This is the news in brief from the United Nations.
Former Côte d'Ivoire president remains behind bars, despite acquittal
Two days after the International Criminal Court, known as the ICC, acquitted Laurent Gbagbo of crimes against humanity, on Thursday the former Ivorian President remains behind bars along with his co-defendant, Charles Blé Goudé.
The accusations against them stemmed from post-electoral violence in Côte d'Ivoire between December 2010 and April 2011.
In custody since the trial began in January 2016, prosecutors filed an appeal against Tuesday’s acquittal, and considering Mr. Gbagbo a flight risk, requested on Wednesday that he remain in custody until the appeal is resolved.
ICC Spokesperson Fadi el Abdallah explained the procedure to UN News:
"There are multiple scenarios for the acquittal itself, when the decision will be filed then the prosecutor will have the possibility to appeal and then it will be for the Appeals Chamber to decide whether or not to uphold the acquittal, to reverse it and revert the case back to the Trial chamber or not.
As for the release of Mr. Gbagbo and Mr. Blé Goudé, this will be determined by the Appeals Chamber. First there will be a decision whether Mr. Gbagbo and Mr. Blé Goudé have to stay in detention until the issue of the acquittal is decided."
‘Deplorable conditions’ in Syria’s Rukban settlement
On Thursday, the World Health Organization, WHO, expressed severe concern over deteriorating humanitarian conditions for approximately 40,000 mostly women and children in Syria’s Rukban settlement, a refugee camp near the Jordanian border.
According to WHO, harsh winter conditions have reportedly left several dead, with very few staff or medical supplies available, and no generators or fuel to provide even minimum warmth.
The UN health agency called for immediate access to provide medical care, and evacuate patients who are critically ill.
Elizabeth Hoff, the WHO Representative in Syria said: “The people trapped in Rukban are living in deplorable conditions, exposed to harsh winter weather that shows no sign of abating”.
She stressed the importance of reaching them as soon as possible “so that no more lives are lost unnecessarily.”
UN rallies communities to counter extremists with national unity
Turning to Afghanistan, the UN continues to counter violent extremism in the country’s northeastern region by engaging religious scholars as agents of peace and rallying communities to join local peace efforts.
The religious scholars, known as Ulema, are respected, influential community leaders whose role in promoting peace and reconciliation has been widely recognized as essential, including in Kunduz and its surrounding provinces, which are among the country’s most volatile.
In a recent interview, an official of the Kunduz Department of Hajj and Religious Affairs told the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) that they are preaching peace in mosques as well as on the radio and television.
A religious scholar himself, Mawlawi Mohammad Yaqub Sabir said that he and his colleagues “want peace” adding that “we will continue preaching peace now and, in the future”.
Last year, UNAMA regional office in Kunduz backed a series of peace-building initiatives that were broadcast to some one million people across the region.
Liz Scaffidi, UN News.