News in Brief 1 July 2016 (AM) – Geneva

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A UNICEF-supported safe space for children in the Dalori camp for internally displaced people, in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri in Borno State. Photo: UNICEF/Andrew Esiebo

Alarm for Boko Haram-liberated areas in Nigeria

Concern is growing for more than half a million people who are in need of immediate food assistance in north-east Nigeria, the UN said Friday.

Until just a few days ago, humanitarian workers have been unable to access many communities in Borno state, because of violence linked to Boko Haram extremists.

But as the Nigerian military has retaken control of the region, increasing numbers are being found with signs of severe acute malnutrition.

Jens Laerke, from the UN agency OCHA, said that funding is urgently needed to help the 2.4 million people who've been forced to flee the violence:

"And it's particularly the displacement, and of course the generalised insecurity and the horrific acts of violence that have been perpetrated by Boko Haram, but on a more general level, this displacement means that food insecurity goes up. These are subsistence farmers who live there, if they displaced from their land they cannot produce the food that they are supposed to eat."

According to OCHA of 27 local government areas in Borno state, only four are now under the control of Boko Haram.

Greece begins registration of nearly 50,000 asylum-seekers

In Greece, the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR is helping to register thousands of asylum-seekers who've been stuck there since countries further north closed their borders in response to the migration crisis.

An estimated 49,000 refugees and migrants are currently on the Greek mainland, and many are in temporary accommodation.

So far, more than 15,000 people have received asylum seeker cards in the Attica and Thessaloniki regions, giving them access to basic services.

Of that number, UNHCR says that nearly 700 children are either unaccompanied or have become separated from their families.

The agency's William Spindler called for more countries to take in these newly registered individuals:

"We see regularly countries coming forward offering places but the number of places are inadequate just a few places at a time, so we need countries to come forward with more places…we need them to speed up and increase the number of places and we need people to be moving quickly."

According to UNHCR, European Union countries have taken in just 8,000 of the 160,000 asylum-seekers they agreed to as part of efforts to solve the migration crisis.

IOM members agree to join UN family

And finally, the UN family could soon be getting a little bigger; that's because preparations are under way for a likely new addition: the International Organization for Migration, IOM.

This follows a decision by IOM's 165 Member States to join forces with the United Nations. It's a move that's been welcomed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

IOM's Leonard Doyle described the move as "historic" and said it reflected growing international concern about migration.

"The issue of migration is written into the climate change decision in Paris last year, you have at least 10 of the Sustainable Development Goals have a specific migration theme to them or a sub-theme to them, and you have the decision of the (UN) General Assembly to have a high-level meeting on migrants meeting in Sept. So it's clear that migration has finally become part of the core agenda of the international system."

In order to join the UN, IOM's request must be formally received by the UN Secretary-General and transmitted to the General Assembly for approval.

This could well coincide with the start of the high-level meeting on migration on the 19th of September in New York.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 3'30"

 

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