News in Brief 23 October 2017 (PM)

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14 year old Sidibe Rokiatou, from Côte d’Ivoire, dreams of becoming a pharmacist. Her dream is possible now because she's in school, but a year ago, she was close to ending up in a forced marriage. © UNICEF/UN061441/Dejongh

Ending child marriage in West & Central Africa could take 100 years: UNICEF

Unless action is taken to stamp out child marriage in West and Central Africa, it will take more than 100 years to end the practice in these regions.

That's according to projections by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) which were released on Monday.

UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq has more details.

"While the prevalence of child marriage in West and Central Africa has declined over the past two decades, progress has been uneven, and still four in 10 women are married before the age of 18 and, of these, one in three before the age of 15. West and Central Africa includes six of the 10 countries with the highest prevalence of child marriage in the world: those are Niger; Central African Republic; Chad; Mali; Burkina Faso and Guinea."

UNICEF said one of the best strategies to delay girls from marrying young is to get them to go to school "and keeping them there for as long as possible."

UNHCR foresees rise in South Sudan refugees

Around half a million South Sudanese could become refugees in the coming year, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has warned.

Continued instability in the world's youngest nation could lead to a rise in the number of people seeking shelter in neighbouring countries, the agency said on Monday.

So far, more than two million have fled to Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic.

The UN agency said that "if these projections are proved correct, this would be an exodus not witnessed in Africa since the days of the Rwandan genocide."

Officials from UNHCR, the UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, and their partners recently briefed diplomats and other experts in Nairobi on the crisis in South Sudan.

They also highlighted a shortfall in funding to support the refugees.

A US$1.4 billion humanitarian response plan is only around 25 per cent funded.

Three companies join ILO workplace initiative on disability inclusion

Three more multinational companies have signed on to a UN initiative that promotes recruitment and retention of people with disabilities in the workplace, the International Labour Organization (ILO) announced on Monday.

Consulting firm Capgemini, French industrial enterprise Legrand and Saudi food and retail company Savola Group have become the latest members of the ILO Global Business and Disability Network.

At its annual meeting at ILO headquarters in Geneva, members discussed how to be more accessible to both employees and clients with disabilities.

They also showcased good business practices for advertising that is inclusive and contributes to a positive image of persons with disabilities.

Looking to the future world of work, they highlighted plans such as setting up internships and other workplace learning schemes for young people, including in digital skills training.

People with disabilities make up 15 per cent of the global population, according to ILO Director-General Guy Ryder.

So far, 17 companies have become members of its Global Business and Disability Network, which was established in 2010.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 3’15″

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