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UN requests $4.7 billion for 21 million internally displaced persons in Nigeria, Chad, others

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To help 20.9 million vulnerable people in various parts of Nigeria, Chad, and five other African countries, humanitarian partners would require $4.7 billion, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Its 2024 Humanitarian Needs and Requirement Overview report, posted on its website on Thursday, revealed this. Africa’s Sahel region divides tropical savannas to the south from the Sahara Desert to the north. It includes Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, and Chad.

To guarantee that the region’s humanitarian response plans can be completely executed by the end of the year, the OCHA asked the international community to provide liberally.

According to the UN agency, a complex and interconnected web of crises made worse by instability, a deteriorating security situation, and the consequences of climate change harm the lives of 32.8 million people throughout the Sahel.

The message went on to say that they now needed protective services and humanitarian aid due to the event. It stated that increasing levels of violence and conflict in the Sahel are endangering people’s lives and means of subsistence, driving families from their homes and limiting their access to essential social services.

The UN reported that 7.9 million people in Nigeria’s Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states are in need, but with the necessary $926.5 million in funds, the organization will focus on 4.4 million people.

It also revealed that the region is home to two million refugees and asylum seekers in addition to 5.6 million internally displaced people, many of whom have experienced multiple displacements, and that 2.2 million children in the area were denied their right to an education as a result of school closures. Additionally, 1,263 health centres are closed.

“Humanitarian partners require US$ 4.7 billion in 2024 to meet the urgent needs of 20.9 million people in Burkina Faso, Cameroon’s Far North Region, Chad, Mali, Niger, and Nigeria’s Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.

“The OCHA is warning that lives are at risk unless humanitarians are given the resources needed to respond to these crises and support the region’s most vulnerable people,” the report read.

According to the research, as of 30 April 2024, Burkina Faso and Nigeria had more than 2.1 million internally displaced people apiece, making them the countries with the largest numbers.

“Of the 7.6 million total displaced people as of 30 April 2024, 5.6 million were internally displaced persons. Across West and Central Africa, more than half of all refugees and asylum seekers are children. Burkina Faso and Nigeria host the highest number of internally displaced persons with over 2.1 million each as of 30 April 2024, while Chad hosts the highest number of refugees and asylum seekers with 1.2 million as of the same date. The resurgence of conflict in Sudan has already driven more than half a million Sudanese to seek refuge in neighbouring Chad, and this number is likely to increase further unless the situation there stabilizes,” it said.

Musings From Abroad

UN joins Sudan’s warring sides with Israel, Hamas in global list of child rights violators

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The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, on Wednesday, added the Palestinian militant groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the Israeli armed forces, and the warring parties in Sudan to an annual global list of entities that violate children’s rights and are responsible for the deaths and injuries of children in 2023.

In a report to the U.N. Security Council, Guterres also denounced Hamas and Islamic Jihad for kidnapping children and the armed forces of Israel and Sudan for targeting hospitals and schools.

In addition, the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces—which have been engaged in combat with the Sudanese military since April of last year—were accused of raping and abusing minors, targeting hospitals and schools, and recruiting and exploiting youngsters.

Last year, a civil war broke out in Sudan between the Sudanese Army (SAF) and the rebel Rapid Support Forces (RSF) which has caused the biggest refugee crisis in the history of the world. In the past few days, the U.N. has been worried that the RSF might soon attack al-Fashir in Sudan’s North Darfur area.

Six serious violations are covered in the study, which was put together by Virginia Gamba, Guterres’ envoy for children and armed conflict. These include attacks on hospitals and schools, sexual assault, kidnapping, recruitment and usage, and killing and maiming.

The list that is included with the report tries to put parties to disputes to shame in the hopes that it would force them to take action to protect children. It only covers transgressions that the UN has confirmed.

“In 2023, violence against children in armed conflict reached extreme levels, with a shocking 21% increase in grave violations,” the report read. “The number of instances of killing and maiming increased by a staggering 35%.”

“The highest numbers of grave violations were verified in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar, Somalia, Nigeria and Sudan,” found the report, describing verification as “extremely challenging.”

After being put to the list last year, Russia’s armed forces and allied groups were still there for targeting hospitals and schools in Ukraine, killing and maiming children. A request for a response was not immediately answered by Russia’s U.N. mission; however, Moscow has consistently denied that it has targeted civilians since its invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

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Musings From Abroad

US asks Kenya to strengthen anti-wildlife trafficking laws

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As talks to negotiate a new trade agreement between the two countries heat up, the United States wants Kenya to enforce stricter laws protecting the environment and conserving natural resources.

The US is requesting more commitments from Kenya to fortify environmental protection laws and regulations, with a particular emphasis on natural resource conservation, in the third and most recent set of proposed texts in the targeted trade agreement.

“The proposed text includes provisions to address air quality, marine litter, and plastic pollution, to combat wildlife trafficking, to promote sustainable forest management, to conserve marine species, and to prevent the loss of biodiversity,” the office of the US Trade Representative wrote in the summary of its proposals on environment chapter.

“The proposed text also includes provisions on fisheries-related matters, such as addressing illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and fisheries subsidies that contribute to overfishing and overcapacity.”

In the aftermath of Washington’s introduction of additional texts on combating wildlife trafficking, reducing pollution, and tackling unregulated fishing, the teams negotiating a new trade agreement between Kenya and the US will hear opinions from interested parties.

Groups and individuals will have the chance to offer their opinions on the controversial sections of the proposed US-Kenya Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership during the virtual public engagement event. This has happened during a period of protests by some lobby groups about the Kenyan side’s lack of openness and public involvement.

Lobbies in the agriculture sector such as Kenya Small Scale Farmers Forum and Poultry Breeders Association of Kenya (PBAK) have publicly complained to Kenya’s Trade Ministry for failing to disclose draft texts they have tabled before their American counterparts.

The Trade Department has cited a “confidentiality agreement” with the American negotiators for not sharing the draft text, according to the groups.

“It is inconceivable that draft texts with far-reaching sectoral and economy-wide ramifications can be deemed confidential and hence deny industry players the opportunity to promote and protect their interests during the text-based negotiations,” PBAK wrote in a memorandum to Trade Principal Secretary Alfred K’Ombudo.

Conversely, Washington has been using the USTR’s office to release a synopsis of the texts they are negotiating with Kenya. Between August and September of 2022, the agency solicited public opinions on the planned agreement with Kenya from American stakeholders.

Following their discussions in Washington last month, the negotiating teams are gathering in Mombasa this week for their sixth round of negotiations.

The sixth round of negotiations will centre on advancing and supporting climate change and environmental goals, supporting workers’ rights, improving customs process efficiency, and cooperating on enforcement.

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