News in Brief 09 May 2016 (AM)

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WHO and UNICEF recommend that babies are fed nothing but breast milk for their first 6 months, after which they should continue breastfeedin. Photo: UNICEF

Promote and protect breastfeeding in countries, UN says

Countries are being urged to pass laws to promote and protect breastfeeding over the use of breastmilk substitutes, according to a new UN report.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF recommend that babies are fed nothing but breast milk for their first 6 months because it is safe, clean and contains antibodies which help protect against many childhood illnesses.

The breastfeeding should continue up to two years of age and beyond while babies are given appropriate complementary food, the agencies add.

Temporary or long-term use of breastmilk substitutes is justified for medical reasons.

However, the report warns against "the inappropriate marketing of breastmilk substitutes (including infant formula), feeding bottles and teats.

Egypt urged to end crackdown on peaceful protest and dissent

Egypt is being urged by three leading UN human rights experts to put an end to the disproportionate reactions against the exercise of the rights to assembly and expression in the country.

The authorities in the North African nation are being condemned for using mass arrests and use of force against peaceful protestors, journalists, lawyers and human rights defenders in the past two years.

The worsening crackdown on peaceful protest and dissent in Egypt represents a further setback for an open political environment and a vibrant civil society, the experts said.

They also criticised the storming of Egypt's Journalists' Syndicate by security forces on 1 May 2016, a first since its founding 75 years ago.

Execution of militants in Afghanistan condemned

The United Nations political mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has expressed regret over the execution of six alleged perpetrators of serious crimes and crimes against civilians.

According to media reports, the militants were part of terrorist network and were involved in high profile attacks.

Taliban fighters have been grappling for control of the capital city Kabul with Afghan government forces.

In a statement released on Sunday, UNAMA noted that there was no conclusive evidence of the deterrent value of the death penalty and that the use of capital punishment does not contribute to public safety.

It encouraged the Government of Afghanistan to expedite legal reform, which would allow death sentences to be commuted to life imprisonment.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 2’25″

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