News in Brief 20 November 2017 (PM)

UN chief "horrified" by reports of alleged slavery of migrants in Libya

The UN Secretary-General is calling for an investigation into reports of alleged slavery of migrant workers in Libya.

Antonio Guterres told journalists in New York on Monday that he was "horrified" at news reports and video footage reportedly showing African migrants being sold as slaves.

"I abhor these appalling acts and call upon all competent authorities to investigate these activities without delay and to bring the perpetrators to justice. I have asked the relevant United Nations actors to actively pursue this matter. Slavery has no place in our world and these actions are among the most egregious abuses of human rights and may amount to crimes against humanity."

The UN chief stated that the incident also serves as a reminder of the need to address migration flows in what he described as a comprehensive and humane manner.

This would include international cooperation in cracking down on smugglers and trafficking, among other measures.

Yemen blockade pushing millions closer to famine

A blockade in Yemen continues to exacerbate the country's humanitarian crisis, pushing some seven million people ever closer to famine, the United Nations said on Monday.

The blockade was implemented two weeks ago by the Saudi-led coalition that has been battling rebels for the past three years.

Speaking on Monday, UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq told reporters that food, fuel and medical stocks in Yemen are dwindling while the price of food and fuel are rising.

"The interruption in the importing of key items are pushing at least seven million people � that is at least one third of the country's population � closer towards famine. Fuel is becoming scarcer by the day and is disrupting the transport of goods, including food and water, as well as the use of generators needed to pump water and to support the power supply of hospitals and sanitation plants. Milling is also being affected, with remaining wheat grain stocks unable to be milled, resulting in a further increase of food prices. The existing cereal stocks are expected to run out in three months."

Nearly 21 million now have access to HIV treatment: UNAIDS

Nearly 21 million people worldwide living with HIV now have access to life-saving medicines, an example of the "remarkable progress" that has been made in treatment.

That's according to a new report by the UN agency leading the fight to stamp out AIDS by 2030.

UNAIDS reports that only 685,000 people living with HIV had access to antiretroviral treatment in 2000, rising to 20.9 million by June of this year.

The agency says the challenge now is to ensure that the more than 17 million people worldwide who need treatment, including 919,000 children, can also access medicine.

Source: United Nations Radio