News in Brief 23 March 2016 (PM)

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UNRWA medical personnel providing vital healthcare to civilians at a mobile health point in Yalda, Syria. Photo: UNRWA

Syrian humanitarian projects receive US$19 million

Nearly US$19 million has been allocated to humanitarian partners in Syria, the United Nations reported on Wednesday.

The funds will be used for water, sanitation, nutrition, health and education projects that meet the needs of 1.4 million people.

UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Syria Yacoub El Hillo said recent favourable conditions there will allow the UN and its partners to "accelerate humanitarian interventions."

The UN estimates that more than 13 million people inside Syria require assistance, including more than four million in hard-to-reach and besieged areas.

Health sector jobs benefit economy, empower women: WHO

Investing in health workers could result in a "triple return" for countries, according to a senior UN official.

Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General at the World Health Organization (WHO), said creating more health sector jobs could also boost economic growth and empower women and young people, in addition to supporting health and health security.

Her comments were made following the first meeting of the Commission on Health and Employment Growth, held in Lyon, France.

The Commission was appointed earlier this month by the UN Secretary-General to address inequities in health care globally.

WHO expects about 40 million new health sector jobs will be created by 2030, mostly in middle- and high-income countries.

At the same time, the UN agency predicts that there will be a shortage of 18 million health workers in low- and lower-middle income countries.

Human rights chief concerned over NGO "clampdown" in Egypt

The repression of civil society groups in Egypt must stop, the UN Human Rights High Commissioner has said.

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein has issued a statement expressing grave concern over the closure of hundreds of these organizations and the prosecution of several human rights defenders since November 2014.

This "looks like a clampdown on sections of Egyptian civil society and it must stop," he said.

The human rights chief observed that many organizations have been dissolved under a 2002 law related to non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Others have been shut down because of their alleged links to the Muslim Brotherhood, which is considered a terrorist group.

He also cited an upcoming ruling in the case of two prominent human rights defenders accused of illegally receiving more than US$1 million from a foreign government.

"Everyone has the right to receive funds to promote human rights through peaceful means," according to Zeid.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2’10″

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