News in Brief 18 August 2016 (PM)

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Cholera vaccination campaign in Arcahaie, Haiti (April 2016). Photo: Logan Abassi UN/MINUSTAH

UN and Haiti "heavily engaged" in eradicating cholera

The UN and the Government of Haiti have been "heavily engaged" in cholera eradication since the 2010 outbreak, the international organization said on Thursday.

Cholera deaths, which over the past six years totalled about 9,000, have dramatically decreased to 168 fatalities in 2016.

The focus has been on emergency response to save lives, vaccinating the population and implementing preventative measures.

Here's Farhan Haq, the UN deputy spokesperson.

"In partnership with the Haitian government, the UN has been heavily engaged in the cholera eradication since the 2010 outbreak.  But over the past year, the UN has become convinced that it needs to do much more regarding its own involvement in the initial outbreak and the suffering of those affected by cholera. A series of options has been under consideration. The draft report and its recommendations that we have received from a human rights rapporteur will be a valuable contribution as we work towards a significantly new set of UN actions."

The new response will be presented to the public within two months once it has been fully elaborated and agreed with the Haitian authorities and discussed with Member States, Mr Haq said.

 "Permanent, sustainable" solution key for refugees on Manus Island

A "permanent and sustainable" solution is essential for refugees held on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has said.

The appeal was made in the wake of news that an agreement was made to close the island's detention centre

According to media reports, refugees and migrants attempting to reach Australia by sea are sent to offshore processing centres where they are held indefinitely.

An estimated 850 men are living in the centre, some of whom arrived on the island as children.

Nicole Breeze, Director of Policy and Advocacy for UNICEF Australia, said the country's offshore processing regime has created conditions in which already vulnerable people have been at risk of greater harm.

Distressing reports of severe violence and self-harm have been frequent, she said.

Australia's Immigration Minister is being asked to seriously consider resettlement options in third countries that are equipped to respond to the needs of refugees and their families.

UN report details "terrible atrocities" ISIL committed against Yezidis

A new UN report detailing the "terrible atrocities" committed by the terrorist group ISIL against Iraq's ethnic and religious minorities has been released.

The report was compiled by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the UN office for human rights, OHCHR.

It contains accounts of those who were among the more than 300,000 mostly Yezidis who fled Sinjar District in 2014.

Thousands of men, women and children have been killed or are missing, or remain in captivity where they are subjected to unspeakable sexual and physical abuse, said the UN special envoy to the country, Ján Kubiš.

The report contains many accounts of men being separated from women, and of the mass killings of the captured men. In one instance, up to 600 men were reportedly killed in Tel Afar District.

Around 3,500 women, girls and some men, predominantly from the Yezidi community, but also a number of other ethnic and religious communities, remain in ISIL captivity.

An estimated 360,000 Yezidi remain displaced, with a serious lack of badly needed psychological care.

"Faced with such evidence, it is of paramount importance that the perpetrators of these heinous acts are fully and properly held to account," Mr Kubiš said.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 3’21″

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