News in Brief – 16 June 2016 (AM)

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Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/Mark Garten

Bahrain: Concern over dissolution of leading opposition group

Recent actions by authorities in Bahrain, including the dissolution of the country's largest opposition group and the detention of a prominent human rights defender, have raised the concern of the UN Secretary-General.

Ban Ki-moon has also expressed dismay over reports which suggest that human rights defenders and activists in the Gulf state have been intimidated and even stripped of their citizenship for exercising their right to freedom of expression, among other issues.

Mr Ban is concerned that these moves may undermine reforms carried out under Bahrain's King and could lessen prospects for an inclusive national dialogue.

The UN chief stated he was convinced that recommendations made by an independent commission of inquiry as well as those from UN and local human rights bodies would contribute to improving the country's human rights situation.

Iraq: Fears over health situation in and around Falluja

Thousands of people in and around the besieged Iraqi city of Falluja are facing "major" health risks, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports.

The UN agency described the situation as "deeply worrying" and "extremely difficult and complex."

The Iraqi military has launched an offensive against Falluja, which fell under the control of the extremist group ISIL, also known as Daesh, in 2014.

WHO was concerned that children have not been immunized over the past two years, prompting fears over the spread of diseases such as measles.

The agency also estimated that hundreds of pregnant women trapped in the city are in urgent need of health services.

A senior WHO official arrived in the capital, Baghdad, on Thursday to review the agency's response to the crisis.

Sudan: European support for relief operations

A €12.5 million contribution from the European Commission will support the World Food Programme's (WFP) efforts to feed displaced people and refugees in Sudan, where more than five million people are in need of assistance.

WFP says it will use most of the money to provide sorghum, a food staple, to more than 130,000 displaced people in Darfur for three months.

The agency will also provide 180,000 refugees from South Sudan with pulses for six months.

The European contribution will also allow WFP to support a humanitarian air service which it describes as "indispensable" to aid workers serving remote locations in the country.

WFP reports that the humanitarian situation in many parts of Sudan is critical due to recent population displacements in Darfur and a surge in arrivals from South Sudan.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 2’30″

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