News in Brief 01 August 2016 (AM)

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UN Photo/Martine Perret

Fast-track executions in Iraq "will only accelerate injustice"

Fast-tracking executions for Iraqis sentenced to death "will only accelerate injustice," according to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein expressed serious concern on Monday over the creation of a government committee which is being asked to find ways of speeding up the implementation of death sentences.

Zeid said that with the threat of continued attacks by the terrorist group ISIL, or Daesh, it was "all too easy" to replace justice and the rule of law with "vengeance".

Zeid added that "given the weaknesses of the Iraqi justice system," he was "gravely concerned that innocent people have, and may continue to be, convicted and executed, resulting in irreversible miscarriages of justice."

In early July, the Iraqi minister of Justice announced that 45 death sentences had been carried out since the beginning of 2016.

659 Refugee families in Gaza receive emergency support

A total of 659 Palestine refugee families across the Gaza Strip will be given emergency shelter funding and rental subsidies this week, worth more than US$2.5 million.

The UN agency for Palestine refugees, UNRWA, said that emergency shelter was a "top priority," including cash for home repairs, reconstruction and "interim shelter solutions".

UNRWA added that it was "confronted with an increased demand for services" resulting from an increase in the number of registered Palestine refugees and their "deepening poverty".

The agency said although this was the second quarter in a row they had disbursed emergency cash, new funding was still needed to continue the shelter cash assistance programme.

European Union contributes €7 million for displaced Iraqi families

The European Union (EU) has made a €7 million contribution to the UN Children's Fund, UNICEF, to support humanitarian aid initiatives in Iraq for tens of thousands of families affected by violence there.

UNICEF said the EU funds would be used to provide basic life-saving supplies, safe water and sanitation, as well as expanded health services.

Peter Hawkins, UNICEF's Iraq Country Representative, said that the funding "could not have arrived at a more crucial time".

He pointed to the recent liberation of Fallujah from the terrorist forces of ISIL or Daesh, adding that over the course of 2016 "we could see hundreds of thousands more children put at increased risk."

The UN Humanitarian Affairs Office (OCHA) said that violence had displaced 3.4 million in Iraq since June 2014, with an estimated 12 million in need of humanitarian support by the end of this year.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2’18″

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