News in Brief 13 May 2016 (PM)

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Coastguard rescues some 1,000 refugees and migrants off Italy. Photo: UNHCR/Carlotta Sami

Some 1,000 migrants from the Mediterranean

The Italian Coastguard has helped rescue some 1,000 migrants from the Mediterranean Sea, the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR has said.

Syrians, Iraqis and people from other nationalities were among the group, the agency confirmed.

The disembarkation of people rescued took place on Friday at four different locations in Southern Italy.

Here's Stéphane Dujarric, the UN Spokesperson.

"In one operation carried out yesterday, some 500 people travelling in two fishing boats that had departed several days earlier from Egypt had been rescued off Sicily.

Apart from the two fishing boats that had sailed from Egypt, it was believed that there had been other smaller boats coming from Libya."

So far this year, close to188,000 refugees and migrants have arrived in Europe by sea, during which more than a thousand have either died or been reported missing.

Palestine refugees in Syria face "extreme hardship"

Palestine refugees in Syria continue to face "extreme hardship" because of the many consequences of armed violence they are exposed to, a UN official has said.

Pierre Krähenbühl, the head of the UN relief and human development agency UNRWA, made an official visit to Syria where he met with refugees living in and around the besieged Yarmouk camp.

He heard first-hand accounts of the pain, anger and violence endured by Palestinian refugees of all ages.

He also spoke to two young girls who were badly injured in a double car bomb attack in a district south of Damascus last February and who had suffered "unspeakable trauma".

"We all know what the community has gone through, the suffering, the depravation and the destruction and the pain that has gone thorugh this community. And yet, every single day, through the work of our colleagues here, we remind the world that this is a community that deserves respect, that deserves protection and that deserves assistance."

Heavy fighting in 2016 had interrupted the work of UNRWA in Yarmouk camp.

Mr Krähenbühl said the agency remained determined to resume direct distributions inside Yarmouk when the conditions allow.

Meanwhile, everything was being done to provide crucial aid and services to Palestine refugees in Syria.

Security Council "strongly condemns" continuing attacks by Boko Haram

The UN Security Council has issued a statement strongly condemning the continuing activities of the terrorist group Boko Haram, and the humanitarian crisis it has spawned across the Lake Chad Basin.

The whole peace and stability of west and central Africa has been undermined by the group, says the press statement.

It adds that Boko Haram is guilty of flagrant abuses of human rights and international law throughout the region, and the council also called for all those being held in captivity, including more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls from Chibok, to be released.

The statement expresses "deep concern at the alarming scale" of the humanitarian crisis which has displaced more than 2 million Nigerians, turned 450,000 into migrants and refugees, and left 4.2 million food insecure.

Janie Cangelosi, United Nations.

Duration: 2’35″

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