News in Brief 19 January 2016 (AM)

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Iraqi IDP family in Tikrit inside the unfinished building that is their temporary home. Photo: UNHCR/C. Robinson

Norway supports Iraq stabilization efforts

A US$2.8 million contribution by Norway will support UN projects in areas of Iraq that have been liberated from the terrorist group ISIL which is also known as Daesh.

The money will be used to help people returning home to restore their livelihoods.

This marks the second contribution made by the Nordic country in recent months, according to the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

The agency's Funding Facility for Immediate Stabilization has already provided support in the city of Tikrit, where 90 per cent of families reportedly have returned and are rebuilding their lives.

New initiatives are also underway in other parts of the country.

France urged to protect freedoms while fighting terrorism

France is being urged to protect the right to fundamental freedoms as it works to counter terrorism.

The appeal comes from five UN human rights experts who have shared their concerns with the French government.

They say the current state of emergency there and laws related to the surveillance of electronic communications are imposing "excessive and disproportionate restrictions" on the right to privacy and other freedoms.

French President François Hollande declared a state of emergency after 130 people were killed in terrorist attacks in the capital, Paris, in November.

The UN experts also stressed what they characterized as "the lack of clarity and precision" in several of the previsions of the state of emergency and surveillance laws.

Bitter cold in Europe affecting health of refugee children

Recent sub-zero temperatures and snowy conditions in south-eastern Europe are taking a toll on the health of refugee and migrant children, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) reports.

The agency says these "children on the move" are arriving in Europe "physically exhausted, scared, distressed and often in need of medical assistance."

The situation is further worsened as many of them do not have adequate clothing or access to sufficient food. Lack of shelter and inadequate heating at some reception centres is also a concern.

Last year, one million refugees and migrants arrived in Europe, a quarter of them children.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 2’16″

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