News in Brief 26 October 2017 (PM)

50,000 Iraqi civilians affected by fresh offensive against ISIL in Iraq: OCHA

An estimated 50,000 Iraqi civilians are likely to be affected by the Iraqi army's latest offensive against remaining fighters from the ISIL, or Daesh, terrorist group in Anbar province.

That's according to the UN office which coordinates humanitarian affairs, OCHA.

Civilians also continue to flee their homes in northern Iraq, mainly due to on-going tensions between Kurdish forces and the Iraqi army around the city of Kirkuk.

Government troops and militia secured disputed areas around Kirkuk, together with oil fields, in the middle of the month, and according to news reports, the Kurdistan Regional Government has offered to "freeze" the results of the recent referendum, heavily in favour of independence.

OCHA says that at least 166,000 have been displaced, the majority from Kirkuk.

More details from UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq.

"Aid workers are helping people in need where they have access, providing food, water, blankets and other supplies. Mobile teams are providing health care.

OCHA estimates that 50,000 people have been affected by military efforts to re-take the Da'esh-held districts of Ru'ua and Ka'im in western Anbar which began today. Aid agencies are ready to help people fleeing the area."

Emergency Relief Coordinator meets Yemenis displaced by conflict

The UN relief chief on Thursday met some of the estimated two million Yemenis displaced by conflict, during his five-day fact-finding mission to the country.

Mark Lowcock is in Yemen to reaffirm the "strong commitment" of the UN and partners to alleviate the suffering of Yemenis, more than 21 million of whom are in need of assistance.

After more than two years of brutal war between Saudi-backed government forces and Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, the country is in the midst of the worst single-year cholera outbreak ever.

The OCHA chief visited the port of Hudaydah on Thursday, which is a vital lifeline to the country as the entry point for most imported food and fuel.

More from Farhan Haq again.

"Mr Lowcock visited malnourished children at a hospital in Hudaydah. In all of Yemen, there are some 1.8 million malnourished people, including nearly 500,000 children under the age of 5 who are suffering from severe acute malnutrition."

"Global avalanche of misogyny" must be confronted: UN rights expert

A "global avalanche of misogyny", motivated by fundamentalism and extremism, is threatening women's rights across the globe.

That's the passionate view of Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Karima Bennoune, presenting her report to the UN General Assembly on the global challenges being faced.

The independent rights' expert said that "for the sake of all our daughters", the world needed to come together and "reverse this worrying trend".

Pointing to the rise of militant religious fundamentalists and ideologies that reject notions of equality and human rights "at their core", she said that protecting women's rights was "not optional".

Ms Bennoune said that arts, education, science and culture were among the best ways to fight fundamentalism, and were "critical to creating alternatives and protecting youth from any form of radicalization."

Source: United Nations Radio