News in Brief 13 April 2017 (AM)

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Water, along with pollutants and contaminating agents, flows into a canal in Maputo, Mozambique. (File) Photo: John Hogg / World Bank

More investment needed to meet SDG water and sanitation targets

Countries need to increase investment in water and sanitation if the world is to meet the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, by 2030.

Goal 6 calls for access for all to clean water and sanitation, and yet almost two billion people today still use a drinking water source which is contaminated by faeces, said World Health Organization (WHO) Director, Maria Neira.

WHO and UN-Water issued a report on Thursday, highlighting the fact that contaminated drinking water is estimated to cause more than 500,000 deaths due to diarrhoea; as well as exposure to cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio.

The report said that countries around the world need to increase spending on water and sanitation, and use existing resources more efficiently, as well as look for new sources of funding.

The UN-Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water 2017 report, indicates countries have increased budgets for safer water at nearly five per cent over the past three years, yet 80 per cent acknowledge that's not enough to meet national targets.

Dismissal of 134,000 Turkish civil servants "cannot be justified": UN experts

The dismissal of up to 134,000 public servants in Turkey without due process for alleged links to political opposition groups "cannot be justified," a group of UN independent experts said on Thursday.

The four experts released a joint statement ahead of Sunday's referendum in Turkey on a new draft constitution, which will increase the powers of the presidency.

It follows a failed military coup last summer.

The experts said that the resulting state of emergency had "been used as a justification to undertake massive violations of the right to education and the right to work and to plunge many civil servants into poverty."

The right to education had been targeted by the government "in an especially problematic way," the experts said, with around 1,000 schools and 15 universities closed by emergency decree.

Around 200 media outlets have also been shuttered, causing thousands of journalists to lose their jobs and livelihoods, but also undermining the informed debate over the referendum, the experts added.

"Important milestone" to protect migrant and refugee children welcomed by UN

A new policy to protect migrant and refugee children has been welcomed by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

The policy which covers all European Union (EU) member states, is the first to address the situation and rights of all children on the move; including those travelling alone or with their families, said Noala Skinner, Director of UNICEF's Brussels Office.

She said it linked together migration, asylum and child protection.

"We strongly hope that these guidelines will contribute, in a very concrete manner, to the protection of the many children who arrive" in Europe after being forced to flee their homes, added UNHCR's Deputy Director for Europe, Diane Goodman.

Among the new measures are the appointment of guardians for children, better child protection at all levels, better data collection and a more solutions-based approach based on cooperation among Member States.

Lucy Dean, United Nations.

Duration: 2’42”

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