News in Brief 22 November 2017 (PM)

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14 year old refugee heads to school from the geriatriezentrum refugee camp in Vienna, Austria on May 2016. He and his family have been in Vienna since November 2015 after fleeing Basra, the southern Iraqi port city, in late 2015. ©UNICEF/UN021763/Gilbertson VII Photo

Suicide of 11-year-old Afghan "a tragic reminder" of refugee stress: UNICEF

The apparent suicide of an 11-year-old Afghan refugee living in Austria, is a "tragic reminder" of the deep psychological distress facing thousands who have fled for their lives to Europe, said the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) on Wednesday.

The boy had reportedly been struggling to take care of his siblings in a refugee shelter, and Austrian authorities are investigating what led to the suicide, said UNICEF.

Austria has received around 60,000 refugee children since 2015, of which at least 12,000 were unaccompanied, from countries such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

UNICEF said it was training frontline workers on child protection and working to sensitize caregivers to the risks and trauma facing children, particularly in accommodation centres.

More details from UN Deputy Spokesperson, Farhan Haq.

"UNICEF said it is crucial that these children receive the right quality of care at the right time to detect early warning signals of trouble, access to mental health services and the support of guardians or foster families. If such measures are not put in place as a matter of urgency, the long-term impact on children's lives and their societies can be incalculable, the agency said."

Despite Iraq's ISIL victory, dialogue is needed for sustainable peace

Iraq's historic victory against the terrorist group ISIL, or Daesh, has come at a very high cost, and many unresolved issues remain.

That's one of the key messages from Ján Kubiš, UN Special Representative for Iraq, delivered to the Security Council on Wednesday.

Last week, Iraqi government-led forces captured the last remaining Daesh-controlled area of Rawa district, sealing ISIL's historic defeat, he told Council members.

However, around 6 million Iraqis were displaced around Mosul and elsewhere, during the campaign, with many thousands of civilians killed and wounded.

Mr Kubiš urged the international community to "vigorously" continue efforts to ensure the defeat of Daesh and restoration of stability throughout the country.

He also pointed to tensions between the central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) as a major concern.

On 25 September, the KRG held a unilateral referendum on independence for the Kurdistan region, which Baghdad declared unconstitutional.

Mr Kubiš called for negotiations from both sides to find a solution.

"All outstanding issues between the federal Government and the KRG need to be resolved through their constructive partnership dialogue, leading to sustainable solutions on the basis of the Constitution that will also guarantee the full constitutional rights of the KR-I (the Kurdistan region of Iraq) and its people."

"Encouraging" progress implementing child protection in Colombia peace effort

The implementation of child protection measures included in the Colombia Peace Agreement has been encouraging so far, said the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict on Wednesday.

Virginia Gamba was speaking at the end of a two-day visit to the country, where a UN Verification Mission is now monitoring the laying down of arms between rebel groups and government forces, after decades of conflict.

Ms Gamba said "lessons could be drawn" from the process, adding that the reintegration of former combatants – especially child soldiers – should be everyone's priority.

Here's Farhan Haq again.

"She also stressed that children used and abused in and for armed conflict should be treated as victims and that detention and juvenile courts should only be used as a last resort."

Matt Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 3'06"

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