News in Brief 14 October 2016 (PM)

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Rally for the Nigerian schoolgirls. UN Photo

UN chief welcomes release of 21 Chibok schoolgirls

The release of 21 Nigerian girls who had been kidnapped by Islamic militants more than two years ago has been welcomed by the UN Secretary-General.

They were among more than 200 girls from a school in Chibok, located in north-east Nigeria, who were abducted by the group Boko Haram.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon said he remains deeply concerned about the safety and well-being of the remaining captives.

Stéphane Dujarric is spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General:

"The Secretary-General urges the international community to continue supporting the government of Nigeria in its efforts to (secure) their release, rehabilitation and reintegration. He calls for increased efforts to ensure additional humanitarian access to north-east of Nigeria, and reiterates the continued commitment of the United Nations in this regard."

Syria: "Nothing justifies killing children" says UNICEF

Warring parties in Syria are being urged by the UN Children's Fund to stop attacks on schools and other civilian infrastructure.

The appeal has been made following the deaths of four children in Aleppo on Thursday who were killed during a mortar attack while on their way to school.

Three other children were also injured in that attack, which took place near a primary school.

The incident occurred just three days after five children were killed outside their school in the city of Dara'a.

UNICEF Representative in Syria Hanna Singer said "nothing justifies killing children."

Even going to school in Syria is dangerous, she added.

Appeal for release of blogger in Vietnam

Authorities in Vietnam are being urged by the UN human rights chief to drop charges against a popular blogger who was arrested this week.

The blogger, who is known by her pen name "Mother Mushroom," was arrested on Monday for conducting propaganda against the state, a crime that carries a sentence of up to 20 years in jail.

UN Human Rights High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein has called on the government to release her immediately.

Zeid also expressed concern over what he called a "growing crackdown" on human rights defenders in the country, including through arbitrary arrests and detentions, intimidation, harassment and attacks.

Gaza families to receive aid for shelter reconstruction

More than 200 families across the Gaza Strip will receive shelter assistance next week, the UN has said.

The UN agency that assists Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, has disbursed over US$1.6 million for reconstruction and severe repair works in emergency shelters.

UNRWA said that despite financial constraints, it remains committed to providing support to affected families in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The agency added that its emergency programmes and key projects are operating with shortfalls due to the increasing growth in needs.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 2'53"

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