News in Brief 09 October 2017 (AM)

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Having fled their homes in Myanmar, these Rohingya families have settled in the makeshift Balukhali camp in Cox's Bazar Bangladesh. Photo: OCHA/Anthony Burke

WHO and partners undertake massive anti-cholera campaign in Bangladesh

Hundreds of health workers and volunteers in Bangladesh are gearing up to inoculate more than 650,000 refugees against cholera.

They will be taking part in what has been described as the world's second largest oral cholera vaccination campaign ever.

The campaign kicks off on Tuesday in the Cox's Bazaar region in southern Bangladesh, where more than half a million mostly Muslim Rohingya refugees have been sheltering since late August after fleeing violence in neighbouring Myanmar.

They have joined hundreds of thousands of others already crowded in camps and settlements, which has further strained access to water, sanitation and hygiene.

The campaign is being organized by Bangladesh's Ministry of Health, together with the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners.

More than 200 mobile teams will deliver the vaccine across 12 camps and settlements, followed by a second phase later this month targeting 250,000 young children who require a second dose for added protection.

Boy who lost entire family among Rohingya boat tragedy survivors: IOM

In more news about the Rohingya crisis:

At least 13 Rohingya refugees drowned when the fishing boat taking them to Bangladesh capsized overnight in stormy weather, the UN migration agency, IOM reported on Monday.

They were among 60 people on board the 20-metre vessel which left Myanmar under cover of darkness as a means to evade the authorities on both sides.

The Bangladesh coast guard found 13 bodies including seven boys, all under the age of 10, and four girls aged two to three years, as well as a 70-year-old man and a 60-year-old woman.

IOM staff on the scene attended a funeral service for seven of the victims, which took place earlier on Monday.

They also spoke to some of the survivors including an eight-year-old boy described as "transfixed with shock."

The boy, called Arafat, said he had lost his entire family in the accident.

"Where will I go now," he cried, as a relative who had travelled from Cox's Bazaar on hearing the news of the tragedy stood by him, the UN agency reported.

Maldives: Rights expert calls for reforms following lawyer suspensions

Authorities in Maldives are being urged to implement reforms following the indefinite suspension of 54 lawyers who had signed a petition raising serious concerns about the independence of the country's justice system.

The appeal was made by human rights expert Diego García-Sayán in a statement issued on Monday.

The lawyers were suspended on 10 September.  Prior to that date, some of them had assembled outside the Supreme Court where they tried to submit the petition while also calling for judicial reforms.

Mr García-Sayán, who is the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, called for the creation of an independent bar association in Maldives whose priorities should include protecting lawyers' independence, defending their interests and enforcing disciplinary measures.

"Just like everyone else, lawyers are entitled to freedom of opinion, expression, association and peaceful assembly," he said, adding that "In particular, they have the right to take part in public discussions on matters concerning the law, the administration of justice and the protection of human rights."

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration:  3’27″

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