News in Brief 6 September 2017 (PM)

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Secretary-General António Guterres speaks to journalists at a press encounter. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Strengthened efforts needed to prevent genocide, war crimes: UN chief

Strengthened efforts are needed to help prevent genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, said the UN chief on Wednesday, launching his first report on the responsibility to protect.

He told the Security Council that the high number of refugees and internally-displaced showed that those crimes were flourishing amid conflict and an increasing trend towards deliberate or indiscriminate attacks against vulnerable civilians.

Here's Secretary-General António Guterres.

"We must do more and we must do better to reverse these negative trends. In this report I propose concrete measures, trying to achieve this. The report reflects my conviction that the UN must give far greater attention to addressing problems before they escalate and spiral out of control."

He acknowledged that the principle of atrocity prevention and responsibility to protect caused some Member States "discomfort" as it could interfere with national sovereignty.

Mr Guterres said he was co  nvinced that open and constructive discussion could allay any concerns.

UN Mission in South Sudan says thousands have left Bentiu camp

The UN Mission in South Sudan UNMISS, said on Wednesday that the largest Protection of Civilians camp in the country was becoming smaller.

The huge site at Bentiu used to provide shelter for around 120,000 at the beginning of the year, but now that figure is  down to around 14,600.

South Sudan has been wracked by increasingly ethnic-based conflict between rival militia, fuelling a humanitarian, refugee and economic crisis, including famine in several parts of the world's youngest country.

More details from UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric.

"The increase in the number of people leaving the UN protection site has been partly driven by the provision of services outside the sites. The head of the UN Mission, David Shearer, said that humanitarian partners provide a wide range of services inside the Bentiu camp, but have now stepped up outside and are delivering some of the same services to people who are returning home. If people are confident enough to go home, we can help them and make the transition so much easier, he said."

Some 213,000 people live in seven PoC sites provided by the UN Mission across South Sudan.

Victims of Sierra Leone floods to receive cholera vaccine "within weeks"

Around half a million people in Sierra Leone are to be given access to cholera vaccine within a matter of weeks, the UN said on Wednesday.

A deadly landslide in mid August near the capital Freetown together with heavy flooding, left around 500 people dead.

Hundreds more were reported missing while thousands were displaced.

Vaccines will be received from the global stockpile and will target the areas most heavily-affected.

More details from Stéphane Dujarric again.

"Two rounds of vaccination are planned to run from September and will be delivered in 25 affected communities by the Government of Sierra Leone supported by the Global Alliance Gavi, the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, the UK Government, as well as other health partners."

Deep condolences extended to families of fallen Lebanese soldiers

The UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon has extended her deep condolences to the families of the fallen Lebanese soldiers who were kidnapped in 2014 by Daesh terrorists.

Their bodies were identified by Lebanese authorities on Wednesday morning following DNA tests.

News reports said a state funeral would likely take place at the end of this week.

Their remains were discovered late last month.

Special Coordinator Sigrid Kaag said the servicemen would always serve as a symbol of courage, commitment and dedication to their country.

She commended the Armed Forces and the security forces in their continued efforts to safeguard Lebanon's stability, security and territorial integrity, including from the threat of terror.

Matt Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 3'24"

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