Religious solidarity appeal & other topics – Daily Briefing (13 April 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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    – Secretary-General’s Appeal
    – Middle East
    – COVID-19/Children
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    – Libya
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    – COVID-19/Comoros
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    During the weekend, as Christians celebrated Easter and Jews marked Passover, and with Ramadan about to begin soon, the Secretary-General made a special appeal to religious leaders of all faiths to join forces to work for peace around the world and focus on our common battle to defeat COVID-19.
    He said that this is a time like no other, as we are all seeking to navigate a strange, surreal world. A world of silent streets. Shuttered storefronts. Empty places of worship. And a world of worry.
    He said, “Let us all take inspiration from the essence of these holy occasions as moments for reflection, remembrance and renewal.” As we reflect, he added, let us spare a special thought for heroic health workers on the frontlines battling this awful virus – and for all those working to keep our cities and towns going.
    He also called on all to remember the most vulnerable of the vulnerable around the world – those in war zones and refugee camps and slums and all those places least equipped to fight the virus.

    The Secretary-General’s envoys for the Middle East, in a joint statement also issued over the weekend, recalled his appeal on 23 March for an immediate Global Ceasefire, and added that too many in the Middle East have endured conflict and deprivation for far too long.
    The envoys jointly called on all parties in the region to engage, in good faith and without preconditions, on negotiating immediate halts to ongoing hostilities, sustaining existing ceasefires, putting in place more durable and comprehensive ceasefires, and achieving longer-term resolutions to the persistent conflicts across the region. They also appealed to all to exercise maximum restraint, reach out across conflict lines and facilitate humanitarian access and called for special attention to the plight of the detained, the abducted and the missing.
    The envoys said that their teams will continue to focus on preventive diplomacy, on assisting all efforts to respond to the health and socio-economic consequences of the crisis, support broad cooperation in the interest of peace and the well-being of all, work relentlessly to facilitate humanitarian access to the most vulnerable, and engage resolutely for these objectives.
    In a separate statement, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov said that he was concerned about the socio-economic consequences of the COVID-19 health crisis on the Palestinian people, particularly vulnerable communities in Gaza. If current trends continue, the damage to the Palestinian economy will be substantial. In that context, he welcomed Prime Minister Shtayyeh’s announcement of an emergency budget aimed at keeping public spending to a minimum.

    Full Highlights:

    In This Story: Comoros

    The Comoros, officially the Union of the Comoros, is an island country in the Indian Ocean located at the northern end of the Mozambique Channel off the eastern coast of Africa. It shares maritime borders with Madagascar and the French region of Mayotte to the southeast, Tanzania to the northwest, Mozambique to the west, and the Seychelles to the northeast.

    The capital and largest city in Comoros is Moroni. In addition, the religion of the majority of the population, and the official state religion, is Sunni Islam. As a member of the Arab League, the Comoros is the only country in the Arab world which is entirely in the Southern Hemisphere.

    At 1,861 km2 (719 sq mi), excluding the contested island of Mayotte, the Comoros is the fourth-smallest African nation by area. The population, excluding Mayotte, is estimated at 832,322 as of 2018.

    The Comoros became independent in 1975. The Comoros has a claim on southeasternmost Mayotte, though Mayotte voted against independence from France in 1974 and continues to be administered by France (currently as an overseas department). France has vetoed United Nations Security Council resolutions that would affirm Comorian sovereignty over the island. In addition, Mayotte became an overseas department and a region of France in 2011 following a referendum passed overwhelmingly.

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    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: Kazakhstan

    Kazakhstan, officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country mainly located in Central Asia with a smaller portion west of the Ural River in Eastern Europe.

    Kazakhstan is the world’s largest landlocked country. It has a population of 18.3 million residents, and has one of the lowest population densities in the world. Since 1997, the capital is Nur-Sultan, formerly known as Astana. It was moved from Almaty, the country’s largest city.

    Kazakhstan was the last of the Soviet republics to declare independence during the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

    Kazakhstan is the most dominant nation of Central Asia economically, generating 60% of the region’s GDP, primarily through its oil and gas industry. It also has vast mineral resources. Kazakhstan is a member of the United Nations (UN), WTO, CIS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Eurasian Economic Union, CSTO, OSCE, OIC, CCTS, and TURKSOY.

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  • In This Story: Libya

    Libya, officially the State of Libya, is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa, bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad to the south, Niger to the southwest, Algeria to the west, and Tunisia to the northwest.

    The sovereign state is made of three historical regions: Tripolitania, Fezzan and Cyrenaica. The largest city and capital, Tripoli, is located in western Libya and contains over three million of Libya’s seven million people. The second-largest city is Benghazi, which is located in eastern Libya.

    Libya became independent as a kingdom in 1951. A military coup in 1969 overthrew King Idris I. Parts of Libya are currently split between rival Tobruk and Tripoli-based governments, as well as various tribal and Islamist militias.

    Libya is a member of the United Nations (since 1955), the Non-Aligned Movement, the Arab League, the OIC and OPEC. The country’s official religion is Islam, with 96.6% of the Libyan population being Sunni Muslims.

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