News in Brief (PM)

Seven million Yemenis "don't know where they will find their next meal"

Around seven million Yeminis "do not know where they will find their next meal," according to the UN relief chief Stephen O'Brien, speaking on Thursday at the end of a fact-finding mission to the country.

The UN Humanitarian Coordinator said that with nearly 19 million in need of help or protection, there was "still time to alleviate the suffering and avert a famine" if the world was prepared to act.

He said that 500,000 children under five are suffering from severe acute malnutrition, and a child dies every 10 minutes in Yemen, from preventable causes.

Mr O'Brien added that the UN and more than 120 partners were successfully providing assistance throughout the country, due to the fact that "in the midst of conflict, we remain impartial, neutral and independent."

More details from UN Spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric.

"Mr O'Brien warned that while the UN and its partners are ready to scale up the response, US$1.2 billion of funding is needed. But, he added, that getting the funds is not enough in itself. We also need all the parties to the conflict to immediately facilitate timely, full and unimpeded humanitarian access, at all times."

UN "regularly visiting" detention centres in Libya to check on conditions

The UN Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) said on Thursday it was carrying out regular visits to detention centres in the country and seeking to find alternatives for refugees and migrants being held there.

The comments follow on from a UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) report published on Tuesday, which described appalling conditions and human rights abuses taking place inside some of Libya's unofficial detention centres.

Some women and children have reported suffering sexual violence and exploitation while being detained, together with "poor nutrition," sanitation and significant overcrowding.

Stephane Dujarric pointed out to journalists at UN Headquarters that a joint UNSMIL and UN Human Rights Office report on detention centres was published in December, highlighting the "state of impunity" facing vulnerable migrants.

"The Mission, together with its UN agencies, regularly visits places of detention where migrants are held and is seeking to find alternatives to detention. In the meantime, the UN is supporting improvements in the conditions of detention in coordination with Libyan authorities."

Support for cooperation between Central Asian countries reaffirmed by UN

The process for achieving "mutually acceptable solutions to regional challenges" facing countries in Central Asia was given a boost today by the UN's Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs during a visit to Uzbekistan.

Miroslav Jen?a confirmed the support of the UN for the efforts of Uzbekistan and neighbouring countries to work together on schemes such as trans-boundary water sharing.

During meetings with senior politicians, including the president and foreign minister, Mr Jen?a welcomed the country's commitment to take concrete action on sustainable development and the declaration of 2017 as the "Year of Dialogue with the People and Human Interests."

He emphasized that human rights were an "essential factor" for sustainable peace and political stability.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2'45"

Source: United Nations Radio