News in Brief 13 January 2017(AM)

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Secretary General’s Special Representative for Haiti, Sandra Honoré. UN Photo/Mark Garten

Courage of Haiti earthquake survivors praised by UN

The courage "determination and dedication" of those who survived the devastating earthquake which hit Haiti seven years ago, has been praised by the UN.

In a ceremony to mark the anniversary of the earthquake which killed more than 200,000 people, the head of the UN Mission there, MINUSTAH, Sandra Honoré, said the victims would never be forgotten.

She expressed condolences to the families of the dead and disappeared, and expressed sympathy for all those whose lives continue to be affected by the tragedy.

The anniversary is now recognized as the National Day of Reflection and Awareness on the Vulnerability of Haiti to Risks and Disasters.

The Special Representative ended her speech with an appeal to look forward and build a "prosperous and stable Haiti".

The UN's Special Adviser on Haiti, David Nabarro, said he was heartened that 7 years on, Haiti had now "found its path to political stability with the election of a new president and parliament."

"Alarming" increase in unaccompanied child migrants reaching Italy

There has been an "alarming" increase in the number of unaccompanied or separated children reaching Italy during the past year, according to the UN Children's Fund UNICEF.

Almost 26,000 children arrived in Italy during 2016, double the previous year, representing a "staggering" 91 per cent of all children reaching the Italian coast in 2016 as refugees or migrants, said UNICEF.

Current systems in place are failing to protect children said the agency, who find themselves alone in an unfamiliar environment.

The top four countries of origin for incoming children are Eritrea, Egypt, Gambia and Nigeria.

Here's UNICEF's Sarah Crowe.

"The situation in the central Mediterranean, those moving into Italy is of concern, because those children are coming alone. While most of the children were boys between 15 and 17, younger children and girls have also been among the new arrivals. Girls in particular of course are at risk from sexual exploitation and abuse, including sexual exploitation by criminal gangs."

New "Human Mobility Law" in Ecuador welcomed by UNHCR

A new so-called Human Mobility Law passed by the National Assembly in Ecuador, has been welcomed by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) as a major step forward in the protection of people on the move.

The law regularizes the status of all immigrants, refugees, migrants, asylum seekers, stateless persons, and victims of trafficking, as well as their families.

UNHCR also said the legislation "establishes important principles" such as equal treatment before the law, and not returning people to their home countries where their lives or rights are at risk.

The agency particularly applauded one of the provisions granting residency to refugees, and giving them access to a national identification card.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2'32"

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