News in Brief 02 November 2017 (PM)

Assistant UN refugee chief meets with Myanmar officials

A senior UN official has met with authorities in Myanmar in connection with the ongoing Rohingya crisis, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has reported.

Assistant High Commissioner for Protection Volker Turk concluded a two-day visit to the country on Wednesday.

In meetings with top government officials, he called for unrestricted humanitarian access for communities in need, and for the safe and dignified voluntary return of refugees.

More than 600,000 members of the mostly Muslim Rohingya community in Myanmar have fled to Bangladesh over the past two months in the wake of violence in Rakhine state.

Mr Turk urged the government to ensure a safe environment and the protection of all communities in the northern state.

Meanwhile, the UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, said the rate of Rohingya refugees entering Bangladesh has slowed in recent days, though there are reports that several thousand are believed to be waiting to cross into the country.

Aid delivered to Syrian towns last reached in August

A humanitarian convoy has reached two towns in Syria that were last accessed in August, the United Nations said on Thursday.

Food, nutrition, health, education and other items for more than 92,000 people delivered to Talbiseh, located in Homs, and Tlul El-Homor in Hama.

They were brought there by a joint convoy from the United States, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Stephane Dujarric is the UN Spokesperson.

“We continue to call for safe, unimpeded and sustained access for close to 3 million people in hard-to-reach and besieged areas, including the facilitation of medical evacuations in line with international humanitarian and international human rights law.”

Thomas & Friends to help UN teach children about global goals

The beloved childhood cartoon character Thomas the Tank Engine has joined with the United Nations to help teach pre-school children worldwide about global efforts to create a more just and equitable world.

Information about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be woven into the storylines of the animated children’s television series Thomas & Friends.

A new female character from Africa called Nia will also join the cast and will have a lead role.

The new series will focus on five of the 17 SDGs, including those dealing with education and gender equality.

The UN’s gender agency, UN Women, is supporting the collaboration between the global organization and toy company Mattel, Inc.

UN Women Africa Programme Adviser Tolulope Lewis-Tamoka explained that children form ideas and learn stereotypes very early.

“A lot of this is learned by seeing what’s around them,” she said. “So, reaching them through a popular animated series is a good strategy.”

The series will be shown in more than 110 countries in 33 languages.

Source: United Nations Radio