News in brief 28 April (PM)

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A displaced Malian woman prepares dinner for her family in the capital, Bamako. Photo: UNHCR/H. Caux

 UN official draws attention to "complex emergency" in Mali

A senior UN official is drawing attention to the complex emergency in Mali and the deteriorating humanitarian situation resulting from the conflict, following a three-day visit to the country.

John Ging, the Director of Operations for the Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), warned that people do not have access to basic services, including water, health and education and the needs are growing.

The Mali conflict between the government, and armed militants supporting it and northern insurgent groups lasted until 2015 when a fragile peace agreement was signed.

Several violent extremist groups have united under the Al Qaeda banner in the Islamic Maghreb in March, seeking to undermine the progress made.

These groups are threatening teachers and communities, and as a result 507 schools have been closed across the central and northern parts of the country.

Since February of this year more than 10,000 people have been displaced.

Mr Ging said the focus and support for the security sector alone will not solve the West African nation's crisis.

Cambodia urged to release human rights defenders without delay

Cambodian authorities are being urged by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to release "without delay" five human rights defenders who have been in pre-trial detention for one year.

The current or former members of an organization known by the acronym ADHOC are being held on charges relating to assistance provided to a woman who allegedly had been pressured by the authorities to give false testimony.

The woman later conceded and claimed that the "Adhoc 5" had bribed her to lie to investigators.

The investigating judge this week extended their detention for an additional six months.

In November, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concluded that the activists had been arbitrarily detained.

The UN human rights office regretted their detention has been extended despite the Working Group's opinion.

Don't neglect CAR, humanitarians appeal 

The international community has been urged not to neglect the Central African Republic (CAR), where nearly half of the population relies on humanitarian assistance.

UN humanitarian officials in the region made the appeal on Friday at the end of a mission to the country.

It comes in the wake of an upsurge in attacks in the east and northwest.

Stéphane Dujarric is the UN Spokesperson:

"The regional representatives of UN agencies and non-governmental organisations met with affected communities, civil society, donors, aid workers and authorities in Bangui and in the northwest prefecture of Ouham-Pendé, which has witnessed a recent peak of violence. Almost half the population in the CAR depends on humanitarian assistance to survive. Due to the lack of state presence and services in most areas, humanitarian actors are delivering over 50% of social services to the population."

The officials also expressed concern over a funding shortfall that threatens delivery of life-saving aid.

A US$400 million humanitarian response plan for the CAR is only 10 percent funded.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 3’04″

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