News in Brief 23 August 2016 (AM)

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Shackles used to bind slaves. UN Photo/Mark Garten

"All of humanity" is part of the slave trade story: UNESCO chief

"All of humanity" is part of the story of the international slave trade and it would be a "mistake and a crime to cover it up and forget."

That's the view of Irena Bokova, Director-General of the UN cultural organization, UNESCO, in a message marking the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.

This year's theme celebrates "the heritage and culture of the African diaspora and its roots".

The UNESCO chief said that despite the "cruelty and bitterness that has not yet abated" over the slave trade, it was also important to "pay tribute to all those who fought for freedom."

She said that Haiti's slave revolt of 1791 was a "turning point in human history" which paved the way for the establishment of universal human rights.

Up to 1.2 million likely affected by the battle to retake Mosul from ISIL

Up to 1.2 million Iraqi civilians are likely to be affected in the coming months by military action to retake the city of Mosul from the terrorist group ISIL, or Daesh.

That's according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), which said displacement would "dramatically worsen" once the expected offensive led by Iraqi government forces gets underway.

From Geneva, here's UNHCR's Adrian Edwards:

"The humanitarian impact of a military offensive there was expected to be enormous.  Up to 1.2 million people could be affected.  UNHCR is doing what it can amid enormous challenges to build more camps to accommodate people and mitigate suffering, but additional land for camps and funding is at this time still needed."

He added that 213,000 people had already fled their homes around Iraq in recent months, including 48,000 from the Mosul area.

Contingency plans have been drawn up to provide shelter assistance for up to 120,000 people fleeing conflict in the area, as part of an inter-agency response to the crisis.

Death in custody of opposition party member in Gambia deplored by UN

The death in custody of an opposition party member in Gambia has been deplored by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

Ebrima Solo Kurumah was one of 30 members of the United Democratic Party. UDP, sentenced to three years' imprisonment last month, after taking part in peaceful demonstrations calling for electoral reform.

Demonstrators in July also protested the death of the Chairman of the UDP youth wing, Solo Sandeng, who died in state custody.

Here's OHCHR spokesperson, Cecile Pouilly:

"According to information we have received, Mr Kurumah passed away after he was taken to hospital for a surgical operation. He had allegedly been denied medical help on several occasions. We urge the authorities to investigate the death in state custody of Mr Sandeng and Mr Kurumah as well as the allegations that detainees are denied access to medical care."

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2'33"

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