Europe 

UN health agency spotlights stalled effort to close health divide across Europe, in new report

In the first-ever report of its kind, The Health Equity Status Report, authors share that in many of the 53 countries in the WHO European Region, the status of health equity has either gone unchanged, or worsened, despite government efforts to address avoidable disparities.   These challenges could be overcome “even within the lifetime of a national government of four years” said Dr. Zsuzanna Jakaba, WHO Europe’s Regional Director. “For the first time, the Health Equity Status Report provides governments with the data and tools they need to tackle health inequities and…

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Europe 

UN health experts warn ‘dramatic resurgence’ of measles continues to threaten the European region

“If high immunization coverage is not achieved and sustained in every community, both children and adults will suffer unnecessarily and some will tragically die,” Günter Pfaff, Chair of the RVC, said in a press release on the conclusions of the annual assessment.   According to RVC, as of the end of 2018, 35 countries have achieved or sustained measles elimination (compared to 37 for 2017), while 12 remain endemic for measles.  Four countries (Albania, Czech Republic, Greece and the United Kingdom) lost their measles elimination status for the first time since…

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Africa Europe Libya North Africa World 

At least 40 feared dead in shipwreck off Libya

The U.N. refugee agency has said that at least 40 people are feared dead or missing after a boat disaster off the coast of Libya. The boat was carrying migrants headed for Europe. About 60 people are reported to have been rescued. Libyan coastguard spokesman Ayoub Qassem said on Tuesday that the bodies of five migrants had been recovered. 65 other migrants were rescued about 9 miles off the coast of the city of Khoms. Reuters quotes Qassem as saying that three of those found dead were from Morocco, one…

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Africa Botswana Europe Featured Southern Africa World 

Botswana University offers students course on Brexit

Botswana’s top university is offering its students an elective course on the UK’s plans to leave the European Union. The term Brexit has been associated with the UK’s move to leave Europe and students of the University of Botswana will learn about this. The course has been structured by the history department of the university to enable students understand the crisis. It will be called ‘Modern Britain’ with students getting the chance to “study the crisis” as it happens, according to a notice from the university. But students will not…

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Europe 

‘€1 million’ fines for rescue boats prompts UN concern for future sea operations

Speaking in Geneva, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) spokesperson Charlie Yaxley explained that the legislative move came at a time when other European countries had largely stopped sea rescue activities.  “Under changes approved by Parliament, fines for private vessels that undertake rescue of people and do not respect the ban on entry into territorial waters, have risen to a maximum of €1 million,” he said. “In addition, vessels will now be automatically impounded.” So far this year, nearly 4,000 people have made the treacherous crossing to Europe via the so-called Central…

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Europe 

Politicization of migrant ‘crisis’ in Hungary making them scapegoats, independent UN human rights expert warns 

“Migrants are portrayed as dangerous enemies in both official and public discourses in this country,” said Felipe González Morales, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, in a statement released following the end of his official visit to Hungary.   He stressed that he had seen groups of “desperate, traumatised and helpless men, women, boys and girls confined behind razor wire fence in the transit zones.”   Mr. González Morales said that following a massive influx of migrants in 2015, anti-migration discourse in Hungary had become pervasive in…

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Europe 

Human cost of Ukraine conflict is growing, Security Council told

DiCarlo’s briefing to the Council was delivered just days before Ukrainians vote in parliamentary elections on July 21. The Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs expressed her hope that the poll will be “peaceful and democratic”, and inclusive, reflecting the “broadest participation of women”. However, the current political transition takes place against the backdrop of ongoing conflict in the eastern Donbas region of the country, said Ms. DiCarlo, posing serious daily challenges for those who live in the area. Despite some progress by the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine –…

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Europe 

FROM THE FIELD: facing up to the extreme mental health pressures of conflict

During much of his 30-year career as a humanitarian with the UN, Fabrizio Hochschild, today a senior UN official reporting directly to the Secretary-General, struggled with mental health issues associated with his work. Mr. Hochschild, who has risen through the ranks to become the Assistant Secretary-General for Strategic Coordination, suffered post-traumatic stress disorder following a posting in Bosnia and Herzegovina, at the time of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, early in his career. In this episode of the award-winning podcast series Awake At Night, produced by the UN refugee agency, UNHCR,…

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