News in Brief (AM)

Global literacy rates have improved in past 50 years: UN

Considerable efforts by countries and organizations have helped raise the global literacy rates for adults and children but much work remains to be done.

That’s what the Director-General of the United Nations education organization, UNESCO said during the launch of the 50th International Literacy Day.

Adult literacy rates went from 61 per cent in 1960 to 85 per cent in 2015. Meanwhile the literacy rates for children worldwide reached an encouraging 90 per cent.

However, globally there are 758 million adults who cannot read or write a simple sentence; two thirds of them are women.

The greatest bottlenecks for progress are in Africa, The UNESCO chief Irina Bokova warned.

International Literacy Day was founded by the UN to mobilize the international community and to promote literacy as an instrument to empower people.

FC Barcelona renews pact with UN to help vulnerable children

The Barcelona Football Club from Spain has extended a partnership with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to help the most vulnerable children.

On Thursday, the football club also known as “Barca” by its fans, signed a four-year deal and promised to increase its annual contribution to around US$2.7 million.

Over the last 10 years, the two organizations have helped expand access to education, sport and play for children who might otherwise be excluded.

Anthony Lake is the UNICEF Executive Director.

“Sports gives kids faith not only in themselves but in their future as well as they can see how they are able to compete and compete fairly and enjoy acting to the best of their abilities. And I can’t think of any better example of that than Barcelona’s reach worldwide and our wonderful 10 year old partnership now.”

More than a million children around the world have benefitted from their alliance.

Angola, Brazil, China, Ghana, Malawi, South Africa and Swaziland are receiving support from the FC Barcelona- UN pact.

Following UN visit, civil society members in South Sudan receive threats

Civil society members who met with a UN Security Council delegation last week in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, are being harassed and intimidated.

That’s according to a statement released by the UN Mission in the country (UNMISS) on Thursday.

UNMISS said it was deeply concerned by these reported threats and warned they were in violation of the rights to freedom of expression, movement and civil and political engagement.

The Mission promised to raise the issue with the authorities.

The three-day visit allowed Security Council members to meet government and UN officials to try and ensure that last year’s peace agreement gets back on track.

The 15 members of the delegation also gained a greater understanding of some of the issues and concerns faced by South Sudanese citizens at the grassroots level.

Some 200,000 people are living in UN protection sites and hundreds of thousands more have fled South Sudan following more than two years of conflict in the country.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 3’03?

Source: United Nations Radio.