News in Brief 16 December 2016 (PM)

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses a press conference, his last at United Nations headquarters, as his term of office draws to a close at the end of the year. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Risk of genocide in South Sudan "all too real"

The risk of genocide occurring in South Sudan is "all too real" according to the UN chief, and countries and international organizations "must step up to their responsibility" to prevent it.

In an article published in the magazine Newsweek, Ban Ki-moon said that the social fabric of the world's youngest country had been shattered following three years of conflict, that's become increasingly inter-ethnic.

The Secretary-General said South Sudan's leadership should bear "the primary responsibility of betraying the people's trust" but the UN Security Council and others needed to do more to end the suffering there.

He said that simply reinforcing the UN peacekeeping mission UNMISS to better protect civilians would not end the conflict.

"There must be a political solution" he added.

Increased military presence deployed across Gambia cause for concern 

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has called on security forces in The Gambia to exercise restraint in their use of force.

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein made the appeal following military deployments on streets across the country.

President Yayha Jammeh recently rejected the election result and vowed to challenge his loss in the Supreme Court.

The increased presence of the county's armed forces has heightened the current climate of intimidation and harassment, Zeid warned.

He reminded the Gambian authorities of the people's right to assemble peacefully and their right to free expression.

Disarmament of Colombian guerrilla group needs to be conducted securely

The FARC guerrilla group in Colombia is being urged by the UN to prioritize the disarmament and demobilization process, after signing a comprehensive peace agreement with the government in September.

The UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) said on Friday that under the deal, rebel fighters were obliged to assemble in 27 disarmament zones but none were adequately equipped to receive them.

OHCHR also urged the Colombian government to step in to areas formerly controlled by the guerrillas before a "power vacuum" led to illegal economic activities.

The agency warned there was a growing risk of increased killings, mainly of human rights defenders and social leaders, in rural areas.

Over 2,700 Aleppo children evacuated,hundreds remain trapped

More than 2,700 children have been evacuated from east Aleppo in Syria in the past 24 hours, including some who are sick, wounded or without their parents.

That's according to a statement released by the UNICEF Executive Director, Anthony Lake on Friday.

Hundreds of other vulnerable children, including orphans, remain trapped inside that part of the city, the UN Children's Fund chief warned.

Mr Lake said he was "extremely concerned" about their fate.

He called for their immediate evacuation, and asked all parties to the conflict to allow his agency and partner organizations to go about their work in safety.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2’20″

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