News in Brief 17 February 2016 (PM)

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On 13 February 2017, when there seemed to be a pause in the shelling and fighting, Sasha, 6, carefully ascends the steep steps that lead outside of the cellar of her home, about 15 kilometres from the contact line in Toretsk, Donetsk Region, Ukraine. Photo: UNICEF/Pavel Zmey

One million children affected by Ukraine conflict: UNICEF

The number of children requiring humanitarian assistance as a result of the conflict in eastern Ukraine has nearly doubled since last year.

That information comes from the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) which says one million girls and boys are now affected.

Fighting between government troops and largely pro-Russian separatists which began three years ago has displaced nearly two million people in the region.

Giovanna Barberis is the UNICEF Representative in Ukraine:

"We know that around 200,000 boys and girls are living within the 15 kilometres on each side of the contact line. These are children that are exposed daily to the violence of the conflict, to landmines, they have limited access to health care, to their schools, to the right to have a normal life, I would say."

UNICEF is seeking US$31.3 million to meet the needs of children caught in the conflict.

So far, approximately 10 per cent of the appeal has been funded.

Condemnation for deadly blasts in Iraq and Afghanistan

The UN is expressing solidarity with the people of Iraq following a terrorist attack in a neighbourhood in the capital, Baghdad, on Thursday.

The extremist group ISIL, also known as Daesh, has claimed responsibility for the car bombing which reportedly killed upwards of 50 people and wounded scores more.

Meanwhile, the organization's mission in Afghanistan, UNAMA, has condemned the killing of 12 people, including eight children, who died in a blast on Thursday in Paktika province in the southeast of the country.

They were travelling in a vehicle on the way home from school when it detonated a pressure-plate improvised explosive device placed on a main public road.

Four other passengers were injured, three of them children.

UNAMA deputy chief Pernille Kardel said "children are once again the main victims of these indiscriminate and illegal weapons."

She issued a message to the perpetrators: "Stop using these weapons if you are serious about safeguarding Afghanistan's civilians and the country's future generation."

Countries urged to act now for a more just future for all

International solidarity should ensure that all States benefit from globalization and that no one is left behind.

That's the message coming from two UN human rights experts in a statement for the World Day of Social Justice, observed on Monday, 20 February.

The experts pointed out that all people have the right to a standard of living that ensures adequate health and well-being, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

This also includes access to food, housing, health care and social services.

However, they said, ensuring "human dignity for all" requires that social justice policies are implemented not only domestically but also internationally.

Therefore, they said UN Member States must act now on their commitments to advancing peace and human dignity if there is to be a fairer future for all the world's people.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 3’13″

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