Daily Briefing (21 August 2020)

About This Source - United Nations

The United Nations (UN) was established after World War II with the aim of preventing future wars. The organization is financed by assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states.

The UN’s chief administrative officer is the Secretary-General, currently Portuguese politician and diplomat António Guterres, who began his five year-term on 1 January 2017.


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    – Victims of Terrorism
    – Mali
    – Lebanon/Humanitarian
    – Lebanon/Peacekeeping
    – Yemen
    – Ebola
    – Burkina Faso
    – COVID-19/South Sudan
    – Latin America


    This morning, the Secretary-General said that the third commemoration of the International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism takes place while the world is in turmoil.

    Vital services for victims, such as criminal justice processes and psychological support, have been interrupted, delayed or ended while governments focus their attention and resources on fighting the pandemic.

    This includes the first UN Global Congress of Victims of Terrorism, which has been postponed to next year because of the virus.

    Despite that, the Secretary-General said, it is important to keep a spotlight on important issues.

    He said the UN will continue to support Member States’ efforts to draft and adopt legislations and national strategies to help victims, adding a call to move forward on the establishment of a voluntarily funded programme to support Member States to provide long-term, durable assistance to victims.

    Victims should remind us every day of the importance of our counter-terrorism efforts, he concluded. Let us put in place measures that uphold their rights to justice, protection, support and rehabilitation, so they can rebuild their lives better, he said.

    Also speaking at the conference was Mr. Voronkov, the Under Secretary-General and head of the Counter-terrorism department.


    Yesterday evening, a team of UN Human Rights Officials from the Peacekeeping Mission gained access to President Keita, as well as other detainees, held by the mutineers since Tuesday. The Mission continues to closely monitor the situation and reports that Bamako remains relatively calm, with no major security incidents, despite the ongoing rally in support of the recent days’ events. The UN Mission reports that the CNSP, which is the Comité National pour le Salut du Peuple – has ordered Mali’s borders to be reopened, including the airport. Two UN flights took off today. We repeat our call to reject violence, to respect the rule of law and to preserve the rights of all Malians, including those of the President and the senior Government officials who remain in detention.

    In Northern Mali, the UN Mission reports that intercommunal riots and looting took place in Gao overnight. Peacekeepers are on high alert as they patrol the city. The Mission is also reinforcing its good offices and meeting community leaders to prevent an escalation of violence.

    The UN can confirm that the MINUSMA logistics convoy hit by an improvised explosive device in the Gao region, and came under attack by unidentified assailants. Four UN Peacekeepers were injured, but others successfully repelled the attack and the Mission was able to successfully carry out medical evacuations for the injured.


    The first shipment of 12,500 metric tons of wheat flour from the World Food Programme was offloaded at the port in the Beirut today. The shipment will help to stabilize national bread prices and supplies. WFP has also distributed food for some 3,600 people.

    The World Health Organization has distributed 25 tonnes of personal protective equipment to 25 hospitals receiving both trauma and COVID-19 cases in Beirut and surrounding areas.

    The UN Refugee Agency has distributed more than 2,500 shelter kits.

    For its part, the UN Children’s Fund and its partners are engaging more than 1,100 young people, including Palestinian volunteers, to clean and rehabilitate homes.

    As of today, the $565 million appeal for Lebanon is 8 per cent funded, with a total of $43 million received. This amount is likely to increase as Member States continue to report their contributions.

    The High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, has just wrapped up a four-day visit to Lebanon. He reaffirmed UNHCR’s immediate support to the more than 100,000 people who were severely impacted by the blasts in Beirut.

    During his visit, he saw the devastating impact of the blast and met with Lebanese and refugee families. He also called on the international community to continue their generous support and stand by the people of Lebanon at this trying time.

    Full Highlight: https://www.un.org/sg/en/content/noon-briefing-highlight?date%5Bvalue%5D%5Bdate%5D=21%20August%202020

    In This Story: Burkina Faso

    Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in West Africa that covers an area of around 274,200 square kilometres (105,900 sq mi) and is bordered by Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo, Ghana, and Ivory Coast.

    The July 2019 population estimate by the United Nations was 20,321,378. Previously called Republic of Upper Volta (1958–1984), it was renamed “Burkina Faso” on 4 August 1984 by President Thomas Sankara. Its citizens are known as Burkinabé, and its capital is Ouagadougou.

    Due to French colonialism, the country’s official language of government and business is French, but this language is spoken by approximately only 10-15% of the population. There are 59 native languages spoken in Burkina, with the most common language, Moore, spoken by roughly 50% of Burkinabé.

    The Republic of Upper Volta was established on 11 December 1958 as a self-governing colony within the French Community and on 5 August 1960 it gained full independence.

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  • In This Story: COVID-19

    Covid-19 is the official WHO name given to the novel coronavirus which broke out in late 2019 and began to spread in the early months of 2020.

    Symptoms of coronavirus

    The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

    • a persistent new cough (non productive, dry)
    • a high temperature (e.g. head feels warm to the touch)
    • shortness of breath (if this is abnormal for the individual, or increased)

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  • In This Story: Lebanon

    Lebanon, officially known as the Lebanese Republic, is a country in the Levant region of Western Asia, and the transcontinental region of the Middle East.

    The official language, Arabic, is the most common language spoken by the citizens of Lebanon. Its capital is Beirut.

    Lebanon was a founding member of the United Nations in 1945 and is a member of the Arab League (1945), the Non-Aligned Movement (1961), Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (1969), and the Organisation internationale de la francophonie (1973).

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  • In This Story: Mali

    Mali, officially the Republic of Mali, is a landlocked country in West Africa. Mali is the eighth-largest country in Africa, with an area of just over 1,240,000 square kilometres. The population of Mali is 19.1 million. 67% of its population was estimated to be under the age of 25 in 2017. Its capital is Bamako.

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