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News in Brief 12 October 2022 |


Finland violated rights of Finnish children detained in Syria: UN Committee 

Finland violated the rights of its own child citizens detained in camps in northern Syria by failing to repatriate them, a UN expert committee said on Wednesday.

The decision by the Child Rights Committee follows a case filed by the relatives of six Finnish children held at the Al-Hol camp in life-threatening conditions. 

The children were born in Syria and their parents had allegedly collaborated with the Da’esh terrorist group, also known as ISIL. 

The UN Committee found that Finland has the responsibility and power to protect the children, and to repatriate them. 

The case was brought to the Committee in 2019.  Since then, three of the children left the camp with their mother and eventually arrived in Finland. 

The Committee has urged Finland to take urgent action to repatriate the three remaining children, who are between five and six years old. 

New WHO framework to strengthen action on TB and comorbidities 

A new framework launched on Wednesday by the World Health Organization (WHO) aims to boost action towards ending tuberculosis, or TB: the world’s top infectious killer. 

Each year, 10 million people fall ill with the bacterial disease, which mainly affects the lungs.  Although TB is preventable and curable, 1.5 million people die from it annually. 

The WHO framework recognises that addressing health-related risk factors and comorbidities among people with TB, is essential to end the epidemic.  

It outlines steps to strengthen collaboration to support countries to increase access to high quality prevention and care. 

Five key risk factors are driving TB, WHO said: alcohol use disorder, diabetes, HIV, smoking and undernutrition.  These factors accounted for an alarming 45 per cent of TB episodes in 2020. 

People with TB can also experience mental health disorders, drug use disorders and viral hepatitis, which can lead to poorer treatment outcomes and lowered quality of life. 

Venezuelan refugees and migrants struggle in Latin America and the Caribbean 

The spiralling cost of living, fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, and high unemployment rates, have made it difficult for many Venezuelan refugees and migrants across Latin America and the Caribbean to rebuild their lives and integrate into society.   

Some 4.3 million are facing challenges when it comes to accessing food, housing and stable jobs, according to a report by the UN refugee agency, UNHCR; the UN migration agency, IOM, and partners. 

There are more than seven million Venezuelan refugees and migrants worldwide, with most – 80 per cent – living in 17 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. 

The study found that half of those in the region cannot afford three meals a day and lack access to safe housing.   

Many are resorting to “survival sex”, begging or indebtedness just to get something to eat or to avoid living on the streets. 

The study calls on the international community not to forget about these people, and the communities hosting them. 

Dianne Penn, UN News. 




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