News in Brief 01 December 2016 (PM)

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Observers from the UN Mission in Colombia and the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People's Army (FARC-EP), start work at the national headquarters of the Monitoring and Verification Mechanism in charge of overseeing the ceasefire and cessation of hostilities in the country. Photo: UN Mission in Colombia

Colombian ceasefire monitoring body finds violations

A ceasefire monitoring mechanism set up in Colombia has determined that clear protocol violations took place during an incident that led to the deaths of two rebel fighters last month.

The FARC members died in the Santa Rosa municipality, and the "information collected shows that there were significant incidents and breaches" in ceasefire rules on both sides, according to the UN-coordinated tripartite monitoring mechanism.

The ceasefire agreement between the Colombian government and FARC forces came into effect in August, but the overall peace deal was rejected by voters in October.

A revised peace agreement was ratified by the Colombian Congress on Wednesday.

The UN Mission in the South American country welcomed the vote.

Here's UN Spokeperson, Stéphane Dujarric.

"This ratification opens the way for the implementation of a comprehensive agreement that holds the promise of a new era of peace after over five decades of a protracted and brutal conflict. The UN Mission expresses its readiness to fulfil its mandate to verify the Agreement on the Ceasefire and Cessation of Hostilities and Laying down of Arms."

New aid-delivery tactic provides relief for 45,000 in Nigeria

A new tactic for delivering aid to hard-to-reach areas has provided 45,000 people living in north-east Nigeria with vital food and health supplies.

The World Food Programme (WFP) has designed a so-called Rapid Response Mechanism along with the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) to reach remote areas, where many have suffered violence at the hands of Boko Haram militants.

WFP said that advance teams of specialists have been flown into areas of Borno and Yobe states, where they have stayed for up to six days.

WFP Country Director, Sory Ouane, said that the missions "help avert famine and aim to reach tens of thousands of hungry people".

They plan to carry out 12 missions each month, providing enough support for around 300,000 people, including many children under five, and their mothers.

Around 4.6 million are going hungry in the region, around two million of whom need urgent humanitarian assistance.

"Staggering" casualty figures for Iraq in November: 2,800 dead

More than 2,800 Iraqis died last month as a result of terrorism, violence and armed conflict; a figure described by the head of the UN Mission in Iraq, UNAMI, as "staggering".

Special Representative Ján Kubiš said that civilians accounted for a "significant number of the victims," although nearly 2,000 of the dead were members of the security forces, many caught up in the battle to re-take the city of Mosul.

The Mission, UNAMI, obtained its figures from the Government health directorate.

Mr Kubiš said that the terrorist group ISIL, which still occupies much of Mosul, was resorting to "vicious tactics" using civilians homes as firing positions and families as human shields, during the battle.

He noted that the Iraqi forces had declared they were making the "utmost effort" to avoid putting civilians in harm's way during the fighting.

He urged them to take "all necessary actions" to protect civilians.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2'42"

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