News in Brief 16 June 2017 (PM)

16 June 2017

UN Peacekeeping chief expresses “deep concern” over violence in DRC

The UN Peacekeeping chief met with the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on Friday and expressed “deep concern over the continuing violence” in the Kasai region.

The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, reaffirmed the UN’s commitment to support the “full implementation” of the political agreement signed last December between President Joseph Kabila and opposition leaders.

It commits the country to fresh elections and a peaceful transition of power by the end of this year.

Mr Lacroix said the UN Mission, MONUSCO, was working to create a peaceful environment conducive to holding “free, fair and inclusive elections.”

Here’s UN Spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric.

“Mr Lacroix conveyed the UN's deep concern over the continuing violence and grave human rights abuses in the Kasais. He underscored the importance of ensuring accountability for crimes committed by all sides and pledged the UN's full support in ensuring that those responsible for the killing of Michael Sharp and Zaida Catalán are brought to justice.”

The two independent UN sanctions monitors, Mr Sharp and Ms Catalán, were shot and killed in March, in the Kasai region.

Chancellor Helmut Kohl praised for “instrumental role”, by UN chief

The former German Chancellor, Helmut Kohl, who died on Friday, was praised by the Spokesperson for the UN chief, for the “instrumental role” he played in reunifying his country and bringing Europe together.

The former German leader, who was the architect of bringing east and west together less than a year after the fall of the Berlin Wall, was 87.

In a statement, Stéphane Dujarric said Mr Kohl had “helped set a course for the historic process of Europe’s political and economic integration” through the 1990s under the European Union.

He said Secretary-General António Guterres had learned of Mr Kohl’s death “with great sadness” and extended his condolences to Mr Kohl’s family, and the government and people of Germany.

Mr Dujarric added that “today’s Europe is a product of his vision and tenacity, in the face of enormous obstacles.”

UN Expert calls for respect of human rights in DPRK prisons

Following the release of a student from the United States who fell into a coma while detained, the UN expert on human rights in North Korea, has called on the country to provide a full explanation for his condition.

Otto Warmbier was arrested last year during a trip to North Korea, or DPRK, and sentenced to 15 years in prison, after attempting to steal a sign from a hotel.

The North Korean authorities accused him of planning hostile acts against the state.

UN Independent Expert Tomás Ojea Quintana said he welcomed the release of Mr Warmbier, who is now home in the United States and receiving medical treatment, saying he was “very concerned about his condition.”

He said the authorities “had to provide a clear explanation about what made him slip into a coma.”

Mr Quintana called for respect of human rights for all detainees held in DPRK.

It’s believed Mr Warmbier fell into the coma in March last year, reportedly after being given a sleeping pill, and suffering from botulism – a bacterial infection.

Doctors in the US told reporters on Friday that they had found no traces of the disease, and said he had lost extensive quantities of brain tissue.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2'56"


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