News in Brief 28 June 2017 (PM)

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A person walks amid destroyed buildings and rubble in Tabqa city, Raqqa governorate, Syria. Photo: UNICEF/Souleiman

UN rights chief worried about civilians in Raqqa

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is gravely concerned about the fate of some 100,000 people caught up in the fight to root the extremist group ISIL, from the Syrian city of Raqqa.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein called on all sides, including international forces, to ensure their operations are in full compliance with international law.

This includes taking "all feasible precautions" to prevent civilians from being killed.

Stéphane Dujarric is the UN Spokesperson:

"Meanwhile, our humanitarian colleagues in the country say that they are concerned by the reported attacks against civilians across Idleb Governorate, with at least eight attacks from improvised explosive devices reported in the last week. The deadliest attack took place in Dana town on 24 June, when at least three IEDs exploded in a public market area during Iftar, reportedly resulting in the deaths of 10 people, including women and children. We strongly condemn attacks on civilians, civilian infrastructure and the continued violence against vulnerable populations."

UNICEF airlifts medicines to Yemen to fight cholera outbreak

Thirty-six tonnes of lifesaving medical and water purification supplies have been airlifted to Yemen which is facing what UN agencies say is the world's worst cholera outbreak.

The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) announced on Wednesday that three charter planes transported the supplies, which include enough Oral Rehydration Salt to treat 10,000 people.

More than 1,300 people have died in Yemen due to cholera, which has spread to nearly all 22 governorates in the country over the past two months.

The disease is characterized by watery diarrhoea and can be fatal if untreated.

UNICEF said more airlifts are planned in the coming days.

UN-backed competition seeks innovative ways to fight marine pollution

University students everywhere are being asked to help the UN tackle the global problem of marine litter.

They are encouraged to enter the world's first student competition to find fresh solutions to deal with the eight million tonnes of plastic that end up in the oceans every year.

The competition is organized by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and Think Beyond Plastic, which supports start-ups working to eliminate plastic pollution.

To participate, students must be enrolled in a graduate or postgraduate programme as of June 2017, and must also be supported by a faculty member.

Entries can be submitted in one or more of the following categories: Engineering and Design, Communication, Economics and Prediction and Recovery.

Winners from each category will have the chance to present their innovations at the Sixth International Marine Debris Conference in San Diego, California, next March.

They also will get to particpate in an annual programme run by Think Beyond Plastic which helps make ideas become commercially viable.

Further information about the competition can be found at:

https://www.thinkbeyondplastic.com/marineplasticsinnovationchallenge

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 3’05″

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