News in Brief 29 September 2017 (PM)

Flash appeal to help hurricane-affected Dominica

Humanitarians are appealing for US$31 million to support the Caribbean island of Dominica, hit hard by Hurricane Maria, the United Nations has announced.

The category five storm caused catastrophic damage, leaving every one of the 71,000 inhabitants affected.

UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told journalists in New York on Friday that with nearly everything on the island destroyed or damaged, needs are "monumental."

"Through this $31-million appeal, the United Nations and its partners plan to provide humanitarian assistance and early recovery interventions over the next three months. Our colleagues at the World Food Programme (WFP) said they have delivered some 10 metric tons of high-energy biscuits to Dominica this week, including to communities in the remote interior by helicopter and to coastal communities by boat. Overall, the World Food Programme plans to provide a range of food assistance to some 25,000 people for three months. WFP is also providing critical logistics, air service and telecommunications support to Dominica and the humanitarian relief response. The UN has been airlifting critical emergency supplies, including mobile storage units and pallets, tarps, boats, and electric generators from Panama."

Protect rights of Honduras displaced: UNHCR

Authorities in Honduras are being urged to defend thousands of people displaced by gang violence who have been robbed of their lands and homes.

The appeal by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) comes in a report launched on Friday which contains measures to ensure rights are better protected.

UNHCR said Honduras has one of the world's highest murder rates, and the displacement is linked to criminal gangs known as "maras" who battle each other over territory and control of illegal activities.

Official figures reveal that at least 174,000 people in 20 urban municipalities were displaced by violence during the decade ending in 2014, but the real number is expected to be higher.

Around 7,000 of these internally displaced people, or IDPs, cited dispossession and occupation of their land and property as their main reason for fleeing.

Andrej Mahecic is a UNHCR spokesperson:

"The report makes a number of recommendations to ensure that government policies take into account and protect the property rights of displaced people, especially in procedures to regularize title deeds. One of the main recommendations is the creation of a registration system for abandoned land and housing, to guarantee the legal protection of the rights of IDPs and the establishment of restitution mechanisms linked to durable solutions."

Central Africa economic diversification focus of expert meeting

Experts met this week in Cameroon to brainstorm ways to diversify the economy in the Central African region.

Representatives from national ministries responsible for industry, mining, trade and other sectors, joined counterparts from UN agencies, the private sector, civil society and academia for the four-day event which wrapped up in Douala on Friday.

It was organized by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) where Antonio Pedro is the Director of the Sub Regional Office for Central Africa.

"Central Africa is very rich in natural resources which could serve as a basis to promote industrialization. And at the same time, the region has potential in terms of market opportunities, especially if all the tariffs and non-tariff barriers are removed which is part of the agenda of establishing the continental free-trade area in Africa."

Young leaders urged to make older people's rights "a reality"

Younger generations in power today need to act now to provide decent futures for older people.

The UN Independent Expert on older people's rights, Rosa Kornfeld-Matte, made the appeal in a statement marking the International Day of Older Persons, observed annually on 1 October.

She called for concrete action to strengthen protection of the human rights of older people.

She added that these citizens should also remain integrated in society, and involved in shaping policies that affect their well-being.

Source: United Nations Radio