News in Brief 17 May 2016 (PM)

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A boy attends to vegetables in a market in Iraq. Photo: UNESCO/Giacomo Pirozzi (file)

Baghdad terror attacks strongly condemned by top UN official in Iraq

A series of suicide bombings across Baghdad on Tuesday, have been strongly condemned by the UN's Special Representative for Iraq.

Ján Kubiš offered condolences to the families of the victims of the attacks, that targeted busy markets in several neighbourhoods, as well as a restaurant.

Four bomb blasts killed more than sixty people, according to news reports, and the terrorist group ISIL has said it carried out at least one of the attacks.

It's the second time in recent days that multiple suicide attacks have taken place in the Iraqi capital, predominantly targeting Shia areas.

Mr Kubiš said the terrorists had added "to their long violent history of death and destruction…aiming to kill and maim as many innocent people as possible."

UN releases latest figures on sexual abuse involving peacekeepers

At least 44 allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse in UN peacekeeping operations have been made so far this year.

The figures were released at the daily briefing for journalists at UN Headquarters.

Here's UN Spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric.

"For 2016, the number of allegations recorded so far in peacekeeping and special political missions is 44, of which 29 have been reported in the Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and seven in the Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), two in MINUSTAH…And 39 of the 44 allegations involve uniformed personnel."

Europe lacks vision and "political will" to deal with refugee crisis

The European Union suffers from a lack of "long-term vision" and "political will" to deal with the refugee crisis in Greece.

That's the view of UN human rights expert on migrants, François Crépeau, speaking at the end of his latest visit to the country.

He accused the "overwhelming majority" of EU member states of abandoning Greece in the face of its on-going economic crisis, when they should be supporting it, for the sake of the migrants and refugees stranded there.

The independent expert expressed particular concern with conditions in the Reception and Identification Centres (RICs), which have closed as a result of the EU deal to send refugees back to Turkey.

Asia and Pacific countries need to ensure "no one is left behind"

Strong political commitment and better coordination will be critical to ensure that "no one is left behind" across the Asia and Pacific region.

That's the hope of Shamshad Akhtar, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, ESCAP, which opened its 72nd session on Tuesday.

She said that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development called for "fundamental policy rethinking, and shifts in action" which would need careful coordination between national governments.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon, told ESCAP in a written message that there was a "collective responsibility" to turn the landmark agreements of last year into "tangible actions now."

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2’26″

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