a high-level conference on the issue at the UN in Geneva.

To date, 92 states are party to the Arms Trade Treaty, which came into force less than three years ago.

It covers all conventional arms transactions, from aircraft carriers to small weapons.

Ambassador Klaus Korhonen of Finland is President of the Third Conference of States Parties of the Arms Trade Treaty (CSP3 of the ATT).

He said that the treaty had been a success so far, but needed universal support.

“We have a constant dialogue also with the biggest exportersthe United States, the Russian Federation and China. What I might add is that many of the big countries outside this treaty, their domestic arms transfer control is fully compatible with this treaty but we would like to have them in this treaty so that we can all together and agree on common norms.”

The push for universal coverage was echoed by Peter Maurer, President of UN-partner the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

He warned that arms transfers “are at their highest levels” since the end of the Cold War � and that they continue to feed terrorists and conflicts in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, as well as organised crime in the Americas.

UN relief efforts continue in Hurricane Irma-affected countries

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and its country offices in the Caribbean have developed a rapid response plan to help millions affected by powerful Hurricane Irma.

The so-called Regional Recovery Strategy includes debris and trash removal; immediate short-term job opportunities; the restoration of damaged infrastructure and local business aid.

UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric again.

“The temporary training and employment for affected women and men aims to quickly inject cash in affected communities, tools, equipment, technical capacity of professionals such as engineers and architects. The strategy also entails training and support to community-based micro and small businesses to help resume economic activities.”

Mr Dujarric added that UNDP had deployed crisis recovery experts to the region, ready to provide immediate assistance.

Other humanitarian workers have been deployed to the hard-hit island of Turks and Caicos, as well as Antigua and Barbuda.

Meanwhile, the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, is trying to get 3 million chlorine tablets to support water purification efforts in Cuba, which is suffering from record flooding after its northern coast was lashed by Category 5 winds.

Source: United Nations Radio