News in Brief – 03 June 2016 (PM)

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Ten refugees have been selected to form the first-ever Refugee Olympic Athletes team. © UNHCR

Refugee team competing at Rio Olympics "sends message of hope"

The participation of 10 refugee athletes in the Rio Summer Olympic Games sends a strong message of support and hope for refugees globally, the UN says.

It's the first time such a team has competed under the Olympic flag.

The team includes two Syrian swimmers, two judokas from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and six runners from Ethiopia and South Sudan.

They all fled violence and persecution in their countries and sought refuge in places as wide-ranging as Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Kenya and Brazil.

Here's UN Spokesperson Farhan Haq.

The UN Refugee Agency welcomed the IOC announcement and stressed that participation of refugee athletes in the Rio Games sends a strong message of support and hope for refugees worldwide.

The International Olympic Committee said that the team will march with the Olympic flag immediately after host nation Brazil, at the Opening Ceremony on 5 August.

The initiative comes at a time when more people than ever – 59.5 million at last count – are being forced to flee their homes to escape conflict and persecution.

Burundi UN police units in CAR will not be replaced

The UN has decided not replace Burundi police units currently serving in the Central African Republic peace mission MINUSCA when their duty ends.

Burundi has been a troop-contributing country (TCC) since 2007 for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) but also for UN peacekeeping.

The country deployed its forces to MINUSCA in 2014.

Burundi was thrown into crisis last year when President Nkurunziza decided to run for a controversial third term, that he went on to win.

To date, it has been reported that more than 400 people have been killed, more than 250,000 have fled the nation, and thousands more have been arrested and possibly subjected to human rights violations.

Meanwhile, the Burundi President has recently given a 15-day ultimatum to armed groups to surrender.

In a statement through his spokesperson, Ban Ki-moon reiterated that the crisis in Burundi could only be resolved through a political solution.

Prisoner and detainee issue takes centre stage at Yemen talks

The prisoners and detainee issue took centre stage in the latest session of the Yemeni Peace Talks in Kuwait, the UN special envoy has said.

Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed noted that the two delegations exchanged their respective lists of prisoners through his office.

The parties in the Prisoners Committee continue to discuss a draft principles agreement with a view to finalizing it in the coming days.

Mr Ahmed noted that the parties are "close to a settlement"

However, he added, the success of the talks is dependent on the willingness of the parties to provide concessions.

The UN has been working to help end conflict in Yemen since it became wracked by political instability in 2011.

Civil war between government forces and Houthi rebels intensified more than a year ago, and more than 2.4 million have been forced from their homes.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 2’32″

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