News in Brief 22 March 2017 (PM)

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Special Representative and Head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Martin Kobler. UN Photo/Manuel Elías

UN "gravely concerned" at serious rights violations across Libya

The head of the UN Support Mission for Libya (UNSMIL) said he was "gravely concerned" on Wednesday at continued reports of serious rights' violations across the country.

Martin Kobler called on all parties and warring factions to "send a strong message" that those violations are unacceptable, and that there needs to be accountability for perpetrators.

A UN-backed Political Agreement has stalled, and Mr Kobler has called on all parties to unite and put the country ahead of their "own narrow interests".

Libya has suffered political crises and a serious breakdown in national institutions, since the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Here's Farhan Haq, the UN Deputy Spokesperson.

"Mr. Kobler warned that continued fighting in residential areas continues to endanger the civilian population, in an environment already fraught with criminal and political kidnappings. Credible, effective and accountable security institutions are urgently required to end the deteriorating security situation".

Humanitarian situation worsens in Somalia

With the threat of famine looming, the humanitarian situation is continuing to deteriorate in Somalia.

Nearly 257,000 people fled their homes between November last year and the end of February, and some 4,300 Somalis have crossed the border into Ethiopia.

More than 13,000 cases of acute diarrhoea due to cholera are suspected, with more than 300 deaths from those illnesses reported since the beginning of 2017.

Here's Farhan Haq again.

"The overall 2017 humanitarian appeal for Somalia of $864 million dollars is so far only 31 per cent funded. That appeal is expected to be revised soon to take into account the increasing needs outlined in the famine prevention operational plan."

New ethics guidance launched for tuberculosis: WHO

New ethics guidance was launched on Wednesday for countries implementing the World Health Organization's "End TB Strategy".

WHO said it was determined to better defend those suffering from tuberculosis, which is the world's most lethal infectious disease, claiming around 5,000 lives each day.

"TB strikes some of the world's poorest people hardest" said WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, adding that the agency was "determined to overcome the stigma, discrimination and other barriers" that prevent sufferers accessing services.

Poverty, malnutrition and poor sanitation are some of the factors that put people at heightened risk of TB and more than a third of all cases aren't properly diagnosed.

The new guidance urges patients to be given effective social support and equal access to healthcare, and calls for quarantine in isolation, only as a last resort.

Lucy Dean, United Nations.

Duration: 2’21″

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