World News in Brief: Millions battle hunger due to Sudan war, human rights essential to peace, surge in fighting along Ukraine frontline


At least 25 million people are struggling with soaring rates of hunger and malnutrition as the crisis arising from the war in Sudan sends shockwaves around the region, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) warned on Monday. 

Thousands of families continue to be displaced and forced across borders into Chad and South Sudan each week while fighting between Government forces and the powerful RSF militia, which erupted last April, continues.

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WFP Regional Director Michael Dunford said the crisis impacting Sudan, South Sudan and Chad has created “the world’s largest displacement crisis”.

Acute food insecurity

He added that the mostly women and children crossing the border have no resources of their own.

There are 18 million acutely food insecure people within the country, and around 3.8 million Sudanese children under five are malnourished.

Most are trapped in areas of active fighting where WFP and other aid agencies are struggling to maintain consistent access.

Human rights must guide transition to ‘durable peace’ in South Sudan

South Sudan’s leaders must carefully navigate the period of transition towards “durable peace”, preventing further violence and gross human rights violations, the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan said on Monday.

The UN Human Rights Council-appointed independent investigators have just carried out their 12th visit to the country.

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Yasmin Sooka, Chairperson of the Commission, said it was essential for Juba to create a unified national army and transitional justice processes to deal with the root causes of the conflict.

“Our investigations have found that the violence and gross human rights violations continue with impunity, with women and children being the main target of these crimes,” she said.

Independence of the judiciary and joint security arrangements with constitutional support “are essential to avoid a return to conflict following elections”.

She noted that with elections due in December, none of the processes agreed under the 2018 Revitalized Agreement “were even close to completion”.

“South Sudan’s leaders must end the political and local conflicts and contestations that have brought so much pain and suffering to the people and invest in State and nation building grounded in respect for diversity, and the protection of human rights,” said Commissioner Barney Afako.

In the capital, Juba, commissioners held discussions with the President, the First-Vice President, senior cabinet ministers and legislators. They also engaged with civil society, victims and survivors, human rights defenders, and journalists.

Peacekeeping chief in Juba

And the head of UN Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, is in South Sudan for a joint visit to the region with Hanna Serwaa Tetteh, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Horn of Africa.

The focus of the visit is on assessing progress made on the peace process and the preparations underway for the upcoming elections.

Arriving in Juba on Sunday, Mr. Lacroix said the visit was an expression of the UN family’s solidarity with the country.

‘Surge of hostilities’ in Ukraine: UN aid coordination office

There was a surge in fighting across the frontline in Ukraine over the weekend, leading to an uptick in civilian casualties, the UN Spokesperson said on Monday, citing UN aid coordination office OCHA. Civilian infrastructure was also hit.

“In the Donetsk Region, in the east, local authorities reported at least a dozen civilian casualties and damage to more than 150 homes and civilian facilities…including a school”, said Stéphane Dujarric, briefing reporters in New York.

In the Kharkiv Region, also on the eastern front, intensified fighting led to more civilian casualties and damage to homes, along with three education facilities and a medical institution, according to local authorities.

Mr. Dujarric said that humanitarian organizations are mobilized and have provided materials for emergency repairs to homes hit during the intensified fighting.  

“Meanwhile, we, along with our partners, are supplying the response to address the impact of oil spillage on water sources in Kharkiv City”, he added, following a strike on an oil storage facility in that area on 9 February.

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