Myanmar’s Coup Crisis Persists; Global Bias Against Older People; Vietnam Is in Charge

This Week @UN, our summary highlighting the most important news from Turtle Bay.

by Ivana Ramirez. Read more on PassBlue.

Mahamat Saleh Annadif, the head of the UN mission in Mali, said of the recent massive assault on Chadian peacekeepers: “The vigorous response shown by the peacekeepers based in Aguelhok following the complex terrorist attack of this morning, April 2, deserves to be written down in gold letters in the history of UN operations.”
  • Spokesperson’s briefing: Four peacekeepers from Chad were killed and 34 injured on April 2, when the contingent repelled a three-hour attack against their camp in the Kidal region of northern Mali. A total of eight peacekeepers, all African, have been killed in the Mali mission, Minusma, this year. (On April 6, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the head of UN peacekeeping, told the Security Council that the attack by a “heavily armed group” happened at 6:15 A.M. local time and the Chadean contingent “roundly defeated the attackers.” An AFP report says that the head of Minusma “counted more than 40 dead terrorists, including a right-hand man to Iyad Ag Ghaly, by the name of Abdallaye Ag Albaka,” adding that Ag Ghaly led the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM) in the Sahel, affiliated with Al Qaeda.)
  • “In a recently released letter to the U.S. government, human rights officials at the United Nations backed Indigenous activists in Guam and expressed concern over the United States’ ongoing military presence in the territory. Activists representing Guam’s Chamorro people have decried America’s continued control and increased militarization on the island since claiming it as a territory in 1898, after the Spanish-American War,” Huffington Post reports.
  • Spokesperson’s briefing: Secretary-General António Guterres virtually addressed the leaders’ dialogue on the Africa Covid-Climate Emergency, convened by the African Development Bank and the Global Centre for Adaption. He reiterated the five actions needed to remedy the emergency, including increased funding from G7 members and integrating climate risk policies into investment decisions. A reporter asked who in the vast UN network of agencies is looking into the development of vaccine passports. Response: “The global issue of public health is one in the hands of WHO.”
  • A report released by the World Food Program indicated that the number of people affected by high acute food insecurity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is estimated at 27.3 million, or one in three people, including nearly seven million people grappling with emergency levels of acute hunger. Large amounts of hunger are driven by conflict in the region.
  • The deputy spokesperson for Volkan Bozkir, the president of the General Assembly, detailed some aspects of the PGA’s first trip overseas in his UN role, as he travels to Turkey (his home country), Qatar and Azerbaijan. Amy Quantrill told the media that Bozkir is in Ankara, where he met with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and “lauded Turkey for its strong support to the United Nations; for its active and visible role in the General Assembly; and for hosting more refugees than any other country.” In Doha, Bozkir is “expected to be received by the Emir of the State of Qatar.” (On April 9, Bozkir met with the foreign minister of Azerbaijan, discussing “cooperation” between the country and the UN. Azerbaijan and Armenia broke into a brief war last fall, with the former mostly triumphant.)
In 2019, thousands of people of various ethnic groups met in Brasília, the capital of Brazil, to defend Indigenous people. The 2018 Escazú agreement guaranteeing the right of people to a healthy environment is gaining space in Latin America, but Brazil is an outlier. LEOPOLDO SILVA/AGÊNCIA SENADO
  • “A UN tribunal in Tanzania has denied a request for early release by a man considered the mastermind of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda that left some 800,000 dead,” The Inquirer reports. Today was the 27th anniversary of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.
  • The US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, issued a readout of a call with Michelle Bachelet, the UN high commissioner for human rights, in which the US envoy “raised the United States’ deep concern over the human rights situations in Burma, China, Ethiopia, Venezuela, and Yemen, and the importance of holding accountable those who commit human rights violations and abuses.” Some diplomats raised eyebrows at the US’ listing such prominent human-rights problems in one fell swoop; others saw the readout reflecting the determination by the US to re-involve itself in the Human Rights Council. President Trump withdrew the US from it in 2018.
  • A captured “ehm” moment, uttered by Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, raged on Twitter when she and Charles Michel, European Union Council president, were meeting with President Erdogan of Turkey and there was no chair set up for her, despite her being more senior than Michel.
  • According to Al Jazeera, the Food and Agriculture Organization reported that world food prices rose for a 10th consecutive month in March, hitting their highest level since June 2014, led by jumps in vegetable oils, meat and dairy indices.
  • Lieut. Gen. Marcos De Sá Affonso Da Costa of Brazil is the new force commander for the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Monusco. He succeeds another Brazilian, Lieut. Gen. Ricardo Augusto Ferreira Costa Neves.
  • A UN Security Council presidential statement was agreed on, urging mine action in cease-fire and peace agreements, through an effort led by Vietnam.

Independent Coverage the United Nations. A project of The New School’s Studley Graduate Program in International Affairs, supported by the Carnegie Corporation.

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