This is the News in Brief, from the United Nations.
UN expresses concern following wave of street protests in Iraq and elsewhere
Authorities in Iraq have been urged by the UN human rights office, OHCHR, to allow citizens to exercise their right to freedom of expression after the security forces opened fire on mass anti-government protests which began earlier this week.
Reports indicate that up to 30 people have been killed in demonstrations across the country, though OHCHR said the number has not been verified.
Hundreds more were reportedly injured, including members of the security forces, while dozens of demonstrators were detained, most of whom subsequently were released.
Scores of Iraqis, mostly youth, have taken to the streets since Tuesday, to demand economic reforms, jobs, and reliable basic public services such as electricity and water, as well as an end to corruption.
Waves of demonstrations also in Hong Kong, Haiti, and Ecuador in recent days, and the UN chief Antonio Guterres said on Friday that the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly had to be respected.
UN highlights milestone of 1,000 Ebola survivors in DR Congo
One thousand people have survived the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC): a testament to the strong leadership of the Congolese health authorities combined with the tireless efforts of thousands of local health workers and partners, United Nations agencies said on Friday.
The outbreak began in August 2018 and is the largest and longest running that the DRC has experienced, with more than 3,000 cases and 2,137 deaths.
The latest figures released by WHO on Friday for the week ending 1 October, showed 20 new confirmed cases reported in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, versus 29 in the previous week.
The agency said this decrease "should be interpreted with caution, as operational and security challenges in certain health zones make it difficult to undertake case detection and response functions."
UN experts recommend elimination of toxic chemicals
Scientific experts gathering during the 15th meeting of the pollutant review committee, POPCR-15 in Stockholm, have advised the elimination of a group of hazardous chemicals in a bid to protect human health and the environment.
A group of more than 100 scientists flagged compounds commonly found in carpets, leather goods and clothing, which are shown to have detrimental effects on the human nervous system, brain development, and other organs.
Two additional chemicals satisfy criteria set out in the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), namely that they are toxic to both humans and wildlife, persist over long periods of time and can be transported over long distances, via air or water.
Persistent exposure to POPs has been linked to certain cancers, birth defects, dysfunctional immune and reproductive systems, and susceptibility to disease.
A follow-up 2020 meeting will further review impacts of the hazardous chemicals, which would lead action toward their elimination or reduction in production and use.
Conor Lennon, UN News.