News in Brief 18 March 2016 (PM)

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Newly arrived Syrian refugee women and children queue for registration and aid distribution in the town of Arsal, Lebanon, February 17 2014. File Photo: UNHCR/A. McConnell

"Refugees need protection, not rejection" says UN Refugee Agency

The method by which a deal agreed by the European Union to return refugees to Turkey is implemented is "crucial" to its success the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has said.

Under the agreement, migrants and refugees arriving in Greece will be sent back to Turkey, which is not a member of the European Union.

In return EU countries will resettle Syrians currently living in Turkey.

UNHCR said it recognized "the shared need of countries to find properly managed solutions" to the situation.

It added that the response must address the compelling needs of individuals fleeing war and persecution saying that "refugees need protection, not rejection."

Meanwhile, UNHCR has said that almost 9,000 refugees are sheltering at a makeshift camp on the Greek-Macedonian border.

Around 40 per cent are children.

Honduras warned to prevent country becoming lawless killing zone: human rights defenders

The Government of Honduras has been urged by the UN "to take immediate and concrete actions, or risk turning the country into a lawless killing zone for human rights defenders."

The warning by the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst, comes after the killing of what he described as another "outspoken leader" of an indigenous organization.

Nelson García reportedly died on 15 March, shortly after he had witnessed a forced eviction carried out by security forces in the north of the country.

Earlier this month the prominent indigenous leader Berta Cáceres, an environmental and women human rights defender was murdered.

The Special Rapporteur says that Honduras has become one of the most dangerous countries in the world for human rights activists, particularly those promoting rights related to environment and land issues.

"Deep concern" over suspension of electoral rounds in Haiti

"Deep concern" has been expressed by the members of the UN Security Council over the continued suspension of electoral rounds in Haiti.

A disputed run-off election in January was postponed due to violence and an interim President was elected last month in line with an agreement aimed at avoiding a leadership vacuum.

The Council called for the completion of the electoral cycle without further delay to allow the Haitian people the opportunity to vote for their elected representatives in a free, fair, inclusive and transparent contest.

UN 'deeply troubled' by arrest of social media activist in Bahrain

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has said he is "deeply troubled" by the arrest on Monday in Bahrain of the social media activist and human rights defender, Zainab Al Khawaja.

Ms Al Khawaja, who was detained along with her one-and-a-half year old son,  was previously convicted on a number of charges, including insulting the King.

Her father, who co-founded the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, has been in jail since 2011, serving a life sentence.

There are also unconfirmed reports that Ms Al Khawaja's infant son has been denied a birth certificate.

Daniel Dickson, United Nations.

Duration: 3’11″

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