News in Brief 30 January (AM)

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In Diffa, Niger, a family uprooted from Malam Fatouri, Nigeria, by Boko Haram shelter at a site for displaced civilians on 18 August 2016.
Photo: UNICEF/Sam Phelps

US$100m released from Emergency Response Fund for "neglected crises"

A total of US$100 million has been released from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund, or CERF, by the UN chief, to "sustain operations" in nine "neglected" emergencies around the world.

The announcement came from Secretary-General António Guterres on Monday, who is attending the annual assembly of the African Union, in Ethiopia.

"CERF is a lifeline for people caught up in crises that don't make the headlines but where needs are just as urgent" said Mr Guterres.

The countries which will receive funds are Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia and Uganda.

The UN chief thanked all Members States and donors who contribute to the emergency fund, adding that a large portion will reach those affected by displacement, "one of the most pressing humanitarian challenges" today given that 65 million have been forced from their homes worldwide.

UN Mission "deeply concerned" about fighting in Malakal, South Sudan

The UN Mission in South Sudan, UNMISS, said on Monday that it "remains deeply concerned" about an outbreak of fighting between government and opposition troops in the town of Malakal.

UNMISS said in a statement that "intermittent shelling" had been reported over the last few days and the situation in the town remains tense.

Fighting between troops loyal to the President and his former deputy erupted across the country last summer, threatening to derail a UN-brokered peace agreement which had begun to stabilize the world's youngest country.

UNMISS, which has around 13,000 military personnel called on all parties to "immediately cease hostilities and fully implement the peace agreement."

It said it would continue to protect South Sudanese civilians in imminent danger wherever possible, and called for fighting to stop so humanitarian aid can resume in the Malakal area.

Waterboarding is torture "without any doubt", warns UN expert

The interrogation-technique known as waterboarding is torture "without any doubt" and the United States should refrain from reintroducing it, according to a UN expert.

Nils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on torture, is tasked by the Human Rights Council to monitor and report on all "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment", worldwide.

"I urgently appeal to President Trump" he said, "to carefully consider not only US legal obligations, doctrine and tradition" but also the consolidated legal and moral views of the entire international community."

The US Commander-in-chief has voiced his personal view that waterboarding, which involves partial drowning, "does work".

But he added last Friday that he would defer to his Defence Secretary who is reportedly against waterboarding, which was banned in the US in 2006.

Mr Meltzer said in his statement that the interrogation method was "more closely associated with barbarism than with civilization."

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2’25″

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