News in Brief 19 August 2016 (AM)

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Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, at the wreath-laying ceremony to commemorate the 13th anniversary of the bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad. UN Photo/Manuel Elias

UN holds memorial on anniversary of Iraq hotel bombing

A memorial service was held at UN headquarters on Friday in honour of its fallen staff on the 13th anniversary of the Canal Hotel bombing in Iraq's capital Bagdhad.

On 19 August 2003, the top UN envoy in the country, Sergio Vieira de Mello died along with 22 staff members and hundreds were injured in the terrorist attack.

The Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, said he was serving as Sweden's Ambassador in Washington when the news broke.

"Those who attack the United Nations want to make us afraid, feel weak and to retreat. Those we honour today inspire us to be bold and determined to go forward. This challenge we meet all over the world today – from Syria to South Sudan, from Yemen to Libya, from Somalia to Afghanistan, where humanitarian workers and peacekeepers have lost or are risking their lives."

Friday is also World Humanitarian Day (WHD), when the UN pays tribute to aid workers around the world who brave dangers daily to help those in need.

Humanitarian crisis in Nigeria "alarming"

The UN Refugee Agency is "increasingly alarmed" at the humanitarian situation in northeast Nigeria, a spokesperson for the agency has said.

Adrian Edwards said the area had been out of reach of humanitarian help because of a military campaign by Government forces together with a Multi-National Joint Task Force in recent weeks.

The campaign has led to incredible suffering among the population, he noted.

"At present, with the military campaign still in the progress, the situation is still dangerous, it is volatile.  There had been frequent hit-and-run incidents by militants, suicide bombing, attacks on civilians, torching of homes, and theft of livestock.  On 27 July, a UN convoy was attacked. This was with an improvised explosive device and gunfire, it resulted in injuries to three humanitarians as well as members two members of the military escort.  The level of peril and difficulty in delivering life-saving aid was high, and so were the costs."

The insurgency in Nigeria has mutated into a vast regional crisis confronting Nigeria and its neighbours – Chad, Cameroon and Niger, where over half a million people are displaced.

As of recently, there were more than two million internally displaced persons in Nigeria, out of which over 1.8 million who had been displaced as a result of the conflict with Boko Haram.

Somalia to face "challenging period" in run up to elections

Somalia will be facing a challenging period in the run up to elections, the UN Security Council stated on Friday.

The Council released a presidential statement welcoming the continued political and security progress the country has made since 2012.

In early August, Somalia’s Federal Indirect Elections Implementation Team (FIEIT) announced a timetable for the 2016 electoral process.

The Security Council welcomed the recent meeting of Somalia’s National Leadership Forum (NLF) on the implementation of the 2016 National Electoral Process.

Here's the President of the Security Council for August, Dato' Ramlan Ibrahim of Malaysia.

"The Security Council regrets the delay to the original timeline, and calls on all Somali stakeholders to work constructively to implement the revised calendar without further delay. The Security Council notes that this electoral process is an historic opportunity to deliver more representative governance to the people of Somalia and to reflect Somalia’s diversity. In this regard the Security Council welcomes the decision of the NLF on representation of minority clans and the Banadiri community."

The Security Council reminded Somalia of its commitment to reserve 30 per cent of seats in the Upper and Lower Houses for women.

Duration: 3’33″

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