News in Brief 25 January 2017 (AM)

25 January 2017

Cambodia urged to release human rights defenders

The Cambodian Government is being called on to immediately release five human rights defenders who have been detained since May 2016.

The appeal has been made by two UN independent experts whose respective mandates cover the human rights situation in the country and the issue of arbitrary detention.

They said the five detainees were being held on charges relating to assistance they gave to a woman who was allegedly pressed by Cambodia’s Anti-Corruption Unit to lie about a false allegation.

“The charges were seen as politically motivated, and in November 2016, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention ruled their detention to be ‘arbitrary’,” they stated.

The jailed human rights activists are all current or former members of a human rights association known by the acronym ADHOC.

Security Council condemns deadly attack on peacekeepers in Mali

Authorities in Mali are being urged to swiftly investigate attacks against UN peacekeepers in the country and to bring the perpetrators to justice.

That’s the message from the UN Security Council which has condemned in the strongest terms a deadly attack earlier this week which killed a blue helmet from Chad and injured two of his colleagues.

Council members underlined that attacks targeting peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law.

They also reiterated their full support for the UN mission in Mali, MINUSMA, and the French forces supporting it.

South Korean donation supports Palestine refugee children in Syria

A US$500,000 contribution from the Republic of Korea announced on Wednesday will benefit approximately 45,000 Palestine refugee children in Syria.

The UN agency that assists Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, will use the funding to develop health centres and schools that are safe, child-friendly and gender-sensitive.

It also will go towards facilitating health education for the children.

UNRWA said this latest contribution by the Republic of Korea, which is also known as South Korea, is part of the country’s ‘Better Life for Girls’ initiative.

That programme aims to provide quality education and strengthen health services for vulnerable girls in developing countries.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

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