News in Brief 16 October 2017 (AM)

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His Holiness Pope Francis delivering a statement at the World Food Day Ceremony 2017, FAO Headquarters, Rome, Italy. Photo: FAO/Alessandra Benedetti

Make migration "safer and voluntary" choice says Pope on World Food Day

The decision undertaken by millions each year to migrate needs to become "safer and voluntary" said Pope Francis on Monday, at a ceremony organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome, to mark World Food Day.

In his address at FAO headquarters, the pontiff called on governments around the world to collaborate more, arguing that food security for all requires tackling the root causes of climate change and ending conflicts.

Pope Francis said it was wrong to present food scarcity as "an incurable disease" when the root causes were so evident.

He said the "credibility of the whole international system" was at stake, based on the successful implementation of the UN-supported Paris Agreement on climate change and the Global Pact for migration.

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva told the ceremony that "more and more people migrate because they do not have the option to remain in their homes and lands".

In order to save lives, "we need to rebuild the environment in which people live", he added.

The day is being marked this year as global hunger rises for the first time in more than a decade, affecting 815 million people, or 11 per cent of the global population.

This year's theme focusses on addressing migration through investing in food security and rural development.

Voices of refugee children in Jordan "silenced for too long"

The voices of refugee children in Jordan, forced to stay out of school, have been "silenced for too long", said UN Children's Fund Goodwill Ambassador, Muzoon Almellehan, on Monday.

The UNICEF ambassador is the youngest person – and the first refugee – ever to be appointed to the position, and she herself crossed into Jordan from Syria, spending three years in refugee camps before settling in the United Kingdom with her family.

Muzoon returned to Jordan this month, and said that meeting children "whose hope has been restored through education, has compelled me to raise my voice even louder for the 27 million who remain out of school because of conflict."

She promised to "recommit" herself to represent them and their right to quality education.

Around 2.4 million Syrian children are missing out on school, including 1.7 million inside Syria and more than 730,000 refugees living in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

Kenya urged to lift ban on protests ahead of presidential vote: UN experts

The Kenyan government is being urged to lift a newly-imposed ban on protests in key cities, as well as end a "pattern" of police brutality against demonstrators.

Monday's call comes from a group of five UN independent human rights experts, in a statement released ahead of the controversial re-run of August's presidential election, scheduled for 26 October.

Kenya's Supreme Court annulled the August result that declared President Uhuru Kenyatta the winner, citing irregularities in verifying the result.

The experts said that "it is precisely when political tensions are high that governments should do their utmost to let people express their grievances and to protect their rights."

The statement adds that even before the ban was imposed, "we were witnessing a pattern of police brutality and excessive use of force against protesters."

The ban declares that no protests can be held in parts of Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.

The experts called on the government to lift the ban "without delay" saying that it was neither necessary, or proportionate.

Matt Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2’53″

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