News in Brief 05 May 2016 (PM)


Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

Working groups hold first meetings at Yemen talks

Three working groups at the Yemen peace talks held their first meetings on Thursday, the United Nations has reported.

Parties formed the working groups to look at political transition, security issues and issues related to prisoners and detainees.

Fighting between government forces and Houthi rebels has killed more than 6,000 people and displaced 2.4 million in Yemen.

UN Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed is overseeing the ongoing peace negotiations underway in Kuwait.

This round of talks began in April and were preceded by the start of a cessation of hostilities.

UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric has more:

"The Special Envoy said that there have been a number of breaches to the cessation of hostilities that took place yesterday, which he said was worrying. He said that he is carefully following up on the issues with the concerned parties and reiterates that those breaches must not affect the ongoing peace talks."

War crimes verdict shows need to boost reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina

"Sharply divergent reactions" to the recent conviction of a war criminal underscore the need for greater efforts towards reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the UN Security Council heard on Thursday.

High Representative Valentin Inzko briefed the chamber on efforts to ensure lasting stability more than 20 years after the end of the Balkan wars.

The peace agreement which ended the carnage divided the country into two parts: The multi-ethnic Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and a Serb entity known as Republika Srpska.

Mr Inzko said he was "deeply shocked" that the current President of Republika Srpska named a dormitory after wartime Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžić just days before his conviction for genocide and crimes against humanity.

"In our countries it would be unthinkable to glorify individuals convicted of committing mass atrocities. With this act, the RS President sent an insidious message to those affected by the horror and trauma of wartime ethnic cleansing, and put himself outside the standards of morality of the civilized world. I also take this opportunity to clearly reject his thesis that fairness in transitional justice means equal numbers of war criminals being prosecuted from different ethnic groups. Indeed, we must seek justice for all of the individual innocent victims—for every victim, and every victim is a victim, and his parents and relatives. But applying a principle of ethnic parity to mass graves or war criminals does a disservice to victims and survivors of all nationalities."

Samoa underscores commitment to children

Samoa is being commended by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) for committing to justice for children in the Pacific island nation.

The praise comes as the country this week became the first in the region to ratify what the agency says are two key human rights instruments related to children's rights.

UNICEF says this means that the government has made a "concrete commitment" to protecting children from sexual exploitation and abuse.

It will also institute specific legal provisions linked to sexual offence-related activities.

UNICEF adds that children in Samoa also will be able to bring complaints about violations of their rights directly to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child if no solutions can be found in their country.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 3’27″

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