This is the news in brief from the United Nations.
$2.7 billion appeal for South Sudan refugees - Africa’s largest displacement crisis
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) launched a $2.7 billion appeal on Tuesday to help address Africa’s largest displacement crisis in South Sudan, where millions have been uprooted by years of brutal civil war.
Widespread fighting began there in 2013 between forces loyal to the President, Salva Kiir, and his vice-President, Riek Machar, following the country’s declaration of independence from its northern neighbour in 2011.
Hundreds of thousands of people are believed to have been killed in the fighting which has been accompanied by a shocking level of abuse – more than 65 per cent of women and girls in the country have experienced sexual violence, according to UN-appointed rights experts.
Although there has been a “relative reduction in violence” in parts of the country since a new peace deal was signed in September, UNHCR says conditions are not “conducive” for the safe return of refugees.
Here’s spokesperson Charlie Yaxley.
“Many women have reported rape and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence, along with the killings of their husbands and the abduction of children during flight. Children too have in many cases experienced extreme violence and trauma, including the death of one or both parents.”
More than 2.2 million South Sudanese are now refugees in six neighbouring countries - Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Central African Republic (CAR) – and another 1.9 million have been uprooted from their homes inside their country.
In some places, rations have had to be cut owing to a lack of funding, and in Sudan, some refugees who’ve fled across the border and their host communities have access to just five litres of water per person per day, while children are out of school and health clinics lack doctors, nurses and medicine.
Vital humanitarian air service risks being grounded in Central African Republic
To the Central African Republic (CAR) now, where a vital humanitarian air service risks being grounded because of a lack of funding.
The World Food Programme (WFP) issued the alert on Tuesday, saying that it needs $3 million to maintain the operation after January.
CAR has massive natural resources, but years of conflict have left over half the country’s people - 2.9 million - in need of humanitarian assistance.
One in four are displaced and insecurity continues to destroy livelihoods.
Giancarlo Cirri, WFP Representative and Country Director in CAR, said that the need for the air service is as great as it has ever been, before appealing to donors to save an “essential piece of humanitarian relief operations” in the country.
In the month of November alone, following clashes in the central, north-west, east and south-east regions of the country, the UN air service transported more than 2,000 aid workers - a record for a single month since it started operations in CAR in 2006.
Between January and December, it also carried out 26 medical evacuations.
Migration ‘is a force for dignity’, says IOM on International Migrants Day
Close to 3,400 migrants and refugees have died worldwide this year, the UN Migration agency, IOM, said on Tuesday, which marks International Migrants Day.
In an appeal for respect and dignity for people who choose or who are forced to leave their homes, IOM Director General Antonio Vitorino said it was also time “to respect and listen” to those who are frightened of the “changes that migration brings to their lives”.
Mr Vitorino’s comments follow the adoption on 10 December of the Global Compact for Migration in Marrakech, when a majority of UN Member States agreed to the principle of managing the issue more effectively.
No one State can achieve this on its own, Mr Vitorino insisted, before adding that there are 258 million migrants worldwide today.
Another 40 million have been displaced inside their countries by conflict and around 19 million were forced from their homes by climate change last year, the IOM chief said.
Daniel Johnson, UN News - Geneva