More than 25 million children between 6 and 15 years old, or 22 per cent of children in that age group, are missing out on school in conflict zones across 22 countries, according to a UNICEF report issued today. South Sudan has the highest rate at almost 72 per cent, followed by Chad and Afghanistan.
The World Food Programme airlifted life-saving food supplies to drought-stricken Somalia today, for the most vulnerable people, particularly children. A Boeing 747 arrived in Mogadishu carrying 47 metric tons of high-energy biscuits, as well as critical medical supplies on behalf of the World Health Organization.
The United Nations Support Mission in Libya is following with great concern the tense situation in and around Tamanhint, where intermittent fighting continues to be reported. They are deeply worried about the impact of the heightened violence on the lives of people in the south of Libya.
United Nations investigators in the Democratic Republic of the Congo confirmed the existence of at least 17 further mass graves in Kasai-Central Province, where soldiers have clashed with the local Kamuina Nsapu militia, which brings to 40 the number of graves documented by the United Nations since August 2016.
The International Organization on Migration reports that nearly 9,000 migrants were rescued over the past long weekend by individual NGOs and by the international flotilla in the Mediterranean Sea. The rescued migrants were mostly Africans, but there was also a large number of people from Bangladesh.
Twelve of the 17 staff members previously barred from returning have arrived in Laayoune, and an additional one is expected today, the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) reports. Administrative procedures for the return, reassignment or retirement of the remaining four are under way.
The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) reports extensive damage in western Mosul, Iraq, with more than 1,000 homes destroyed. Humanitarian Coordinator Lise Grande says the damage in western Mosul is already far greater than that in the east, even before the battle to retake the Old City begins.
The number of children used in “suicide” attacks in the Lake Chad Basin conflict has surged to 27 in the first quarter of 2017, compared to nine over the same period last year, according to UNICEF, which states, in a report released today, that the increase reflects an alarming tactic by the insurgents.
The International Organization for Migration warned today that hundreds of migrants are being held under “slave market” conditions in North Africa. Describing the situation as “dire”, the agency also reported several cases in which migrants have been kidnapped in exchange for ransom.
Today, the Secretary-General will designate Malala Yousafzai as a United Nations Messenger of Peace, with a special focus on girls’ education. A global advocate for girls’ education and Nobel Peace Laureate, she will become the youngest-ever Messenger and the first to be designated by the current Secretary-General.
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