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UN envoy urges a greater support to victims of drought in east

“On my visit to a drought-stricken district in Kenya, I saw with my own eyes the terrible effect this drought is having on pastoralists, farmers and their families,” Kjell Magne Bondevik, UN Special Humanitarian Envoy for the Horn of Africa, told the press in Oslo, Norway, about a crisis that also affects Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti.“A great number of animals have already lost their lives due to the drought. Now all efforts must be made to avoid a similar destiny for children and their families,” Mr. Bondevik said, pledging to work with ministries of foreign affairs in major donor countries in order to galvanize the funding needed for humanitarian relief.The Horn of Africa, where more than 40 per cent of all people are chronically undernourished, is one of the most nutritionally insecure regions in the world, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).At his press conference, Mr. Bondevik stressed that more attention must be paid to the root causes of food insecurity and the need to enhance coordination among national governments, local authorities, the UN, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the donor community and regional organizations in addressing those causes. read more

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Twenty men in grooming gang are jailed for inhuman abuse of victims

Judge Geoffrey Marson QC told the gang: “The extent and gravity of your offending far exceeds anything which I have previously encountered. It was a very significant campaign of rape and other sexual abuse.”Children’s lives have been ruined and families profoundly affected by seeing their children, over months and years, out of control, having been groomed by you and other members of your gang.” Throughout the three trials, jurors were told how the men – who used nicknames including Beastie and Dracula – had plied their victims with drink and drugs before sexually abusing them.The girls, who were all considered vulnerable, described how they initially thought they were being shown genuine affection before the abuse began. In at least one case the victim later attempted suicide, another had an abortion and two of the victims had learning disabilities.The abuse, which took place in car parks, hotels, takeaways and snooker halls across West Yorkshire, was largely aimed at white girls.The first of the trials began in January this year and saw eight men, including Dhaliwal, convicted of a range of offences including rape and other sex offences.Dhaliwal, who has children of his own, was convicted of 54 separate counts, including 22 rapes, involving 11 girls. The second trial, which began in April this year, also saw eight defendants convicted and the third trial, featuring four defendants ended on October 8.Speaking at the conclusion of the first trial, Judge Marson said: “The way you treated these girls defies understanding; this abuse was vile and wicked.”As cases of sexual abuse with which the courts have to deal, this case comes at the top of the scale. None of you has expressed any remorse for what you did.”He added: “The sentences I pass on you are severe and are intended to be so. They are intended to deter others from behaving in this way.”The second trial, which ended in June, saw eight men given jail sentences of between five and 18 years.Four more men were found guilty of a range of offences earlier this month following the third trial and will be sentenced on November 1.The pattern of large-scale exploitation of mainly white girls by groups of men of mainly Pakistani heritage uncovered by West Yorkshire Police in Huddersfield mirrors what has happened in a number of other towns including Rotherham, Rochdale and Telford. The gang was jailed after three trials earlier this year Tommy Robinson was jailed after almost derailing one of the trials A series of trials that were almost derailed by the English Defence League founder, Tommy Robinson, have ended with 20 members of an Asian grooming gang being convicted of a catalogue of rape and abuse against girls as young as 11.The gang members, who were mainly of Pakistani heritage and came from the Huddersfield area, were convicted after a court heard how they passed victims around like “commodities” and used them for their own “sexual gratification”.Ringleader Amere Singh Dhaliwal, 35, was jailed for life earlier this year and told he must serve a minimum of 18 years in prison by a judge who described his treatment of the girls as “inhuman”.The abuse took place between 2004 and 2011 and involved victims aged between 11 and 17.Details of the case and the three trials can only now be disclosed after a judge agreed to lift reporting restrictions following a challenge from the media.But the second trial almost collapsed in May when far right campaigner, Robinson, was arrested for allegedly breaching reporting restrictions by filming outside the court. The abuse took place in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire The gang was jailed after three trials earlier this year Tommy Robinson was jailed after almost derailing one of the trials The abuse took place in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire He was jailed for contempt of court but his conviction was later quashed and the case is due to be heard again at the Old Bailey next week. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more