News in Brief 25 October 2016 (AM) – Geneva

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In Yemen, a nation-wide mobile campaign 24-29 September 2016, reached more than 600,000 children under the age of five and over 180,000 pregnant and breastfeeding mothers with a package of health and nutrition services. Photo: UNICEF

Alarm over rising hunger and malnutrition in Yemen

In war-torn Yemen, fears are growing for vulnerable communities amid an expected shortage of humanitarian supplies, the UN said on Tuesday.

The World Food Programme (WFP) which issued the warning, said that it has had to split rations in recent months to help a total of six million people.

The agency has called for funding, saying that while it has managed to stabilize the situation for the time being, "needs are outpacing resources".

Last week, a short break in fighting between government forces and Houthi rebels allowed WFP to access more than 150,000 people in Taiz governorate in the Yemen's north-east.

It's just one malnutrition hotspot in the Arabian Peninsula country, where almost half of the children countrywide are irreversibly stunted.

Reports of ISIL atrocities as Iraqi army moves closer to Mosul

In Iraq, allegations have been made of atrocities committed by ISIL, as the Iraqi army continues its advance on the extremist stronghold of Mosul.

According to the UN Human Rights Office, OHCHR, as-yet unverified reports indicate that communities living near the northern city have been forced to move closer to the terrorist fighters, to act as human shields.

The agency's Rupert Colville has more details:

"On Saturday 22 October ISIL fighters are reported to have shot dead three women and three children, all girls, and wounded a further four children…The victims were allegedly shot because they were trailing some 100 metres behind a group of other people from the same village who were being forced by ISIL to relocate to another sub-district. The victims were lagging behind because one of the children had a disability. And she was apparently among those shot and killed."

Elsewhere in non-ISIL areas, the UN Human Rights Office says it's concerned about the reported forced eviction of displaced people in Kirkuk, following the surprise ISIL attacks there.

According to latest UN figures, around 10,000 people have been displaced from Mosul; a further 900 have fled across the border to Syria.

UN experts urge Myanmar to address serious violations of human rights in northern Rakhine State

Rights violations including allegations of extrajudicial killings of children in Myanmar's Rakhine state must be investigated thoroughly, UN independent rights experts have said.

The call to the country's government follows attacks against police in the western region and the subsequent security operation in search of the perpetrators.

Rakhine state has experienced years of tension and violence between Buddhists and Muslims.

UN Special Rapporteur on summary executions, Agnes Callamard, expressed alarm at reports of homes and mosques being burnt down and of people being rounded up and shot.

Meanwhile, UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, said that what troubled her most were the "blanket security operations" that have restricted access for humanitarian actors.

UN Special Rapporteur on internally displaced persons, Chaloka Beyani, also expressed serious concerns about the displacement of large populations as a result of the official investigation.

South Africa should reconsider plan to withdraw from the ICC, says UN’s Ban

South Africa should think again about leaving the International Criminal Court, UN chief Ban Ki-moon has said.

In a statement, the UN Secretary-General highlighted what he called the "significant role" played by the country in helping to set up the institution.

Mr Ban also said he believed that the ICC remains central to global efforts to end impunity and prevent conflict.

South Africa's declaration follows Burundi's announced withdrawal from the ICC last week.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 3'35"

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