News in Brief 03 October 2016 (AM)

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/JC McIlwaine

UN chief "encouraged" by commitment of Colombian leaders to peace

Faced with the rejection of Colombia's peace deal between the government and FARC rebels, the UN Secretary-General said on Monday he was "encouraged" by the leaders' commitment to peace.

In Sunday's referendum, Colombian voters narrowly rejected the landmark peace accord signed last week, with 50.2 per cent voting against the deal.

It was signed between President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC leader, Timoleon Jimenez, after almost four years of negotiations.

The UN chief Ban Ki-moon said the UN would immediately offer assistance to keep Colombia on the path to lasting peace.

"To support them I have urgently despatched my Special Representative Mr Jean Arnault to Havana, to continue with his consultations. In Cartagena, I witnessed a profound desire of the Colombian people to end the violence. I count on them to press ahead until they achieve secure and lasting peace."

President Santos said he would not resign, and vowed to continue working to keep the peace deal alive, together with the FARC leadership.

He said the bilateral ceasefire would remain in place, according to news reports.

Suffering of Aleppo's children a "brutal abdication" of rights' obligations

The continuing bombardment of eastern Aleppo by Syrian government forces and their allies, is a "brutal abdication" of their obligations under international human rights law.

That's the view of UN experts serving on the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

Chairman Benyam Dawit Mezmur, said that both Syria and Russia had ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which specifies that children should not be targeted "in situations of armed conflict".

He added that children were being killed and maimed by airstrikes targeting hospitals.

"The use of bunker-busting bombs means children cannot even safely attend schools that are underground," said Mr Mezmur.

Trans-Pacific Partnership deal will "dramatically reconfigure" food supply

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal will "dramatically reconfigure" food supply chains, and lead to "significant price falls", according to the UN.

The new study from the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) states that its "complicated to assess the overall impact of the deal" signed in February, but some prices would fall.

Ketchup imported from Chile to North American markets for instance, is likely to become 12 per cent cheaper.

The TPP was signed by Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Viet Nam.

It has not been ratified by any of the signatories however, and UNCTAD said that it "remains subject to political developments".

The two leading candidates in the US Presidential race, which will be decided next month, both oppose the TPP.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2’25″

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