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UN chief condemns ‘ongoing military coup’ in Sudan  – The Maravi Post

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Long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir was overthrown by the military following months of popular protest in April 2019, and a transitional government was set up comprising both military and civilian leadership, after a power-sharing agreement, that was due to lead to full democratic elections in 2023. 

Now, according to news agencies, Sudan’s military has dissolved civilian rule, arrested political leaders and declared a state of emergency. Protesters have reportedly taken to the streets of the capital, Khartoum, and there are reports of gunfire. 

In a statement posted on Twitter, the Secretary-General said that “there must be full respect for the constitutional charter to protect the hard-won political transition.” 

The UN will continue to stand with the people of Sudan”, Mr. Guterres assured. 

Progress in jeopardy 

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights also condemned the attempted coup. 

“These actions threaten the Juba Peace Agreement and jeopardize the important progress made towards democracy and respect for human rights”, Michelle Bachelet said. 

She called on military authorities to abide by the constitutional order and international law, withdraw from the streets, and resolve any differences with civilian leaders serving on the Transitional Council through dialogue and negotiation. 

“I utterly deplore the reported arrest of the Prime Minister, several Ministers, leaders of the Forces of the Freedom and Change and other civil society representatives, and call for their immediate release”, she continued.  

Communication systems down 

Ms. Bachelet also pointed out reports that the internet is down in the country and other means of communication are suspended.  

Blanket internet shutdowns contravene international law, and Internet and mobile services must be restored, as they are essential for people to seek and receive information, particularly in these unsettling circumstances”, she explained.  

She asked military and security forces to refrain from unnecessary and disproportionate use of force, to respect people’s freedom of expression, as well as the right of peaceful assembly. 

According to her, “it would be disastrous if Sudan goes backwards after finally bringing an end to decades of repressive dictatorship.” 

“The country needs to move forward to consolidate democracy, a wish expressed countless times by the Sudanese people, including loudly and clearly on the streets last week and today”, she added.  

UN Mission 

The head of the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission Sudan (UNITAMS), also released a statement, declaring that the arrests of the Prime Minister, government officials and other politicians are “unacceptable.”  

“I call on the security forces to immediately release those who have been unlawfully detained or placed under house arrest”, Volker Perthes said. “It is the responsibility of these forces to ensure the security and wellbeing of people in their custody.”  

The UNITAMS chief, who acts as a Special Representative of the Secretary-General, also urged everyone involved to exercise the utmost restraint.  

“All parties must immediately return to dialogue and engage in good faith to restore the constitutional order”, Mr. Perthes concluded. 

More to come on this breaking news story… 

Sourced from United Nations Africa Pages

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Football champion Didier Drogba appointed WHO Ambassador for Sports and Health – The Maravi Post

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Football legend Didier Drogba was today announced as the World Health Organization’s Goodwill Ambassador for Sport and Health. Drogba, from Côte d’Ivoire, will support WHO to promote the Organization’s guidance on the benefits of physical activity and other healthy lifestyles, and highlight the value of sports, particularly for youth.

Mr Drogba, well known for his football career at Chelsea and as a two-time African Footballer of the Year (2006 and 2009), has a long track record of participating in various health campaigns such as healthy lifestyles, anti-malaria and HIV prevention and control.

“I am honoured to team up with the World Health Organization and support its work to help people reach the highest level of health possible, especially young people in all countries,” said Mr Drogba during his ambassadorship announcement event at WHO’s Geneva headquarters. “I have benefited first hand from the power of sports to lead a healthy life and I am committed to working with WHO to share such gains worldwide.”

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, hailed Mr Drogba as not only a football legend but a dedicated advocate for the health and sustainable development of communities, and added that his support for WHO can help curb the growing burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) through the promotion of healthy lifestyles, including the benefits of physical activity and sports for all people.

“Didier is a proven champion and game changer both on and off the pitch,” said Dr Tedros. “We are pleased to have him playing on our team, and helping communities worldwide reach and score goals through sports for their physical and mental health and well-being. He will also support the mobilization of the international community to promote sports as an essential means for improving the physical, mental health and social well-being of all people, including in helping COVID-19 recovery efforts.”

Current global estimates show four in five adolescents, and one in four adults, do not do enough physical activity. Increased physical inactivity also negatively impacts health systems, the environment, economic development, community well-being, and quality of life. Regular physical activity, including through sports, helps lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and various types of cancer (including breast cancer and colon cancer).

Mr Drogba’s announcement as a WHO Goodwill Ambassador was made during a ceremony to launch the “Healthy 2022 World Cup – Creating Legacy for Sport and Health” partnership between Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health and its Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, WHO and world football’s governing body, FIFA.

Mr Drogba joins other WHO ambassadors including champion Brazilian footballer Alisson Becker;  Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and three-term Mayor of the City of New York; Cynthia Germanotta, President of the Born This Way Foundation; and former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Sourced from WHO

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WHO’s 10 calls for climate action to assure sustained recovery from COVID-19 – The Maravi Post

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Countries must set ambitious national climate commitments if they are to sustain a healthy and green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The WHO COP26 Special Report on Climate Change and Health, launched today, in the lead-up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, spells out the global health community’s prescription for climate action based on a growing body of research that establishes the many and inseparable links between climate and health.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on the intimate and delicate links between humans, animals and our environment,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “The same unsustainable choices that are killing our planet are killing people. WHO calls on all countries to commit to decisive action at COP26 to limit global warming to 1.5°C – not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s in our own interests. WHO’s new report highlights 10 priorities for safeguarding the health of people and the planet that sustains us.”

The WHO report is launched at the same time as an open letter, signed by over two thirds of the global health workforce – 300 organizations representing at least 45 million doctors and health professionals worldwide, calling for national leaders and COP26 country delegations to step up climate action.

“Wherever we deliver care, in our hospitals, clinics and communities around the world, we are already responding to the health harms caused by climate change,” the letter from health professionals reads. “We call on the leaders of every country and their representatives at COP26 to avert the impending health catastrophe by limiting global warming to 1.5°C, and to make human health and equity central to all climate change mitigation and adaptation actions.”

The report and open letter come as unprecedented extreme weather events and other climate impacts are taking a rising toll on people’s lives and health. Increasingly frequent extreme weather events, such as heatwaves, storms and floods, kill thousands and disrupt millions of lives, while threatening healthcare systems and facilities when they are needed most. Changes in weather and climate are threatening food security and driving up food-, water- and vector-borne diseases, such as malaria, while climate impacts are also negatively affecting mental health. 

The WHO report states: “The burning of fossil fuels is killing us. Climate change is the single biggest health threat facing humanity. While no one is safe from the health impacts of climate change, they are disproportionately felt by the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.”

Meanwhile, air pollution, primarily the result of burning fossil fuels, which also drives climate change, causes 13 deaths per minute worldwide.

The report concludes that protecting people’s health requires transformational action in every sector, including on energy, transport, nature, food systems and finance. And it states clearly that the public health benefits from implementing ambitious climate actions far outweigh the costs.

“It has never been clearer that the climate crisis is one of the most urgent health emergencies we all face,” said Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director of Environment, Climate Change and Health. “Bringing down air pollution to WHO guideline levels, for example, would reduce the total number of global deaths from air pollution by 80% while dramatically reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that fuel climate change. A shift to more nutritious, plant-based diets in line with WHO recommendations, as another example, could reduce global emissions significantly, ensure more resilient food systems, and avoid up to 5.1 million diet-related deaths a year by 2050.”

Achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement would save millions of lives every year due to improvements in air quality, diet, and physical activity, among other benefits. However, most climate decision-making processes currently do not account for these health co-benefits and their economic valuation.   

Notes to editors:

WHO’s COP26 Special Report on Climate Change and Health, The Health Argument for Climate Action, provides 10 recommendations for governments on how to maximize the health benefits of tackling climate change in a variety of sectors, and avoid the worst health impacts of the climate crisis.

The recommendations are the result of extensive consultations with health professionals, organizations and stakeholders worldwide, and represent a broad consensus statement from the global health community on the priority actions governments need to take to tackle the climate crisis, restore biodiversity, and protect health.

Climate and Health Recommendations

The COP26 report includes ten recommendations that highlight the urgent need and numerous opportunities for governments to prioritize health and equity in the international climate regime and sustainable development agenda.

  1. Commit to a healthy recovery. Commit to a healthy, green and just recovery from COVID-19.
  2. Our health is not negotiable. Place health and social justice at the heart of the UN climate talks.
  3. Harness the health benefits of climate action. Prioritize those climate interventions with the largest health-, social- and economic gains.
  4. Build health resilience to climate risks. Build climate resilient and environmentally sustainable health systems and facilities, and support health adaptation and resilience across sectors.
  5. Create energy systems that protect and improve climate and health. Guide a just and inclusive transition to renewable energy to save lives from air pollution, particularly from coal combustion. End energy poverty in households and health care facilities.
  6. Reimagine urban environments, transport and mobility. Promote sustainable, healthy urban design and transport systems, with improved land-use, access to green and blue public space, and priority for walking, cycling and public transport.
  7. Protect and restore nature as the foundation of our health. Protect and restore natural systems, the foundations for healthy lives, sustainable food systems and livelihoods.
  8. Promote healthy, sustainable and resilient food systems. Promote sustainable and resilient food production and more affordable, nutritious diets that deliver on both climate and health outcomes.
  9. Finance a healthier, fairer and greener future to save lives. Transition towards a wellbeing economy.
  10. Listen to the health community and prescribe urgent climate action. Mobilize and support the health community on climate action.

Open Letter – Healthy Climate Prescription

The health community around the world (300 organizations representing at least 45 million doctors and health professionals) signed an open letter to national leaders and COP26 country delegations, calling for real action to address the climate crisis.

The letter states the following demands:

  • “We call on all nations to update their national climate commitments under the Paris Agreement to commit to their fair share of limiting warming to 1.5°C; and we call on them to build health into those plans;
  • We call on all nations to deliver a rapid and just transition away from fossil fuels, starting with immediately cutting all related permits, subsidies and financing for fossil fuels, and to completely shift current financing into development of clean energy;
  • We call on high income countries to make larger cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, in line with a 1.5°C temperature goal;
  • We call on high income countries to also provide the promised transfer of funds to low-income countries to help achieve the necessary mitigation and adaptation measures;
  • We call on governments to build climate resilient, low-carbon, sustainable health systems; and
  • We call on governments to also ensure that pandemic recovery investments support climate action and reduce social and health inequities.”

Sourced from WHO

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Series of appalling deadly attacks on displaced people in DR Congo – The Maravi Post

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In the latest incident carried out by armed groups, UNHCR spokesperson Boris Cheshirkov cited local authorities in saying that 26 people were killed on Sunday at Ndjala site in the Drodro health zone in Ituri province.

“Ten women and nine children were among the dead and 11 people were wounded. The attackers used guns, machetes and knives”, he told journalists at the UN in Geneva. 

Since 19 November, this is the fourth attack on IDPs in Ituri Province – host to 1.7 million displaced people.

‘Shocked, outraged’

UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the DRC David McLachlan-Karr expressed his anger, saying, “I am shocked, outraged and deeply saddened by these repeated attacks on civilians who are forced to leave their homes to seek safety from the violence”.

“It is imperative to protect these populations. I reiterate that these women, men and children must be allowed to live in peace”, he underscored.

The UN official reminded that the attacks are “violations of international humanitarian law and the 2009 Kampala Convention on IDPs”.

“They must stop immediately. I don’t want to count anymore the number of attacks that these vulnerable people are already enduring”, he said.

Humanitarian aid is being deployed rapidly to assist them.

On 21 November, a militia group attacked Drodro, another site for displaced people, leaving 44 dead and over 1,200 shelters destroyed. The also attacked a site at Tché, wrecking almost 1,000 shelters, according to authorities. 

As many as 20,000 inhabitants fled to Rhoe, seeking safety near the military base of the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), which doubled in size from 21,000 to 40,500 in under 48 hours – forcing the newly arrived families to sleep in the open.

The main needs are food, shelter, health care and psychosocial assistance. 

Insecurity rife

On 14 November, in the country’s east, an armed group attacked a displaced people’s site at Mikenge town in South Kivu, killing six children and a pregnant woman while wounding eight others by machetes and bullets.

The inhabitants fled and their shelters were destroyed. 

The attacks, which stem in part from inter-communal tensions, compound problems faced by people who are internally displaced.

The theft of livestock, which often accompanies the raids, deepens economic insecurity and the violence adds to the distress of people who have been forced to flee their homes at least once. It also instills fear in local populations. 

Staggering numbers

A staggering 5.6 million people have been forced to flee their homes in the DRC, an increase of 400,000 people compared to early 2021.

While the majority live among host communities, more than 330,000 are sheltered in displacement sites.

“UNHCR calls on all parties to respect the civilian and humanitarian character of displacement sites, where both IDPs and the local population are being attacked in their homes…[and] to ensure access to the locations so that humanitarian actors can provide essential assistance”, said Mr. Cheshirkov.

The UN refugee agency is seeking further financial support for its underfunded operations to better support IDPs.

“We have received just 52 per cent of the $204.8 million required to provide life-saving assistance to people of concern in DRC”, the UNCHR spokesperson updated the journalists. 

Sourced from United Nations Africa Pages



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