News in Brief 08 January 2016 (PM)

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The city of Sa'ada in Yemen has been heavily hit by airstrikes. Photo: OCHA/Philippe Kropf

Blue helmets to be sent back home from Central African Republic

Peacekeepers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the DRC, serving in the Central African Republic, are to be sent home after failing to prove their readiness for deployment.

UN spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric, told reporters that the troop contingent had been assessed, and despite showing improvements on a previous deployment, were still below the standards required.

"UN Peacekeeping found that the progress achieved so far only partially meets the requirements set by the United Nations in terms of equipment, vetting and preparedness. In light of this result, the battalion from the Democratic Republic of the Congo currently deployed to MINUSCA will be repatriated without replacement."

The announcement comes at the end of a week that has seen further serious allegations of sexual abuse levelled against peacekeepers in the CAR, and a relatively peaceful conclusion to the first round of voting in presidential elections.

Concerns intensify over "intense" airstrikes in residential areas of Yemen 

Concerns are growing over an apparent intensification of airstrikes and shelling in Yemen by the Saudi Arabian led pro-government coalition.

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was particularly concerned about attacks on civilian areas of the capital, Sana'a.

He said the suspected use of cluster munitions in built-up areas on Wednesday, may amount to a war crime, and called on all parties in the civil war to obey international law.

Sri Lankan reform has helped to "realize durable peace": UN chief

Sri Lanka's year of political transition has helped the move towards "durable peace."

That's the congratulatory message from the UN Secretary-General on the first anniversary of Sri Lanka adopting a broad reform agenda to advance good governance, and reconciliation between ethnic groups.

A long and deadly civil war which ended in 2009 pitted the majority Singhalese against the Tamil minority.

But full reconciliation and unity has proved hard to cement.

Mr Ban urged politicians to continue building on the progress made on human rights and justice reform.

First rehabilitation camps established for former Malian rebel fighters

The construction of the first camps, or cantonment sites, established to rehabilitate former rebel fighters in Mali, has begun.

Northern Mali, including Timbuktu, was overrun by extremist forces in 2012.

In line with the fragile peace agreement between the government and rebel factions last year, a series of rehabilitation camps are due to be established under the supervision of the UN Mission in Mali, MINUSMA.

MINUSMA said that providing for the demobilization of former fighters, is a "crucial step" in implementing the peace agreement overall.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2’18″

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