News in Brief 14 June 2016 (AM) – Geneva

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Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, High Commissioner for Human Rights, asked why it was possible to buy weapons “designed to kill lots of people”. UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré

US needs to ramp up gun controls, says UN human rights chief

Tougher gun controls are needed in the United States to protect people from "horrifyingly commonplace but preventable" attacks such as the Florida nightclub shooting, the UN Human Rights chief has said.

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein made his appeal on Tuesday, asking why it was possible for civilians to buy assault rifles or other high-powered weapons "designed to kill lots of people".

His spokesperson is Rupert Colville:

"As the High Commissioner said, the killers, many of them clearly disturbed, come from a variety of backgrounds.. The problem is the guns. It's very often people who we discover subsequently already have already have a record of domestic violence, of mental illness, but who are still able to buy assault rifles, pistols, shotguns, so on, some of them six, seven, eight, 10 guns, and limitless ammunition. So the problem is the guns."

The announcement coincides with a new report on gun crime from the UN Human Rights Office, OHCHR.

It shows that hundreds of millions of weapons are in circulation and that women and children suffer disproportionately from firearms violence.

Global temperature records broken yet again in May

Global temperatures reached new highs in May along with record carbon dioxide levels, UN weather experts confirmed Tuesday.

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)'s David Carlsson said that there have now been 370 consecutive months of warm or warmer-than-average surface temperatures…

"…which means that my son, who is 30 years old – 360 months – has never in his life had a month that was cooler than average. So everyone on the planet who is 30 years old has only had warm or warmer months through their entire life."

Carbon dioxide levels have also breached the symbolic 400 parts per million molecules of air, owing to higher emissions caused by human activity.

WMO cited data from NASA to show that the heat was especially pronounced in the Arctic, resulting in a very early onset of the annual melting of Arctic sea ice and the Greenland ice sheet.

Mozambique drought leaves 1.5 million people needing help

In Mozambique, at least 1.5 million people are in need of help because of an El Niño-induced drought, UN humanitarian agency OCHA says.

The weather phenomenon – which is characterised by warmer sea temperatures that can cause extreme climatic conditions – is credited with causing disastrous growing conditions in the southern African country.

This result is that 95,000 children are or will be malnourished in coming months.

OCHA spokesperson Jens Laerke has more:

"The people who are mainly affected are rural populations, these are farmers; they grow mainly rain-fed crops, cassava, maize, millet, rice, beans, so there is a direct link between El Niño and the face that they are in very dire straits at the moment."

According to OCHA, a US$ 200 million humanitarian response plan for Mozambique has received only US$13 million in funding.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 3’03″


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