News in Brief 01 November 2017 (AM)

“Staggering” violence against babies and children worldwide: UNICEF

“Staggering numbers” of children are being attacked and abused around the world, often in their own homes, according to a new report published by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Wednesday.

Worldwide, three-quarters of children are regularly subjected to violent discipline by their caregivers.

The report entitled A Familiar Face: Violence in the lives of children and adolescents, shows that babies as young as 12 months are being abused on a regular basis.

Here’s Claudia Capper, author of the UNICEF report, briefing journalists by phone ahead of the launch.

“Around 50 per cent of children as young as aged one, experience corporal punishment and aggression by their caregivers.”

Among the detailed findings are that around 300 million 2 to 4-year-olds experience psychological aggression or physical punishment at home, while around 15 million adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 have either been raped or forced into sex acts.

Globally, an adolescent is killed by a violent act every seven minutes.

More “clean energy” vital to combat “catastrophic” warming: UN chief

The world needs greater clean and renewable energy supplies to combat the current “catastrophic” level of global warming, said the UN chief on Wednesday.

Antonio Guterres was speaking at a symposium on how global energy interconnects with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), organized by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).

The Secretary-General described energy as “the golden thread” that connects all of the SDGs.

“Modern energy services are integral to poverty reduction, food security, public health and quality education for all. They are the key to sustainable industrialization, healthier more efficient cities and � of course � successful climate action. Despite this understanding, the world is still far from achieving the vision of Sustainable Development Goal 7, of affordable and clean energy for all.”

The UN chief said it was imperative that parties to the Paris Agreement on climate change work harder to meet the target of keeping global warming to “well below” 2 degrees Celcius.

At the moment, he added, the world was on track for a “catastrophic” rise of 3 degrees, or more.

He said the symposium could help provide answers to the challenge of leaving no-one behind, enshrined in the ambitious SDGs.

Return of Gaza crossings to Palestinian Authority a “landmark” development

The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process on Wednesday called the “full return” of Gaza crossings to the Palestinian Authority a “landmark” development.

Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, agreed in a recent reunification deal brokered in Cairo, to return border crossings with Gaza to the Palestinian Authority, which is run by Fatah in the West Bank, by 1 November.

Coordinator Nickolay Mladenov stressed in a statement that the positive momentum should be maintained, saying “the Palestinian Government must be fully empowered to function in Gaza”.

“The return of the crossings should facilitate the lifting of the closures, while addressing Israel’s legitimate security concerns, and unlock increased international support for Gaza’s reconstruction, growth, stability and prosperity,” he added.

Reiterating the importance of maintaining security and ending militant activities in Gaza, Mr Mladenov said the UN will continue to work with the Palestinian leadership, Egypt and the whole region.

“This process is critical for reaching a negotiated two-state solution and sustainable peace,” he said.

Source: United Nations Radio