News in Brief 4 January 2017 (AM)

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Central African Republic (CAR) refugee children at the transit camp in Gara Boulai, eastern Cameroon. Photo: OCHA/Ivo Brandau

US$310 aid appeal for Cameroon

An appeal for US$310 million has been launched to provide life-saving assistance to 1.2 million people in northern and eastern Cameroon, the UN humanitarian agency, OCHA, has reported.

The regions are facing challenges such as malnutrition and high levels of food insecurity in addition to hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees from Nigeria and the Central African Republic.

UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Cameroon Najat Rochdi said the situation is most acute in the far north region of the country where scores of civilians have fled their homes due to violence and insecurity.

The Government together with the UN and non-governmental partners has launched the funding appeal which will target the most vulnerable people.

The UN estimates that nearly three million people in Cameroon will need assistance this year.

Enhanced website for two landmark criminal courts

A website for two pioneering UN courts for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia has been updated to promote greater transparency of information.

The Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) said the enhanced website will allow for "easy and intuitive navigation" to content about its mandate, functions and activities.

The update also includes an increase in material in the Kinyarwanda language as well as in Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian.

The Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals performs several essential functions carried out by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

The Rwanda court was established to prosecute those responsible for the 1994 genocide. It closed in December 2015 with 93 people indicted, 62 of whom were sentenced for their crimes.

The tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, which is set to wrap up this year, deals with war crimes related to the Balkan conflicts in the 1990s.

One of the functions of the Mechanism for the International Criminal Tribunals is to locate and arrest eight people indicted by the Rwanda tribunal who remain at large.

Award for UNESCO Special Envoy Forest Whitaker

American actor Forest Whitaker, who is the Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation with the UN cultural agency UNESCO, will be honoured for his work in peace-building and conflict resolution, particularly with youth in communities touched by violence and poverty.

Mr Whitaker will be among the recipients of the 2017 Crystal Awards at the opening of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, later this month.

The Academy Award winner is the founder of the International Institute for Peace (IIP) and the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI).

He is also one of the 17 Advocates appointed by the UN Secretary-General to promote the Sustainable Development Goals.

Mr Whitaker won the Oscar for his role as Idi Amin in the 2006 film 'The Last King of Scotland.'

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 3'08"

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