Ukraine prisoner swap welcomed as "positive step"

The exchange of more than 300 prisoners by warring parties in Ukraine has been welcomed as a positive step after years of conflict, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Thursday.

After successfully coordinating the operation this week, ICRC reported that it was the largest transfer of detainees since fighting erupted in 2014 between government forces and separatists in the east of the country bordering Russia.

Lifesaving aid reaches displaced inside Myanmar

Aid has started to arrive in Myanmar’s Rakhine state where ongoing violence has forced nearly 400,000 civilians to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) announced the development on Friday, saying it had reached camps for displaced civilians in Myanmar in the last three days, with enough supplies for 50,000 people.

Daniel Johnson has more.

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UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Peacekeepers are “standard setters”

Peacekeepers are standard setters and their actions can make a difference in the most difficult situations, the president of a humanitarian institution has said.

The president of the International Committee for Red Cross (ICRC) made the remarks on Friday to members of the Security Council during an open debate on the protection of civilians in conflict areas.

UN/Jean-Marc Ferré

UN and Red Cross chiefs appeal to end suffering

An unprecedented call for action to stop suffering by ending conflict has been issued by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, along with the head of the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Maurer.

Speaking together at the UN in Geneva, both men warned that a disregard for basic humanity now reigned, with Mr Ban insisting: “Even war has rules.”