News in Brief 11 December 2017 (AM)

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Children at St. Columba's School, Delhi, India, use a mobile phone. Photo: UNICEF/Ashutosh Sharma

Children exposed to dangerous "new risks" online: UNICEF

Too little is being done to protect children from the "perils" of the digital world, according to a new flagship report published on Monday by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF).

The report, entitled The State of the World's Children 2017: Children in a digital world, presents UNICEF's first comprehensive look at the different ways digital technology is affecting children's lives and future life-chances.

It identifies the dangers that lurk online, as well as the huge opportunities, arguing that Governments and the private sector have not kept up with the pace of change, exposing children to new risks and harms and leaving millions of the most disadvantaged children behind.

Just under a third of all internet users worldwide are children.

"For better and for worse, digital technology is now an irreversible fact of our lives," said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake.

"In a digital world, our dual challenge is how to mitigate the harms while maximizing the benefits of the internet for every child," he added.

The report explores the benefits digital technology can offer the most disadvantaged children, including those growing up in poverty or affected by humanitarian emergencies.

Appeal launched for 1,300 stranded refugees in Libya

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) launched an urgent appeal on Monday on behalf of around 1,300 "highly vulnerable" refugees who are stranded in Libya.

UNHCR's Flash appeal comes amidst a worsening situation for many migrants and refugees who have tried to cross the Libyan desert in recent months in search of asylum or a new home in Europe, across the Mediterranean.

"This is a desperate call for solidarity and humanity," said UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Volker Türk.

"Many refugees and stateless persons in Libya are victims of serious violations of human rights, including different forms of inhumane, cruel and degrading treatment," he added.

Thousands have been detained for indefinite periods of time in detention centres where "deplorable conditions" are common, said UNHCR.

The agency is actively working to organize life-saving refugee evacuations from Libya, where law and order, as well as vital services, have largely broken down.

A first group of 25 refugees from Ethiopia, Eritrea and Sudan were evacuated last month to Niger.

Mr. Türk said a wide range of solutions needed to be deployed, including resettlement, family reunification, evacuation to UNHCR-run emergency facilities or voluntary return.

Mountain agriculture key to climate response: FAO

Investing in sustainable agriculture in mountain regions is central to the response to climate and migration challenges, a senior official with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has said.

The comments by FAO Deputy Director-General Maria Helena Semedo came on Monday in connection with the observance of International Mountain Day.

This year's theme is 'Mountains under Pressure: climate, hunger, migration'.

One billion mountain people — roughly 13 per cent of the global population — are increasingly affected by climate change and climate-induced disasters, according to FAO.

They also often live in geographically isolated areas, making them more prone to hunger and poverty.

Some 60 countries and more than 200 civil society organizations have pledged to strengthen mountain people's resilience in the face of climate change, hunger and migration.

Governments have also committed to reviewing and updating development policies to integrate strategies for sustainable mountain development, among other measures.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 3'52"

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