News in Brief (PM)

Fighting reported in Leer, South Sudan

Sustained small arms fire as well mortar explosions and tank fire has been reported by the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) around Leer town in the north of the country.

The Mission said Government and opposition forces were reportedly fighting each other over the weekend.

The almost three-year-long conflict has led to the deaths of tens of thousands of people and forced some 2.6 million to flee their homes.

Here’s the UN Spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric.

“The peacekeeping mission remains very concerned by the fighting between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army and the Opposition, which continues to impact the already dire humanitarian situation in the country.”

UNMISS has called on both sides to respect a ceasefire deal signed in July and to fully implement a peace agreement.

Ongoing violence in Libya delays start of new school year

Ongoing violence, instability, and the destruction of schools are disrupting the education of over 1.2 million children in Libya, a UN envoy has said.

The UN Children’s Fund Special Representative Ghassan Khalil said that according to Libya’s Ministry of Education, 558 schools are not functioning, affecting 279,000 school-aged children in the war-torn country.

The North African state has been in turmoil since the overthrow of former President Muammar al-Qhadafi in 2011.

Egypt urged to halt “ongoing harassment” of human rights defenders

Egypt has been urged to halt what’s been described by a UN independent expert as the “ongoing harassment” of human rights defenders.

The UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, said the government was imposing increased restrictions on civil society groups in Egypt.

He detailed a recent judgement by the Cairo Criminal court which froze the assets of five prominent human rights activists and three NGOs.

He said the authorities appear to be “systematically attacking civil society in an effort to silence its voice.”

“Deep concern” at violent attacks in Myanmar

“Deep concern” has been expressed by the UN at violent attacks in the north of Rakhine state in Myanmar.

The Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General, Vijay Nambiar, said unidentified individuals and groups attacked border guards on Sunday resulting in the deaths of security personnel as well as civilians.

In 2012, violence erupted between the majority Buddhist population and Muslim Rohingya people in Rakhine.

More than 100,000 people, mostly Rohingyas, are still in displacement camps.

Mr Nambiar said that “local communities at all levels must refuse to be provoked by these incidents.”

He added that community leaders must work actively to prevent the “incitement of animosity or mutual hatred between Buddhist and Muslim communities.”

Daniel Dickinson, United Nations

Duration: 2’55?

Source: United Nations Radio.