Ukraine nuclear power plant update, DR Congo flood response, impact of US terrorism designations — Global Issues

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi took stock of the safety and security situation at the plant as part of ongoing efforts to help prevent a nuclear accident during the ongoing war.

Russian forces seized control of ZNPP – Europe’s largest nuclear plant – shortly after the launch of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine nearly two years ago.

Mr. Grossi noted that there had been no shelling since last May, when the UN Security Council established the five concrete principles for the protection of the plant.

The principles state, among others, that there should be no attack of any kind from or against the nuclear plant.

However, Mr. Grossi warned against any complacency towards the very real dangers that persist, recalling that the ZNPP is located on the frontline and came under fire several times in 2022.

The plant has also lost all off-site power eight times, most recently in December, forcing temporary reliance on emergency diesel generators to provide the power needed to cool its reactors and maintain other important nuclear safety and security functions.

UN aid chief allocates $6 million for DR Congo flood response

As the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to grapple with devastating flooding, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths this week allocated $6 million from the Organization’s core humanitarian fund to support the response, his office reported on Thursday.

Heavy rains that began in December caused the Congo River to rise to levels not seen in more than 60 years, triggering catastrophic flooding.

More than two million people across 18 out of the country’s 26 provinces have been affected, and nearly 60 per cent are children.

Flood waters have reportedly destroyed or damaged almost 100,000 homes, more than 1,300 schools, and some 267 health facilities. Crops have spoiled in waterlogged fields, sparking fears of food shortages in some places.

The allocation from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) will support nearly 400,000 people in areas such as health, food security, shelter, and protection.

US terrorism sponsor designation impacts human rights, experts warn

The United States must review its domestic framework that triggers sanctions against countries designated as State Sponsors of Terrorism (SST), independent experts appointed by the UN Human Rights Council said on Thursday.

Currently four countries – Cuba, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Iran and Syria – are on the US State Department’s SST list.

The experts said the unilateral designation “goes against the fundamental principles of international law, including the principle of sovereign equality of States, the prohibition to intervene into domestic affairs of states and the principle of peaceful settlement of international disputes.”

Furthermore, fundamental human rights “are negatively affected by the additional restrictions and prohibitions triggered by SST designations”.

The process through which the designation is made is also unclear and non-transparent, they added.

The experts have previously raised concerns on the negative impact of over-compliance with the US Government.

They said additional restrictions and unilateral sanctions create a chilling effect, blocking access to designated countries.

“This all-encompassing isolation of the State designated as a sponsor of terrorism may negatively affect the delivery of essential goods, including food, medicine, medical equipment and other supplies, including humanitarian goods under UN Security Council humanitarian resolutions,” they warned.

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