News in Brief 3 May 2017 (AM)

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Elbio Rosselli. UN Photo/JC McIlwaine

Security Council demonstrates "commitment" to UN Mission in Colombia

The UN Security Council has embarked on an official visit to Colombia to "demonstrate its commitment" to the special UN Mission established there in support of the peace process.

Council members will hold meetings with the government, the UN Mission, monitoring and verification bodies, leaders of the former rebel group FARC, opposition parties and NGOs.

It will include a visit to a so-called Transnational Verification Standardization Zone, along with senior government representatives and mission staff.

Last November, the government signed a peace deal with the largest rebel group FARC, ending 50 years of conflict.

The Council visit is being led by the Uruguayan Ambassador, Elbio Rosselli.

His country holds the Presidency for the month of May.

He spoke to reporters at UN Headquarters on Monday about the 3-day visit.

His words are spoken by an interpreter.

"The purpose of this mission is for this Council to demonstrate its commitment to the tasks of the Special Mission and to demonstrate its support to the peace process, which the Colombians have taken ownership of and have in fact been leading for the past five years."

Government of Eritrea must free press freedom award winner: UN expert

The Eritrean government must free the journalist Dawit Isaak, who has been awarded a prestigious press freedom prize, 15 years after being detained, said a UN expert on Wednesday.

That's the view of Sheila Keetharuth, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Horn of Africa country.

Her call coincided with World Press Freedom Day, marked each 3 May.

Mr Isaak is a journalist, playwright and author who was one of the founders of Eritrea's first independent newspaper, Setit.

He was arrested in 2001 during a crackdown on government critics, and was last seen in 2005.

He was awarded this year's UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize in absentia.

Ms Keetharuth said that Mr Isaak's case "was emblematic of all those who have been subjected to enforced disappearances by the government of Eritrea, and remain unaccounted for".

Côte d’Ivoire security forces "are ready" to take over from UN

The security forces of the Côte d’Ivoire are in good shape to take over from the UN Operation in the West African country (UNOCI) when its mission ends on 30 June.

That's the view of UN Special Representative Aichatou Mindaoudou, who is in charge of the 13-year-old peacekeeping mission which has successfully helped the government restore stability, following the post-2010 election crisis.

"The security forces of Cote D'Ivoire are ready to take over all the security work done by the blue helmets".

The winding down of the operation was made possible thanks to the extension of State authority; strengthening of democratic institutions; better public services; steady economic development and progress in security sector reform.

The civilian and military personnel of UNOCI played a critical role in protection of civilians, ceasefire monitoring, and reintegrating former combatants.

UNOCI was established in 2004 after the country was divided by civil war, and had to respond to numerous challenges during its mandate, culminating in the 2010 decision by incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo not to hand over power following a UN-certified election, to Alassane Ouattara.

Around 3,000 died in renewed civil war, before Mr Ouattara was inaugurated in May 2011.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 3’09″

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