News in Brief 23 February 2016 (PM)

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Macharia Kamau. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Peacebuilding not just a priority post-conflict, Security Council hears

Peacebuilding needs to be a priority before conflicts break out around the world, and part of the UN's wider global goals.

That's according to the chair of the UN Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), speaking at a Security Council debate focussing on so-called peacebuilding architecture across the system.

Ambassador Macharia Kamau of Kenya, said that "sustainable peace" efforts needed collaboration across the whole UN, as well as with? local and regional partners.

"Together we will be able to mobilize attention to drivers and root causes of conflict, give greater focus and priority to the regional dimension of building sustainable peace, and third but not least, provide political support to practical integration of security, political, human rights and developmental responses, over the medium to long-term engagement."

UN welcomes White House plan to finally close Guantanamo prison

A detailed White House plan to finally close the US detention centre in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has been welcomed by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Zeid-Ra'ad Al Hussein, said that the plan delivered to Congress on Tuesday, by President Barack Obama, would help erase "a serious blot" on the human rights record of the US.

The plan would transfer the remaining 91 detainees to their home countries, or to US military or civilian prisons.

President Obama promised to close Guantanamo in 2009 but has faced strong opposition from a majority in Congress.

Zeid said that all detainees should be given "fair trials before civilian courts" in accordance with international law.

Vital medical services in Afghanistan at risk, and "under attack": UN

Healthcare facilities and personnel in Afghanistan are coming under regular attack, putting vital services at risk, according to the UN's Humanitarian Coordinator in the country.

In a statement, Mark Bowden said that health workers had been attacked in two incidents over the past week, leading to deaths and injuries.

He added that their work "must not be restricted" or put at risk, as medical personnel and patients were entitled to protected status under international law.

More convoys deliver life-saving aid to stranded Syrian civilians

More convoys were able to get through to besieged and hard-to-reach civilians in Syria on Tuesday, according to the UN.

Last week, the UN brokered access to five besieged towns by inter-agency humanitarian aid convoys, for civilians trapped both by government and opposition forces.

Medical and food supplies reached around 20,000 in Moadamiyeh on Tuesday, along with some 10,000 people in need in Kafr Batna.

Here’s the UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric.

These are the first of what we hope to be series of deliveries to meet the needs of people that humanitarian workers have not been able to reach for a long time. The humanitarian community continues to call for unconditional, unimpeded and sustained access to the 4.6 million people in Syria who are in hard-to-reach and besieged towns across the country."

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2’39″

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