News in Brief 7 July 2017 (PM)

Hunger report shows US$1billion toll of malnutrition in DRC each year

A study published on Friday into the economic toll of malnutrition in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) reveals costs of around US$1 billion each year.

That’s equivalent to as much as 4.5 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, according to the World Food Programme’s Cost of Hunger in Africa study.

The WFP data shows that losses occur each year due to increased healthcare costs, reduced workforce productivity, and additional burdens on the education system.

The Cost of Hunger study has been conducted in 11 countries so far, with an estimated loss due to inadequate nutrition ranging from 1.9 to 16.5 per cent of GDP.

Meanwhile, an emergency appeal launched in April for the political and humanitarian crisis in the Kasai region, is only 11 per cent funded.

Migrant arrivals in Europe pass 100,000 mark this year: IOM

Latest figures from the UN migration agency (IOM) on Friday show that more than 100,000 refugees and migrants have arrived in Europe so far this year by sea.

Of the total of 101,000, 85 per cent arrived in Italy, with the remainder arriving in Greece, Cyprus and Spain.

Italy is the closest European country to the Libyan coast, which has become the main route for people-smugglers and traffickers transporting migrants to the continent.

Around 2,300 have died making the journey during 2017, which is a decrease from the nearly 3,000 fatalities at this same point last year.

However, IOM noted it was the fourth consecutive year that deaths in the Mediterranean had exceeded 2,000.

Release of Cambodian human rights defenders welcomed by OHCHR

The release on bail of five Cambodian human rights defenders who have been detained since April last year, has been welcomed by the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR).

OHCHR said in a statement that the release of UN staff member Soen Sally, who had been charged in the same case, was “equally welcome”.

Charges were withdrawn formally against him, last week.

Of those freed on bail and awaiting trial, four are senior staff members from the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association, while the other is Deputy Secretary General of the National Election Committee.

OHCHR said that although it was a positive development, it came at a time when the environment for human rights organizations and civil society, was still “giving rise to serious concern” in Cambodia.

OHCHR said there was a lack of evidence and legal reasoning to justify the charges, and said they would be monitoring proceedings closely.

Source: United Nations Radio