News in Brief 20 December 2016 (AM) – Geneva

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Housing in Tondo, Manila, Philippines. Photo: Danilo Pinzon/World Bank

Murder investigation call for Philippines President

A murder investigation should be launched in the Philippines,  following the admission by the country's President that he personally killed people in the past, as part of his so-called war on drugs campaign, the UN Human Rights Chief said on Tuesday.

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein's appeal follows a statement last week by Rodrigo Duterte that while he was Mayor of Davao city, he patrolled the streets on his motorcycle and killed "about three people", in his own words.

He has previously stated the three people killed in 1988 were suspected of rape and kidnapping.

Rupert Colville is a spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner:

"The killings committed by Mr. Duterte, by his own admission, at a time when he was a mayor, clearly constitute murder. It should be unthinkable for any functioning judicial system not to launch investigative and judicial proceedings when someone has openly admitted being a killer."

Since Duterte took office as president on 30 June, the UN Human Rights Office, OHCHR, said that nearly 6,100 people have been killed by police, vigilantes or mercenaries.

Aleppo evacuations continue amid "enormous" needs

An estimated 19,000 people have been evacuated so far from the last opposition-held areas of Syria's eastern Aleppo, according to a senior UN aid officer, who said that the operation should continue "as long as …people express a wish to leave".

Speaking in Geneva, Jens Laerke from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), also said that since Monday, around 750 people have also been bussed out of the villages of Foah and Kafraya in opposition-held Idlib, and taken to government-controlled shelters.

The developments follow the UN Security Council's vote in favour of allowing international monitors into Aleppo to oversee the evacuations, which are being carried out by the Syrian government.

Responding to questions about the UN's role in the monitoring process, Mr Laerke said that observers had been in place for several days already at the so-called Ramussa crossing.

Ramussa is the place in Aleppo city where green single-decker coaches packed with civilians pass from opposition-held enclaves into government-controlled areas of the city, before continuing on to Idlib, which is still in the hands of anti-government fighters.

"I would like to stress that we have had, for several days, we've had a monitoring mechanism, we have had people at the Ramussa crossing as you know who have been able to observe what went on and we do believe that this presence provides protection. It is a well known, established way of providing protection by international presence."

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), more than 184 coachloads of people have left eastern Aleppo since 18 December.

The agency says that needs remain "enormous".

2016 on track to break temperature record

The year 2016 is on track to be the hottest year on record, with average global temperatures set to surpass the highs recorded for 2015, UN weather experts have said.

The announcement by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is based on the strength of data gathered from the first 11 months of the year.

It indicates that 2016 will finish 1.2 degrees Centigrade above pre-industrial levels.

The data shows that temperatures spiked in the early months of 2016 because of a very strong El Niño event, a natural phenomenon that's associated with warmer-than-normal waters in the equatorial Pacific.

WMO also points to the damage caused by climate change, with record carbon dioxide concentrations, alarming glacier melt at the poles and low sea ice replenishment.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 3’45″

 

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