News in Brief 13 July 2017 (AM)

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Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, speaking during a panel discussion in Geneva. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

Death of Chinese activist a loss for human rights worldwide: UN rights chief

Chinese peace and democracy activist Liu Xiaobo is being remembered by the UN human rights chief as "the definition of civic courage and human dignity."

Mr Liu, 61, who had been suffering from liver cancer, died on Thursday in Shenyang, in northeast China.

He had been serving an 11-year jail sentence and was given medical parole last June when the disease was already at an advanced stage.

Mr Liu won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize while incarcerated.

UN Human Rights High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein issued a statement mourning his death, calling it a loss for the human rights movement in China and across the world.

"Liu Xiaobo was the definition of civic courage and human dignity – a poet and intellectual who wanted, and strove for, a better future for his country," he stated.

Zeid said Mr Liu will continue to be an inspiration and an example for all human rights defenders.

Australian funding helps WFP support families in Mosul

A "generous" contribution from Australia of roughly US$3 million will help the World Food Programme (WFP) to assist nearly 23,000 people displaced by the conflict in the Iraqi city of Mosul, the UN agency said on Thursday.

The money will be used to provide families with cash transfers so that they can buy food and pay for rent, medicine or clothing, with each household receiving around US$400.

WFP said "People in Mosul have reported that their lack of cash has limited them from buying food and other items they need, which are readily available in local shops."

As the cash assistance carries no preconditions, families can prioritize spending based on their individual circumstances.

The Australian funding is part of an overall grant of US$82 million to support displaced families in Iraq over the next three years.

Award for innovative eco-friendly African start-ups

Fifteen eco-friendly African start-ups are being honoured by the UN for their innovative and inclusive entrepreneurship.

They are the winners of the SWITCH Africa Green-SEED Awards, announced during the High-Level Political Forum currently underway at UN Headquarters in New York.

SEED is a global partnership which promotes sustainable development, and the award is sponsored by the SWITCH Africa Green project, a European Union initiative implemented by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

The winning start-ups include a company from Burkina Faso which makes school benches from plastic waste, and another from Kenya that creates bags from banana stems.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 2’37″

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