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Asylum seekers in Sri Lanka fear for their safety, in wake of Easter Sunday terror attacks

Since the suicide bombings in Sri Lanka on April 21, there have been concerns for the safety of refugees and asylum seekers living in the country: in the immediate aftermath, there were reports of refugees being targeted and forced from their homes by angry mobs threatening reprisals for the Easter Sunday attacks which targeted Christian churches, as well as upscale hotels.

Friday’s Daily Brief: Fundraising for Mozambique, Assange’s rights, Asia-Pacific development, Somalia and Sudan updates

This Friday, we cover: a donor conference to support life-saving and recovery aid for Mozambique following two recent devastating cyclones; the need to respect Wikileaks’ Assange’s rights; how Asia-Pacific is working towards achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ; news from Somalia and Sudan; and a new stamp honouring Kofi Annan.

Mozambique pledging conference hopes to soften devastating blow of back-to-back cyclones

As some 1.85 million people in Mozambique try to recover from back-to-back cyclones Idai and Kenneth, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Friday kicked off a two-day pledging forum to drum up funds to help get the vulnerable country get back on its feet.

UN expert criticizes States for ‘ganging up’ on Wikileaks’ Assange; warns against extradition, fearing ‘serious’ rights violations

After visiting Julian Assange in a London prison, an independent UN human rights expert expressed urgent concern on Friday, for the Wikileaks co-founder’s well-being, accusing “a group of democratic States” of “ganging up” on the prisoner to “isolate, demonize and abuse” him and warned against extraditing the controversial publisher to the United States. 

World Food Programme accesses Yemeni frontline district for first time since conflict began

Amid the world’s largest humanitarian crisis still unfolding in Yemen, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has gained access to the rebel-held northern district of Nihm, for the first time since the war between Houthis and the Saudi-backed Government coalition escalated in 2015.

From philanthropy to profit: how clean energy is kickstarting sustainable development in East Africa

Until recently, Namacurra district, in the Zambezia province of Mozambique, some 1,500 km from the capital Maputo, did not have any basic services – such as schools, health centres, or even energy – connecting the region to the electricity grid would be extremely time-consuming, and costly. But a new UN-backed clean energy initiative looks set to change the outlook for Namacurra, and, within a matter of months, kickstart sustainable development for the benefit of the thousands of people, relocated to the area following the devastating rains of 2015, and it could herald an improved outlook for other economically disadvantaged parts of Africa.

Mozambique: UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Orlando Bloom meets the child cyclone survivors who’ve lost everything

Visiting storm-ravaged Mozambique, UN Children’s Fund Goodwill Ambassador Orlando Bloom, listened to devastating stories of children who lost everything in Cyclone Idai, while observing on Thursday that UNICEF-built safe spaces have given them “a sense of normality”.

Thursday’s Daily Brief: the European Charlemagne prize, sexual abuse, transgender rights, Somalia and Libya updates

Top stories this Thursday: UN chief Guterres received the Charlemagne Prize for services towards European unification; sexual abuse in Somalia and within the UN; a leap in transgender rights; news from Libya; and new political appointments at the UN.  

Syria: Thousands of children ‘hemmed in’ by ‘brutal and gratuitous’ spike in violence

A marked escalation in fighting has put tens of thousands of children in northwest Syria at “imminent risk of injury, death and displacement”, the United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF) chief warned on Thursday.

A major win for transgender rights: UN health agency drops ‘gender identity disorder’, as official diagnosis

“To reflect critical advances in science and medicine”, the World Health Organization, WHO, has removed so-called “gender identity disorder” from its official manual of diagnoses, which is being hailed as a major win for transgender rights.