News in Brief 29 March 2016 (PM)

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Women and children displaced from Jebel Marra, in North Darfur, due to fighting, take shelter in the Tawilla new arrivals site. Photo: OCHA

UN chief welcomes AU peace roadmap for Sudan

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the African Union’s effort to accelerate progress towards ending the fighting in Darfur, South Kordofan and the Blue Nile states.

The agreement was brokered by the African Union High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) for Sudan and South Sudan, which is chaired by former South African President Thabo Mbeki.

Following a three-day meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the Government of Sudan and Mr Mbeki signed the agreement; the opposition parties did not.

In a statement issued by his Spokesperson, Mr Ban called on the Government to "fully abide" with the Agreement and urged the other parties to sign it.

Fighting between the Government and the different parties in those regions restarted in 2011, around the time that South Sudan voted for independence.


French journalist granted "early release" from UN detention unit

A French journalist was granted an "early release" from the United Nations detention centre in The Hague for "exemplary conduct".

The statement released Tuesday by the administrative body for the UN war crimes tribunal, the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals also said she completed more than two thirds of her sentence.

According to media reports, Florence Hartmann was convicted of contempt of court in 2009 for writing in a book that the UN war crimes tribunal had withheld information on the Srebrenica massacre of 1995.

She was detained last Thursday when former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžić was sentenced by UN judges to 40 years of imprisonment for ten out of eleven charges he faced, including genocide over the 1995 massacre.


Need for greater "transparency, checks and balances" at UN high office

Greater transparency is needed in the Office of the President of the UN General Assembly as well as an effective system for checks and balances.

That's according to the final report by the Secretary-General's task force on the functioning of the Office.

John Ashe, who presided over the chamber in 2013, was arrested in New York for reportedly accepting bribes.

The report says the allegations occurred in an environment where there were "significant loopholes and blind spots in the operational arrangements" for the President and the Office.

UN Spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric has more.

"It is not an investigation into what happened in John Ashe's office. It is the point that what happened with the indictment of John Ashe and others revealed structural flaws in the way the office of the Office of the President of the General Assembly is organized including severe under-funding which has led to a number of Presidents of the General Assembly seeking funding outside. What the proposals aim to bring the structure of that office in line with existing financial rules and regulations to increase transparency."

The task force also noted the initiatives of the current President to improve transparency in the Office.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 2’57″



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