News in Brief 19 April 2016 (PM)

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A group of refugees from South Sudan at a settlement in Uganda. Photo: UNICEF/UNI183475/Wandera

Life-saving services threatened for South Sudanese refugees

Life-saving services for refugees from South Sudan are under threat because of an increase in the number of people fleeing the country according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

The agency said that all of the countries neighbouring South Sudan have reported a rise in the number of South Sudanese refugees since the beginning of the year.

Here's the UN Spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric.

"For example, an estimated 52,000 South Sudanese have fled into Sudan since late January, exceeding planning projections for 2016. And Uganda has seen a sharp increase in refugee arrivals from South Sudan since January, sometimes as many as 800 individuals per day.

UNHCR says it is extremely worried because the Regional Response Plan funded is just 8 percent and many life-saving services are threatened."

Drought relief launched for millions in Haiti

An emergency programme to help one million Haitians who have suffered three years of drought conditions on the Caribbean island is being launched by the World Food Programme (WFP).

The drought which has been worsened by El Niño weather phenomenon has left an estimated 3.6 million people hungry and in need of food.

WFP plans to deliver meals to those in need and has requested US$ 7.2 million to fund the relief assistance.

Japan faces serious threat to press freedom

Journalists in Japan are facing increased pressure to self-censor according to a UN Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

David Kaye said that "weak legal protection" and persistent calls for "neutrality" from the Japanese government has led journalists to censor their output.

Mr Kaye, who has been visiting Japan at the invitation of the government, said journalists he spoke to anonymously highlighted the pressure to avoid sensitive areas of public interest.

And he added that new legislation, the Specially Designated Secrets Act, was likely to have a "chilling effect" on the media’s coverage of matters of serious concern.

He called upon Japan to adopt a more broadly applicable anti-discrimination law.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1’54″

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