News in Brief 16 June 2015 (PM)

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In Pathai, a settlement in Jonglei State, South Sudan, persons displaced by conflict await registration for food distribution. Photo: UNICEF/Jacob Zocherman

Urgent support for humanitarian response urged for South Sudan

An appeal for urgent relief assistance for hundreds of thousands of people displaced by fighting between government and opposition forces in South Sudan has been issued by the head of the UN humanitarian office (OCHA).

Speaking at a high level-event co-organized by the European Commission and OCHA in Geneva, Stephen O’Brien said humanitarian needs are being driven by the failure to end the violence.

OCHA says US$1 billion is still needed until the end of the year to provide aid to the displaced.

Concern raised about detention of human rights defenders in Azerbaijan

Authorities in Azerbaijan have been urged to release, on humanitarian grounds, all human rights defenders who have been detained for exercising their right to freedom of expression, opinion and assembly.

The call has come from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) which has expressed concern about a number of cases of government critics who have been deprived of their liberty.

Rupert Colville is OHCHR Spokesperson in Geneva.

"The cases are indicative of a shrinking democratic space in Azerbaijan, where many civil society actors, journalists and lawyers fear reprisals or legal and administrative obstruction in carrying out their important work." (12")

Global social media campaign on space for sustainable development launched

A global photography competition to highlight the importance of outer space for sustainable development on Earth has been launched by the UN Office for Outer Space.

The initiative is in collaboration with the United States Space Agency (NASA) and astronaut Scott Kelly and highlights the role of space-based science and technologies in sustainable development.

NASA astronaut Kelly is currently on board the International Space Station on a one-year-mission with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko to set a single-mission record for a US astronaut.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1'48″

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