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Thursday’s Daily Brief: UN refugee agency on Venezuelan migrant crisis, dramatic resurgence' of measles in Europe, a UN News visit to former nuclear test site, Colombian law for disabled persons receives praise, Security Council on violence in Yemen

Venezuela migrant crisis begs a ‘coherent, predictable and harmonized’ response: UNHCR

There is “no end in sight” to the massive movement of Venezuelan migrants and refugees, now at around 4.3 million in number, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) shared on Thursday.

The inflow of migrants to neighboring Latin American countries and the Caribbean is exacerbating social and economic tensions in the effort to protect the increasing number of people with vulnerabilities and those in need of international protection, the agency’s Joint UNHCR-IOM (International Organization for Migration) Special Representative for Venezuelan refugees and migrants, Eduardo Stein, said in a statement.

Mr. Stein stressed the need for a “coherent, predictable and harmonized regional response,” to ensure “countries in the region will be able to meet the unprecented humanitarian challenge of responding to the needs of a gorwing number of Venezuelan refugees and migrants.”

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‘Dramatic resurgence’ of measles threatens the European region

The number of countries having achieved or sustained elimination of measles has declined, the European Regional Verification Commission for Measles and Rubella Elimination (RVC) warned today.

RVC reports that as of the end of last year, 35 countries have achieved or sustained measles elimination, compared to 37 for 2017, and twelve remain endemic for measles.

“Through activation of the emergency response, WHO has increased its focus on measles elimination and upgraded its action,” said Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe, adding that “this is the time and opportunity to address any underlying health system, social determinants and societal challenges that may have allowed this deadly virus to persist in this Region.”  

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Report from the former nuclear test site in Kazakhstan

Every year on 29 August, the UN and Member States recognize the International Day against Nuclear Tests. This year, the Day coincides with the 70th anniversary of the first atomic bomb test at the Semipalatinsk test site in Kazakhstan.

UN News travelled to the remote region for a look inside Kurchatov City, where for over 40 years, the area served as a venue for 456 nuclear explosions.  Today, the “testing ground” is buried by overgrown grass, some locals remember the “horrible mushroom” cloud, some describe it as “even beautiful.”

Meanwhile, scientists and medical professionals continue to investigate whether the elevated rations levels can explain the number of children born with genetic mutations, and other cases of health impediments.

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UN expert praises Colombian law guaranteeing rights for disabled persons

Colombia’s new law guaranteeing the exercise of legal capacity by persons with disabilities signals “a huge step” in the realm of human rights, Catalina Devandas, Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, declared  in a statement.

Ms. Devandas said, “the newly adopted law eliminates all forms of guardianship in Colombia, while also establishing support mechanisms to fully enjoy this fundamental right.”

The initiative joins similar reform processes underway in Peru and Costa Rica, positioning Latin American countries as global leaders in implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.


Security Council President concerned over violent eruptions in Yemen

The Security Council today called on all parties to the conflict in south Yemen to show restraint, expressing concern over recent spasms of violence in the country.

In a presidential statement issued by the Council’s President for August, Joanna Wronecka (Poland), the body welcomed Saudi Arabia’s efforts to convene a constructive dialogue in the port city of Jeddah.

The Council expressed full support of negotiation efforts, security and political arrangements necessary to resume a peaceful transition.



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