News in brief 30 June 2016 (AM)

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Armed Forces of Liberia. UN Photo/Staton Winter

UN chief welcomes Liberia's "full assumption" of national security

Liberia's "full assumption" of its own national security responsibilities, taking over from the UN Mission in the West African country, UNMIL, has been welcomed by the UN chief.

Ban Ki-moon said that the "continuing improvement in the security and stability of Liberia" had "enabled the UN to enter the final stage of its peacekeeping efforts" there.

The Secretary-General paid tribute to the determination of the people and government of Liberia, to cement a "lasting peace" following years of civil war and conflict, that led to the establishment of UNMIL in 2003.

Mr Ban also praised the important role played by partners, in particular the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) the African Union (AU) and the Mano River Union.

Whistleblowers in "LuxLeaks" trial are "heroes of our time"

Two whistleblowers who have been convicted after revealing tax avoidance deals in Luxembourg, were hailed as "heroes of our time" on Thursday by a UN human rights expert.

The Independent Expert on the promotion of democratic and equitable international order, Alfred de Zayas, said that "we seem to live in an upside-down world, in which whistleblowers are convicted and those who loot society, are not."

He was speaking after two former employees of PricewaterhouseCoopers, were given suspended sentences for leaking documents that revealed how the Luxembourg government had given lucrative tax breaks to several multinational companies.

Mr de Zayas said that the so-called LuxLeaks case verdict could discourage individuals from reporting abuses and showed that "secrecy is an enemy of democracy."

US announces nearly US$52 million extra funds for Palestine Refugees

Extra funding for Palestine Refugees totalling US$51.6 million was announced by the United States on Thursday, in response to an emergency appeal.

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) launched the appeal for emergency assistance to support their work throughout the Occupied PalestinianTerritory.

"This contribution comes at a critical time" when emergency needs are "growing rapidly" said senior UNRWA official, Sandra Mitchell.

Making the announcement in a refugee camp in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, US Consul-General Donald Blome, said the US was "proud" of its role as leading donor.

The agency said funds would be spent on improving livelihoods, community mental health, safety and security, as well as emergency food assistance, health clinics and education.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2’06″

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