News in Brief 22 July 2016 (PM)

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Leila Zerrougui. (Screen grab from UNifeed Video)

Children caught up in war need better protection and integration

Children caught up in war need better protection and should never be stigmatized when returning home.

That's the passionate view of the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui, speaking at the end of a six-day visit to Somalia.

She said that after decades of civil war and on-going struggles with the Al-Shabaab terrorist group, she was optimistic the Somali government was now taking major steps to protect children.

But she also urged authorities throughout Somalia to treat captured children as victims and not criminals.

"I would like to emphasize the importance of the reintegration. When something wrong happens we need to make sure that we fix the problem and (we) deal with the children in a way that when they return to the community, they are not stigmatised, they are not abused and they are not left on the streets."

Ms Zerrougi is expected to present the Secretary-General's annual report on Children and Armed Conflict, which is due on 2 August.

Looting of UN warehouses "totally unacceptable" says UN chief 

Looting of a warehouse run by the World Food Programme (WFP) in South Sudan by uniformed soldiers is "totally unacceptable," the UN chief Ban Ki-moon has said, as tensions remain high in the world's youngest country.

Heavy fighting around the capital, Juba, between forces loyal to the President and his deputy, earlier in the month, has led thousands to seek protection at UN sites, including 35,000 at UN House alone.

The UN Mission, UNMISS, is evaluating the security situation on a "daily basis," said UN Deputy Spokesperson, Farhan Haq.

"The Secretary-General yesterday expressed great concern about the continuing violence in the country, in particular sexual violence, as well as attacks against United Nations humanitarian facilities and the looting of humanitarian assistance. The looting of World Food Programme warehouses by the Sudan People's Liberation Army is totally unacceptable, he said. He also called for the perpetrators to be held accountable."

Compulsory training programme on sexual abuse for UN personnel piloted 

A new mandatory training programme to help prevent sexual exploitation and abuse is being piloted by the UN Department of Field Support (DFS).

The online courses are to be made compulsory for "all uniformed and civilian personnel to strengthen training on the standards of conduct", according to DFS.

Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, Atul Khare, said that it was "an important step in reinforcing our prevention efforts against misconduct by UN personnel."

He said the new programme had been developed with funding from the Government of Japan, and would also give UN staff in the field a clearer idea of what their individual responsibilities were, and the organization's "expectations of accountability."

It's also been announced that the Government of India has contributed US$100,000 for the Trust Fund in Support of Victims of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse; the first contribution to the fund which was established in March.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2'36"

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