WFP official applauds UN resolution against starvation as weapon in war

Source: Xinhua| 2018-05-25 07:14:21|Editor: Lu Hui
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UNITED NATIONS, May 24 (Xinhua) -- An official of the World Food Programme (WFP) on Thursday applauded a newly adopted UN Security Council resolution that condemns the use of starvation of civilians as a method of warfare.

At a press conference at the UN headquarters in New York, Muhannad Hadi, the WFP's Regional Director for the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and East Europe, said he welcomes the resolution and looks forward to celebrating it with the people he serves.

In the past seven to eight years, the people who became food insecure are mainly results from armed conflict in the Middle East, he said.

In Yemen alone, the WFP is reaching more than 7 million people in need of food aid, he said, while recalling the shocking scenes he saw during his trip about 10 days ago to the country.

The WFP is addressing the needs of over 4 million Internally Displaced Persons in Syria as well as close to 2 million in its neighboring countries, he added.

Hadi pledged the WFP "has the intention to continue supporting these people until the conflicts are ending," noting women and children are in most need.

Put forward by Cote d'Ivoire, Kuwait, the Netherlands and Sweden, Thursday's resolution urges states to conduct investigations within their jurisdiction into violations of international humanitarian law related to the use of starvation of civilians as a method of warfare.

The majority of food insecure people and 75 percent of all stunted children under the age of five are living in countries affected by armed conflict, amounting to 74 million people facing food insecurity or worse conditions, according to the UN.

The WFP said on its website that of the 13 largest food crises in the world today, 10 crises in Afghanistan, Burundi, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen are conflict-related.

In this light, the resolution recalls the link between armed conflict and food insecurity and recognizes the need to break the vicious cycle between them.

Echoing this, the WFP website quoted its executive director David Beasley as saying "the Security Council vote is a huge step forward in the effort to break the cycle of conflict and hunger."

To this end, the resolution calls on all parties to armed conflict to spare civilian objects including those necessary for food production and distribution such as farms, markets, water systems, mills, food processing and storage sites and so on.

It further urges all parties to protect civilian infrastructure critical to the delivery of humanitarian aid and to ensure the proper functioning of food systems and markets in situations of armed conflict.

In addition, the resolution requests UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to continue to provide information on the risk of famine and food insecurity in countries with armed conflict, and to brief the Security Council every 12 months on its implementation.