News in Brief 06 November 2015 (AM)

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Volunteers help newly-arrived refugees on 28 September 2015, as they disembark from a large rubber boat, on the shores near the town of Mithymna, on the Greek island of Lesbos, in the North Aegean region. Photo: UNICEF/Ashley Gilbertson VII

Reception facilities for migrants in Greece needed to stabilize situation

An agreement to provide more reception places for refugees and migrants arriving in Greece will help to stabilize the ongoing crisis, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has said.

An estimated 20,000 people are currently on a number of Greek islands, placing considerable strain on the limited reception facilities.

Here's UNHCR's William Spindler.

"This situation has underscored UNHCR’s repeated calls for improved reception conditions and increase reception capacity in Greece. The recent agreement of more reception places in Greece will be a key factor in stabilizing the situation, and supporting the relocation programme. UNHCR is working with the EU and Member States to support this initiative."

The agency said progress has been made with the first planned relocation of asylum-seekers from Greece to European Union countries.

A total of 30 Syrians and Iraqis were relocated to Luxembourg.

Humanitarian agencies monitoring new cyclone threat in Yemen

A cyclonic storm called Megh, which is predicted to make landfall in Yemen on Sunday, is being monitored closely by UN humanitarian agencies.

Megh follows closely behind Tropical Cyclone Chapala which killed eight people, including two children, earlier this week.

Chapala caused widespread flooding and damage to property and crops in south-east Yemen.

Jens Laerke is a spokesperson for the UN humanitarian office, OCHA.

"The response to the cyclone is hindered by the lack of security in much of the affected area due to the presence of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Humanitarian partners are organising transport of relief supplies by sea, air and overland to the cyclone-affected area."

Freedom of expression "stifled" in Belarus

Belarus has been urged to start reforming its laws that, according to a UN Special Rapporteur, have stifled its citizens’ right to freedom of expression over a period of two decades.

Miklos Haraszti, who reports on the situation of human rights in the eastern European country, said that Belarusians' rights to freedom of expression, as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, were being seriously curtailed.

He congratulated the winner of this year’s Nobel Prize for literature, Belarusian writer Svetlana Alexievich, but regretted that her work has not been published in her own country.

He added that the system-wide violations of the right to freedom of expression were further aggravated by the systematic harassment of journalists who challenge the denial of their rights.

Daniel Dickinson, United Nations.

Duration: 2’46″

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