News in Brief 26 January (PM)

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Mohamed Ibn Chambas. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

UN official in the Gambia to assess support for political transition

A senior UN official is in the Gambia to assess how best to assist the country's political transition.

Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Head of the UN's Office for West Africa and the Sahel, arrived in the capital, Banjul, on Thursday.

That's when the Gambia's newly-elected President also returned home, after spending two weeks in Senegal as a result of political uncertainty in his country.

Adama Barrow, winner of presidential elections held in December, took office in Dakar after the Gambia's former leader Yahya Jammeh refused to step down.

President Barrow and Mr Chambas made the journey to the Gambia together, according to media reports.

UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric has more information:

"Our Special Representative for West Africa, Mohammed Ibn Chambas, arrived in the Gambian capital Banjul earlier today, where he is planning to have further discussions with President Barrow, who also arrived in the capital today. Mr Chambas will also meet with the speaker of the national assembly, the diplomatic community, and civil society organisations. He will assess how the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel and the UN Country Team can best assist the political transition."

WHO and partners bridging trauma care gap in Mosul, Iraq

Trauma care services for civilians caught in the crossfire in the Iraqi city of Mosul have been increased to ensure patients have a greater chance of survival, the World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners said on Thursday.

The Iraqi military launched an offensive in mid-October to free the northern city from ISIL extremists and the UN agency says trauma casualty rates remain high near frontline areas.

Many of the injured have gone to the city of Erbil, also in the north, as many hospitals in Mosul have suffered extensive damage.

WHO says a patient's chance for survival greatly increases if they receive medical care within an hour of their injury, known as the "golden hour."

To bridge this gap, WHO and its partners have established a field hospital in eastern Mosul which has 50 beds and two operating rooms.

However, WHO says additional funds are needed to provide the full scale of health services to the nearly three million people affected by the Mosul operation.

So far, an appeal for US$65 million is just over 20 per cent funded.

Nazi Holocaust shows horror of bigotry, discrimination: UN human rights chief

The United Nations is remembering the millions of people killed by the Nazis with the observance of the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, which takes place this Friday, 27 January.

UN Human Rights High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said the commemoration "forces us to contemplate the horrors to which bigotry, racism and discrimination ultimately lead."

Between 1941 and 1945, the Nazi regime murdered six million Jews as well as Roma, Slavs, disabled people, political dissidents, homosexuals and others.

Zeid recalled that the atrocities inflicted by the Nazis were "nourished" by propaganda, falsifications and incitement to hatred.

The UN human rights chief also called for acknowledgement of the need to prevent the recurrence of anti-Semitism and all forms of racial and religious hatred and discrimination today.

He said education must be central to these efforts.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 3'39"

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