News in Brief 13 October 2015 (AM)

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Miklós Haraszti. Photo: OSCE/Ilgar Hasanov

Belarus elections peaceful, but neither free nor fair: UN Special Rapporteur 

Recent elections in Belarus were largely peaceful, despite the fact they were neither free nor fair. That's according to the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the country.

Protests did take place following last Sunday's presidential election, but were not marred by violence.

Still, the Special Rapporteur, Miklós Haraszti, said that no progress had been made in serving the Belarusians' right to free and fair elections.

He added that none of the independent election monitors could verify reports that 84% of voters endorsed the incumbent.

Traditional, indigenous and local knowledge key for reducing impacts of disasters

Traditional, indigenous and local knowledge are crucial for reducing the impacts of disasters worldwide.

In his message to mark the International Day for Disaster Reduction, the UN Secretary-General said that traditional and indigenous knowledge is indispensable when seeking to address the threat of major weather-related disasters.

The UN chief said local knowledge also has an important role to play to address the impacts of urbanization, population growth, eco-system decline and greenhouse gas emissions.

Record number of people arriving in Europe via Mediterranean Sea

Nearly 600,000 people have fled conflict and other disasters across the Mediterranean Sea this year, according to the latest figures from the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The UN partner agency estimates at least 3,100 people have lost their lives in the Mediterranean since the beginning of the year, often due to bad weather and overcrowded, poorly maintained vessels used by smugglers.

According to the IOM, most migrants reaching Italy are from Eritrea, Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan. While most people arriving in Greece are from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.

The majority of those seeking refuge are adult males, while there are also significant numbers of women and children, including unaccompanied minors.

Veronica Reeves, United Nations.

Duration: 1’51″

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