News in Brief 24 January 2017 (PM)

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In east Aleppo City, Syria, children collect water for their family in Shakoor neighbourhood. Photo: UNICEF/Khuder Al-Issa

Praise for mechanism to monitor Syria ceasefire

UN Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura has commended the decision by Russia, Turkey and Iran to establish a trilateral mechanism to observe and ensure full compliance of a ceasefire in the war-torn country.

Speaking on Tuesday in Kazakhstan's capital, Astana, Mr de Mistura stated that the UN stands ready to assist the parties and ensure that the mechanism helps strengthen the ceasefire.

The city has been hosting peace talks on the Syrian crisis which concluded on Tuesday.

UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric has more:

"Mr de Mistura said that he trusts that the emphasis that the Astana Meeting has put on the ceasefire will help create a supportive environment for engagement between the Syrian parties. He said that is important to jumpstart the convening of the formal political negotiating process under UN auspices in Geneva next month." 

Human rights expert warns of reprisals following Myanmar visit

An independent human rights expert who has just returned from Myanmar fears that people who met with her may suffer from retaliation.

UN Special Rapporteur Yanghee Lee described some of those she had met as "critical of the Government, those defending and advocating for the rights of others, and those who expressed their thoughts and opinions which did not conform to the narrative of those in the position of power."

Ms Lee concluded a two-week official visit to Myanmar on Saturday.

She has issued a statement saying: "There is one word that has hung heavily on my mind during this visit – reprisals."

The human rights expert also said she was alarmed that counter-operations by the security forces in parts of Rakhine State have reportedly resumed.

The western state is home to some one million people whose citizenship is unclear, many of whom are members of the Rohingya, a Muslim minority.

Deadly attack on peacekeepers in northern Mali

A UN peacekeeper in Mali has died and two of his colleagues were injured following a mortar attack on their camp.

The incident occurred on Monday in the Kidal region in the north of the country.

Koen Davidse, interim head of the UN mission in Mali, MINUSMA, has condemned the attack, adding that such acts will not weaken the mission's determination to implement its mandate.

He has also expressed condolences to the family of the deceased blue helmet, who was from Chad.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 2'22"

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