News in Brief 03 August 2017 (PM)

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UN Peacekeeping chief visited Malakal where more than 30,000 displaced people live on UN PoC site. Photo: UNMISS

South Sudan protection force "on track": UN peacekeeping chief

Efforts are underway to expedite the full deployment of a Regional Protection Force to South Sudan, the head of UN peacekeeping operations said on Thursday.

Jean-Pierre Lacroix was speaking at the end of his three-day visit to the country, where political turmoil and inter-community violence have killed scores of civilians over the past four years.

The UN Security Council authorized the 4,000-strong force in a resolution adopted last year.

Mr Lacroix said troops from Nepal and Bangladesh are already in the country, while efforts are being made to speed up the arrival of a battalion from Rwanda.

"We are working very hard with other troop contributing countries like Ethiopia and Kenya and others in order to also see the deployment of the units as soon as possible. As I said it's a question of months, hopefully, if everything goes well, but I think we are on track."

ISIL's brutality against Yazidis must never be forgotten: UN official

The "extreme brutality" waged by terrorists against ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq must never be forgotten, a senior UN official in the country said on Thursday.

Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General György Busztin was speaking at a ceremony commemorating three years since the militant group ISIL attacked the Yazidi community in the northern city of Sinjar.

The siege triggered massive displacement, and scores of civilians were killed or enslaved.

Of the more than 6,000 people abducted, nearly half remain in ISIL captivity, including 1,636 women and girls.

Mr Busztin described ISIL's violence against the Yazidis and other communities, including Christians, Turkmens and the Shabak people, as "a very dark moment in Iraq's history and must never be forgotten."

UN report outlines motivations of foreign terrorist fighters in Syria

A new report outlines the motivations of foreign terrorist fighters who have travelled to Syria and then returned to their homelands.

It is the result of direct interviews with 43 fighters from 12 nationalities in seven countries.

UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric has more on the report, which was launched on Thursday by the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism.

"It found that the fighters interviewed lack opportunities, are disadvantaged economically, lack education and have poor labour prospects. The report recommends that, in dealing with returnees, it may be important to differentiate among their initial intention before going to Syria, what they actually did there, and their reasons for return. For those interviewed for this report, it seemed that not all went to Syria to become fighters.

Rights expert fears death penalty "backtrack" in Maldives

The Government of the Maldives is being urged by a UN human rights expert not to "backtrack" on its de facto moratorium on the death penalty.

Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard noted that the Indian Ocean nation has not implemented capital punishment in more than six decades.

Her appeal, issued on Thursday, is in response to a senior government minister's recent pronouncement that executions could take place within days.

"The resumption of executions in the Maldives after more than 60 years would be a great setback for the country and entire region, and would run counter to international trends towards abolition," she said in statement.

Ms Callamard added that the Maldives should instead take "a leading role in human rights promotion and protection," and move towards abolishing the death penalty.

Twenty people are currently on death row in the Maldives, including three men who the UN expert described as being "at imminent risk of execution."

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 3’36″

 

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