UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Orlando Bloom visits Ukraine

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  • British actor Orlando Bloom visited conflict-affected eastern Ukraine this week to highlight the importance of education in humanitarian emergencies.

    The Goodwill Ambassador with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) sat in classrooms that had been hit by shells.

    He also met schoolchildren who are receiving psychological counselling to recover from their experiences.

    More than two years of fighting between government forces and rebels has placed around 580,000 children in the region in urgent need of aid, according to UNICEF.

    The agency added that worldwide, nearly one-quarter of school-age children—or 462 million youngsters—live in countries affected by conflict.

    Orlando Bloom said more must be done to support these children.

    “When you think that only two per cent of humanitarian aid goes towards education, it’s just simply not enough. Children need education for a future; children need education for a sense of community, a sense of belonging, a routine, and the possibility of a life.”

    UNICEF and its partners will launch a report aimed at raising US$4 billion to fund education during emergencies at the World Humanitarian Summit in Turkey later this month.

    Experts fear persecution of two trade unions in Somalia

    Human rights experts are urging the Government of Somalia to halt intimidation and reprisals against members and leaders of two trade unions in the country.

    The experts—known as UN Special Rapporteurs—say State officials and anonymous persons have been threatening representatives of the Federation of Somali Trade Unions (FESTU) and the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) since 2011.

    They add that two leaders of the journalists’ union have been particularly targeted, one of whom survived an assassination attempt in December.

    Although the police reportedly opened an investigation into the incident, it was not conclusive, they added.

    Tourism ministers pledge to help Ecuador

    Tourism ministers and representatives from across the Americas have expressed solidarity with Ecuador as it continues to recover from a 7.8-magnitude earthquake which struck last month.

    Nearly 500 people were killed and thousands were injured in the disaster.

    The ministers are in Havana, Cuba, for a two-day regional meeting of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) which concludes on Wednesday.

    In a joint statement, they said they are ready to support the country as it works to recover its tourism sector following the disaster.

    Janie Cangelosi, United Nations.

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