News in Brief 02 October 2017 (AM)

Rations for refugees in northern Kenya cut by 30 per cent: WFP

Food rations for around 420,000 refugees living in the Dadaab and Kakuma camps in northern Kenya are to be cut by around 30 per cent, the World Food Programme (WFP) announced on Monday.

WFP said that the cuts were due to a shortfall in funding for the camps, which are home to refugees primarily from neighbouring South Sudan and Somalia, forced to flee their homes due to long-running conflict.

WFP Country Director in Kenya, Annalisa Conte, said the agency “urgently needs US$28.5 million to adequately cover the food assistance needs” for the next six months.

Starting this month, the agency said it would reduce the share of food while keeping the cash-transfer programme unchanged, meaning that refugees should continue to receive around 70 per cent of their September rations.

Ms Conte called on all those involved in the conflicts which have driven refugees over the border into Kenya, to “take all necessary” steps to end the fighting and allow them to return home.

Human Rights chief “very disturbed” by violence during Catalonia vote

The UN Human Rights chief said on Monday he was “very disturbed” by the violence which marred Catalonia’s independence referendum on Sunday.

Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein called on Spanish authorities to ensure that an “independent and impartial investigation” is carried out, following violence at polling stations when national police and the Civil Guard attempted to prevent the unilateral vote from taking place.

News reports said that around 900 people had been hurt, with 2.2 million still managing to cast a vote, of whom 90 per cent backed independence.

Zeid said that he firmly believed the current situation “should be resolved through political dialogue, with full respect for democratic freedoms.”

He called on the Spanish government to accept requests by UN human rights experts to visit the country, “without delay.”

UN “needs to do more” to promote non-violence: General Assembly President

The UN system “needs to do more” to promote the principle of non-violence enshrined through the life of the Indian civil rights leader, Mahatma Gandhi.

That’s according to Miroslav Lajcak, President of the General Assembly, who was speaking at an event at UN Headquarters to mark the International Day of Non-Violence.

The day falls each 2 October, which is also Gandhi’s birthday.

The Indian leader is globally recognized as the pioneer of the philosophy and strategy of non-violence, and the General Assembly resolution establishing the day, reaffirms the “universal principle of non-violence and the desire to “secure a culture of peace” tolerance and understanding.

Mr Lajcak said violence was still all too common as the “tool of choice” for many.

“Initially Mahatma Ghandi was simply one person carrying out individual acts, these individual acts however, led thousands to follow, and this shows us the real difference between violence and non-violence. One inspires fear, the other, inspires positive action. As a global leader in non-violence the United Nations needs to do more to promote this principle and to inspire others to do so too.”

Source: United Nations Radio