News in Brief 10 October 2016 (PM)

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Abandoned cells in the main prison in Gao, Mali. Photo MINUSMA/Marco Dormino

Death penalty does not diminish terrorism: UN Secretary-General

Capital punishment does not deter terrorism and could even attract followers to extremist groups, according to the UN Secretary-General.

Ban Ki-moon's comments came in a message on the World Day against the Death Penalty, observed this Monday, 10 October.

The focus this year is on terrorism-related offenses, with 65 countries retaining the death penalty for these crimes.

While some people argue that capital punishment will diminish terrorism, Mr Ban stated that this is not true.

"Experience has shown that putting terrorists to death serves as propaganda for their movements by creating perceived martyrs and making their macabre recruiting campaigns more effective," he said.

The UN chief called for continued action on abolishing the death penalty in all circumstances.

He said the practice "has no place in the 21st century."

Colombia leaders encouraged to stay on peace path

Leaders in Colombia have been urged by the UN Secretary-General to continue to maintain the course of the peace process despite its recent rejection by the population.

Ban Ki-moon spoke with President Juan Manuel Santos and Timoleon Jiménez, Commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in separate phone calls on Monday.

The UN chief congratulated President Santos, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end five decades of conflict in the country.

He commended Commander Jiménez on his flexibility and commitment to peace.

The Secretary-General also welcomed their continued commitment to maintain a cease-fire.

Such measures, he said, will help to create a favourable climate for discussions which hopefully will lead to a successful conclusion of the peace process.

Galvanizing parliamentarians to end hunger

Political will remains the deciding factor for real progress on hunger and malnutrition, the head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has said.

Jose Graziano da Silva has encouraged parliaments to work together to fight malnutrition globally.

He made the appeal on Monday during an event held at FAO headquarters in Rome on the role of parliamentarians in the Zero Hunger Challenge.

The UN initiative seeks to transform food systems, including through ending rural poverty, by increasing the incomes and productivity of small-scale producers.

Mr Graziano da Silva said malnutrition indicators "improve significantly" when public policies and programmes are anchored in appropriate legislation, citing food labelling as an example.

Legislation can also play a role in promoting more sustainable agriculture through preserving natural resources and mitigating climate change, he added.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.


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