News in Brief 18 October 2016 (PM)

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (second left) attends the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, HABITAT III. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

UN chief "encouraged" by Colombia commitment to peace

The UN Secretary-General on Tuesday said he "remained encouraged" by the commitment to peace reiterated by all parties to the Colombian peace process.

Ban Ki-moon made the remarks on the margins of a UN conference in Quito focused on sustainable urbanization and city-building, also known as UN Habitat III.

Ecuador has agreed to host talks between the Government of Colombia and the country's second-largest rebel group, the National Liberation Army or ELN on 27 October.

Mr Ban also met with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on the sidelines of the UN event to discuss the peace process in Colombia.

Kabul attack on peaceful protests in July "may amount to war crime": UN

A July attack on a large and peaceful protest in the Afghan capital Kabul is a serious violation of international humanitarian law which "may amount to a war crime," a new UN report has found.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) confirmed on Tuesday that the attack appears to have deliberately targeted persons belonging to a specific ethnic and religious community.

Almost all of the casualties were male and from the Hazara community which is predominantly Shia Muslim.

The UN Spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric has more.

"Suicide bombers attacked on 23 July 2016 a gathering, leaving 85 civilians dead and more than 400 others injured. Almost all the casualties were male from the Hazara community, which is predominantly Shia. Da'esh claimed responsibility for the attack. The report stresses that the fundamental human rights of all Afghans must be respected, while also examining the planning and preparedness of the Afghan Security Forces in the lead-up to the demonstrations."

The attack was the single deadliest civilian casualty incident in Afghanistan since UNAMA started documenting civilian casualties in 2009.

WHO calls for support to contain spread of cholera in Yemen

The World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners are calling on the international community to help contain the spread of cholera in war-torn Yemen.

More than 7.6 million people are living in the areas affected by the acute intestinal infection. And over three million internally displaced people are vulnerable to the outbreak.

Without an urgent response, these cases were likely to increase, says WHO's Fadela Chaib.

"A total of US$ 22 million was required, of which US$ 16 million is required for an immediate response. As of 17 October, a total of 340 suspected cases have been reported, of which 18 had been tested positive for Vibrio cholerae in Taizz, Al-Hudaydah, Aden, Al Bayda, Lahj, and Sana'a governorates. Patients are currently receiving treatment in Al-Sabeen hospital in Sana’a and other referral hospitals. No deaths have been reported."

Two thirds of Yemenis do not have access to clean water and sanitation services are limited as a result of the ongoing conflict, further increasing the risk of catching cholera.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 3’14″

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