News in Brief 03 October 2017 (PM)

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Rohingya refugees from Myanmar walk through paddy fields and flooded land after they fled over the border to Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, where more than half a million Rohingya Muslims have found refuge. Photo: UNICEF/UN0119956/Brown (file)

Scale-up aid to Myanmar refugees in Bangladesh: UN officials

Two senior UN officials are calling for scaled-up assistance to support thousands of people who have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar over the past six weeks.

Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock and the Executive Director of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) Anthony Lake, were in the southern city of Cox's Bazar where more than half a million Rohingya Muslims have found refuge.

Speaking to journalists there on Tuesday, Mr Lowcock announced a US$12 million allocation from a UN fund known as CERF.

And while the relief operation is "gathering momentum," with 300,000 receiving water and sanitation support, he said more needs to be done.

"The conditions in the camps at the moment are terrible. We need to do a lot more to scale up beyond what we have done so far. I have today announced an allocation of 12 million dollars from CERF to pump prime the scale up. But we need to ask our generous donors and our friends in the international community to scale up as well."

UN chief concerned about deadly violence in Cameroon

Authorities in Cameroon are being urged by the UN Secretary-General to investigate recent deadly violence in the south-west and north-west.

Cameroon is a predominantly French-speaking country in West Africa, and pro-independence demonstrations have broken out in its English-speaking regions, resulting in a crackdown by the security forces.

At least 17 people were killed over the weekend, according to media reports.

In a statement strongly condemning the violence, UN chief António Guterres issued a call to political leaders on both sides.

He urged them to appeal to their followers to refrain from further violence and to "unequivocally condemn" any acts which undermine peace, stability and unity in the country.

Here's UN Spokesman Stéphane Dujarric, speaking to journalists in New York on Tuesday.

"The Secretary-General takes note of the calls by the authorities for dialogue and encourages representatives of the Anglophone community to seize the opportunity in their quest for solutions to the community's grievances, within the framework of the Cameroonian constitution.  The Secretary-General reiterates the support of the United Nations for such efforts, through the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA).

Only a quarter of refugees in Middle East likely to receive winter aid: UNHCR

Only one in four refugees in the Middle East is likely to receive adequate assistance in preparation for the winter months.

That's according to Andrej Mahecic, spokesperson for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), speaking on Tuesday in Geneva.

He said a US$245 million plan to cover the winter needs of refugees and displaced people in six Middle Eastern countries is only 26 per cent funded.

UNHCR plans to provide assistance to the refugees throughout the autumn, including insulation, shelter repair, blankets, and winter clothing.

Some refugees living in camps will be provided cash for gas and shelter repairs.

Expert meeting at UN aims to create 'Space for Women'

Astronauts, diplomats, decision makers and experts from around the globe are meeting at the UN later this week to discuss ways to increase the number of women and girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, the so-called "STEM" subjects, particularly in developing countries.

They will also look at how to improve women's involvement in the space sector, and how the industry can support achievement of global development goals.

The meeting has been organized by the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and UN Women.

Recommendations will feed into the development of UNOOSA's 'Space for Women' project.

Simonetta Di Pippo is the Director at UNOOSA, which is based in Vienna.

"Space for Women is really a gender mainstreaming project where we will like to work with member states; not only for STEM education but also to help young girls when they graduate to then find their place in their own society without being obliged to leave their own country.  And this has to be done with each member state, and we will start with a small group of champions—as I like to call them—so, pilot countries with which we will develop this medium to long-term project."

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 4’22″

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