News in Brief 14 February 2018

14 February 2018

UN launches recovery and resilience programme for Iraq

Making “immediate and tangible improvements” to the daily lives of Iraq’s people is the goal of a new UN recovery plan announced on Wednesday.

Secretary-General António Guterres launched the United Nations Recovery and Resilience Programme for Iraq at an international conference in Kuwait focused on reconstructing the war-torn country.

UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq has more details about the two-year programme:

“The Secretary-General said that reconstruction and development programmes must go hand in hand with a strategy to prevent the recurrence of violent extremism and terrorism in Iraq. This must include full respect for human rights, including political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights.”

The UN is seeking $482 million for the first year of the programme and an additional $568 million to help stabilize high-risk areas.

Separately, partners are seeking $569 million to provide life-saving assistance to 3.4 million highly vulnerable people across Iraq through the 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan.

UNICEF readies to support Pacific countries affected by Cyclone Gita

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is standing by to support three Pacific Island nations as a storm intensifies in the region.

The agency is at the ready to assist the Governments of Samoa, Tonga and Fiji in the face of Cyclone Gita.

The Category 4 tropical cyclone hit Tonga on Monday night, causing widespread damage and flooding.

UNICEF described it as the worst storm to ever hit the country, with approximately 80,000 people, including 32,000 children, at risk.

Here’s UNICEF Chief of Communication in the Pacific, Cate Heinrich, speaking from Fiji:

“UNICEF is prepared. They already have supplies ready to go into Tonga, if requested. These include things like water and sanitation hygiene kits: that is soap, menstrual hygiene products, containers for water, as well as purification tablets that help the families access clean and safe water. We also have health kits that will go in if required and this brings the clinic to the people. So, they are displaced from their homes, they are not in their regular communities, so it will have medicines and things that the families may need if anyone gets sick.”

US urged to protect rights of migrant activist facing deportation

A group of UN human rights experts is urging the United States Government to protect rights defenders in the wake of action to deport an activist who campaigns on behalf of migrants.

Maru Mora Villalpando is facing deportation after speaking out against alleged violations at an immigrant detention centre in Washington state, located in the north-west of the country.

The undocumented immigrant from Mexico has been in the US since 1996.

She is the single mother of a 20-year-old daughter who is an American citizen.

“Ms. Villalpando’s notice to appear at deportation proceedings, received without warning, seems to be related to her advocacy work on behalf of migrant detainees,” the four UN experts said in a statement on Wednesday.

They urged the Government to protect and ensure her rights as a defender, as well as her right to family life.

They also underlined that the US authorities should take “all necessary measures” to ensure that no action taken against Ms. Villalpando is in retaliation for her activism.

Audio Credit:
Dianne Penn, United Nations
Audio Duration:
3'30"