peak food

UN rights experts warn against arms exports to Israel

A statement released Feb. 23 by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on behalf of United Nations rights experts warns countries against the transfer of war material to Israel, as such transfers could constitute violations international humanitarian law if weapons are used contrary to the Geneva Conventions. The statement asserts that "states must accordingly refrain from transferring any weapon or ammunition—or parts for them—if it is expected, given the facts and past patterns of behaviour, that they would be used to violate international law."

Gaza humanitarian response: 'convenient illusion'

In a message delivered Feb. 22 to the UN Security Council, the head of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Christopher Lockyear, said that the "illusion" of a humanitarian response in Gaza "perpetuates a narrative that this war is being waged in line with international laws." The already low volume of aid being delivered to Gaza has collapsed in recent weeks, despite Israel having been ordered by the International Court of Justice to enable the provision of humanitarian assistance. The World Food Program announced Feb. 20 that it had suspended aid deliveries to northern Gaza—where the suffering is most extreme—because of the dissolution of public order and the absense of conditions that allow for safe distributions. A new report from the Gaza Health Impact Projections Working Group estimates that, even in the best-case scenario of an immediate permanent ceasefire, there will be more than 6,500 excess deaths in Gaza over the next six months due to the catastrophic food, shelter, sanitation, and healthcare situation in the enclave. If the status quo of ongoing bombardment continues, the projections rise to between 58,200 and more than 74,000 deaths. Reports are beginning to emerge of children dying of hunger.

Farmers' march on Delhi met with repression

Amnesty International released a statement Feb. 14 decrying the Indian government's disproportionate restrictions on the right to peaceful protest instated to quell the "Dilli Chalo" (on to Delhi) farmers protest. In response to farmers' cross-country mobilization to protest agricultural policies, Indian authorities imposed limitations on group gatherings, erected barricades along the route of the march, and used tear-gas and rubber bullets against the farmers.

Netanyahu orders 'evacuation' of southern Gaza

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the Israeli military on Feb. 9 to draw up plans for the "evacuation" of Palestinians from Rafah in southern Gaza as it prepares to launch a full-scale assault on the area. Where people would be evacuated to—and how—remains unclear. Over one million Palestinians forcibly displaced by Israel's military campaign—now entering its fifth month—have been pushed into Rafah. Aid groups warn that there is nowhere left for people to flee to. People in Rafah are already experiencing disease and starvation, with aid operations struggling to meet even basic needs. A ground invasion would "exponentially increase what is already a humanitarian nightmare," UN Secretary-General António Guterres said.

Ethiopian regions battle starvation

Nearly 400 people have died of starvation in Ethiopia's Tigray and Amhara regions in recent months, according to the national ombudsman. It's a rare admission of hunger-related deaths by a federal body—the government normally dismisses famine warnings as "politicking." Despite the lifting in November of a nationwide food aid freeze imposed by USAID and the World Food Program over large-scale government-run food thefts, just 14% of 3.2 million people targeted for food relief in Tigray received rations last month. There have reportedly been technical problems over fitting GPS trackers to food trucks and putting QR codes on ration cards. A lack of money is also an issue: the UN called on donors last month to urgently ramp up funding to avoid a catastrophe in the coming few months in Tigray, Amhara, Afar, Oromia, and southern Ethiopia, where around 4 million people need immediate food aid.

What UNRWA funding suspensions mean for Gaza

UNRWA, the UN's agency for Palestine refugees, was plunged into crisis on Jan. 26 when Israel accused 12 of its Gaza employees of involvement in Hamas' deadly Oct. 7 attack into Israel, which touched off a devastating, now nearly four-month-long war.

Urgent action needed to prevent starvation in Gaza

After more than 100 days of war and Israeli siege, every single person in Gaza is hungry, and a quarter of the population—or around 500,000 people—is starving, UN experts warned on Jan. 16. The aid response is falling short of what is needed to prevent a deadly combination of hunger, malnutrition, and disease, four UN agencies said, calling for a "fundamental step change in the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza." Without it, deaths from starvation and disease could soon surpass the already staggering toll from bombardment and combat, which has reached nearly 25,000 people, according to health authorities in Gaza.

Houthis vow to continue attacks on Red Sea shipping

Senior Houthi official Mohammed Al-Bukaiti issued a statement Dec. 19 saying the Yemeni armed movement would not stop its military operations in the Red Sea unless Israel stops what he referred to as "genocide crimes" in Gaza and allows humanitarian aid to enter the Strip. The move comes despite the US announcement of a new naval coalition to counter the attacks.

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