News in Brief 19 July 2016 (AM) – Geneva

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Displaced women in a camp in Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria, collect their share of stock cubes to prepare the day’s meal. Photo: OCHA/Jaspreet Kindra

Alarm for 50,000 malnourished children in Nigeria's north-east

Nearly 50,000 children could die from malnutrition in Nigeria's north-east unless they get help urgently, UN aid workers warned on Tuesday.

The announcement by UNICEF comes as government forces push back Boko Haram extremists, re-opening access to vulnerable and displaced communities.

In total, more than 240,000 youngsters are suffering from severe acute malnutrition in Borno state, according to the UN Children's Fund.

On the phone from Nigeria, UNICEF's Manuel Fontaine described finding 70,000 internally displaced people at the town of Dikwa:

"For me one striking moment has been…just a few metres away from the main road just entering a house and seeing a little two-year-old girl weighing five kilos. And you know, talking to the parents and the people around it was clear that, yes, they knew there was a nutrition clinic, yes they knew they could bring their child to a nutrition clinic, but the fact that there was too much queue there was a deterrent and they tried several times and they went, but they just turned back."

According to UNICEF, another two million people have yet to be reached, raising fears about the true scale of the nutrition crisis, which has arisen from lack of food, but also untreated water and inadequate health care.

Zeid: Turkey should respect individual rights following mass arrests

Those responsible for violence in Turkey during the attempted coup should face justice, but the country should ensure that everyone detained in its aftermath is given a fair trial.

The comments on Tuesday by UN human rights chief, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, follow mass arrests by the government.

These include a large number of judges and prosecutors, though the UN Human Rights Office said it could not confirm how many.

Here's spokesperson for the High Commissioner, Ravina Shamdasani:

"There is a very high threshold for the removal or the suspension of judges, according to international human rights law. Judges obviously serve a very important purpose and particularly in the aftermath of an attempted coup…Each judge's case needs to be independently and individually assessed before they are suspended and removed from their posts. And we are concerned that the mass suspension does not allow for such individual assessment."

On the issue of calls for the death penalty to be reinstated in Turkey, High Commissioner Zeid said that it would be contrary to the country's 2006 ratification of an international covenant that calls for its abolition, and "a big step in the wrong direction".

Thousands flee South Sudan amid ongoing tensions

In South Sudan, concern is growing over the increasing number of people attempting to flee the country to Uganda following recent violence.

UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, says that around 3,000 people have crossed into Uganda since last Friday, most of them are women and children.

With tensions still high following heavy fighting between forces loyal to president Salva Kiir and those backing deputy Riek Machar, many more are expected to flee the country.

Most have left Eastern Equatoria state, a smaller number arriving from Juba, as UNHCR's Leo Dobbs explains:

"And they report the security situation remains volatile and fighting could return at any time. They talk of an increase in looting and our own staff  talk about difficulties moving around in the capital Juba, so it's a tense atmosphere there."

The displaced also face a new threat, cholera, after reports of a suspected outbreak.

In response, the World Health Organization (WHO) has called for further tests to confirm whether this is so in Juba, Central Equatoria and Jonglei state.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 3'44"

 

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