Controversy in Iran over its Absence at UN Meeting on Rohingya

Rohingya refugees carry a man after traveling over the Bangladesh-Myanmar border in Teknaf, Bangladesh, September 1, 2017. (Reuters)
Rohingya refugees carry a man after traveling over the Bangladesh-Myanmar border in Teknaf, Bangladesh, September 1, 2017. (Reuters)
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Controversy in Iran over its Absence at UN Meeting on Rohingya

Rohingya refugees carry a man after traveling over the Bangladesh-Myanmar border in Teknaf, Bangladesh, September 1, 2017. (Reuters)
Rohingya refugees carry a man after traveling over the Bangladesh-Myanmar border in Teknaf, Bangladesh, September 1, 2017. (Reuters)

Iran’s absence from a United Nations meeting to vote on condemning the persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar has stirred controversy in the country.

Iran has once again found itself in a defensive position after it was accused of double standards in addressing the Rohingya crisis.

Tehran rejected on Tuesday accusations against it, saying that it did not attend Sunday’s UN vote because of the “politicization” of the international organization’s human rights committee.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi blamed his country’s absence on “technical” issues, revealing that Tehran had relayed its stance on the Rohingya in a message to the UN general secretariat.

The UN human rights committee had issued several resolutions condemning human rights abuses in Iran.

Qassemi’s remarks did not help resolve the controversy in Iran over the Rohingya vote and the issue made headlines across the country on Tuesday.

The absence raised questions about the Iranian government’s stance on the Myanmar government and Rohingya, with media accusing Tehran of double standards.

Iran enjoys trade ties with Myanmar and the government has repeatedly ignored parliament calls to sever these ties.

The UN General Assembly on Sunday put forward a resolution, calling on Myanmar to end its crackdown against the Rohingya. The resolution, proposed by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, was adopted by a vote of 122 to 10 with 24 abstentions.



Drive to End Global Hunger Has Stalled, United Nations Warns

A goal to eliminate global hunger by 2030 looks increasingly impossible to achieve today -(Reuters)
A goal to eliminate global hunger by 2030 looks increasingly impossible to achieve today -(Reuters)
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Drive to End Global Hunger Has Stalled, United Nations Warns

A goal to eliminate global hunger by 2030 looks increasingly impossible to achieve today -(Reuters)
A goal to eliminate global hunger by 2030 looks increasingly impossible to achieve today -(Reuters)

A goal to eliminate global hunger by 2030 looks increasingly impossible to achieve, with the number of people suffering chronic hunger barely changed over the past year, a UN report said on Wednesday.

The annual State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report said around 733 million people faced hunger in 2023 -- one in 11 people globally and one in five in Africa -- as conflict, climate change and economic crises take their toll.

David Laborde, director of the division within the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) which helps prepare the survey, said that although progress had been made in some regions, the situation had deteriorated at a global level.

"We are in a worse situation today than nine years ago when we launched this goal to eradicate hunger by 2030," he told Reuters, saying challenges such as climate change and regional wars had grown more severe than envisaged even a decade ago.

If current trends continue, about 582 million people will be chronically undernourished at the end of the decade, half of them in Africa, the report warned.

A broader objective to ensure regular access to adequate food has also stalled over the past three years, with 29% of the global population, or 2.33 billion people, experiencing moderate or severe food insecurity in 2023.

Underscoring stark inequalities, some 71.5% of people in low-income countries could not afford a healthy diet last year, against 6.3% in high-income countries.

While famines are easy to spot, poor nutrition is more insidious but can nonetheless scar people for life, stunting both the physical and mental development of babies and children, and leaving adults more vulnerable to infections and illnesses.

Laborde said international aid linked to food security and nutrition amounted to $76 billion a year, or 0.07% of the world's total annual economic output.

"I think we can do better to deliver this promise about living on a planet where no one is hungry," he said.

Regional trends varied significantly, with hunger continuing to rise in Africa, where growing populations, myriad wars and climate upheaval weighed heavily. By contrast, Asia has seen little change and Latin America has improved.

"South America has very developed social protection programs that allows them to target interventions so they can effectively move out of hunger in a very fast way," said FAO's chief economist Maximo Torero.

"In the case of Africa, we have not observed that."

The United Nations said the way the anti-hunger drive was financed had to change, with greater flexibility needed to ensure the countries most in need got help.

"We need to change how we do things to be better coordinated, to accept that not everyone should try to do everything but really be much more focused on what we are doing and where," said Laborde.

The report is compiled by the Rome-based FAO, the UN's International Fund for Agricultural Development, its Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization and World Food Program.