World News in Brief: Weapons sales threat, More aid for Haiti, global refugee and migrant survey


Delivering remarks in New York on behalf of the Secretary-General at a meeting aimed at eradicating the illicit trade in small arms, Izumi Nakamitsu, the head of the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs, warned on Tuesday that military expenditures continue to rise across the globe.

New conflicts are placing millions of people in the line of fire, and small arms and light weapons play a major role in these conflicts, she said.

Death merchants

In fact, “small arms are the leading cause of violent deaths globally, and are the weapon of choice in nearly half of all global homicides.” 

She said the situation is only worsening as new developments in the manufacturing, technology, and design of small arms – including 3D printing – make their illegal production and trafficking increasingly prevalent. 

The Secretary-General’s New Agenda for Peace policy brief recognises the importance of small arms control in preventing conflict and building peace. It makes recommendations to strengthen regional, national, and global control efforts on both the supply and demand side. 

Mr. Guterres is calling for bolder recommendations to bolster the Agenda’s framework, particularly around new and emerging technologies, weapons-diversion, gender and international cooperation and assistance. 

“A peaceful and sustainable future depends on addressing the threat of small arms and light weapons,” said Ms. Nakamitsu.

Aid flights arrive in Haiti

Two cargo flights organized through the UN World Food Programme (WFP) have landed in Haitian capital Port-au-Prince carrying 55 tonnes of medicine, shelter and hygiene materials, the UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq said on Tuesday. Briefing reporters in New York he said the supplies would be used to assist displaced people and to prepare for the hurricane season.

A WFP-chartered cargo plane being unloaded of its 15 MT of desperately needed medical supplies at the Toussaint Louverture International Airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

The Caribbean island nation has been convulsed by gang-led violence and upheaval, leading to a socio-economic crisis and a political vacuum, although a newly-appointed Government is trying to stabilize the humanitarian situation aided by the UN and partners.

Millions of meals

WFP’s school meals programme has now distributed some 30 million meals across the country since the start of the current school year, said Mr. Haq. Of these, nearly 17 million meals have been provided through its programme that supports local farmers. 

“As we previously said, the education sector has been severely impacted by the recent violence, with more than 200,000 children and 4,000 teachers affected in the Ouest and Artibonite departments. Across the capital, 39 schools have also been transformed into displacement sites and have therefore stopped functioning as schools.”

Since 8 June, UN children’s agency UNICEF and the Haitian education ministry have started running classes and courses to compensate for classes which had to be abandoned over the past few months across 30 centers in Port-au-Prince. 

Stark variations in attitudes to migrants, asylum seekers: UNHCR

Attitudes to refugees are hardening in some Western countries, but three in four people continue to believe that those fleeing war or persecution should be able to seek safety in other countries.

That’s according to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, which on Tuesday published the findings of a global survey into how asylum seekers and refugees are viewed in the Global North and South.

The UNHCR poll conducted with Ipsos found that 73 per cent of people in 52 countries agreed that people “should be able to take refuge in other countries, including their own”.

But the data showed that support for providing refuge has fallen “in a number of countries” from the high levels in 2022, in the aftermath of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

People surveyed in countries with a long tradition of hosting vulnerable newcomers such as Uganda and Kenya were generally more optimistic about refugee integration – but some major hosts and Western countries were “less positive” – the UN agency said.

UNHCR explained that although one in three people believed that refugees would positively contribute to their country’s labour market, economy and culture, the same number held the opposite view.

The UN agency survey also revealed concerns about the impact of refugees on national security and public services, notably in countries with large refugee populations, the UN agency said, ahead of World Refugee Day on Thursday.

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