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Guatemala’s children bear brunt of prolonged drought and rising heat

by Anastasia Moloney | @anastasiabogota | Thomson Reuters Foundation Tuesday, 21 January 2020 17:14 GMT Image Caption and Rights Information By Anastasia Moloney BOGOTA, Jan 21 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Rising numbers of children in Guatemala are going hungry as drought linked to climate change reduces food harvests, fueling child malnutrition rates in the Central American nation, the United Nations and charities said. Guatemala, which has one of the world’s high rates of child malnutrition, recorded more than 15,300 cases of acute malnutrition in children under 5 last year, up nearly 24% from 2018, according to government figures. The number of children acutely malnourished was the highest since 2015, when a severe drought hit Central America. Guatemala’s farmers are reeling from a series of prolonged droughts in recent years and from a lengthy heat wave last year as climate change brings drier conditions and erratic rainfall, U.N. officials said. Children living in poor hi..

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IRC warns 650,000 civilians may be forced to flee if escalation in north-west Syria continues

New York, NY, January 16, 2020 — The humanitarian situation in northwest Syria is reaching catastrophic levels, and with the attacks yesterday on a marketplace and an industrial zone that reportedly killed at least 15 people, and warnings to civilians in central Idlib and Western Aleppo to evacuate the area, 650,000 people could be impacted and at risk of displacement. International Rescue Committee Middle East Policy Director, Misty Buswell, said, “The situation in northwest Syria was already at breaking point, and the events of the last few days mark a dangerous and deadly turning point in the conflict. An additional 650,000 people, the majority of them women and children, could be forced to flee their homes if the violence continues. This is on top of nearly 350,000 in Idlib who have been displaced since December, bringing the total number who have fled in the last 9 months to nearly three-quarters of a million. Many of the displaced people are living in tents in the open in freez..

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Libya: Tens of thousands of children at risk amidst violence and chaos of unrelenting conflict

NEW YORK, 17 January 2020 – “Children in Libya, including refugee and migrant children, continue to suffer grievously amidst the violence and chaos unleashed by the countrys longstanding civil war. “Since April last year when hostilities broke out in Tripoli and western Libya, conditions for thousands of children and the civilians have deteriorated further. Indiscriminate attacks in populated areas have caused hundreds of deaths, and UNICEF has received reports of children being maimed or killed. Children are also being recruited to the fighting. Meanwhile, more than 150,000 people, 90,000 of whom are children, have been forced to flee their homes and are now internally displaced. “Infrastructure on which children depend for their wellbeing and survival has also come under attack. Nearly 30 health facilities have been damaged in the fighting, forcing 13 to close. Attacks against schools and the threat of violence have led to closures and left almost 200,000 children out of the classr..

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UN report details scale of rights violations suffered by children in Syrian war

UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria Publishes Report on Childrens Rights over the course of the Syrian War GENEVA, 16 January 2020 – Children in the Syrian Arab Republic have been robbed of their childhood as they are forced to participate in a brutal war and endure numerous violations of their rights by all parties to the conflict while remaining acutely vulnerable to violence and abuse, the Commission of Inquiry for Syria noted today in its latest report. In a 25-page report released today, entitled “They have erased the dreams of my children,” the three-person Commission outlines the multiple rights violations children have been subjected to – including over five million children displaced internally and abroad – and how boys and girls have been robbed of their childhood over the course of the brutal eight and a half-year war. “I am appalled by the flagrant disregard for the laws of war and the Convention on the Rights of the Child by all parties involved in the conflict”, said Com..

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Nearly 1,000 migrants returned to Libya in the first two weeks of 2020

Geneva – At least 953 migrants, among them 136 women and 85 children, have been returned to Libyan shores in the first two weeks of 2020. Most were disembarked in Tripoli and all were taken to detention centres. NGO search and rescue vessels reported having rescued 237 others. These returned migrants are among the more than 1,000 who have left Libya by sea since 1 January, driven in part by the heaviest clashes Tripoli has seen since hostilities began nine months ago. Migrants who spoke to International Organization for Migration (IOM) staff at disembarkation points in Libya said that the escalation in hostilities in and around the capital, and the deteriorating humanitarian situation are the main reasons behind this increase in departures. During the same period last year, 23 bodies were recovered by the coast guard and no migrants were returned to Libya. The current sudden increase in departures is especially alarming given the very limited search and rescue capacity in the Mediter..

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Nearly 1,000 migrants returned to Libya in the first two weeks of 2020: IOM

Geneva – At least 953 migrants, among them 136 women and 85 children, have been returned to Libyan shores in the first two weeks of 2020. Most were disembarked in Tripoli and all were taken to detention centres. NGO search and rescue vessels reported having rescued 237 others. These returned migrants are among the more than 1,000 who have left Libya by sea since 1 January, driven in part by the heaviest clashes Tripoli has seen since hostilities began nine months ago. Migrants who spoke to International Organization for Migration (IOM) staff at disembarkation points in Libya said that the escalation in hostilities in and around the capital, and the deteriorating humanitarian situation are the main reasons behind this increase in departures. During the same period last year, 23 bodies were recovered by the coast guard and no migrants were returned to Libya. The current sudden increase in departures is especially alarming given the very limited search and rescue capacity in the Mediter..

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DRC: inter-ethnic violence in Ituri may constitute “crimes against humanity” – UN report

KINSHASA/GENEVA (10 January 2020) — Killings, rapes and other forms of violence targeting the Hema community in the Democratic Republic of Congo province of Ituri may amount to crimes against humanity, a UN report released on Friday said. An investigation conducted by the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO)* in the DRC established that at least 701 people have been killed and 168 injured during inter-ethnic tensions between the Hema and Lendu communities, in the territories of Djugu and Mahagi, from December 2017 to September 2019. In addition, at least 142 people have been subjected to acts of sexual violence, the report said. Most of the victims are members of the Hema community. Since September 2018, Lendu armed groups have increasingly become more organized in carrying out attacks against the Hema and members of other ethnic groups such as the Alur, the investigators said. Among their objectives is to take control of the land of the Hema communities and their associ..

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UNHCR welcomes new law in El Salvador to help people internally displaced by violence

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Liz Throssell – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today’s press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, welcomes El Salvadors passage of legislation to protect, aid and offer durable solutions to people internally displaced in the Central American nation due to violence from organized crime and criminal gangs, as well as those who may be at risk of displacement. The legislation, passed by a resounding majority in El Salvadors National Assembly on January 9, opens the door for tens of thousands of victims of forced displacement in the country to gain access to life-saving humanitarian assistance, and to have their basic rights restored, including effective access to justice. The law further provides for the establishment, for the first time, of a comprehensive national system that brings together a wide variety of State institutions to collaborate in responding to and preventing force..

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US-Iran tension threatens lifeline to millions across the Middle East

Statement by Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council “Tens of millions of people across the Middle East need humanitarian assistance. Most of them are already devastated or displaced by conflict. Another confrontation among international and regional powers would be deadly for aid lifelines on the brink of collapse. 24 million war-affected Yemenis and 12 million Syrians displaced within the region are extremely vulnerable to any escalation in conflict, sanctions or restrictions on movement. We also see increased anxiety among over 6 million needy Iraqis and 2 million in need of aid in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Sanctions have severely affected our humanitarian work for some of the 3 million Afghan refugees living in Iran. For large parts of 2018-19 we could not find a single international bank able to transmit Western donor money to aid Afghan refugee communities in eastern Iran and natural disaster victims elsewhere in the country. It is already ..

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Italy contributes €500,000 (US$ 610,000) to help relieve drought-affected people from hunger

LUSAKA – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed a €500,000 (US$ 610,000) contribution from the Italian Government to provide food to people affected by the drought in Zambia. Drought and prolonged dry spells have left 2.3 million people severely food insecure and in need of humanitarian food assistance. “In the context of the current crisis, the Italian emergency contribution confirmed in December 2019 is crucial to WFP. The funds will enable WFP to procure around 340 MT of pulses to cover the food needs of about 99,000 people for an entire month, helping WFP ensure that the people residing in the areas most affected by the drought can receive the immediate assistance they need,” said Jennifer Bitonde, WFP Country Representative in Zambia. “At the same time, WFP will continue to work to strengthening communities resilience to future climatic shocks under its five-year Country Strategic Plan (2019-2024),” she added. As part of the 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan,..

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