News in Brief 14 February 2016 (PM)

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Iraqi families flee east Mosul through the recently liberated Mosul University complex. Photo: UNHCR/Ivor Prickett

Temporary reduction in aid operations in eastern Mosul

There has been a temporary reduction in humanitarian operations in eastern Mosul in Iraq due to security incidents, the UN reported on Tuesday.

They include the use of drones by the terrorist group ISIL, also known as Daesh, which caused light injuries to several aid workers, as well as a suicide attack on a restaurant.

The Iraqi army and its allies are in the midst of an offensive to liberate the northern city from the extremists.

The UN said water shortages continue to be one of the main humanitarian concerns in eastern Mosul, which was freed from Daesh control in December.

While aid partners are trucking in water to 30 neighbourhoods each day, the UN said this remains a stop-gap measure until the water network is fully operational.

Meanwhile, remote assessments indicate that some parts of western Mosul, which is under ISIL control, are receiving safe drinking water for several hours every few days.

UN chief and Oman Foreign Minister discuss Yemen conflict

UN Secretary-General António Guterres was in Oman on Tuesday, the latest stop on his 12-day visit to the region.

Mr Guterres met with senior officials, including the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister.

Speaking to reporters, he recognized the country's role as a mediator.

The Secretary-Gneral also addressed the ongoing crisis in Yemen, where government troops and their allies have been battling rebel forces for more than two years.

"This is my first visit to the region and the objective is to be able to consult the Government of Oman to see how I can be useful, recognizing that it's Member States and the people that have the leadership in bringing peace to the region; how I can be useful in supporting all those like Oman, who has always been in the first line of mediation trying to bring together the parties to the conflict and trying to make sure that peace is possible.  Close to Oman, there's a very dramatic situation in Yemen. I have known the Yemeni people for a long time.  They are a generous people who are suffering so much. So I really want to be able to serve and support the efforts of all those who want peace to be re-established in Yemen for people to be able to overcome the present tragedy."

Call for end to civil society crackdown in Kenya

Three UN human rights experts are urging the authorities in Kenya to end a crackdown on rights groups which they say has intensified in the lead-up to elections slated for August.

Their appeal comes a month after the country's Interior Ministry called for the closure of NGOs deemed "not properly licensed."

A government circular had alleged that the groups had been involved in "nefarious activities," saying they posed a threat to national security, including money laundering, diversion of donor aid and financing terrorism.

The UN experts, known as special rapporteurs, said the crackdown appears to be targeting civil society groups which challenge governmental policies, educate voters, investigate human rights abuses and uncover corruption.

"These issues are extremely important in a democracy," they stated, adding that "attempting to shut down the debate taking place in the civic space threatens to irreparably taint the legitimacy of the upcoming elections."

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 3’25″

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