News in Brief 12 June 2017 (AM)

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A UNHCR field officer and a team of volunteers begin waste clean-up at the Cacanda reception centre, Angola where thousands of refugees from DRC are sheltering. Photo: UNHCR/Pumla Rulashe

US$65 million needed to help aid DRC refugees fleeing into Angola

The UN and partners are appealing for US$65 million in emergency aid to help refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) fleeing across the border into Angola.

Around 30,000 have already arrived since April and hundreds are continuing to cross the border every day, said Paolo Balladelli, the UN Resident Coordinator in Angola.

Inter-communal tensions have led to a major uptick in violence in DRC's Kasai provinces, between different militias and government troops, which has displaced more than 1.3 million internally.

The UN said that the number of refugees in Angola could reach 50,000, and despite Angola's best efforts, reception centres were now full and basic services could no longer be provided.

Mr Balledelli said an emergency flash appeal would be launched in the next few weeks, and the international community needed to help, as everyone, everywhere, was increasingly at risk of having to flee their homes.

"It will be more and more possible that all of us (will) become refugees so it's very important that we abide by international humanitarian law and we help the refugees because tomorrow, it could happen to us."

States must act together to stop violence against people with albinism: UN expert

Only if states work together, can violence and discrimination against people with albinism be effectively prevented, a UN rights expert has warned.

The UN Independent Expert on human rights of persons with albinism, Ikponwosa Ero, said that "we cannot underestimate the importance of joint action".

She was speaking ahead of International Albinism Awareness Day, marked each 13 June.

Albinism is characterized by a lack of melanin, resulting in lighter than normal skin and hair.

In some countries, people with the condition have been physically attacked or killed for their body parts, to be used in witchcraft ceremonies.

Ms Ero applauded the recent endorsement by the African Commission on Human and People's Rights of the Regional Action Plan to end attacks on persons with albinism in Africa.

She said the plan set out clearly what states could do, focussing on education, data-collection and researching the root causes of violence.

UN rapporteur says states must provide shelters for women victims of violence

The UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women said on Monday that states must provide shelters for women victims, according to their human rights obligations.

Speaking at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Dubravka Šimonović, described shelters and protection orders as "survival tools" for women whose lives were at risk.

"These measures are not optional extras," she said, adding that many states "seem to lack understanding of their requirement to combat gender-based violence."

Presenting her latest report to the Council, she said some states provided no shelters whatsoever, while others had only day centres which did not allow women to stay overnight.

UN experts recommend one refuge place for every 10,000 people.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2’35″

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