News in Brief 28 August 2017 (AM)

UN chief committed to fighting anti-Semitism which is "alive and well"

Stressing that anti-Semitism "should now be dead forever" the UN chief said on Monday that he was committed to fighting racism and bigotry in all its forms.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was speaking at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, during his first visit as head of the world body, to the Middle East.

He is meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders during the three-day trip, to try and help restart peace talks towards a two-state solution.

He is also due to visit the Occupied Territories of the West Bank and Gaza.

The UN chief said that he was visiting the Holocaust memorial as a tribute to the Jewish people; six million of whom were systematically murdered by Germany's Nazi regime during the Second World War.

Mr Guterres described it as the most hideous crime against humanity ever, and also noted the shocking resurgence of Nazi slogans at a recent rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in the United States.

"Anti-Semitism should now be dead forever, but unfortunately we see it alive and well. I was shocked to listen to the chant of a group of neo Nazis in a developed country in the world chanting "blood and soil"- slogan of the Nazis. That is a dramatic demonstration that it is our duty to do everything possible and as Secretary General of the United Nations, I fully assume that commitment to do everything possible to fight anti-Semitism in all its expressions. As I said I'm truly committed to fight anti-Semitism, as to fight racism, xenophobia, anti-Muslim hatred and all other forms of bigotry that unfortunately we are not yet able to make our world free of."

Asia-Pacific experts convene to improve data collection for SDGs

Experts and statisticians are convening at a major UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific meeting in Bangkok this week, to try and improve data collection for reaching the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The ESCAP forum will focus on the Asia-Pacific region's efforts to create usable data that can accurately measure progress towards meeting the 17 SDGs.

The meeting will run through Wednesday, in order to strengthen the capacity of Member States to collect, disseminate and analyse data "to meet the needs" of the region.

Among the ambitious goals agreed by 193 countries two years ago, are commitments to end poverty and hunger, and provide good health and education for all.

WFP forced to reduce food rations for 320,000 refugees in Tanzania

The World Food Programme (WFP) has been forced to reduce food rations for 320,000 refugees sheltering in northwest Tanzania, due to funding shortfalls.

WFP made the announcement on Monday, adding that an extra US$23.6 million is needed during the rest of this year, to meet the food and nutritional needs of refugees in Tanzania, most of whom have fled homes in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The agency urgently appealed for donors to make up the shortfall.

Tanzania Country Representative, Michael Dunford, said that without an immediate response, further ration cuts would be necessary.

WFP added that reducing rations resulted in far-reaching and potentially life-altering consequences for refugees.

Source: United Nations Radio