News in Brief 26 February 2016 (AM) – Geneva

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In the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, refugees take shelter beneath a metal pavilion on a rainy day, near the town of Gevgelija, on the border with Greece. Photo: UNICEF/Tomislav Georgiev

New UN shelter network for Europe to protect vulnerable refugees

The massive rise in the number of women and child migrants and refugees travelling through Europe has prompted a UN initiative to set up a network of special shelters where they can seek respite, it was announced Friday.

Under the joint UN Children's Fund and UN Refugee Agency initiative, more than 20 so-called Blue Dot hubs are planned across five countries.

Some are already open or about to open in Greece, and then in a northern arc covering the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia.

Here's UN Children's Fund Marie-Pierre Poirier, Special Coordinator for the Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europe:

"We're talking about a serious amount of children on the move compared to anything else we've seen …these children arrive in Europe with their lives turned upside down. They faced turmoil, very often where they were starting from. In fact, recent UNHCR data teaches us that 85 per cent of them are fleeing war and persecution and in need of international protection, so this is not kids on the move for a better future, but also because they have no option at home."

Last year, more than 90,000 unaccompanied children who'd been separated from their families applied for asylum or were in care in Europe; mainly in Germany and Sweden.

Russia urged not to implement North Korea extradition treaty

The Russian Federation should not implement an extradition treaty signed with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, or DPRK, earlier this month, a UN human rights expert said Friday.

Marzuki Darusman, who's behind the appeal, is the UN Special Rapporteur tasked with investigating allegations of ongoing systematic and widespread reports of human rights abuse in the DPRK.

In a statement, the human rights expert states that there are some 10,000 regular labourers from the DPRK in Russia, who often work in slave-like conditions.

Some of these workers are believed to stay in the country after their contracts have expired so they can seek asylum.

Darusman says that he is alarmed that the new treaty calls for the forcible repatriation of workers, potentially putting them at risk of serious human rights violations.

HUMAN film director calls for people to do more for the world

And finally, award-winning film director and environmentalist Yann Arthus-Bertrand, has said the United Nations should not be left to tackle the world's problems on its own.

On a whistle-stop tour to the UN in Geneva to promote his latest epic film, HUMAN, Bertrand said that the organization is already "doing a lot", but that individuals should be doing much more.

"I think the UN is doing a lot, but you know, the UN is government, it depends completely on the governments, UN is a patchwork of all governments, and you know, I think we have the politics we deserve you know."

And you can hear the full interview with Yann Arthus-Bertrand on our website at:

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration: 3’04″

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