News in Brief 27 February 2017 (AM)

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Peter Thomson. UN Photo/Manuel Elias

Human rights fundamental to "the future we want" and reaching SDGs

Human rights are fundamental to "the future we want for this world" and the success of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs.

That's the view of Peter Thomson, President of the UN General Assembly, addressing the opening of the new four-week session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The elected leader of the body representing the 193 Member States of the UN said that insufficient attention had been given to conflict prevention efforts and prevention in general.

Mr Thomson said in implementing the SDGs, prevention of "unacceptable" human and environmental conditions were key.

"The role of human rights is absolutely fundamental to achievement of the future we want for this world. In fact the 17 Sustainable Development goals are infused in the essence of universal human rights. Human rights must join with sustaining peace as inseparable travelling companions on our journey to implement the Sustainable Development Goals in full by 2030, the target date that we have set ourselves."

Around half of Mosul displaced need help getting new documentation: UNHCR

Around half of all Iraqis displaced by fighting in and around Mosul need help getting new identity cards and other official documentation, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

The offensive to retake Iraq's second city from ISIL, or Daesh, extremists, began in mid-October.

Having liberated the east, government forces and their allies recently moved to recapture the west of the city.

UNHCR said that 49 per cent of those fleeing their homes had lost some or all of their official documents, which enable families to access public services and travel freely across checkpoints.

Some documents such as birth or marriage certificates issued by the extremist occupiers are not legally recognized by the government in Baghdad.

UNHCR, together with partners, has already provided legal assistance to 2,500 Iraqis needing help.

WHO scales up response to Somalia drought

The World Health Organization (WHO) is scaling up its response to the drought-affected areas of Somalia in order to provide "critical health services" for around 1.5 million people.

There is a "high risk" that the country will face its third famine in 25 years, with more than 6.2 million – half of the total population – in urgent need of humanitarian aid, according to WHO.

Around half of that number faces a food security crisis, and nearly 5.5 million are at risk of contracting waterborne diseases.

WHO said it needed US$10 million urgently as part of the UN appeal for Somalia covering the first six months of this year.

Acute drought in many parts of the country has reduced clean water sources and led to around 363,000 children becoming "acutely malnourished".

Myanmar government needs to act urgently to end suffering of Rohingya: UN expert

The government of Myanmar needs to act urgently to end the suffering of the Rohingya minority in the north of the country.

That's according to Yanghee Lee, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar; an independent expert appointed by the Human Rights Council.

She was speaking at the end of a four-day visit to Bangladesh, having talked to refugees who had fled, following attacks on Myanmar Border Guard posts last October.

In the reprisals that followed against Muslim Rohingyas, Ms Lee said she had been told of "horrific attacks," including the murder of children and gang rapes.

She highlighted that in addition to the human rights violations, the government "appears to have taken, and continues to take, actions which discriminate" against them.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 3'14"

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