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On World Day Against Child Labour, FAO urges greater attention to addressing child labour in local food supply chains

12 June 2019, Rome/Brussels – FAO today urged nations to pay greater attention and allocate more financial resources to addressing child labour in domestic and local food supply chains and in subsistence farming where the vast majority of child labour in agriculture occurs.

The call for action was made as FAO observed World Day Against Child Labour at a global conference “United to End Child Labour in Agriculture“, which the UN agency co-organised with the European Commission’s Directorate -General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO), and the International Labour Organization (ILO), in Brussels, Belgium.

Currently almost all dedicated financial resources for fighting child labour are channeled towards addressing child labour in global supply chains whereas the child labour situations in small-scale producers remain largely neglected, FAO warned.

“It is time we go beyond the exclusive focus on selected global supply chains and begin investing resources into tackling child labor in all situations,” said FAO’s Director-General José Graziano da Silva in a video message recorded for this year’s World Day Against Child Labour. “It is also essential to engage the agricultural workers and producer organizations.”

Graziano da Silva also highlighted the crucial role of the International Partnership for Cooperation on Child Labor in Agriculture, founded by the ILO, FAO and other partners. “Only together we can create change for a better, healthier and more prosperous future for our children,” he said.

Need to address root causes of child labour

Of the 152 million children in child labour situations around the world more than 70 percent or 108 million girls and boys between the ages of 5 and 17 work in farming, livestock, forestry, fishing or aquaculture. The number of children in child labour in agriculture has increased by 10 million since 2012. Moreover, 85 percent of child labour in Africa is found in the agriculture sector.

Some of the key factors that contribute to child labour in rural areas are low family incomes and household poverty, few livelihood alternatives, poor access to education and limited labour law enforcement.

In his remarks, the FAO chief said: “Household poverty remains a common cause of child labour in agriculture. In this context, social protection programmes and school feeding initiatives that link with family farmers are proven to be good antidotes against child labour”.

What is child labour?

Child labour is defined as work that is inappropriate for a child’s age, prevents a child to benefit from compulsory education, or is likely to harm their health, safety or morals.

In this context, the FAO Director-General noted that not all participation by children in agriculture should be considered child labour. For example, girls and boys learning how to grow vegetables or feed the chickens in their families’ farm can sharpen their skills and improve future livelihoods, he said.

“However, when children work many hours daily, when they do heavy work, when they carry out tasks that are dangerous or inappropriate for their age, when this impedes their education, this is child labour, and needs to be eliminated,” he stressed.

Furthermore, when children work in fields where pesticides have been applied, stay up all night on fishing boats, carry heavy loads, or use chain saws in the forest, it can interfere with their social and physical development and hence the ability to access decent and productive employment opportunities later in life.

Stepping up global efforts for Zero Child Labour

Child labour in agriculture is a global issue that is harming children and damaging the agricultural sector by perpetuating rural poverty. We will not be able to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, if we continue to leave this by far largest group of child labourers in agriculture behind, FAO stressed today. More investments and dedicated resources need to be allocated to addressing child labour in agriculture.

“To make progress towards Zero Child Labour (SDG 8.7), the international community needs to reach scale, which will not be achieved through the continuation of a few dedicated child labour programmes and projects,” said FAO Assistant Director-General for Economic and Social Development Maximo Torero Cullen.

He highlighted the need to develop cross-sectoral multi-stakeholder approach to ensure that policies, strategies, national and other large-scale programmes in agriculture, rural development, education, health, food security, poverty reduction, youth employment, social protection, community development, infrastructure, and trade include specific measures and components that help prevent and mitigate child labour.

“Each of these sectors and work areas have concrete potential to substantially contribute to the progress towards ending child labour, which are largely untapped,” Torero said.

The conference brought together EU institutions, international organizations, governmental institutions and non-governmental organizations, partner countries, resource partners, private sector, academia, researchers, agricultural workers’ and producers’ organizations and consumers’ organizations to share experiences and discuss concrete opportunities to end child labour in agriculture.

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Between January and April 2019, two children were killed, and two others injured

YANGON, 28 May 2019 – Echoing the concerns of UN organisations regarding the escalation of violence and civilian casualties in Rakhine State, UNICEF Myanmar is deeply concerned about reports of killing of children as a result of direct targeting and indirect actions (crossfire, landmines, cluster munitions, improvised explosive devices or other indiscriminate explosive devices), detention and mistreatment of children, as well as the use of schools for military purposes, since the conflict between the Tatmadaw and the Arakan Army intensified in recent months.

Killing and maiming of children is a grave violation of childrens rights. Civilian infrastructures such as schools and hospitals are not places for the military. Their presence puts children, teachers, doctors and other service providers at risk.

UNICEF urges all parties to the conflict to ensure the safety of children caught up in conflict, and to uphold their right to protection from all forms of violence at all times. UNICEF calls for children to have access to psychosocial support and mine risk education in schools and communities in all conflict-affected areas. We also call on all parties to protect civilian facilities against the impact of conflict.

UNICEF is working with partners to provide assistance to all children in need as quickly as possible, wherever possible. Along with providing life-saving services, UNICEF has pre-positioned essential learning packages, school kits, and recreational kits in UNICEF and Government warehouses in Rakhine State.

UNICEF is also working with partners across Rakhine State to provide much-needed counselling, psychosocial support, and information on the risks of mines to thousands of children, youth and caregivers affected by the conflict. But we need unfettered and predictable access in order to scale up our work so that all children across Rakhine, receive the life-saving assistance, education, care and special protection they need.

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Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres remarks to the Security Council meeting on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, in New York today:

I thank the Government of Indonesia for convening this open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict.

This year marks the seventieth anniversary of the Geneva Conventions, a cornerstone of international humanitarian law. And it is with enormous pleasure that I see with us Peter Maurer, the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the guardian of these Conventions.

It also marks the twentieth anniversary of the Security Councils adoption of the protection of civilians as an item on its agenda — a response to the Councils “deep concern” at the erosion of respect for international humanitarian law. However, while the normative framework has been strengthened, compliance has deteriorated. We are rightly critical when assessing the state of the protection of civilians, for there is great cause for concern.

But, let us first recall that we have seen some progress over the last 20 years. A culture of protection has taken root in the Security Council and across the United Nations. To use the Councils own words, protection of civilians is “one of the core issues” on its agenda. A comprehensive protection framework now exists, based on international law and Security Council practice.

The protection of children and of all civilians from the loathsome acts of sexual violence in conflict has been strengthened through the deployment of specialist advisers in peace operations, reinforcing the work of humanitarian agencies. Monitoring and reporting on grave violations against children in conflicts and engagement with warring parties has led to the demobilization and reintegration of thousands of children. And Security Council-mandated United Nations peace operations have protected and saved countless civilian lives.

In South Sudan, nearly 200,000 internally displaced people are currently sheltering at sites for the protection of civilians. In the Central African Republic, the United Nations mission has supported local peace and ceasefire agreements that are monitored by civilian and military components. Civilian casualty recording by the United Nations in Afghanistan has led to the adoption of measures by pro-Government forces to minimize harm.

Millions of civilians receive cross-border humanitarian assistance in Syria. And war criminals, from Cambodia to the former Yugoslavia, have been tried and convicted. Security Council resolutions on the protection of medical care in armed conflict and on conflict and hunger have given important focus and urgency to these issues. I look forward to working with Member States to ensure that they are implemented.

But, despite these advances, grave human suffering is still being caused by armed conflicts and lack of compliance with international humanitarian law. As my report underlines, civilians continue to make up the vast majority of casualties in conflict. In 2018 alone, the United Nations recorded the death and injury of more than 22,800 civilians in just six countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Mali, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen. In Idleb, in north-west Syria, we saw a new wave of shelling and air strikes against hospitals, schools, markets and camps for the displaced, killing, wounding and creating panic among the civilian population.

In all conflicts, when explosive weapons were used in populated areas, 90 per cent of those killed and injured were civilians. Overall, some 1.4 million people were newly displaced across international borders, while a further 5.2 million were internally displaced. Widespread access constraints jeopardized humanitarian and medical assistance to civilians in need.

Violence against humanitarian and medical workers and facilities persisted. The World Health Organization (WHO) recorded 705 attacks against health-care workers and facilities in just eight conflicts, resulting in 451 deaths and 860 injuries. Three hundred and sixty-nine aid workers were kidnapped, wounded or killed. And starvation of civilians was used as a method of warfare, as well as rape and sexual violence.

Chief among our challenges is enhancing and ensuring respect for and compliance with international humanitarian law in the conduct of hostilities. In many cases, our information suggests that respect for those bodies of law is at best questionable; in others, and as detailed in several of my country-specific reports, we have witnessed blatant violations.

Nonetheless, there are examples where warring parties respect the law and are implementing precautions, collateral damage estimation and other efforts to minimize the impact of fighting on civilians. These practices must be implemented effectively and standardized across parties and theatres of operation. And greater attention must be paid to those who are already vulnerable during peace time — such as the elderly, children and the disabled — who are rendered all the more vulnerable and in need of protection during flight and conflict.

We must also take urgent action to reduce the humanitarian impact of urban warfare, and in particular, of explosive weapons. Member States should do more to condition arms exports on respect for international humanitarian law and human rights law. And they must call for greater respect for the law and protection of civilians by parties to conflict, and in particular, partner forces, including in the context of multinational coalition operations.

We also need greater progress on accountability by closing the gap between allegations of serious violations and their investigation and prosecution. Progress is needed most at the national level. My report recommends action in three areas.

First, to develop national policy frameworks that establish clear institutional authorities and responsibilities for the protection of civilians in armed conflict. Second, principled and sustained engagement by humanitarian organizations and others with non-State armed groups to negotiate safe and timely humanitarian access and promote compliance with the law. Third, ensuring accountability for serious violations.

The United Nations Security Council, as a practical matter, can do much to enhance compliance with the laws of war. This includes providing financial and technical assistance to support the investigation and prosecution of war crimes in conflict-affected States. We also need action at the global and multilateral levels.

For the Security Council, this means being more consistent in how it addresses protection concerns within and across different conflicts, and being more comprehensive in terms of, for example, grappling with the protection challenges of urban warfare. And it means keeping todays conversation going, with Member States, United Nations actors and civil society engaging on a sustained basis to implement the actions I have outlined.

For, as bleak as the current state of protection is, there is considerable scope for improvement if we each do our utmost to promote and implement the rules that bind us to preserve humanity in war. This is the best way that we can honour the twentieth anniversary of the protection agenda. We have the rules and laws of war. We all now need to work to enhance compliance.

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Reuters
NEW YORK
Oil prices plunged about 5% on Thursday, with U.S. crude at its lowest since March, as trade tensions dampened the demand outlook, putting the crude benchmarks on course for their biggest daily and weekly falls in six months.
World shares were deep in the red as concerns grew the China-U.S. trade conflict was fast turning into a technology cold war between the worlds two largest economies.
“Again, were seeing the effect of worries about the trade issue on demand,” said Gene McGillian, Vice President at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. Funds and money managers who had built up long positions are “heading to the exits” as trade concerns dim the demand outlook, he said.
Brent crude futures, the international benchmark, hit a session low of $67.53 per barrel, trading down $3.15, or 4.5%, at $67.84 by 11:19 a.m. EDT (1519 GMT).
Meanwhile, U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down by $3.21, or 5.2%, at $58.19 per barrel. The contract earlier fell to a session low of $57.92, the lowest since March 15.
WTI dropped 2.5% on Wednesday after government data showed that U.S. crude inventories rose last week, hitting their highest levels since July 2017.
While the ongoing trade war between the United States and China is the main cloud over economic growth and demand predictions, other bearish factors also weighed on the market.
Euro zone business growth accelerated less than expected this month, a survey showed. IHS Markits Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), which is considered a good guide to economic health, only nudged up to 51.6 this month from a final April reading of 51.5, below the median expectation in a Reuters poll for 51.7.
Additionally, tensions between the U.S. and Iran are decreasing, some analysts said.
“The administration seems to be tamping down the presidents rhetoric on Iran,” said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital in New York.
The oil market has built in risk premium related to U.S. sanctions on Iran, and that risk is now seen decreasing, he said.
Countering these bearish factors are ongoing supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
French bank BNP Paribas said high inventories meant that OPEC would likely keep its voluntary supply cuts in place beyond their current end-June deadline.
Global geopolitical risk was still sufficient to provide a floor for oil prices, said Agains Kilduff.

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Facebook has published its latest “enforcement report”, which details how many posts and accounts it took action on between October 2018 and March 2019.
During that six-month period, Facebook removed more than three billion fake accounts – more than ever before.

More than seven million “hate speech” posts were removed, also a record high.
For the first time, Facebook also reported how many deleted posts were appealed, and how many were put back online after review.

Facebook said the rise in the number of deleted fake accounts was because “bad actors” were using automated methods to create large numbers of them.
But it said it spotted and deleted a majority of them within minutes, before they had any opportunity to “cause harm”.

The social network will now also report how many posts were removed for selling “regulated goods” such as drugs and guns.
It said it took action on more than one million posts selling guns in the six-month period covered by the report.
For some types of content, such as child sex abuse imagery, violence and terrorist propaganda, the report estimates how often such content was actually seen by people on Facebook.

The report said that out of every 10,000 pieces of content viewed on Facebook:
* fewer than 14 people saw nudity
* about 25 people saw violence or graphic content
* fewer than three people saw child abuse imagery or terrorist propaganda
Overall, about 5% of the monthly active users on Facebook were fake accounts.

For the first time, the report reveals that between January and March 2019 more than one million appeals were made after posts were deleted for “hate speech”.
About 150,000 posts that were found not to have broken the hate speech policy were restored during that period.
Facebook said the report highlighted “areas where we could be more open in order to build more accountability and responsiveness to the people who use our platform”.

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By Alex St-Denis in Coxs Bazar, Bangladesh | 17 May 2019

Nasima Aktar is among hundreds of thousands of stateless Rohingya — many of whom have spent a lifetime without official documentation — for whom getting an official identity card is a significant step.

“We want documents for Rohingyas. This is our document,” says Aktar, who recently received a plastic identity card bearing her basic biodata, photo and country of origin in a registration drive in Bangladesh.

There are more than 900,000 Rohingya refugees like Nasima living in crowded settlements in southeast Bangladesh of whom an estimated 741,000 have fled a violent crackdown by the Myanmar military since August 2017.

“Having an identity is a basic human right … its also an incredible step into a more dignified life.”

Despite living in Myanmar for generations they were not able to acquire formal citizenship and documentation that comes with this, leaving them stateless and deprived of basic rights.

She is now among more than a quarter of a million Rohingya refugees who have been registered in a push since June last year by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, in support of the Bangladesh government, in an effort that also helps to safeguard their right to voluntarily return home to Myanmar.

“Having an identity is a basic human right,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi during a recent visit to Coxs Bazar. “And remember: many of these people, all their life, did not have a proper identification. So, for them, its also an incredible step into a more dignified life.”

To date, a total of 270,348 refugees have been registered in the settlements of Ukhia and Teknaf Upazilas. On average, over 4,000 refugees are being registered a day in the exercise, with the aim of concluding the registration of all those in the settlements late this year.

The exercise also improves the accuracy of data on refugees in Bangladesh, which will help the authorities and humanitarian partners to better understand the needs of the refugee population. It will allow them to plan and target assistance more effectively, particularly for vulnerable groups such as children, women, and those with disabilities.

Refugees are registered using biodata and biometric data, including fingerprints and iris scans to provide them with a unique identity. At the end of the registration process, refugees receive a plastic ID card that includes a photo, and basic information such as date of birth and gender. Only refugees over the age of 12 receive the card but families also receive an attestation showing the details of all family member.

All information on the documents is in English and Bengali and indicates Myanmar as the country of origin. The documents were developed in cooperation with the Bangladesh government and carries both government and UNHCR logos.

“They understand that this exercise has nothing to do with forcible return,” UNHCR registration officer Nurul Rochayati explains. “This exercise is to establish their protection in here, and to establish their right to return. They will return when theyre safe, in safety and dignity.”

To better explain the benefits of registration, UNHCR and the Bangladesh authorities in recent months held meetings with the community including with leading Rohingya figures, such as imams, elders and teachers. Community outreach teams, that include refugees, go out regularly to talk about the registration process and encourage people to attend.

With the cyclone season underway, registration will also help reunite families in case they get separated during storms.

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Almost half of all children surveyed living in neighbourhoods where criminal gangs are present in Honduras and El Salvador do not have access to education, according to new reports by the Norwegian Refugee Council.

“Criminal violence is wreaking havoc on the lives of countless children in El Salvador and Honduras. Bright futures are being stolen every time that children are too afraid to attend school, and are forced to drop out. The future of an entire generation of boys and girls is at risk,” warned Christian Visnes, country director of the Norwegian Refugee Council in Colombia.

Two new reports called “A Generation Out Of School” found that children living in areas with violence in El Salvador and Honduras experience pressure, intimidation, sexual harassment and traumatic abuse by criminal groups. Their daily walk to school is dangerous and involves passing through gang territory or staying limited to one side of the community to not stray into rival gang territory.

Violent criminal groups are also present in classrooms and playgrounds. Gang members have succeeded in infiltrating the schools themselves and routinely promote the sale of drugs to minors, extort teachers and students, and carry out recruitment, surveillance and intelligence activities.

“My older kids werent able to study. I wanted them to graduate, but it wasnt possible. All my children have fled from the violence”, said a parent in Tegucigalpa.

In some areas, families are pressured to pay war taxes to criminal groups. They are then often unable to pay for uniforms and school materials for the children who continue to attend classes despite the many risks. Many families surveyed said that they do not feel safe in their homes. Only one third plan on staying in their homes, the rest plan on leaving their neighborhoods to find somewhere safer to live in their countries, or are completely unsure about their futures.

“Ending the systemic violence starts in the classroom. We need international support to make schools safe places to learn and grow, so that the next generation of Hondurans and Salvadorans dont turn to criminal gangs,” said Visnes.

Key Figures

  • For the past four years, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) interviewed more than 5,000 households in communities affected by violence in Honduras and El Salvador, to identify children who have been forced to drop out of school, in order to provide opportunities for them to return to school.
  • The reports reveal that half of all children interviewed are out of school in Honduras while 40 per cent are out of school in El Salvador. In total, 3,400 children surveyed living in neighbourhoods where criminal gangs are present in both Honduras and El Salvador are out of school.
  • Families reported that they do not feel safe, and only a third plan on staying in their current homes in Honduras, while in El Salvador one of every two families plan on staying in their current homes.
  • The impact of violence on daily life was tangible throughout NRCs research. As a result of violence, such as homicides in the community or tensions after police raids, NRC had to suspend its activities several times during the research period, and the whole operation took double the amount of time planned.
  • Reports were funded by the European Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and NORAD.

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Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Tripoli and neighbouring areas.

According to IOM Libyas Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), there are now over 66,000 displaced individuals, approximately 13,310 families, from affected areas in Tripoli since the onset of the armed conflict on 4 April. The rapidly increasing displacement figures are worrying as fighting intensifies in the absence of a humanitarian ceasefire. DTMs Emergency Event Tracking, activated on 05 April, is helping to identify instances of displacement, as well as consolidating and disseminating vital information IOM uses to plan the broader humanitarian communitys response.

The situation is especially alarming for over 3,300 migrants, among them children and pregnant women.

“While our teams on the ground continue to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to conflict-affected populations, we recognize that more needs to be done from all sides to ensure the safety of civilians,” said Othman Belbeisi, IOM Libya Chief of Mission. “We are worried about the dramatically deteriorating humanitarian situation in Tripoli and reiterate that there is an urgent need to end the detention of migrants in Libya and stop displacement.”

On 10 May, a migrant boat departing Zwara, Libya capsized off the Tunisian coast, and 59 lives were lost. This brings the death toll in the Central Mediterranean Route to 316 so far this year, and 502 for all Mediterranean Sea routes. Since the beginning of the clashes, 871 migrants have been returned to Libya and placed in detention, bringing the total number of migrants repatriated to Libya to 2,813 this year.

IOM is concerned about the return of migrants to an unsafe port and their placement in often overcrowded detention centres where conditions are not acceptable. While we provide health assistance, non-food items, emergency food assistance and Voluntary Humanitarian Return support to migrants wishing to return home, we reiterate that IOM cannot guarantee the protection of detained migrants and continues to call for an urgent end to detention.

Despite security challenges, IOM emergency interventions continue, in 11 detention centres within and near Tripoli; in locations for internally displaced families, and across Libya. Since 4 April 1,402 migrants have returned to 19 countries of origin with support from IOMs Voluntary Humanitarian Return programme.

The joint Rapid Response Mechanism launched by IOM, UNFPA, WFP and UNICEF, has reached so far 18,210 individuals with much-needed core relief items. Moreover, 2,511 migrants and internally displaced persons have been provided with health assistance including 58 hospital referrals.

IOM Tunisia reported that Fridays tragedy began about 60 kilometers from Tunisian waters 7 May, when a vessel carrying 75 migrants, mainly Bangladeshi nationals, made an attempt to reach Europe. During the night of 9 May, Tunisian fishermen were able to rescue 16 people from the overcrowded craft. Tunisian naval units continue to seek information on the voyage; to date only three bodies have been rescued. One of those victims has been identified.

Tunisian authorities took four survivors to Zarzis Hospital, where two remain in critical condition. Of the rescued, 14 are Bangladeshi (including two unaccompanied minors) one is Egyptian, one is Moroccan. Those not hospitalized have been hosted by the Tunisian Red Crescent.

A second rescue took place on Saturday, 11 May. Tunisian fishermen rescued sixty-nine migrants, including Moroccans, Eritreans, Somalis, Bangladeshi and an Egyptian. Among them, were four women and at least 25 minors, including children aged three to seven years.

Those 69 rescued migrants, since transferred to Sfax, are thought to have left Libya on 7 May, at the same time those on the shipwrecked boat departed.

IOM teams mobilized to provide medical, psycho-social and food assistance to survivors. “It is essential to put in place efficient mechanisms to respond to humanitarian emergencies, not the least of which are attempts of irregular crossings on the Mediterranean,” said Lorena Lando, Head of IOM mission to Tunisia. “We must act now and together,” she added.

From 9-12 May, the Tunisian coastguard and naval units conducted prevention operations that thwarted attempts at irregular crossings from Sfax, Sousse, Monastir, Bizerte and Tunis, with more than 100 migrants at the beginning of the season.

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The NPA-RENEW all-woman BAC team and four women ambassadors, kneeling in front (l-r Deborah Paul, Canada; Wendy Matthews, New Zealand; Grete Løchen, Norway; and Beatrice Maser Mallor, Switzerland). Hai Lang, Quang Tri, 09 May 2019. Photo by Hien Ngo / NPA-RENEW.[contfnewc]
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Hai Lang, Quang Tri (May 9th 2018): Four leaders in Vietnams international community, ambassadors representing Switzerland, Norway, Canada, and New Zealand observes an all-woman demining team at work.

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The group was made up of Ambassadors Deborah Paul (Canada), Wendy Matthews (New Zealand), Grete Løchen (Norway), and Beatrice Maser Mallor (Switzerland), representing the four countries known as the G4, Group of Four, in Vietnam. Their two-day official visit was to examine firsthand the post-war situation in Quang Tri, particularly ongoing efforts to survey and clear Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) which still endanger the lives of local people. They also reviewed other development projects funded by the G4 countries.

In Tan An Village of Hai An Commune, near My Thuy (called “Wonder Beach” by American GIs during wartime), the ambassadors met and talked with members of NPA-Project RENEWs all-woman clearance team.

The team was one of two battle area clearance (BAC) teams deployed in 2018 with funding from the UKs aid agency, the Department for International Development (DFID). One of those NPA-RENEW teams is Vietnam’s first all-woman clearance team, professionally trained and certified to clean up ERW. The contaminated land they are working on is in Hai Lang District.

BAC Team Leader Nguyen Thi Thuy, a 30-year-old mother of one daughter, said it was a special day for her and her team members to be able to host these women ambassadors. “It is very encouraging for us to meet these women ambassadors,” Thuy said. “Their visit motivates us so much. This highlights the important role of women in all aspects of life.”

Thuy added, “We hope they get the word out about the ERW problem in Vietnam, so that we will have more support to continue our work to make Quang Tri safe from bombs and mines.”

Since October 2018, Thuys all-woman BAC team has found and safely destroyed 275 dangerous ERW, including 104 cluster munitions, in the two villages of Thuan Dau and Tay Tan An. Her team has cleared and released 500,000 m2 of safe land for the community to now use and further develop. The teams work so far has benefitted 4,621 residents who live in these villages.

Norwegian Peoples Aid (NPA) Survey & Clearance Program implemented at Project RENEW (Restoring the Environment and Neutralizing the Effects of the War) is funded by the U.S. Department of State and the UK Department for International Development, and is a cooperative project between NPA and the Quang Tri Province Department of Foreign Affairs.

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Some 65 people have drowned after their boat sank approximately 45 nautical miles off the coast of Tunisia early this morning, in one of the worst incidents on the Mediterranean in months.

16 people were pulled from the water and have been brought to the coast of Zarzis by the Tunisian Navy. One person has been immediately transferred to hospital for medical treatment, while the others await permission to disembark.

According to the survivors, the group left Zuwara, around 120km west of Tripoli, yesterday evening. Their boat ran in to trouble soon afterwards when encountering strong waves.

“This is a tragic and terrible reminder of the risks still faced by those who attempt to cross the Mediterranean,” said Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR Special Envoy for the Mediterranean.”

UNHCR staff are ready to assist the survivors with emergency shelter, food and blankets, and to conduct an assessment of their protection needs. UNHCRs partner, Tunisian Red Crescent, is standing-by to provide medical assistance.

This latest incident is the highest loss of life since some 117 died or went missing in mid-January. For some months, UNHCR has been raising the alarm at the lack of search and rescue capacity on the central Mediterranean.

164 people died on the route between Libya and Europe in the first four months of 2019, considerably less than in previous years, however, the journey is becoming increasingly fatal for those who risk it. In the first four months of this year, one person has died on the central Mediterranean for every three that have reached European shores after departing from Libya.

“Across the region, we need to strengthen the capacity of search and rescue operations,” said Cochetel. “If we dont act now, were almost certain to see more tragic events in the coming weeks and months.”

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