News in Brief 1 November 2016 (PM)

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Jean Arnault. Photo: UNIC Bogotá

UN mission to verify Colombia ceasefire

The "green light" has been given to the UN political mission in Colombia to verify a ceasefire in the country, a senior UN official there has reported.

UN Special Representative Jean Arnault has welcomed what he called the "unanimous support" shown by the Security Council, which has written to the UN Secretary-General authorizing the mission to verify the ceasefire and cessation of hostilities.

The ceasefire agreement was signed by the Colombian government and the rebel group known as FARC. It came into effect in August.

A month later, the two sides signed a peace deal, ending 50 years of conflict in the South American country.

Citizens narrowly voted to reject the deal during a referendum held in early October.

However, Mr Arnault stressed that the results "strengthened a national consensus around not returning to violence."

Migrants' rights expert visits Australia

An international human rights expert is in Australia to assess the situation of migrants in the country and at its off-shore detention centres on the island of Nauru.

UN Special Rapporteur François Crépeau will spend the next 18 days looking at the migration programmes, policies and laws developed by the Australian authorities in recent years.

He will also meet with civil society, trade unions, human rights activists and migrants themselves, as well as government officials responsible for border management.

His findings will be presented in a report to the UN Human Rights Council next June.

Countries urged to strengthen measures to protect journalists

More than 50 journalists and others who work in media have been killed so far this year, yet countries "do not take even the basic steps to begin to bring perpetrators to justice."

That's according to UN independent expert on the right to freedom of expression, David Kaye, citing figures from the Committee to Protect Journalists.

This Wednesday, 2 November, marks the third International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, and Mr Kaye is urging countries to take "active steps" to strengthen security for these workers.

The UN Special Rapporteur explained that journalists can face threats such as physical attacks, interference with the confidentiality of their sources, and harassment through surveillance.

He said governments often express support for journalist security yet they take measures which "chip away" at that protection.

Especially worrisome for Mr Kaye are threats to what he labelled "the digital security of journalists," for example through mass or targeted surveillance, or blocking of online media sites.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 2'40"

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