News in Brief 06 November 2017 (PM)

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In this photo taken on 19 October 2017, Rohingya refugees that have fled Myanmar's Rakhine state, arrive at a UNHCR transit centre near the village of Anjuman Para, Cox's Bazar, after spending four days stranded at the Myanmar border with some 6,800 refugees. © UNHCR/Roger Arnold

Security Council calls for "unhindered" humanitarian access to Rakhine State

The Security Council on Monday demanded that authorities in Myanmar give the UN and partners "unhindered" humanitarian access to Rakhine State.

The Presidential Statement expressed "grave concern" at the accounts of intercommunal violence, that have seen more than 600,000 mainly Muslim Rohingya flee Rakhine across the border into Bangladesh since late August.

It called on Myanmar authorities – who have been accused of carrying out what amounts to a brutal ethnic cleansing programme – to halt the violence, and allow the "voluntary safe and dignified return" of refugees to their homes.

Here's Council President, Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, of Italy.

"Humanitarian needs exceed the current level of provision and demands the government of Myanmar to grant immediate, safe and unhindered access to United Nations agencies and their partners, to provide humanitarian assistance in Rakhine State as to ensure the safety and security of humanitarian personnel."

The Permanent Representative of Myanmar addressed the Council following the statement, saying it contained made false claims.

He said it would only lead to further "escalation of tensions", claiming that it exerted "undue political pressure" on Myanmar.

Journalism "under fire" across the world more than ever: UNESCO report

Journalism is "under fire" across the world, despite greater public access to news online than ever before.

That's one of the conclusions of the World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development report, from the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO.

The report covering this year into 2018, states that a combination of "political polarization" and technological change has allowed "the rapid spread of hate speech, misogyny and unverified 'fake news".

This has often led to increasing and disproportionate restrictions on freedom of expression.

"In an ever-growing number of countries", according to World Trends, "journalists face physical and verbal attacks that threaten their ability to report news and information to the public."

Hong Kong should "honour human rights commitments": UN experts

Hong Kong needs to honour its human rights commitments towards three leading democracy activists, said a group of UN experts on Monday.

The three young activists are appealing against the criminal convictions on 7 November, after being jailed in August for between six and eight months, for leading pro-democracy protests in 2015.

Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow were part of the so-called Occupy Central protests.

Wong and Law were freed on bail late last month, pending the appeal.

In a joint statement, the rights experts urged the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal to consider the cases of the three "in accordance with Hong Kong's obligations under international human rights law."

They added that the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly "protects people, especially those holding dissenting opinions."

Ensuring technology and innovation are a "power for good" is vital: UN chief

Everyone needs to join together to ensure that new technology, science and innovation are harnessed as "a power for good" said the UN chief on Monday, addressing the international Web Summit, in the Portuguese capital, Lisbon.

Organizers say that almost 60,000 people from more than 170 countries are attending the four-day summit, that will feature more than 1,200 speakers across two-dozen conferences, under one roof.

Secretary António Guterres spoke on the opening evening, said it was important to combining innovation and technology with good public policy, for the benefit of everyone.

"We need to make sure that we combine our energies, that we are able to put all of our experiences together and that we use opportunities like these to seriously discuss the problems that we face and at the same time to maximize the potential of the enormous advantages that the innovations we are discussing, can provide to our world."

Matt Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 3’22″

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