News in Brief 12 December 2016 (PM)

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Thousands of people, mainly women and children, are scattered across the arid land of Nguigimi, Niger, after fleeing Boko Haram violence in Nigeria. Photo: WFP Niger/Vigno Hounkanli

Strengthen international cooperation to fight terrorism

The international community needs to cooperate more closely in the fight against terrorists, according to the head of the UN’s anti-terrorism body (UNCTED).

Jean-Paul Laborde was addressing the UN Security Council in a debate on threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.

Groups like Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, Al Qaeda and Daesh continue to menace populations across parts of Africa and the Middle East.

Speaking through an interpreter, Mr Laborde said it was necessary for the international community to work more closely together.

"We continue to confront a complex decentralised and dynamic threat and it is also geographically diverse. Our policies and methods therefore must be built around, and away from, the traditional parameters and adopt a broader perspective which is focussed on strengthened international cooperation. Not only between member states but also between specialised agencies and original organisations."

Outgoing UN ch ief "zealous defender" of LGBTI rights

The outgoing chief of the United Nations, has been hailed as a "zealous defender" of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex or LGBTI people.

Speaking at a meeting at UN Headquarters to mark the end of Ban Ki-moon's 10-years of service as Secretary-General, the US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said that he did not come into the job as a "champion of LGBTI rights"

"But when he heard the way LGBTI people were discriminated against because of who they are and who they love, bullied by classmates and neighbours, fired from jobs, denied basic services and physically attacked or even killed, he became a zealous defender of their rights. He spoke out against leaders who fan hatred and he spoke directly to LGBTI people who are under attack, telling them ,'You are not alone.'"

Mr Ban is being replaced by the former Portuguese Prime Minister, António Guterres, who takes up office on 1 January 2017.

Rights of 157 million children in Middle East and North Africa under threat

The rights and well-being of some 157 million children in the Middle East and North Africa are under threat due to on-going conflict in the region, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has said.

Marking the 70th anniversary of the establishment of UNICEF, the agency's regional director Geert Cappelaere, said war was threatening the "major strides" achieved over the past seven decades in protecting children.

According to UNICEF, nearly one in five children across the Middle East and North Africa is in need of immediate humanitarian assistance.

Mr Cappelaere added that children have increasingly come under attack and have suffered the brunt of war, in half of the countries in the region.

Andita Listyarini, United Nations

Duration: 2’55″

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