Sudan/South Sudan; North Korea; Afghanistan; “Born too Soon” report; and more

Sudan/S. Sudan: The Security Council today adopted a unanimous resolution calling on Sudan and South Sudan to immediately end hostilities and resume negotiations within two weeks to resolve all outstanding issues, and voiced its intention to take appropriate measures if the parties do not comply.

The Council decided that the two countries shall, among other measures, “immediately cease all hostilities; unconditionally withdraw all of their armed forces to their side of the border; activate, within one week, the necessary border security mechanisms; and immediately cease hostile propaganda and inflammatory statements in the media”.

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, outgoing president of the Council, stated: “The United States welcomes today’s adoption of resolution 2046, which underscores the Security Council’s strong and unanimous support for the Roadmap for peace between Sudan and South Sudan, as laid out by the African Union’s Peace and Security Council.

North Korea:
The United Nations is penalizing three North Korean companies involved in the country’s missile and nuclear programs. The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, says the Security Council sanctions include freezing the assets of the three “very significant” entities. She said the Security Council views the sanctions as “strong and credible.”

The Sahel:
At least one million children are at risk of dying of malnutrition in the central-western part of Africa’s Sahel region due to a drought crisis, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said today, adding that more resources are urgently needed to help those in need.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affair (OCHA), the food and nutrition crisis facing countries in the Sahel has continued to deteriorate at an alarming rate this year, despite commendable early response efforts by governments and international aid agencies. The worsening food shortages and malnutrition have been compounded by conflict and insecurity.

The head of the United Nations refugee agency today urged the international community to back a new regional strategy aimed at improving conditions for Afghan refugees in neighboring countries and supporting those who wish to return to their country.

The “solutions strategy” contains a package of measures aimed at supporting refugees, and tailored towards the specific needs of each of the three countries hosting them. Implementation of the strategy will cost an estimated $1.9 billion and support from donors will be crucial for its success.

UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, Shamsul Bari, today urged Somalia’s authorities to restore a legitimate justice system in the capital, Mogadishu, and in the country’s southern and central regions, with assistance from the international community.

Mr. Bari voiced concern over what he described as “total collapse of the institutions for law enforcement and the administration of justice,” especially in Mogadishu and the south-central region. He pointed out that threats, intimidation and attacks against judicial personnel are an almost daily occurrence in those areas and that the lack of personnel, equipment, infrastructure and poor professional training had made the judiciary in Somalia a “virtually paralyzed entity.”

Born Too Soon:
Some 15 million babies worldwide – more than one in ten births – are born too early, according to a new United Nations-backed report, released today, which calls for steps such as ensuring the requisite medicines and equipment and training health staff to promote child survival.

“All newborns are vulnerable, but preterm babies are acutely so,” says Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who wrote the foreword to the report, entitled Born Too Soon: The Global Action Report on Preterm Birth. The report points out that more than one million preterm babies die shortly after birth, while countless others suffer some type of lifelong physical, neurological, or educational disability, often at great cost to families and society.

The report also offers an agenda and action plan for all groups concerned with preterm birth and child health, ranging from the UN and governments at all levels to donor countries to global philanthropic institutions and civil society.