News in Brief 16 September 2016 (PM)

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Stéphane Dujarric. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Colombia Mission ready to begin verifying ceasefire

Ahead of the signing of a final peace agreement, the UN Mission in Colombia has announced that it is ready to begin its job of "verifying and monitoring" the ceasefire.

After more than 50 years of fighting, government forces and FARC rebels have agreed to finally lay down their arms once the deal is signed later this month.

Here’s UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric:

"The group of observers and civilian staff are being deployed in eight cities, and by 26 September, around 200 women and men will begin monitoring the ceasefire. Mission personnel are actively meeting with local authorities, religious leaders, members of civil society – including Afro-Colombian, indigenous and women's organizations – to explain the mandate of the UN political mission."

Plight of Serbia, Kosovo displaced needs a solution, urges UN rights expert

Efforts to resolve the plight of more than 100,000 people who've endured 17 years of displacement in Serbia and Kosovo have reached "deadlock", according to a UN-appointed rights expert.

In an appeal to the authorities to find a solution, UN Special Rapporteur Chaloka Beyani called for "durable solutions" to help 88,000 people in Serbia and some 16,000 in Kosovo left homeless following conflict in the former Yugoslavia.

He also urged the international community "not to turn a blind eye" to the needs of the displaced, many of whom still live in squalid conditions, especially those from the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities.

Mr Beyani also called for the authorities to address issues around employment, healthcare and education "as a matter of urgency", while also warning against so-called "segregated arrangements" for the displaced communities, which violate international law.

Eritrean government withholding information on missing: UN expert

The Eritrean government should stop withholding information on the whereabouts and condition of senior government officials and journalists arrested 15 years ago.

That's the view of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Horn of Africa country.

Sheila Keetharuth called on the government to "urgently provide information" relating to cabinet ministers, members of parliament, and independent journalists who were detained on 18 September, 2001.

To date, she said, the government has "refused to share any information on their whereabouts and state of health."

She added that they had been denied their fundamental right to liberty, right to a fair trial and right to freedom of expression and opinion.

The government said the arrests in 2001 were in response to national security threats posed by those detained, but Ms Keetharuth said they could not be held indefinitely.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2’18″

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