On February 26 this year, 15 South Sudanese children were released from armed groups and handed over to civilian child protection actors, including UNICEF and UNMISS, UN’s peacekeeping operation in South Sudan, who were able to facilitate the children’s safe return to their families.
While simultaneously suffering from the coronavirus pandemic, flooding and a locust crisis, Somalia, could well see a rise in the number of people who are susceptible to human trafficking.
Crises make us think smaller. When everything is uncertain, we turn inward: to our families, our communities, the immediate needs around us. We focus on the essential and the immediate; we survive.
Despite all the preoccupation with the current raging pandemic, it sadly appears that there has been no let-up in the global arms race among the major powers. In mid-May, the United States President Donald Trump, at an event for his new Space Force at the White House made a significant announcement, It was that the US was building right now an “incredible” new missile which would travel faster than any other in the world “by a factor of almost three”. This was obviously a response to the latest Russian ‘Avangard’ missile, which Russian President Vladimir Putin claims in invincible, with a speed of twenty times that of sound. The Chinese, reportedly are also feverishly working on their own hypersonic counterparts. All these would be strategic tools to significantly alter the war-fighting capabilities of humanity in the future.
Consider this. 24 women, children and babies were murdered at a hospital in Kabul, the Afghan capital. Even by standards of a country as accustomed to bloodshed as Afghanistan, the May 12 attack on a Kabul maternity clinic was an event of unmitigated horror
Hunger and food insecurity continue to rise. The official 2019 statistics refer to 821 million people suffering from hunger all over the world. According the recently launched Global Report on Food Crises
, there are further 135 million people facing crisis levels of hunger or worse. WFP
estimates that due to the impacts of COVID19, additional 130 million people could be pushed to the brink of starvation by the end of 2020. This means a total increase of 265 million people. If there will be no appropriate and urgent actions, “we could be facing multiple famines of biblical proportions within a short few months
”, said David Beasley, WFP Executive Director, addressing the UN Security Council on 21st April.
It was only when 17-year-old Eva Muigai was in her final trimester that her family discovered she was pregnant. Muigai, a form three student who lives with her family in Gachie, Central Kenya, had spent her pregnancy wearing tight bodysuits and loose-fitting clothes that hid her growing baby bump.
It is easy to generalize about migration. Populist politicians often portray migrants as strangers and ”our” homeland as a stable entity, rooted in an old agricultural society. When they do so they tend to forget that most of us are in fact migrants who have left that traditional farming community far behind and if it was not we who did so, it was our ancestors.
Earlier this year, just before the coronavirus virtually shut down international travel, I sat under a mesquite tree and listened to a rambling speech by a South Sudanese general at a military base outside of the capital, Juba.
"We all knew that [Aung San Suu Kyi] was put on a pedestal or portrayed as the icon of democracy and human rights, but ever since [her party] has taken office [after the 2015 election] and ever since she took the office of the State Councillor, all of her actions and her words, statements point otherwise", noted Professor Yanghee Lee, in one of her last conversations with Al Jazeera as the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in Burma. "Perhaps the world didn't really know who she was", she said.
When the United States and China signed the First-Phase of their Trade Agreement in January this year, President Donald Trump called it a “momentous step”, and the world believed they had stepped back from a dangerous brink. But, alas, to cite an idiom that is so current today, it was but a ‘false positive’. As the globe reels from the surgoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is possible that the rapid deterioration of US-China relationship can become one of the worst side-effects of this raging virus.
Remittances that support millions of households in Latin America and the Caribbean have plunged as family members lose jobs and income in their host countries, with entire families sliding back into poverty, as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis and global economic recession.
A single mother, Mai (name changed) had the responsibility of providing for her young son and grandparents, who had brought her up in a poor rural province in southern Vietnam’s Mekong Delta. While she was looking for employment, somebody approached her on social media with an offer of a high-paying job in China. When she arrived in China, she was sold into a forced marriage.
The World Health Organization (2019) states that every 40 seconds someone dies by suicide
. Annually, this represents over 800,000 people
, more than the number of people who die in conflict and by homicide put together. Every suicide is a tragedy that has long-lasting effects on the people left behind and most cases stem from prolonged mental health issues and abuses that are not reported.
Aged 17, Moe Turaga was saddled with the responsibility of providing for his mother and young siblings when a family member approached him with the promise of a job and education in Australia. Dreaming of a bright future for himself and his family, he seized the opportunity and left the protective confines of his home in Fiji, only to find himself trapped in modern slavery on a remote agriculture farm in the state of Victoria.
US President Donald Trump’s battle with the World Health Organization (WHO) hides two important issues. One, the long running love-hate relationship between the US and the UN, and two, a better understanding of how global public health is governed and in the overall context of global governance.
“Are you a senior medical executive with expertise in healthcare management with oversight of clinical services and occupational health at a facility, state, national or international level? The United Nations Secretariat is seeking a Medical Director at the D-2 level in the Department of Operational Support,” an ad posting on the UN’s job portal reads.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, we estimated that 75 million children and youth - of whom 39 million are girls - were not able to access a quality education in countries impacted by armed conflicts, forced displacement, natural disasters and climate change-induced emergencies. The impact of COVID-19 has both globally and exponentially deepened the already existing critical education crisis.
Malawi is not doing enough to enforce its laws on human trafficking, resulting in a number of cases against perpetrators being dismissed by the courts, according to a local rights group. But local officials say that this Southern African nation — one of the poorest countries in the world — just doesn’t have the financial resources to do so.