News in Brief 31 January 2018

31 January 2018

Holocaust commemoration about the past and the future: UN Secretary-General

Although hatred may appear to be on the rise, people everywhere can unite to create a world of peaceful coexistence.

That was the message delivered by UN Secretary-General António Guterres at a ceremony on Wednesday to mark the International Day of Commemoration of the Victims of the Holocaust.

It pays tribute to the 6 million Jews who were murdered by the Nazi regime during the Second World War.

The UN chief said the annual event is about the past, but also the future.

He added that “It is about Jews but also all others who find themselves scapegoated and vilified solely because of who they are.”

“At times, hatred may seem to be on the march. But I firmly believe that with unity, across borders and generations, we can build a world of pluralism and peaceful coexistence — and thereby, at long last, show we are heeding the still urgent lessons of the Holocaust.”

Holocaust survivors and their family members packed the UN General Assembly Hall for the ceremony.

The keynote address was delivered by Judge Thomas Buergenthal who survived the Nazi death camps and later served as a judge with the UN’s International Court of Justice.

Also sharing her testimony was Eva Lavi, the youngest person saved by German industrialist Oskar Schindler, who saved more than 1,000 Jews by employing them in factories he owned.

His story is told in the award-winning film Schindler’s List.

Cancer causing BRICS $46 billion in productivity losses

Cancer is taking a heavy toll on several of the world’s major emerging economies, according to a UN-led study published on Wednesday.

It finds that the disease caused more than $46 billion in productivity losses in 2012 in Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China, and South Africa — the so-called BRICS countries.

This was the most recent year for which data was available in all these countries, which account for more than 40 per cent of the world’s population and a quarter of the global gross domestic product.

Around 42 per cent of the world’s cancer deaths occur in the BRICS nations, with liver cancer and lung cancer having the greatest impact on total productivity lost.

The study was conducted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), together with leading cancer research institutions in the five nations.

The IARC is the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization.

Lead author Dr. Alison Pearce said, “studying the economic impact of cancer in fast-developing economies highlights the urgency of tackling preventable cancers in these countries and the high cost of cancer not only in terms of lives but also in terms of its impact on the economy”.

Uganda’s “open border” refugee policy a model for the world: UN refugee chief

Uganda has been praised by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees for having “the most progressive refugee policies in Africa, if not the world”.

Filippo Grandi was speaking to journalists on Wednesday after touring the Imvepi Refugee Settlement located in the north.

The UN refugee chief is on an official visit to the East African country, which is hosting the largest refugee population on the continent.

Around 1.4 million people have found refuge there, the majority of whom have fled conflict in neighbouring South Sudan.

Mr. Grandi praised Uganda’s “open border” policy, describing it as a “model” for the rest of the world.

He highlighted that refugees there are allowed to work and can access basic services such as health care and education.

They often receive parcels of land to grow food, he added.

However, the UN refugee chief warned that communities hosting refugees, and which also are facing development challenges, must also benefit.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

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