News in Brief 08 August 2016 (PM)

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Soldiers from the Burundian armed forces in the Musaga neighbourhood of the capital Bujumbura. Photo: Phil Moore/IRIN

Concern over reprisals against four Burundi lawyers

International human rights experts are expressing "grave concern" over reported reprisals against four lawyers from Burundi who provided information on abuses in the country.

The lawyers had contributed to an "alternative report" by an NGO coalition which was presented during a UN Committee Against Torture review of the situation in Burundi.

Three of the lawyers also attended the session, which was held in Geneva in late July.

The UN Committee Against Torture reports that a prosecutor in Burundi has asked the Bar Council president to strike the lawyers off the professional register, "alleging that they had committed several offences including involvement in an insurrectionist movement and an attempted coup."

Committee members said the prosecutor also requested that the lawyers be sanctioned, raising concerns over presumption of innocence.

They noted that the prosecutor's request came on the same day that the Burundian delegation to the review said it would not take part in a second session of dialogue, listing the civil society alternative report as the reason.

The Committee has written to Burundi's UN Ambassador in Geneva to seek assurance that civil society representatives would not be subject to reprisals for having cooperated with the UN body.

Its findings on Burundi will be published on 12 August.

Main water network in Iraqi city to be repaired

Repairs will be made to the main pipeline that provides safe drinking water for more than one million people in Sulaimaniyah City, Iraq, the UN Development Programme has announced.

The city has welcomed displaced families as well as refugees which has placed "enormous pressure" on its infrastructure, according to UNDP Resident Representative in Iraq, Lise Grande.

The rehabilitation project will be carried out by a UNDP programme and the Governorate of Sulaimaniyah, through funding from Japan.

Improve education access for world's indigenous people

Governments are being encouraged to improve education access for indigenous people and to reflect their experiences and culture in places of learning.

The call has been made by the UN Secretary-General in a message for the International Day of the World's Indigenous People, observed this Tuesday, 9 August.

Ban Ki-moon said indigenous people face discrimination, stigmatization and lack of respect for their heritage and values.

As a consequence, indigenous youth graduate from high school at rates below the national average.

In some countries, less than 40 per cent attend school full-time.

Mr Ban labelled these statistics as "unacceptable."

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 2'45"

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