News in Brief 11 April 2016 (PM)

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Cairo, Egypt. File Photo: UN-HABITAT

Egypt: Experts concerned about rights of civil society, trade unions

The Egyptian government is being urged to take steps to protect civil society in the country.

The call comes from three UN human rights experts who have expressed alarm over an ongoing crackdown on non-governmental organizations (NGOs) there.

They report that many NGOs have been shut down while human rights defenders have been interrogated by the security forces or subjected to travel bans, among other measures.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has also voiced concern over threats to trade union rights in Egypt.

ILO Director-General Guy Rider has written to President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, reminding him of the government's responsibility to ensure freedom of association.

The UN labour chief also demanded that a government ban prohibiting official recognition of independent trade unions be revoked.

Honduras: Experts renew call for justice following murder of activist

Authorities in Honduras are being asked "to act with due diligence" in investigating the murder of a local activist.

Eight UN human rights experts have renewed their call on the government to provide justice and reveal the truth in the killing of Berta Cáceres who was shot to death at her home in early March.

Ms Cáceres was the founder of an organization that promoted indigenous and environmental rights.

Her death is believed to be directly linked to her work defending the rights of the indigenous Lenca community, according to a statement issued on Monday by the UN experts.

Although hopeful that those responsible for Ms Cáceres' murder will be brought to justice, the experts expressed concern that her relatives and other human rights defenders are at risk of retaliation and violence.

They repeated their call for a fully independent, impartial and transparent investigation into her death.

Somalia: Food aid, school support for drought-affected people in north

Life-saving humanitarian assistance is being provided to people in northern Somalia as they continue to face a severe drought, two UN agencies working in the region have reported.

The UN Children's Fund, (UNICEF), and the World Food Programme (WFP) are working in tandem to address deteriorating access to food as well as rising malnutrition in Somaliland and Puntland.

The assistance they are providing includes food aid, nutrition programmes and health services, in addition to supporting communities to access safe water.

They are also working to keep children and teachers in school as dropout rates rise and families are forced to migrate.

The UN has appealed for US$105 million to assist some 1.7 million people in Somaliland and Puntland, the majority of whom are pastoralists.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 2'54"

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