News in Brief 01 September 2017 (AM)

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Iraqi IDP's, mainly from Gogjali on the Eastern outskirts of Mosul, arrive at the UNHCR run Hasansham camp. Photo: UNHCR/ Ivor Prickett

Casualty figures show month-on-month decline in Iraq: UNAMI

The number of civilians reportedly killed and injured in Iraq has fallen to its lowest level in months, according to figures published on Friday by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

A total of 125 civilians were killed during August, with another 188-injured due to acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict across the country.

This compares with 241 reported deaths for July, and 415 in June; although the data sampling is not consistent from month-to-month, and UNAMI said it had been unable to obtain August's casualty figures from the Health Directorate in Anbar province.

Baghdad was the worst affected Governorate with 180 casualties, followed by Ninewa, where 36 were killed and 18 injured.

Iraqi government-led operations against Daesh terrorist-controlled towns have continued throughout the summer, following the recapture of Mosul, and Ján Kubiš, UN Special Representative for Iraq, condemned the targeting of civilians.

"Daesh terrorists have shown absolute disregard for human life" he said, adding that they were avenging their losses on the battlefield.

He said the "patience and resilience of the Iraqi people" had "defeated the terrorists' aim in breaking their unity".

Mr Kubiš also congratulated the people and government of Iraq on the liberation of Tal Afar from Daesh, or ISIL.

He said it was "one more nail in the coffin" of the terrorist group, which until this year, had held large swathes of the country since 2014.

He commended the Iraqi security forces for what he called their "extraordinary efforts" to save and protect the lives of civilians.

The Special Representative said the immediate priority in liberated areas was to enable civilians to return to their homes, and get on with reconstruction.

UNICEF scales up response for Bangladesh flood victims

The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) is scaling up its response, together with aid partners, in the flood-affected northern and central parts of Bangladesh.

In a statement on Friday, UNICEF Country Representative, Edouard Beigbeder, said that children were bearing "the biggest brunt" of  the emergency, including the fresh influx of Rohingya refugees, who are fleeing across the border into Bangladesh, from Myanmar.

"UNICEF will continue and strengthen its humanitarian support in coordination with the government of Bangladesh in education, nutrition, health and child protection".

Around 1.5 million victims of the intense flooding are to receive water-purification tablets, hygiene kits, jerry cans and bleaching powder, said UNICEF.

More than 80 per cent of the influx of Rohingya refugees who are fleeing renewed violence in Myanmar's Rakhine State, are women and children.

UNICEF said it was increasing psycho-social support for newly-arrived children including recreation kits and trained teachers.

"Deep concern" raised over deteriorating conditions for Iranian hunger-strikers

"Deep concern" has been raised over deteriorating medical conditions being faced by a group of Iranian prisoners, who are on a prolonged hunger strike.

UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran, Asma Jahangir, said she was "deeply alarmed" that 53 prisoners – including 15 Baha'is – have been transferred to a high-security detention facility inside Rajai-Shahr prison, west of Tehran, in the past few weeks.

The prisoners have been on hunger strike to protest against their transfer, and about their treatment in detention.

Ms Jahangir said that torture and ill-treatment had continued, adding that none of them had been allowed to take personal belongings, including medicines.

"Depriving prisoners of having family contact, lawyers and adequate medical care, is contrary to international law", the rights expert said.

She urged the Iranian government to find a "prompt solution to the extreme situation created by the hunger strike".

UN Refugee Agency urges more robust action to prevent child deaths at sea

Exactly two years after the body of three-year-old Alan Kurdi was found on a Turkish beach, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is urging the international community to take robust action to prevent similar tragedies.

In a statement commemorating the toddler's death, UNHCR said that even though the numbers attempting the journey across the Mediterranean had drastically decreased, many continue to lose their lives.

Since 2 September, 2015, at least 8,500 refugees and migrants have died or gone missing, and many have died in the north African desert.

Many of the children trying to reach Europe travel on their own, making the journey even more terrifying and perilous, said UNHCR.

A staggering 92 per cent of the 13,700 children arriving in Italy by sea this year so far, were on their own.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 4’52″

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