News in Brief 03 August 2016 (PM)

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Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). UN Photo/Mark Garten

"Apparent endorsement" of extrajudicial killings in Philippines condemned

The "apparent endorsement" by some government members in the Philippines of the extrajudicial killing of drugs-crime suspects, has been condemned by the UN.

The head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Yuri Fedotov, said he was "greatly concerned" at media reports that suspected drug dealers and users were being targeted.

Mr Fedotov said that condoning extrajudicial killings did nothing to help solve problems caused by illegal drug use, or provide a "people-centred and evidence-based approach" to drugs control.

Here's UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric.

"He called such killings illegal and a breach of fundamental rights and freedoms. Mr. Fedotov said that such actions contravene international drug control conventions and do not serve the cause of justice."

The International Narcotics Control Board issued a statement calling on the Philippine government to issue an "immediate and unequivocal condemnation and denunciation" of any such killings.

UN Refugee Agency staff member among the dead in Somali bomb attack

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) confirmed on Wednesday that one of its staff members was among the 13 people killed in car bomb attacks that targeted Somalia's main airport in the capital, Mogadishu, last week.

Ahmed Mohamed Hassan had been working as a Protection Associate for UNHCR since 2012, and is survived by his wife and three children.

Several other colleagues were injured in the blasts close to the airport.

UNHCR's Somalia Representative and other colleagues are offering support to his family at this difficult time, according to a statement from the agency.

Here's Stéphane Dujarric again.

"A minute of silence was observed in Ahmed's memory at UNHCR's Headquarters in Geneva yesterday. Filippo Grandi, the Agency's head, said that his loss highlights the risks taken by colleagues working in the world's most complex and insecure field locations to bring life-saving protection and support to those in need, and shows their deep commitment and courage."

Highlighting world heritage in the "High Seas": new report

Extraordinary sites found in the world's "High Seas" have not been recognized officially as part of the UN Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) World Heritage List, because they lie outside any one national jurisdiction.

But that may be about to change, according to a new report launched on Wednesday.

World Heritage in the High Seas: An Idea Whose Times has Come, is a joint report from UNESCO's World Heritage Centre and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

It presents five sites that illustrate different ecosystems, from biodiversity-rich areas to the natural environments that can only be found in the depths of the ocean.

Among the sites that may one day join the World Heritage List are the Costa Rica Thermal Dome in the Pacific, and the Sargasso Sea in the Atlantic, which is built around a concentration of floating algae.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2'39"

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