News in Brief 01 December 2017 (PM)

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On World AIDS Day, UNAIDS warns that men are less likely to access HIV treatment and more likely to die
of AIDS-related illnesses. Source: UNAIDS

Global HIV/AIDS response still "lagging behind" despite progress

Despite major progress on ending the AIDS epidemic, parts of the global response to battling the HIV virus are still "lagging behind", the UN chief said on Friday.

In a statement to mark World Aids Day, António Guterres said that men were less likely to know if they were living with the virus, and therefore less likely to seek treatment, than women.

He called for a renewed commitment to "finish what we have started" and make AIDS a disease of the past.

More details from UN Spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric.

"The Secretary-General praised the progress made on ending the epidemic and said the world is on track to provide access to HIV treatment to 30 million people by 2020. However, he added that some parts of the world are lagging behind, with women and girls in Africa being most at risk, and he called for a renewed commitment to make AIDS a thing of the past."

More than 8,000 refugees from DRC cross into Zambia in past 3 months

More than 8,000 refugees fleeing violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have crossed the border into Zambia in the past three months, said the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

Around 12,000 have fled militia violence in the south-east of the country so far; 80 per cent of whom are women and children.

DRC's eastern region has been wracked by violence between government forces and armed groups for years, and inter-ethnic fighting has grown worse throughout the year.

UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said there were numerous reports of "extreme brutality" against civilians, with widespread looting, sexual violence and villages being torched.

"The Kenani Transit Centre, which currently hosts over 8,000 refugees, is filled to capacity. Zambia has made more land available for a new site, but UNHCR and its partners urgently need resources to develop the new site and for refugees to receive life-saving assistance."

FAO opens a new door for ex-combatants in CAR

More than 1,000 ex-combatants in the Central African Republic (CAR) have exchanged a life of fighting for farming, thanks to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The FAO-led initiative helps former fighters put down their weapons and take to the land instead.

Participants get certified training in gardening, horticulture, and rearing farm animals, as well as using agricultural tools and growing seeds.

Jean-Alexandre Scaglia, FAO Representative in the CAR, said the programme was timely and important to help restore peace, as violence resumes recently.

He said the scheme aimed to help fighters return to an economically-viable civilian life, "through training courses they have chosen themselves."

Conflict between armed groups and government forces in CAR has left half of the population in need of food assistance.

Meanwhile, FAO is urgently appealing for $10 million to help more than 350,000 vulnerable and displaced communities restart their own farming activities.

Matt Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2’40″

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