News in Brief 30 August 2017 (AM)

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A wide view of the Security Council meeting during which it issued a Presidential Statement on the recent launch of ballistic missiles by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). UN Photo/Mark Garten

UN Security Council strongly condemns DPRK ballistic missile launch

The UN Security Council issued a strongly-worded statement on Tuesday night condemning North Korea's launching of a ballistic missile over Japanese airspace.

The Presidential Statement, unanimously agreed, followed urgent closed-door consultations over North Korea, or DPRK, describing the launch – together with a series of launches on 25 August – as "outrageous actions".

Council members demanded that DPRK "immediately cease" any further missile testing.

Tuesday's launch crossed over Japan's northern island of Hokkaido.

The statement stressed that North Korea's actions were not only a threat to the region, "but to all UN Member States".

Civilians trapped in Raqqa face "horrendous situation": UN Special Adviser

Civilians who are trapped in Raqqa in Syria, are facing a "horrendous situation" as intense fighting continues to retake what has been the de facto capital of the ISIL terrorist group, since 2014.

That's according to Adam Dieng, the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide.

An international coalition which includes some Syrian fighters has been gaining ground against Daesh fighters who are still holding out in parts of the city, but up to 25,000 vulnerable civilians remain trapped.

Mr Dieng said ISIL had been reportedly killing those trying to escape and coalition forces have been targeting boats on the Euphrates river; one of the few remaining routes out of the crossfire.

He said civilians were also facing "indiscriminate attacks" by Syrian forces to the south.

"I urge all parties to adhere to their obligations" under international human rights law said the UN advisor, highlighting the need to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure.

News reports suggest that airstrikes by United States planes have killed and injured civilians, and Mr Dieng said that all military action needed to be "proportionate".

"The legitimate aim of retaking Raqqa must not be achieved at such a high cost to civilians", he said.

"Grave concerns" raised over Egypt's "assault" on freedom of expression

"Grave concerns" were raised on Wednesday over Egypt's "ongoing assault" on freedom of expression by two UN experts whose work focusses on the issue.

Freedom of Expression Special Rapporteur David Kaye and Fionnuala Ní Aloáin, who covers human rights while countering terrorism, issued a statement saying they were particularly alarmed by reports of an expanding list of websites accused by Egyptian authorities of "spreading lies" and allegedly "supporting terrorism".

The independent experts said that journalism, the freedom of expression and access to information had been "in crisis for several years", including unlawful detention and harassment of reporters.

"Denying access to websites of all sorts, but especially news sites, deprives all Egyptians of basic information in the public interest", they said.

The added that with no transparency, the Egyptian government seemed to be engaged more in repression, than counter-terrorism.

WHO "moving swiftly" to contain cholera outbreak in northeast Nigeria

The World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners said on Wednesday that they are moving swiftly to help health authorities contain a cholera outbreak in a camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) in north-eastern Nigeria.

A total of 69 cases including 5 deaths have been reported so far in the outbreak at Muna Garage, a camp on the outskirts of the state capital Maiduguri which is home to 44,000 people displaced by conflict and famine.

The state of Borno is at the heart of a humanitarian crisis in the north-east of the country where almost 7 million people need health assistance and 60% of health facilities are functioning partially or not at all.Matt Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 3'00"

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