News in Brief 22 September 2017 (PM)

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Refugees at Imvepi Refugee Camp, Uganda. UN Photo (File)/Amanda Voisard

Arab States and UNHCR sign agreement to address refugee crisis

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and the League of Arab States (LAS) signed a formal Memorandum of Understanding on Friday, to respond more effectively to the region's refugee crisis.

The agreement includes better humanitarian access and emergency response to the predicament of refugees, internally-displaced and stateless people in the Middle East and North Africa.

It was signed by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, and the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, on the margins of the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly.

"This agreement further solidifies the long-standing cooperation UNHCR has shared with the League … and its member states in addressing fundamental humanitarian and displacement challenges," said Mr Grandi.

UNHCR estimates that over half of the refugees worldwide and some 40 per cent of internally displaced persons, are being hosted in Arab countries.

The on-going humanitarian operations in the region also take up about half of the UN Agency's annual budget.

Trafficking victims need "understanding, compassion and protection"

Human trafficking victims need "understanding, compassion and protection" said the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) speaking on the margins of the UN General Assembly.

Yuri Fedetov was one of the speakers at the global launch of what UNODC describes as the largest-ever media campaign to highlight the scourge of modern slavery.

UNODC research shows that cross-border human trafficking flows often track the flow of migrants and refugees.

Those fleeing from countries with high levels of organized crime were more vulnerable to being exploited and abused by traffickers, said Mr Fedetov.

He added that trafficking "infects all our societies" with the poor and vulnerable most at risk.

He said greater public awareness could improve efforts to prevent trafficking and there was a greater need to share information to help catch the criminals.

UN Mission calls for end to clashes between government troops, IDPs in Darfur

The joint African-Union-UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has called for restraint between Sudanese government troops and internally-displaced persons based at Kalma camp, south Darfur, where clashes have led to at least three deaths and dozens of injuries.

UNAMID Joint Special Representative, Jeremiah Mamabolo, said the mission was "deeply concerned" adding that "a peaceful resolution of differences is the only way forward for the Darfuri people".

Three IDPs have died and at least 26 have been injured during the clashes which occurred on Friday morning, as they protested against the upcoming visit to South Darfur, by Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir.

A UNAMID medical team is helping local authorities at the camp, and talks are underway with state government and IDP leaders to de-escalate the situation.

Matt Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2'23"

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