News in Brief 06 October 2017 (PM)

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Signing Ceremony for the "Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons", 20 September. Secretary-General António Guterres (centre right). Beatrice Fihn (first from right), Executive Director, ICAN. UN Photo/Kim Haughton

Nobel prize for group opposing nuclear weapons, praised by UN chief

The announcement on Friday that this year's Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to an international group campaigning to abolish nuclear weapons reminds the world of the "catastrophic risk" they pose.

That's the view of UN chief António Guterres, who said the prize recognized the "determined efforts" of civil society in general, to highlight the devastating consequences of nuclear war.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, or ICAN, consists of more than 400 NGOs, whose tireless campaigning helped bring about the first multilateral, legally-binding instrument in decades last July, known as the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

The Secretary-General said that "at a time when nuclear anxieties are at the highest level since the Cold War", given the crisis over North Korea, countries needed to show greater commitment to a nuclear-free world.

Here's Izumi Nakamitsu, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs.

"Moving towards a world free of nuclear weapons is really today an urgent priority so this Noble Peace Prize really is very significant in terms of timing and the situation in which we are all living in today."

Concern rising for safety of "over a million" Syrians in Deir Ezzour

Concern is mounting for the safety and protection of more than a million civilians in Syria's Deir Ezzour governorate, following heavy fighting, the UN said on Friday.

Hundreds of families began fleeing from Sawa village and surrounding areas on Wednesday, and many of the displaced have moved to remote areas that are inaccessible to humanitarian workers.

The UN's regional relief coordinator for Syria, Panos Moumtzis, said that hospitals, ambulances, schools and displaced people were being "routinely targeted" by airstrikes, resulting in the highest monthly total of deaths and injuries this year, during September.

Between 19 and 30 September, airstrikes on residential areas in Idlib killed at least 149 people, the majority women and children.

Schools and hospitals there have been forced to close for fear of being targeted.

Airstrikes on Raqqa City killed dozens this week, while around 8,000 remain trapped inside the former stronghold of the ISIL terrorist group.

Mr Moumtzis praised "the phenomenal work carried out by humanitarian workers and in particular national staff."

"Impartial and independent investigations" need over Cameroon violence

Prompt and impartial investigations need to be carried out following deadly violence in south-western and north-western areas of Cameroon, said the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on Friday.

OHCHR was echoing concern expressed by the Secretary-General over the violence that followed pro-independence demonstrations in English-speaking parts of the mainly Francophone country, last weekend.

At least 17 were killed, according to media reports.

More details from UN Spokeperson, Stéphane Dujarric.

"The Office calls on the Government of Cameroon to establish prompt, effective, impartial and independent investigations to ensure accountability.

They also urge the authorities to ensure that the security forces exercise restraint and take measures to prevent the use of force when policing demonstrations.

The High Commissioner's Office reiterates that people should be allowed to exercise their right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, including through having uninterrupted access to the internet."

OHCHR also urged the government and Anglophone groups to engage in "meaningful political dialogue".

Matt Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 3’08″

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