ReliefWeb Latest Reports for Country Office

Niger: Mr. Ibn Chambas concludes his visit to Niger, “Our commitment is even stronger today. UNOWAS is committed to continue to support Niger and Sahel countries”

Niger - ReliefWeb News - 3 hours 36 min ago
Source: UN Office for West Africa Country: Niger

Niamey, 26 May 2016- As part of his tour in the Sahel region, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, ended his two-day visit to Niger.

The objective of this first leg of his visit to the G5 Sahel countries was to exchange views with the authorities of Niger on the situation in the Sahel region and to inform about the role of the new United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), established following the merger of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA) and the Office of the Special Envoy of the United Nations for the Sahel (OSES).

During his visit, Mr. Ibn Chambas met with the President of the Republic of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou; the Minister of Defense Mr. Massoudou Hassoumi; the Ministre Déléguée to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. El back Adam Zeinabou and the Minister of Finance, Mr. Seydou Sidibé. Mr. Ibn Chambas also met with representatives of the diplomatic corps and officials of the United Nations system.

Mr. Ibn Chambas reiterated the unwavering commitment of the United Nations, especially that of UNOWAS to continue its support to Niger and the countries of the region.

"Our commitment is even stronger today. UNOWAS is committed to provide the necessary support to Niger and the countries of the Sahel region, "said Mr. Ibn Chambas.

Mr. Ibn Chambas also stressed the importance of coordination between the countries of the Sahel region to better cope with the challenges that the region is experiencing.

In this regard, he stressed the importance of maintaining the commitment of everyone to continue to implement effectively, the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel.

For his part, the President of Niger expressed appreciation for the support provided by the United Nations, particularly in the last Presidential elections. He said that Niger as a member of G5 Sahel will continue to play an important role in promoting peace and stability in the region.

Mr. Ibn Chambas will travel tomorrow to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

Niger: Mr. Ibn Chambas concludes his visit to Niger, “Our commitment is even stronger today. UNOWAS is committed to continue to support Niger and Sahel countries”

Niger - ReliefWeb News - 3 hours 36 min ago
Source: UN Office for West Africa Country: Niger

Niamey, 26 May 2016- As part of his tour in the Sahel region, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, ended his two-day visit to Niger.

The objective of this first leg of his visit to the G5 Sahel countries was to exchange views with the authorities of Niger on the situation in the Sahel region and to inform about the role of the new United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), established following the merger of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA) and the Office of the Special Envoy of the United Nations for the Sahel (OSES).

During his visit, Mr. Ibn Chambas met with the President of the Republic of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou; the Minister of Defense Mr. Massoudou Hassoumi; the Ministre Déléguée to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. El back Adam Zeinabou and the Minister of Finance, Mr. Seydou Sidibé. Mr. Ibn Chambas also met with representatives of the diplomatic corps and officials of the United Nations system.

Mr. Ibn Chambas reiterated the unwavering commitment of the United Nations, especially that of UNOWAS to continue its support to Niger and the countries of the region.

"Our commitment is even stronger today. UNOWAS is committed to provide the necessary support to Niger and the countries of the Sahel region, "said Mr. Ibn Chambas.

Mr. Ibn Chambas also stressed the importance of coordination between the countries of the Sahel region to better cope with the challenges that the region is experiencing.

In this regard, he stressed the importance of maintaining the commitment of everyone to continue to implement effectively, the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel.

For his part, the President of Niger expressed appreciation for the support provided by the United Nations, particularly in the last Presidential elections. He said that Niger as a member of G5 Sahel will continue to play an important role in promoting peace and stability in the region.

Mr. Ibn Chambas will travel tomorrow to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

Côte d'Ivoire: La Côte d’Ivoire doit renforcer ses institutions des droits de l’homme avant le départ de l’ONUCI – expert de l’ONU

Côte d’Ivoire - ReliefWeb News - 3 hours 44 min ago
Source: UN Human Rights Council Country: Côte d'Ivoire

ABIDJAN / GENEVE (30 mai 2016) – Au terme de sa quatrième visite dans le pays du 23 au 28 mai 2016, l’Expert indépendant sur le renforcement de capacités et de la coopération technique avec la Côte d’Ivoire dans le domaine de droits de l’homme, M. Mohammed Ayat, a appelé la Côte d’Ivoire à s’approprier pleinement les fonctions de protection des droits de l’homme, notamment en renforçant les institutions nationales de promotion et de protection des droits de l’homme.

« Cette mission m’a permis d’évaluer les défis de la transition en vue du prochain départ de l’ONUCI. Il est important que les Ivoiriens soient prêts à prendre le relais en matière de protection des droits de l’homme, une fois la mission de l’ONU terminée en juin 2017. A ce titre, il est essentiel que les autorités réforment la Commission nationale des droits de l’homme de Côte d’Ivoire (CNDHCI) et la dotent des moyens nécessaires pour qu’elle puisse mener à bien son mandat et travailler en toute indépendance », a déclaré Mohammed Ayat.

« Je salue la création d’un Ministère des Droits de l’Homme et des Libertés Publiques. Il convient que ce ministère s’implique dans la réforme de la CNDHCI et la mise en œuvre de la loi sur la protection des défenseurs des droits de l’homme, une mesure cruciale pour permettre aux organisations de la société civile de jouer pleinement leur rôle », a ajouté l’expert.

M. Ayat s’est aussi félicité des progrès réalisés dans le domaine de la réconciliation nationale. « La création d’un Ministère de la Solidarité, de la Cohésion Sociale et de l’Indemnisation des Victimes est une avancée remarquable. Il en est de même de la continuation du dialogue entre tous les acteurs politiques », a-t-il souligné.

L’expert a aussi salué la remise le 19 avril 2016 au Président de la République, du rapport de la Commission Nationale pour la Réconciliation et l’Indemnisation des Victimes des Crises survenues en Côte d’Ivoire (CONARIV) et les directives données par celui-ci de procéder à sa publication ainsi qu’à celle du rapport de la Commission Dialogue, Vérité et Réconciliation (CDVR).

« Suite à la publication de la liste consolidée des victimes préparée par la CONARIV, la possibilité devrait être offerte aux victimes potentielles dont les noms ne figureraient pas sur cette liste pour diverses raisons, de faire recours auprès des autorités en vue d’obtenir la reconnaissance de leur statut de victime », a affirmé l’expert.

« Parallèlement à la réparation et à l’indemnisation des victimes, les poursuites judiciaires qui sont une composante majeure de la réconciliation, doivent continuer. Et dans cette perspective, je salue l’engagement des autorités judiciaires à assurer une justice équitable à toutes les victimes de la crise ivoirienne », a-t-il déclaré.

« La lutte contre l’impunité sera également essentielle pour prévenir les violences intercommunautaires, telles que celles survenues en mars dernier à Bouna et ses environs », a ajouté Mohammed Ayat.

Au cours de sa visite, l’expert indépendant a rencontré des membres du Gouvernement ivoirien et des représentants des organisations non gouvernementales et des associations de victimes. Il s’est également entretenu avec des représentants du corps diplomatique et de l’équipe pays de l’ONU en Côte d’Ivoire. Il a visité le Centre d’observation des mineurs (COM) à Abidjan et s’est rendu à Grand Bassam où il a rencontré les autorités municipales.

L’Expert présentera un rapport sur sa visite lors de la trente-deuxième session du Conseil des droits de l’homme à Genève, prévue en juin 2016.

M. Mohammed Ayat (Maroc), l’Expert indépendant sur le renforcement de capacités et de la coopération technique avec la Côte d’Ivoire dans le domaine de droits de l’homme, a été nommé par le Conseil des droits de l’homme dans sa résolution 26/32 avec un mandat qui a commencé le 1er décembre 2014. Son mandat a été renouvelé en juin 2015 pour une période d’un an.

Les experts indépendants font partie de ce qui est désigné sous le nom des procédures spéciales du Conseil des droits de l’homme. Les procédures spéciales, l’organe le plus important d’experts indépendants du Système des droits de l’homme de l’ONU, sont le terme général appliqué aux mécanismes d’enquête et de suivi indépendants du Conseil qui s’adressent aux situations spécifiques des pays ou aux questions thématiques partout dans le monde. Les experts des procédures spéciales travaillent à titre bénévole; ils ne font pas partie du personnel de l’ONU et ils ne reçoivent pas de salaire pour leur travail. Ils sont indépendants des gouvernements et des organisations.

Page du HCDH sur le pays – Côte d’Ivoire: http://www.ohchr.org/FR/Countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/CIIndex.aspx

Pour de plus amples informations et les demandes de la part des médias, veuillez contacter M. Martin Seutcheu (+41 22 928 9618 / mseutcheu@ohchr.org)

occupied Palestinian territory: Celebrations for the World Health Day continued for Palestine refugees

oPt - ReliefWeb News - 3 hours 53 min ago
Source: UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East Country: Jordan, Lebanon, occupied Palestinian territory, Syrian Arab Republic

Even before commemorating World Health Day 2016 on 7 April, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) started promoting a series of events to stimulate healthier lifestyles for students and staff across its schools and fields of operations, with the generous support of the United States. From physical exercise activities and drawing contests to monitoring school canteens for healthy foods and blood sugar testing, the activities and campaigns helped to raise awareness about these issues among over 190,000 Palestine refugees all while having some fun for the children.

“I liked the ‘Green Ball Game’ as it taught us how to keep healthy and clean. It was a very interesting game that we played together,” said 8-year-old Ahmad Abu Harb. “We learnt how to have healthy eating habits, types of healthy food, and also about the importance of exercising. This makes us feel better at school and everywhere”, added the pupil of Baqa’a Co-ed 1 school, in Jordan.

To lessen the impact of non-communicable diseases on individuals and society, including diabetes and hypertension, UNRWA is applying a comprehensive approach to reduce the risks associated with them. To achieve this goal, in March schools in Jordan and Syria launched a two-month healthy lifestyle campaign. The initiative offered an opportunity to raise awareness among education staff, students, refugee communities, host governments, UNRWA partners and donors on how to promote a healthy school environment, as well as how to address health risk behaviours in order to better meet health goals.

“The healthy lifestyle campaign is a valuable resource for reducing the incidence and impact of health problems, for recovery, for coping with the stress of life for refugees, and for improving quality of life,” says Dr. Yassir Turki, the Health Communication and Community-Based Initiative Officer at UNRWA. “A healthy lifestyle is a way of living that lowers the risk factors of serious illness,” he adds.

Thanks to the generous support of the United States, hundreds of other activities were also promoted in Gaza, Lebanon and the West Bank, mobilizing thousands of people to raise awareness on World Health Day.

UNRWA has been providing health care for patients with diabetes and hypertension in its health centres since 1992. Diabetes care, for example, includes screening of high-risk groups, diagnosis and treatment. Treatment includes promoting a healthy lifestyle that includes nutritious food choices and medical assistance, such as medicine and insulin therapy.

occupied Palestinian territory: Gaza Situation Report 145, 17 - 24 May 2016

oPt - ReliefWeb News - 3 hours 59 min ago
Source: UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East Country: occupied Palestinian territory, Saudi Arabia

On 23 May the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) welcomed the decision to resume the private import of cement into Gaza. The suspension of private cement imports through the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism (GRM) lasted for nearly 45 days. The GRM is an essential tool for UNRWA’s self-help shelter repair and reconstruction programme which facilitates dual-use goods, like cement, for these repair and reconstruction works through private sector imports. Following the suspension, vendors asked UNRWA beneficiaries to pay NIS 1,800 per ton of cement, a more than three-fold increase of the price of 560 NIS per ton of cement prior to the suspension. This effectively prevented families from purchasing materials and forces the stoppage of their works; notwithstanding a three weeks’ worth of buffer stocks available in Gaza at the time of suspension according to the United Nations Office of Project Services (UNOPS). The suspension stalled the overall pace of reconstruction in Gaza for projects that are using the GRM. It is anticipated that the situation will require time to calibrate once the suspension of cement imports by the private sector through the GRM is lifted. UNRWA will resume the disbursement of first payments to eligible families recently cleared through the GRM once cement cost is again accessible at pre-suspension cost. During the suspension UNRWA continued to assist eligible families in the preparation of their documentation and to submit them to the GRM for clearance. The Palestinian Authority continued to upload families submitted by UNRWA to the system and UNRWA beneficiaries were being cleared by the Government of Israel.

On 23 and 24 May the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) took place in Istanbul. For the first time in the 70-year history of the United Nations, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has convened a World Humanitarian Summit. The United Nations Secretary-General has called for humanity—people’s safety, dignity and the right to thrive—to be placed at the heart of global decision-making. To achieve this, stakeholders need to act on five core responsibilities: prevent and end conflict, respect rules of war, leave no one behind, work differently to end need and invest in humanity. UNRWA’s contribution highlighted education as a major investment in dignity, human development and a measure of stability for Palestine refugees. Through education, UNRWA is able to look at young students not just as victims of conflict and injustice, but also actors of their own destiny, determined to make their contribution. UNRWA participation in the summit aims to give Palestine refugees themselves, particularly its youth, a platform to amplify their voice to bring attention to both their aspirations and their resourcefulness. One of those youths is Mohammed Al Kafarna, a Palestine refugee and ninth-grade student at the UNRWA Beit Hanoun Boys Prep school. Follow him in this 360 degree virtual reality clip as he walks home from school through Gaza scarred landscape. According to the UNRWA report Schools on the Front Line at least 83 UNRWA school buildings were damaged during the 2014 hostilities in Gaza and 90 school buildings were used as designated emergency shelters.

In April 2016, the Small and Medium Enterprise Training programme (SMET) delivered 7 training courses for 137 participants in "Training of Trainers" on Gender-Based Violence (GBV), "Financial Management", "Financial Auditing", "Strategic Planning", "Project Evaluation and Reporting" and "Effective Time Management and Communication". UNRWA Microfinance Department (MD) has been running the Small and Medium Enterprise Training programme since March 1995. SMET aims to help business owners manage their businesses effectively and efficiently to ensure business survival, development and success. Through the promotion of an entrepreneurial culture, and through its customized training, the programme wants to enable small and micro-entrepreneurs to increase their profits and adjust business approaches within a continuously developing context. It also provides fresh graduates, university students and professionals with different technical training, some of which focus on "Job Hunting", "Project Management" and "Gender Awareness". SMET utilizes the expertise of a pool of 50 trainers to provide its training courses. Since it was established in 1995 until April 2016, SMET has successfully delivered 1,172 courses for 25,292 participants, with an average participation rate of 22 trainees per course.

To celebrate International Day of the Midwife and International Nurses Day, UNRWA organized an event honouring the work and dedication of its midwives and nurses, on 19 May in north Gaza. The celebration took place over three weeks, during which small groups of midwives and nurses attended a training day on topics including updated medical protocols, child health, and counseling and communication skills. In total approximately 230 midwives and nurses attended a training day to exchange experiences and discuss lessons learned. UNRWA employs around 100 midwives, 174 practical nurses and 62 staff nurses working in 21 Health Centres across the Gaza Strip. Midwives work with women and their families, throughout the cycle of maternal health care, from preconception care (PCC), antenatal care (ANC), postnatal care (PNC) to family planning. Nurses work with families during the entire life cycle, providing support on out-patient primary health care. Their tasks are varied, from infant monitoring to follow-up on patients with non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension.

Preparations for this year’s Summer Fun Weeks (SFW) are in full swing. The SFW will take place between 23 July and 11 August in over 120 different locations across the Gaza Strip, including installations that facilitate the participation of children with special needs. Registration forms have been distributed and currently around 140,000 students have already registered. The SFW include sports activities such as football and basketball as well as popular games like trampolines, slides or sack races. Other activities such as handicrafts and drawing will also be offered. This year, different areas will have an area specific theme. In the northern area of the Gaza Strip, around Beit Hanoun and Jabalia, the focus will be on mental health in children’s overall well-being, since this area was one of the most affected by the 2014 hostilities. Gaza city’s theme is Reduce, Reuse, Recycle to raise awareness on the value of natural resources. In the Middle Area the spotlight will be on democracy and child parliaments. The children will have a chance to feel what it is like to be the United Nations Secretary-General, the Commissioner-General of UNRWA or the Director of UNRWA Operations during simulations of UN bodies and agencies. Khan Younis is going back to the roots exploring traditional Palestinian food and dabkah. In Rafah, southern Gaza, children will have their summer fun activities in English. They will be in contact with children across the globe to practice their language skills and exchange experiences. During the 2014 conflict, a total of 548 Palestinian children lost their lives and about 1,000 children were injured – some so badly that they will have to live the rest of their lives with disabilities. Thousands more were displaced. The unprecedented human, social and physical devastation during the July/August 2014 hostilities had thus a particular impact on children and many are still in need of psycho-social support. The UNRWA Summer Fun Weeks (SFW) are one of many efforts of the Agency to support refugee children’s psychosocial needs by providing them with a safe and fun place to play and the possibility to develop new friendships. But SFW will not only provide refugee children with a safe and fun place to play, it will also create approximately 2,200 short-term employment opportunities at the SFW as animators, location managers or cleaners through UNRWA’s Job Creation Programme.

During one of his regular outreach activities to the Gaza community, the Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza, Mr. Bo Schack, met with frontline staff, including the principal of the UNRWA Nuseirat Preparatory Girls B School, Ms. Fatma Abu-Shawish. During the meeting she proposed to start a pilot rooftop garden at the school. Currently the action plan and blueprints for the rooftop garden have been agreed upon by the stakeholders in the project, the UNRWA Chief Area Office - Middle Area, the school administration and the Maintenance Division in the Infrastructure and Camp Improvement Programme (ICIP). By the beginning of the new scholastic year, early September 2016, UNRWA is planning to inaugurate the garden. The garden would be maintained by the Agricultural Committee, formed by the school administration and including a number of the school’s 800 students. Gardening is a healthy way to release tension, it can help forge social bonds and teamwork, it offers an interactive opportunity for children to learn about nature and can contribute to the Gaza Strip’s urban agriculture. Land for agriculture is scarce in Gaza. Information from the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) shows that the 2014 summer hostilities destroyed more than 16203 dunums or 16 square kilometres, of arable land, greenhouses and irrigation systems. Moreover many agricultural facilities are located in the high-risk, access-restricted area near the perimeter fence separating Gaza from Israel. According to the 2012 United Nations Country Team’s joint report, Gaza in 2020: A liveable place?, the population in Gaza will increase to 2.13 million people, reaching a population density of 5,835 people per square kilometre. In the current political and economic situation basic infrastructure has difficulty meeting the growing population’s needs for electricity, water and sanitation. This is also reflected in Gaza’s inability to grow its own food.

On 17 May 250,118 (128,594 boys and 121,524 girls) UNRWA school students from grade 1 to grade 9 began taking their 2015/16 second semester final tests. The tests lasted for eight days with the first test on Technology and Computer and the last test, on 25 May, on English Language. The exams are school-based in terms of observation, marking and data entry. All morning shift school students take the same test model on a subject, then all afternoon shift school students take another version of the test model and there is a third test model for the triple shift school students. Therefore, 153 models of second semester final tests in all school subjects were prepared and reviewed for accuracy and correctness. The Education Programme organized the tests according to well-prepared plans to guarantee a quiet and secure testing environment for students. Committees of the strategic support units’ coordinators and education specialists have monitored the smooth implementation process of the examinations. Students will begin their summer vacation immediately after the last test. The marking, reviewing and data entry will be done on 4 June and certificates will be distributed to students on 6 June. For those students who need extra support to pass Arabic and Mathematics, the Summer Learning Programme (SLP) will begin on 11 June. The SLP provides refugee children with an opportunity to catch up and move to the next grade level.

To gain a first-hand overview of the impact of Saudi funding on UNRWA construction projects and operations, on 23 May a delegation from the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) started their visit to the Gaza Strip. The delegation met with Ms Melinda Young, OiC Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza, for a briefing on the humanitarian situation in Gaza and the UNRWA response followed by a visit to Al Azhar University construction site. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, through the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD), generously contributed US$24.1 million for the construction of two buildings at the site. Given its technical expertise, UNRWA is fulfilling a supervisory role throughout the construction which began in September 2015. The next day, the delegation will be briefed and accompanied by UNDP, while on 25 May further field visits to Kingdom of Saudi-Arabia through SFD funded UNRWA installations are planned. The delegation will visit the recently completed UNRWA Jabalia Elementary Girls School and Gaza Co-ed and Preparatory B schools, which are currently under construction. Secondly, the delegation will visit two families at their shelters, one reconstructed and one repaired with support from UNRWA using funds received from the Kingdom of Saudi-Arabia through SFD. Lastly the delegation will visit the Rafah re-housing project phase III. In March 2016, UNRWA completed the Rafah re-housing project, funded by the Kingdom of Saudi-Arabia through SFD, with the finalization of its third phase. Phase III comprises 230 houses accommodating around 1,300 Palestine refugees. Since commencement, the project has provided more than 1,700 housing units for some 10,000 refugees. Through its three phases, the construction project has created more than 160,000 working days in the Gaza Strip for some10,000 labourers. Saudi Arabia has contributed more than US$ 500 million to UNRWA to date. Over the past three years, the Kingdom has become the Agency’s third largest donor. Since 2005, it has also been a valued member of the UNRWA Advisory Commission, which advises and assists the Commissioner-General in carrying out the Agency’s mandate.

General

Operational environment: During the reporting week, a number of protests and demonstrations took place across Gaza, predominantly to commemorate the 68th anniversary of Al Nakba*. Other demonstrations were held regarding financial entitlements for families of those killed or injured during the 2014 summer hostilities, remembering family members who were killed by Israeli forces during the 2014 hostilities, demanding accelerated trials for those accused of murder, protesting the closure of Rafah, the blockade, electricity shortages, in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, and in support of developments at Al Aqsa Mosque and in the West Bank. (see Summary of Major Incidents)

On 17 May, a fire reportedly broke out inside a workshop in Gaza city. Local authorities rushed to the scene and controlled the situation. No injuries were reported.

On 18 May, a 4-year old child was reportedly found dead in a house in Jabalia camp. The police opened an investigation.

On 18 May, three unknown persons physically assaulted an UNRWA guard at the UNRWA Gaza Training Centre (GTC), where the guard was beaten and moderately injured. He was transferred to the hospital for treatment.

On 18 May, a Palestinian man reportedly attempted to commit suicide and threatened to kill his daughter in Rafah city, southern Gaza. The police intervened and controlled the situation after arresting him.

On 19 May, a fire reportedly broke out in a house in Khan Younis area, southern Gaza due to cooking gas leakage. Local authorities rushed to the scene and controlled the situation. No injuries were reported.

On 19 May, an explosion reportedly occurred in Deir al Balah; one person was reported as injured.

On 19 May, unknown persons reportedly burnt a vehicle in Khan Younis area, southern Gaza. The police opened an investigation.

On 21 May, a 7-year old boy of a displaced family reportedly died in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza, after a metal door of a caravan fell on him.

On 22 May, a 35-year old person reportedly attempted to commit suicide and was injured. The police opened an investigation.

During the reporting period, one person with his two family members continued his sit-in in Gaza city for the 8th consecutive day demanding the re-payment of his salary which was cut by the Palestinian Authority in 2007. The sit-in is ongoing.

*’Nakba’ is the Arabic word for ‘catastrophe’ and refers to the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 and the accompanied displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.

ERW Awareness in UNRWA Schools: Saving Children’s Lives

More than 21 months after the 2014 conflict people in the Gaza strip still face the risk of Explosive Remnant of War (ERW). At th More than 21 months after the 2014 conflict people in the Gaza Strip still face the risk of Explosive Remnants of War (ERW). At the beginning of 2016, according to the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS), 16 people had been killed and 97 injured, including 48 children, due to contact with ERWs since the 2014 conflict. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) states in the 2016 Humanitarian Needs Overview “the entire Palestinian population, including at least 900,000 children, is exposed to the dangers of Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) following the recent escalation of conflict. Children are especially vulnerable when they play in conflict affected areas.”

The ERW risk education project is one of UNRWA’s outreach activities on safety and risk education. It is implemented by the UNRWA Safety and Security Division (SSD) with technical support from UNMAS. All 257 UNRWA schools participated in the project, and every school nominated at least three teachers for the Training of Trainers (ToT). Each teacher passes the experience and skills from the training on to the other teachers in the school who conduct awareness sessions with the students.

Ten-year old Sali Hwihi a student in the UNRWA Beit Hanoun Elementary co-ed A School is one of the children who participated in these awareness sessions. Sali said “In the session I learned many good things I had never heard about before. For example I learned what ERW is, what the different types of ERW are and who to contact when I see ERW.” Sali also commented “because of the conflict many places were attacked and Beit Hanoun is one of these, so all children here face the risks of ERW.”

Sali lives in Beit Hanoun which is considered one of the most affected areas in the Gaza Strip during the 2014 conflict. After the 2014 summer hostilities more than 7,000 ERW are estimated to remain in the Gaza Strip. Although in January 2016, over 40 per cent of ERW had been identified and destroyed, the remaining ERW continue to pose a threat to the population living in Gaza, particularly to children who play in conflict-affected areas and adults who work on agricultural land potentially contaminated by ERW.

“I got the information from my teacher and then I went and taught my brothers, sisters and my parents. I want to ensure all people around me know about the risk of ERW, because people can die, get injured or get a disability because of it,” Sali recalled.

The ERW risk education sessions started on 7 March and are still ongoing. Until now 32 sessions have been conducted and 726 teachers (313 men and 413 women) were trained on different topics such as the definition of ERW, their shapes, sizes and types such as unexploded ordnance (UXO) and abandoned explosive ordnance (AXO), mines (anti-tanks and anti-personal), dangerous places and signs of ERW presence, hazards and effects of ERW and safety and security procedures around ERW.

Sali also said “After I participated in the session, I wanted to know more so I went and looked for more information on the internet. When children play, they go everywhere so it’s important to know about ERW.”

UNRWA also provides this training opportunity to its other staff, especially those working on the front line, including social workers and engineers. In addition, the UNRWA satellite channel (UNRWA TV) produced short films to raise awareness on the correct procedures for identifying and safely responding to ERW contaminations. The educational films are broadcasted on UNRWA TV and on YouTube, benefiting also millions of people at risk outside of Gaza.

Summary of Major Incidents

During the reporting week, Israeli forces reportedly fired towards Palestinian areas along the perimeter fence and towards Palestinian boats on a daily basis. On 18 May, one injury was reported near the perimeter fence east of Karni, south of Gaza city. On 17 May, two Palestinian fishermen were reportedly arrested and on 22 May, ten Palestinian fishermen were reportedly arrested and their boat confiscated by Israeli forces.

Protests in support of Al Aqsa mosque and the situation in the West Bank were held across Gaza and in the vicinity of the perimeter fence. Protests near the perimeter fence, involving approximately 100 persons, predominately youth, took place east of Bureij camp in central Gaza and east of Gaza city. During these protests, some participants approached the perimeter fence and reportedly threw stones towards Israeli observation posts. Israeli security forces reportedly responded with gunfire and tear gas. The Ministry of Health reported that two Palestinians were injured as a result.

On 19 May militants reportedly fired two rockets from Khan Younis, southern Gaza, towards the sea. No injuries were reported.

Funding Needs

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA Programme Budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall, projected for 2016 to stand at US$ 81 million. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

Following the 2014 conflict, US$ 247 million has been pledged in support of UNRWA’s emergency shelter programme, for which an estimated US$ 720 million is required. This leaves a current shortfall of US$ 473 million. UNRWA urgently appeals to donors to generously contribute to its emergency shelter programme to provide displaced Palestine refugees in Gaza with rental subsidies or cash assistance to undertake repair works and reconstruction of their damaged homes.

As presented in UNRWA’s occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) Emergency Appeal for 2016, the Agency is seeking US$ 403 million to meet the minimum humanitarian needs of Palestine refugees in the oPt. The Agency requires US$ 355.95 million for programme interventions in Gaza, including US$ 109.7 million for emergency food assistance, US$ 142.3 million for emergency shelter assistance, US$ 60.4 million for emergency cash-for-work assistance, US$ 4.4 million for emergency health/mobile health clinics and US$ 3.1 for education in emergencies.

Read more in the 2016 oPt emergency appeal

Crossings

Longstanding restrictions on the movement of people and goods to and from Gaza have undermined the living conditions of 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza. Israel prevents all access to and from the Gaza Strip by sea and air. Movement of people and goods in and out of Gaza is restricted to three crossings: Rafah crossing, Erez crossing and Kerem Shalom crossing. Rafah crossing is controlled by the Egyptian authorities and technically allows for the movement of a number of authorized travelers, Palestinian medical and humanitarian cases only. Erez crossing is controlled by Israeli authorities and technically allows for the movement of aid workers and limited numbers of authorized travelers, including Palestinian medical and humanitarian cases. Kerem Shalom crossing, also controlled by Israeli authorities, technically allows for the movement of authorized goods only.

  • Rafah crossing remained closed during the reporting week.
  • Erez crossing is usually open six days a week. It was open for National ID holders (humanitarian cases, medical cases, merchants and UN staff) and international staff from 17 to 20 and from 22 to 24 May. It was closed on 21 May.
  • Kerem Shalom crossing is the only official crossing open for the transfer of goods into and out of the Strip and is usually open five days a week. It was open from 17 to 20 and from 22 to 24 May. It was closed on 21 May.

Syrian Arab Republic: UNRWA deplores increased violence in Khan Eshieh camp

oPt - ReliefWeb News - 4 hours 25 min ago
Source: UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East Country: occupied Palestinian territory, Syrian Arab Republic

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) strongly condemns the party responsible for the killing of six year-old Ahmad Zuheir Suleiman T’uheimr, a Palestine refugee in Khan Eshieh camp in southern rural Damascus, at around 1300hrs on 27 May. Ahmad was killed when an artillery explosion struck close to his family home on Al Sa’ed Street, spraying shrapnel inside. Ahmad’s mother and twin were injured in the explosion. UNRWA staff offer their heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family.

UNRWA is gravely concerned that the current hostilities in Khan Eshieh camp are imperiling the lives and safety of the camp’s residents. The incident of May 27 follows two other explosions on May 17 which killed five Palestine refugees. Ahmad’s tragic death and the deaths of many before him are a consequence of the conduct of hostilities and the use of explosive weapons in civilian areas. UNRWA demands from all relevant parties respect for, and compliance with, their international law obligations to protect Palestine refugees in Khan Eshieh and across Syria at all times.

Background information on Khan Eshiesh camp

Khan Eshieh camp, home to some 9,000 Palestine refugees, is located in rural Damascus approximately 25 km south-west of Yarmouk.

Since 2012, the farms and fields surrounding the camp have been active battlegrounds in which heavy weapons have been deployed with often indiscriminate impact.

Frequent, intense fighting between armed groups and government forces expose the Palestine refugee residents to the risk of death and serious injury, either inside the camp from the direct impact of heavy weapons or as the refugees travel to and from their homes.

Some 75 UNRWA staff residing in the camp have ensured continuous support to Palestine refugees through services offered in three schools, a health clinic, a community centre, and temporary accommodation for displaced people.

However, since 2013, humanitarian access to Khan Eshieh has been heavily constrained. To receive humanitarian assistance, Palestine refugees must travel at great personal risk to UNRWA distribution centres several kilometres away in the towns of Sahnaya or Khan Dunoun.

Background Information

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA Programme Budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall, projected for 2016 to stand at US$ 81 million. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance .

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications
Mobile: +972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0267
c.gunness@unrwa.org

Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0724
s.mshasha@unrwa.org

occupied Palestinian territory: 43 UNRWA schools will be provided with new electric generators

oPt - ReliefWeb News - 4 hours 33 min ago
Source: UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East Country: occupied Palestinian territory

43 UNRWA schools across the Gaza Strip will receive new, large electric generators, thanks to a generous contribution from Qatar-based Al Fakhoora, a programme of the Education Above All Foundation.

During the 2014 summer hostilities, 90 UNRWA schools were used as designated emergency shelters for displaced families who had to flee their homes. The intensive use of the schools as shelters caused accelerated degradation of the schools’ infrastructure and equipment. 31 of the schools where the new generators will be installed were used as shelters during the hostilities in 2014.

“The old generators at these schools were overused to provide power to the schools during education activities and during the 2014 summer hostilities, when schools were turned into designated collective shelters,” explained UNRWA Electronic Engineer Emad Abu Marasa.

The installation of these generators will enhance and support the educational environment for 44,377 Palestine refugee students in the 43 schools. It is part of the Agency’s efforts to provide all students with a safe, comfortable and conducive learning environment, where they can enjoy working electricity during their time at school.

The generators are expected to mitigate the impact of frequent power outages, which in April lasted up to 20 hours a day.

17 other generators will be kept in UNRWA warehouses on standby. These generators are part of the generous contribution of US$ 4,612,022 from Al Fakhoora Foundation – Qatar. With this support, UNRWA is doing important repair and maintenance work in 43 of its schools in the Gaza Strip.

Background Information

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA Programme Budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall, projected for 2016 to stand at US$ 81 million. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance .

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications
Mobile: +972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0267
c.gunness@unrwa.org

Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0724
s.mshasha@unrwa.org

Milina Shahin
Public Information Officer - Gaza Field Office
Mobile: +972 599 609 485
Office: +972 8 2887213
m.shahin2@unrwa.org

Chad: Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein salue le verdict « historique et durement acquis » prononcé dans le procès d’Hissène Habré

Chad - ReliefWeb News - 5 hours 46 min ago
Source: UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Country: Chad

Commentaire du Haut-Commissaire des Nations Unies aux droits de l’homme, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein

GENEVE (30 mai 2016) - « Je salue le verdict prononcé à l’encontre de l’ancien Président du Tchad, Hissène Habré, pour crimes contre l’humanité, exécutions sommaires, torture et viol, par une cour spéciale au Sénégal.

Après des années de lutte et de nombreux déboires sur le chemin de la justice, ce verdict est aussi historique que durement acquis. J’espère sincèrement qu’aujourd’hui, enfin, les victimes d’Habré pourront ressentir un certain soulagement.

Dans un monde meurtri par un flot ininterrompu d’atrocités, les répercussions de ce verdict sont mondiales. Bien qu’il puisse faire l’objet d’un appel, ce verdict envoie un message clair aux personnes responsables de graves violations des droits de l’homme à travers le monde pour leur dire que nul n’est au-dessus de la loi et qu’elles pourraient aussi être traduites en justice pour leurs crimes.

Suite aux condamnations, par d’autres cours, de l’ancien Président Charles Taylor et du serbe bosniaque Radovan Karadzic, la condamnation et la peine prononcées contre Hissène Habré montrent que même les chefs d’Etat et autres dirigeants qui commettent de terribles crimes auront finalement à rendre des comptes.

Je salue l’accord innovant entre le Sénégal et l’Union africaine qui a permis à ce cas d’avancer. Il s’agit d’un excellent exemple de leadership et d’appropriation régionaux du combat contre l’impunité pour les crimes internationaux.

Mon Bureau, qui a activement soutenu ces dernières années les efforts du Sénégal et du Tchad pour que justice soit faite et a suivi le procès, continuera à offrir son soutien aux victimes de violations des droits de l’homme qui, partout dans le monde, tentent d’obtenir justice. »

FIN

Pour toute information ou demande d’interview, prière de contacter Cécile Pouilly (+41 22 917 9310 / cpouilly@ohchr.org ), Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 9767 / rcolville@ohchr.org ) ou Ravina Shamdasani (+41 917 9169 / rshamdasani@ohchr.org)

Chad: Zeid welcomes “historic and hard-won” verdict in Hissène Habré trial

Chad - ReliefWeb News - 5 hours 49 min ago
Source: UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Country: Chad

Comment by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein

GENEVA (30 May 2016) - “I warmly welcome the verdict of the special court in Senegal convicting the former President of Chad Hissène Habré of crimes against humanity, summary executions, torture and rape.

After years of struggle and many setbacks on the way to justice, this verdict is as historic as it was hard-won. I sincerely hope that today, at last, Habré’s victims will experience some sense of relief.

In a world scarred by a constant stream of atrocities, the ramifications of this verdict are global. While the verdict may be appealed, this sends a clear message to those responsible for serious human rights violations around the world that nobody is above the law and that, one day, they may also face justice for their crimes.

Following earlier convictions by other courts of former president Charles Taylor and Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, the conviction and sentencing of Hissène Habré shows that even heads of State and other leaders who commit terrible crimes will ultimately be held to account.

I commend the ground-breaking agreement between Senegal and the African Union which enabled this case to proceed. It is an excellent example of regional leadership and ownership in the fight against impunity for international crimes.

My Office, which has actively supported accountability efforts in Senegal and Chad over the past few years, and has followed the Habré trial, will continue to offer its support to the quest for justice by victims of human rights violations all over the world.”

ENDS

For more information and media requests, please contact Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 9767 / rcolville@ohchr.org ), Ravina Shamdasani (+41 917 9169 / rshamdasani@ohchr.org) or Cécile Pouilly (+41 22 917 9310 / cpouilly@ohchr.org )

Syrian Arab Republic: Iraqis flee Mosul clashes for relative safety of Syria [EN/AR]

Iraq - ReliefWeb News - 5 hours 59 min ago
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Iraq, Syrian Arab Republic

Arabic version

More than 4,000 Iraqis braved risky journey across desert frontlines to reach remote Hasakah region of Syria in the past month.

By: Mustafa Hasan and Qusai Alazroni | 27 May 2016

QAMISHLI/DAMASCUS, Syria, May 27 (UNHCR) – Some of the more than 4,000 Iraqi refugees who escaped ISIL-held Mosul and surrounding areas and reached Syria in the past month have described the perilous journeys they were forced to make in search of safety.

Since the beginning of May, a total of 4,266 Iraqi refugees have arrived at the Al-Hol camp, located 14 kilometers from the Iraqi border in Syria’s north-eastern Hasakah Governorate. Most reported fleeing the extremists in control of the northern Iraqi city, the impending battle to retake it, or ongoing clashes in surrounding areas.

As a result, and ahead of a possible further influx of Iraqi refugees, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has organized five planned airlifts of emergency items such as tents and blankets from Jordan to Qamishli, in the far north of Hasakah.

The first delivery of 13,000 blankets arrived on Thursday, and the total amount of aid will be enough to support up to 50,000 Iraqi refugees and Syrians hosting them in local communities.

Many refugees said they had to engage smugglers to make the journey from Mosul, which typically took between two days and a week travelling through ISIL-held territory and dodging frontlines to reach Kurdish-controlled areas of Hasakah.

Othman, a 30-year-old Iraqi who fled from Mosul with his family, described the journey as the most dangerous of his life. He was forced to carry his quadriplegic six-year-old son Mwafaq on his shoulders for much of the gruelling trek across desert terrain.

“It is one of the miracles of God that we made it through the areas controlled by extremists without being caught, and survived the harsh weather of the desert,” Othman told officials from UNHCR after arriving in Syria. Through tears, he spoke of his fear that his son – who also suffers from epilepsy – would die without urgent medical attention.

Hasakah Governorate, which hosts some 90,000 Syrians displaced by the country’s long-running conflict as well as more than 16,000 Iraqi refugees, is currently inaccessible to UN aid deliveries by land from inside Syria and via Turkey to the north due to insecurity.

Efforts are also underway to try to establish an air bridge between Damascus and Qamishli for additional deliveries of humanitarian aid by multiple UN agencies, including food and other essential items.

UNHCR is working with local NGO partners to provide humanitarian assistance to the new arrivals, most of whom are without adequate shelter, sanitary facilities and medical care.

As well as distributing tents, mattresses and sleeping mats, UNHCR is also coordinating efforts to provide healthcare to refugees, with many suffering from skin diseases and other health conditions due to heat and dust exposure during the long journey.

UNHCR’s Representative in Syria, Sajjad Malik, said the agency was doing everything it could to provide assistance to Iraqis seeking safety in Syria.

“We are very concerned as many people are being forced to flee fighting, risking their lives and going through extreme hardship just to reach safety in remote areas. We stress the importance of granting safe passage to all civilians fleeing war and conflict in search of safety,” he said.

Central African Republic: RRM RCA : Evaluation Multisectorielle RRM Rapport préliminaire - Village de Dembia, Commune de Rafaï, Sous-préfecture de Rafaï, Préfecture de Mbomou du 11 au 12 mai 2016

CAR - ReliefWeb News - 6 hours 34 min ago
Source: Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development Country: Central African Republic

Résumé de la situation :

Le village de Dembia situé à 70 km de Rafai avec une population totale 4727 habitants, a été attaqué durant la nuit du 18 mars 2016 par des éléments armés assimilés aux LRA. Les assaillants auraient commencé leurs incursions le 17 mars sur l'axe Dembia-Derbissaka, tuant un orpailleur et prenant en otage quatre personnes qui se rendaient au chantier minier se trouvant vers le village Karmadar à 45 km sur le même axe. Les populations de Dembia, alertées par la présence de ces hommes armées auraient alors fui préventivement en brousse sans emporter leurs biens. Le 18 mars, le village était attaqué. Les assaillants se sont organisés en deux groupes, l’un s’occupait de la sommation à l’arme à feu afin de mettre en débandade les populations et l’autre se chargeait des pillages des biens. Cette incursion a pour bilan, sept personnes kidnappées parmi lesquels six hommes et une femme, un décès, une maison d’habitation et un kiosque incendiés dans lequel se trouvaient des biens. Signalons que les sept personnes enlevées sont libérées trois jours après le choc. Les populations ont progressivement réintégré leur village jusqu'au 12 avril, date à laquelle de nouvelles rumeurs d'attaques ont poussé la majorité de la population à fuir à nouveau préventivement en brousse pour enfin revenir vers la fin du mois d’avril. Les populations craignent toujours de nouvelles attaques jusqu’à présent.

Accès logistique : En termes logistique, le village est accessible par la route malgré son état de dégradation avancée

Accès Sécuritaire : En raison des rumeurs d’attaque des villages par les groupes armés dans la zone, la sécurité est jugée d’incertaine, très volatile

Uganda: Cancer and Malaria control programs receive boost from the Government of South Korea

Uganda - ReliefWeb News - 6 hours 42 min ago
Source: Government of Uganda Country: Republic of Korea, Uganda

Uganda has received a donation of Anti-malarial drugs worth 500,000 million US dollars from the Korean government and diagnostic support to the Uganda Cancer Institute and the National Tuberculosis Reference Laboratory services.

The donation comes in the wake of rising cases of cancer and malaria infections in the country.

The Korean foundation for international Health-care and the Korean National Cancer Centre has boosted Uganda’s campaign against Malaria and Cancer with a half million Dollars as part of the Korean government plan for Africa.

The Korean Minister of Health Shung Shin-Youb says the donation holds mutually beneficial partnership among health organizations of both countries.

The support is being directed to the improvement of the healthcare systems of both countries mainly National Tuberculosis reference Laboratory, National Cancer control system and Malaria disease control.

The Minister of Health Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye says Uganda has been a star performer in the Malaria campaign for a long time. However recent reports indicate that this has fallen short of expectations with some parts of northern Uganda is experiencing a Malaria upsurge.

Dr. Elioda vowed on behalf of government to heighten their campaign against malaria.

Niger: Niger HRP 2016: Funding Status as of 30 May 2016

Niger - ReliefWeb News - 6 hours 46 min ago
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Niger

Niger: Niger HRP 2016: Funding Status as of 30 May 2016

Niger - ReliefWeb News - 6 hours 46 min ago
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Niger

World: Global Leaders Commit to Polio Eradication at World Health Assembly

Pakistan - ReliefWeb News - 7 hours 9 min ago
Source: World Health Organization Country: Afghanistan, Pakistan, World

During the 69th World Health Assembly in Geneva global leaders have reaffirmed commitment to ending polio once and for all.

Last week, global political commitment to eradicating polio was affirmed at the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva. During the polio agenda item, member states discussed progress made in the last year and the remaining hurdles that stand in the way of polio eradication.

In her opening address to the WHA, Dr Margaret Chan, Director General of WHO, said polio eradication has never been so close to the finish line. “During the short span of 2 weeks in April, 155 countries successfully switched from trivalent to bivalent oral polio vaccine, marking the largest coordinated vaccine withdrawal in history. I thank you and your country teams for this marvellous feat,” she said.

Member states reviewed the latest global epidemiology, noting the strong progress made across Africa with no case of wild poliovirus in approaching two years. Delegates from Afghanistan and Pakistan, the final remaining polio endemic countries, outlined the steps they are taking to ensure that transmission is interrupted as a matter of urgency. With fewer missed children than ever before and just 74 cases across the two in 2015, achieving eradication has never appeared to be such an achievable target.

Many member states spoke to reaffirm their commitments to fulfilling the objectives of the resolution passed at the last WHA to commit to ending polio once and for all. Michel Zaffran, Director of Polio Eradication at WHO, stated that strong progress had been made against all four objectives of the Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan.

Delegates also commended the historic achievement of the switch, warning that shortages of the inactivated polio vaccine and potential outbreaks of type 2 vaccine-derived polioviruses would be some of the major challenges of the coming year. They also expressed appreciation for the global contingency plans put in place to adequately manage the risks associated with the supply shortage, notably the availability of the stockpile of monovalent oral polio vaccine type 2.

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, supported the interjections of several member states highlighting the importance of ramping up transition planning in countries to prepare for the end of the polio infrastructure after eradication. “To be sustainable, the decision on which polio assets to sustain must be fully led and driven by countries themselves, based on national ownership, national plans and investments,” said the Gavi spokesperson.

Rotary international spoke to affirm that their 1.2 million volunteers worldwide remain fully committed to polio eradication. “We have three key challenges remaining,” said the Rotarian speaker. “First, we have to interrupt polio in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Second, we must avoid complacency. An additional US $1.5 billion is needed through 2019 to sustain high levels of immunity, repeatedly reaching more than 400,000,000 children in up to 60 countries and carrying out high quality surveillance to protect progress. Finally we must fully leverage the physical and intellectual assets of polio eradication so that they can benefit broader public health priorities.”

World: Global Leaders Commit to Polio Eradication at World Health Assembly

Afghanistan - ReliefWeb News - 7 hours 9 min ago
Source: World Health Organization Country: Afghanistan, Pakistan, World

During the 69th World Health Assembly in Geneva global leaders have reaffirmed commitment to ending polio once and for all.

Last week, global political commitment to eradicating polio was affirmed at the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva. During the polio agenda item, member states discussed progress made in the last year and the remaining hurdles that stand in the way of polio eradication.

In her opening address to the WHA, Dr Margaret Chan, Director General of WHO, said polio eradication has never been so close to the finish line. “During the short span of 2 weeks in April, 155 countries successfully switched from trivalent to bivalent oral polio vaccine, marking the largest coordinated vaccine withdrawal in history. I thank you and your country teams for this marvellous feat,” she said.

Member states reviewed the latest global epidemiology, noting the strong progress made across Africa with no case of wild poliovirus in approaching two years. Delegates from Afghanistan and Pakistan, the final remaining polio endemic countries, outlined the steps they are taking to ensure that transmission is interrupted as a matter of urgency. With fewer missed children than ever before and just 74 cases across the two in 2015, achieving eradication has never appeared to be such an achievable target.

Many member states spoke to reaffirm their commitments to fulfilling the objectives of the resolution passed at the last WHA to commit to ending polio once and for all. Michel Zaffran, Director of Polio Eradication at WHO, stated that strong progress had been made against all four objectives of the Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan.

Delegates also commended the historic achievement of the switch, warning that shortages of the inactivated polio vaccine and potential outbreaks of type 2 vaccine-derived polioviruses would be some of the major challenges of the coming year. They also expressed appreciation for the global contingency plans put in place to adequately manage the risks associated with the supply shortage, notably the availability of the stockpile of monovalent oral polio vaccine type 2.

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, supported the interjections of several member states highlighting the importance of ramping up transition planning in countries to prepare for the end of the polio infrastructure after eradication. “To be sustainable, the decision on which polio assets to sustain must be fully led and driven by countries themselves, based on national ownership, national plans and investments,” said the Gavi spokesperson.

Rotary international spoke to affirm that their 1.2 million volunteers worldwide remain fully committed to polio eradication. “We have three key challenges remaining,” said the Rotarian speaker. “First, we have to interrupt polio in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Second, we must avoid complacency. An additional US $1.5 billion is needed through 2019 to sustain high levels of immunity, repeatedly reaching more than 400,000,000 children in up to 60 countries and carrying out high quality surveillance to protect progress. Finally we must fully leverage the physical and intellectual assets of polio eradication so that they can benefit broader public health priorities.”

Central African Republic: RRM RCA : Evaluation Multisectorielle RRM Rapport préliminaire - Village d’Agoumar, Commune de Rafaï, Sous-préfecture de Rafaï, Préfecture de Mbomou du 12 au 13 mai 2016

CAR - ReliefWeb News - 7 hours 20 min ago
Source: Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development Country: Central African Republic

Zone d’évaluation: Village d’Agoumar, Commune de Rafaï, Sous-préfecture de Rafaï, Préfecture de Mbomou.

Date d’évaluation : Du 12 au 13 mai 2016

Population : 6062 personnes soit 970 ménages retournés (taille moyenne de 6,3pr/ménage, selon les enquêtes ménages menées), aucun ménage résident, aucun ménage déplacé.
Tout le village avait fui lors de l’attaque et est rentre en date de l’évaluation.

Méthodologie utilisée : L’évaluation RRM s’est basée sur la méthodologie standard d’évaluation RRM en RCA. La collecte de données à la fois qualitatives et quantitatives a été obtenue à travers des observations directes, des enquêtes individuelles (112 enquêtes), des groupes de discussion et des entretiens avec les personnes clés (les chefs de villages, le responsable du centre de santé, le directeur de l’école, les notables, etc.)

Résumé de la situation :

En date du 17 avril 2016, le village d’Agoumar (Rafai) composé d’environ 13 quartiers avec une population totale de 6062 habitants, a été victime d’une attaque d’un groupe armé de présumés éléments de la LRA.

Agoumar est l’une des localités constituant la ville de Rafai. Cette localité (Agoumar) est séparée du centre Rafai par la rivière Chinko. Lors de l’attaque, la plupart des habitants ont pris la fuite pour se réfugier dans la brousse. Quelques jeunes hommes valides sont restés sur place pour contrer les attaquants. Selon certaines sources, un assaillant présumé LRA a été grièvement blessé par les populations. L’INS serait intervenue pour récupérer et ramener ce blessé à l’hôpital de Rafai. La population a très mal accueilli ce geste des INS et a manifesté autour de l‘hôpital, des blesses des deux côtes ont été rapportés. Aussi, cinq (5) anciens otages dont une fille congolaise de 13ans se seraient évadés pendant l’attaque d’Agoumar. En revanche, 11 nouvelles personnes ont été faites captives lors de l’attaque. La contre-attaque des groupes d’auto-défense a favorisé l’évasion de 7 détenues le même jour de l’attaque, tandis que trois (3) se sont enfuis une semaine plus tard. Une seule femme est restée captive au jour de la MSA. L’ensemble des boutiques et maisons ont été pillés. Des cas de protection ont aussi été signales envers deux jeunes filles kidnappées qui sont actuellement prises en charge a Zemio.

Accès Logistique /Sécuritaire :

L’état de la route est généralement bon depuis Bangassou jusqu’à Rafai, malgré une dégradation de certains points critiques en période pluvieuse. Aucun incident d’ordre sécuritaire enregistré ces derniers temps sur l’axe Bangassou/Rafai. Mais une prise de précaution est nécessaire pour tout mouvement. La zone est couverte par le réseau téléphonique Telecel et par certaines radios communautaires.

Iraq: ACT Alliance Appeal: Iraq - Support to Internally Displaced People and their Hosts in Iraq, IRQ 151 – Revision & Extension

Iraq - ReliefWeb News - 7 hours 27 min ago
Source: ACT Alliance Country: Iraq

Appeal Target: US$ 6'349'559 /US$ 6,362,436

Balance Requested: US$ 4,419,629

Geneva, 30 May, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

Iraq has become increasingly unstable since 2013 due to the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), controlling one-third of the country. The oil industry provides more than 90% of government revenue. ISIS imposes a high cost on the economy, and the central government is corrupt and ineffective. Increasing insecurity and financial instability have diminished the prospects for an improving economy and for attracting foreign investment.

The humanitarian crisis in Iraq is one of the largest and most complex in the world, impacting nearly one-third of the population. Ten million Iraqis, including 3.4 million people who have been displaced since January 2014, currently require some form of humanitarian assistance. Despite operating in one of the most dangerous environments in the world, the UN and its 180 humanitarian partners are reaching more than 2 million Iraqis every month with aid. Food security partners provide help to an average of 1.6 million people each month. The Education Cluster reaches half a million children with some form of emergency education assistance. Health partners have reached over 1.3 million people with consultations this year and vaccinated 5.5 million children under 5 years of age against polio. Around 250,000 Syrian refugees and hundreds of thousands of displaced Iraqis families receive shelter support.

Iraqi and Kurdish forces have been pushing back Islamic State in the north, with support from both Iran and the US-led coalition. However, the military campaign could be undermined by the worsening political chaos in Baghdad, where parliament's refusal to approve a more technocratic cabinet has weakened the position of the prime minister, Haider al-Abadi. Adding to the pressure, a revenue sharing deal with the secessionist Kurds has collapsed and low oil prices are causing a fiscal squeeze.
The government’s compilations of official economic statistics are inadequate, and data on Iraq in many of the international sources relied upon for Index grading are incomplete. Iraq’s ongoing economic reconstruction has become increasingly fragile. The central government’s weakness, the presence of powerful vested interests, and political volatility have hindered difficult policy reforms, undermining the limited but measureable progress made in past years. Grave security threats and instability continue to aggravate economic and humanitarian crises.

Since 24 March 2016, about 2,400 people have been displaced from newly retaken villages in Makhmur district. Displaced people were accommodated in Makhmur, but due to heightened insecurity, they were relocated to Debaga IDP camp on 1 April. The majority of the IDPs are women and children.
Humanitarian partners are supporting local authorities with food, water, mobile medical assistance and sanitation improvements and to ensure that the newly displaced receive clothes as they left with very few belongings. Humanitarian partners, including ACT members and its partners, are looking at identifying space for additional transit sites. It is expected that up to 30,000 people could be displaced by insecurity in Makhmur district.

Nepal: Reducing Poverty in the Himalayas: How Nepal Can Improve Food Security

Nepal - ReliefWeb News - 7 hours 47 min ago
Source: International Food Policy Research Institute Country: Nepal

May 29, 2016, Kathmandu, Nepal—As the fastest growing region in the world, South Asia’s path toward ending hunger and malnutrition will have global impacts far beyond the continent. The Global Food Policy Report, the flagship publication of the International Food Policy Research Institute, provides an in-depth look at major food policy developments and events in the past year, and examines key challenges and opportunities for the coming year. In Nepal, this is centered on building resilience, reviving the battered agricultural sector, and increasing food security following last year’s deadly earthquake.

“Last year’s earthquake had a devastating impact on Nepal, sending the country’s food security into a tailspin,” said IFPRI Director General Shenggen Fan. “Farmers must be plugged back into the food chains that broke when the earthquake hit, and that means reconnecting them with the technologies, the infrastructure, and the markets necessary to take their products from farm to fork.”

To address these challenges Fan will highlight the report at "Sustainable Agricultural Growth in Nepal: Challenges, Opportunities and Options" May 29 and 30 in coordination with the Institute for Integrated Development Studies and Nepal Economic Association.

Though in recent years about two-thirds of Nepalese workers worked in agriculture, the country has slipped from a net exporter of food to a net importer. Against a backdrop of food price volatility, it’s important that adequate safety nets are in place: the percent of households relying on food assistance skyrocketed from less than one-tenth of a percent before the earthquake to 35 percent after, according to the World Food Programme.

Immediately after the earthquake, 80 percent of the most food insecure households lost their entire food stock and 55 percent of households overall lost at least half their food stock. A strong post-disaster recovery can lead to long-term development that is efficient, inclusive, climate-smart, sustainable, nutrition- and health-driven, and business-friendly—all hallmarks of a resilient food system.

Earlier this month Prime Minister Sharma Oli described details of the budget on Nepal Television's live program “Direct Conversation with PM.” When asked by a farmer about specifics in the agricultural sphere, Oli said the sector can anticipate modernization and commercialization, as well as subsidies, loans, and credit for farmers.

Increased use of technologies to counter labor shortages and enacting safety net policies such as an employment guarantee are critical to achieving food security—which must be the top priority for Nepal’s recovery.

Moving forward, it will be important to strengthen nutrition programs. In the 2000s, Nepal was among the top countries in the world for reduction in undernutrition, but the earthquake shifted priorities and funding—and can threaten the health of Nepal’s next generation. The budget must mirror the fact that it’s not just about the amount of food people eat, but the nutritional quality of that food.

The future looks bright for the country if policymakers are willing to increase public investment while building a strong private-sector business environment that will capitalize on innovation.

For more information on the future of food security in Nepal, explore the 2016 GFPR and “Sustainable Agricultural Growth in Nepal” event page.

For more information, please contact:

Daniel Burnett, d.burnett@cgiar.org, +1 (202) 627-4311

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The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) seeks sustainable solutions for ending hunger and poverty. IFPRI was established in 1975 to identify and analyze alternative national and international strategies and policies for meeting the food needs of the developing world, with particular emphasis on low-income countries and on the poorer groups in those countries. www.ifpri.org.

World: DRC warns further deaths at sea if protection measures not improved

Sudan - ReliefWeb News - 7 hours 54 min ago
Source: Danish Refugee Council Country: Eritrea, Italy, Libya, Nigeria, Sudan, World

The Danish Refugee Council has warned of further deaths at sea if alternative safe and legal routes to Europe are not identified and other protection measures are being put into place, following the deaths of at least 700 people in the Mediterranean Sea this week.

“It is a mark on the international community that people are continuing to die as they attempt to search for a safe and better life,” said Danish Refugee Council (DRC) Middle East and North Africa Director, Peter Klansoe. “This week’s tragic accidents off the coast of Libya demonstrate yet again the need for improved rescue capacity in the Mediterranean, and for the European Union and Member States among other things to approve alternative safe and legal routes to Europe.”

At least 700 migrants may have died at sea this past week in the busiest week of migrant crossing from Libya to Italy this year, according to United Nation's Refugee agency, UNHCR. Around 14,000 people have been rescued since Monday, with at least three confirmed cases of boats sinking. Accurate numbers are unknown, with figures estimated from survivor testimonies.

This week’s arrivals included Eritreans, Sudanese, Nigerians and many other West Africans fleeing war, oppression and poverty.

“Our response to the situation is fundamentally a test of our humanity,” said Mr Klansoe. “Not only do we need to work together to provide protection to people in their search for dignified life, but improve support to the countries of origin so people aren’t seeing Europe and the risky journey to it, as the only alternative for a safe life they have.”

Since the beginning of the year, more than 200,000 migrants and asylum seekers arrived in Europe by sea, with 2,325 deaths reported.

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