News in Brief 15 December 2016 (AM)

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Child soldiers released in South Sudan. Photo: UNICEF/2015/South Sudan/Sebastian Rich

Thousands of children recruited to fight in South Sudan

More than 17,000 children have been recruited to fight in South Sudan's on-going conflict during the past three years, according to the UN Children's Fund, UNICEF.

"Since the first day of this conflict children have been the ones most devastatingly affected" said UNICEF Regional Director, Leila Gharagozloo-Pakkala.

She added that with intensified fighting between government and opposition forces "children are once again being targeted" despite pledges to end child recruitment.

Thousands more children in the east African country have been killed, abducted and sexually assaulted, said the agency.

Since last month, the UN has documented at least 50 children who were abducted in the Greater Upper Nile region, and there have been reports of grave violations against children in the Greater Equatorias region.

"Rapid assessment mission" assesses damage to archaeological site in Iraq

A "rapid assessment mission" has visited the ancient archaeological site of Nimrud in Iraq, to assess the extent of damage caused by two years of occupation by the ISIL terrorist group.

The UN cultural organization, UNESCO, said that its mission had found that "large-scale, systematic and deliberate destruction" of the site had occurred.

Some of the destruction was filmed and distributed online by the extremist group, but UNESCO said that it was determined to work with Iraqi authorities to safeguard what remained of the site.

UNESCO Director General, Irina Bovoka, said that it was "important for the history of humanity" as well as the people of Iraq, to secure the site.

She promised that the UN would work to "lay the foundation for a progressive recovery" of Nimrud, which was a major Assyrian city established more than 3,000 years ago, situated close to Iraq's second-largest city of Mosul.

Iraqi and coalition forces liberated the site during the on-going offensive to retake Mosul from ISIL.

Thousands in Lake Chad Basin set to benefit from new EU funds

Tens of thousands of people living in Africa's Lake Chad Basin are set to benefit from a one-million Euro contribution from the European Union (EU), the World Food Programme (WFP) has announced.

The Instrument Contributing to Stability and Peace, as the fund is known, will provide emergency relief for 12,500 families in the west of the Sahel.

WFP Country Director for Chad, Mary-Ellen McGroarty, said that the EU contribution, now totalling more than 4.5 million Euros, was based on the principle of giving families a say in how the money is spent.

"This long-term approach, which goes beyond emergency assistance bring us closer to achieving Zero Hunger" she added.

Cash is transferred to families giving them control over their own food supply and stimulating the local economy, she said.

Priyanka Shankar, United Nations.


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