News in Brief 05 April 2016 (AM) – Geneva

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In Chiapas, Mexico, a woman from El Salvador walks along train tracks. UNHCR/Markel Redondo

Record mass displacement in Central America due to "gang violence"

In Central America, the number of people on the run from gang violence has reached levels not seen for 30 years, the UN Refugee Agency (UNCHR) has warned.

Mass displacement of people fleeing violence has risen dramatically in the so-called Northern Triangle of Central America: El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

Raising the alarm, UNHCR says it's worried about the numbers of women and unaccompanied children who face sexual attack or murder and being recruited by the gangs.

Here's the agency's spokesperson Adrian Edwards.

"You're seeing a really alarming phenomenon of gang violence and mass displacement…a real need for joined-up approach to this problem."

Key destinations for the displaced are Mexico, Costa Rica and the United States, which have seen huge spikes in the number of asylum-seekers in recent years.

Syria negotiator meets Russia's Lavrov ahead of new Geneva talks

In Geneva, preparations are gaining momentum for a new round of talks on the future of Syria, as the UN's chief negotiator heads to Moscow to meet Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

UN spokesperson in Geneva Ahmad Fawzi said that Staffan de Mistura was planning to start the second round of Intra-Syrian talks by meeting the HNC, the main opposition group on Monday next week.

"Staffan de Mistura is continuing his consultations and intends to resume the Syria talks as planned on the 11th…this will be the second round of the Intra-Syrian talks…and he expects to start with the HNC."

Fawzi said that he believed all the other delegations were "keen" to rejoin the talks, while the Syria government group had earlier indicated that it was unlikely to be available before the 14th, because of elections in the war-torn country.

States "need a reality check to confront violent extremism"

Violent extremism is a "clear, present" and growing threat to global peace and governments need a "reality check" if they're to stop it, the United Nations said Tuesday.

Ahead of a high-level conference on preventing radicalisation, Jehangir Khan, who heads the UN's Counter-Terrorism Implementation Taskforce (CTITF), stressed that a military approach to the problem isn't enough.

"There's no question that we need of course a security response, a law enforcement response to the growing threat posed by Daesh and Boko Haram and ISIS and other groups, but the Secretary-General believes and working with our partners here in Switzerland and other member states of the United Nations that we must also look at the prevention of the spread of violent extremism and terrorism."

Providing a platform for the conference at the UN in Geneva will be the Secretary-General's plan of action; 70 recommendations that states can look to when formulating their own national extremism prevention policies.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 2'56"



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