News in Brief 8 March 2017 (PM)

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A wide view of the Human Rights Council. UN Photo/Elma Okic

UN expert urges respect for right to privacy in the Internet age

Governments are being urged to respect people's privacy as "a truly universal right" in the digital age.

The call has been made by the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy, Joseph Cannataci, who presented his latest report to the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday.

The UN expert said he did not support current legislation aimed at regulating surveillance, citing France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the USA as examples.

Mr Cannataci also criticized what he described as "the manipulation of fear of terrorism," and urged policy makers to "desist from playing the fear card."

Instead, he said they should improve security through effective measures, and not through laws that intrude on privacy.

Iraq: Displacement from western Mosul on the rise

The number of people displaced by ongoing fighting in western Mosul in Iraq continues to rise, growing by roughly 3,500 overnight, the UN reported on Wednesday.

So far, overall displacement stands at roughly 53,500, and is expected to increase in the coming days.

The Iraqi military and its allies are working to liberate western Mosul from the extremist group, ISIL.

The offensive began on 19 February and is the latest phase of a campaign to free the northern city from the terrorists.

Farhan Haq is the UN Deputy Spokesperson:

"Since military operations in Mosul began in mid-October, more than 4,600 people have been referred from front line areas to Erbil's two main hospitals to be treated for trauma injuries. Since hostilities resumed on 19 February, more than 600 people have been treated at trauma stabilisation points close to the city for conflict-related injuries. A further 15 people have been referred from eastern Mosul city to hospitals in nearby Erbil for the treatment of skin burns, blistering and respiratory issues, which are symptoms consistent with exposure to a blistering chemical agent."

UNRWA staff praised for advancing gender equality

Six staff members with the UN agency that supports Palestine refugees (UNRWA) have been recognized for their work in advancing gender equality, both within the organization and in the communities they serve.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl praised his colleagues for translating the agency's commitment to gender equality into concrete initiatives.

Their efforts included ensuring access to critical services for thousands of survivors of gender-based violence as well as guaranteeing safer access to housing for women in Gaza.

This Wednesday marked the annual observation of International Women's Day.

Mr Krähenbühl said this year also marks a milestone for UNRWA as 10 years ago, the agency adopted its first-ever Gender Equality Policy.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 2’53″

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