News in Brief 24 August 2016 (AM)

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Ahmad Alhendawi. UN Photo/Mark Garten.

"Youth development" should no longer be a "footnote": UN envoy

Governments need to develop strong and coordinated youth policies so that the development of young people is no longer a "footnote".

That's the view of the UN Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi, who has been visiting Nigeria this week.

He's been meeting local youth organizations and government officials to discuss UN programmes across the country and the development of a national youth policy.

He said that the radicalization of African youth due in part to long-term unemployment, could be prevented by better policy.

"It's extremely important to have an actual youth policy that brings all these issues together in a coordinated way, that when we speak about youth development, it's no longer a footnote. It has to be the headline for everything, whether it comes to job creation, development or peace and security. Honestly if you implement a strong youth policy, the last of my worries will be the radicalization question."

He said that young people needed greater access to political participation and officially endorsed the #NotTooYoungToRun Campaign; a parliamentary bill that seeks to reduce the age of qualification for political office in Nigeria.

Opening of landmark hearings on Timbuktu destruction welcomed by UNESCO

The opening of criminal proceedings at the International Criminal Court (ICC) into the destruction of buildings in the ancient Malian city of Timbuktu, has been welcomed by the UN Cultural Organization, UNESCO.

UNESCO noted that the trial of Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi for destroying historic monuments and buildings, was the first of its kind to take place at the ICC in The Hague.

It said the prosecution sent a "strong message on the determination of the international community" not to tolerate any attacks on world heritage.

In a statement, UNESCO said the trial "marks a new step in the full recognition of deliberate destruction of heritage as war crimes, after decades of effort."

The defendant has pleaded guilty to war crimes, for ordering the destruction of buildings including nine mausoleums and a mosque at the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Timbuktu, in 2012.

Al Mahdi, a member of the Ansare Dine extremist group, could be jailed for 30 years.

Operation to help South Sudanese displaced by violence must be "voluntary"

An operation to help South Sudanese civilians displaced by fighting around the Tomping transit site must continue, and remain voluntary, the UN said on Wednesday.

Up to 4,000 people sought safety at the Tomping site during violence that broke out around the country at the beginning of July, when rival forces clashed in the capital Juba.

The UN Mission in South Sudan, UNMISS, said that around 1,000 civilians had already volunteered to move to a "cleaner and drier location" including 220 on Wednesday alone.

Sam Muhumure is the Officer in Charge of the UNMISS Relief, Reintegration and Protection Section.

He said Tomping had never been intended as a permanent Protection of Civilian, or PoC site.

"We have to make sure that it is voluntarily, it is dignified and it happens in a way that helps to protect the safety and security of the people. Let us remember that primarily they are here for protection and Tomping is not really meant to be a PoC, it was just a transit site because people had to come in at the height of the violence."

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 3’03″

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