News in Brief 11 December 2017 (PM)

Bodies of Tanzanian peacekeepers killed in DRC arrive home on UN flight

The bodies of the 14 Tanzanian peacekeepers killed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on Friday, have been returned home on a UN flight, according to Tanzania's Foreign Minister.

Augustine Mahiga told UN News that the troops who were injured during the assault on a UN base in eastern DRC, near the town of Beni in North Kivu, had been flown to different hospitals in the region for treatment.

According to news reports, a memorial ceremony to honour the dead organized by the UN Mission MONUSCO took place near Beni.

Here's Mr. Mahiga, speaking from the Tanzanian capital.

"14 bodies have been received in Dar es Salaam by UN flight. What follows next is probably to have some post mortems before the burial proceedings can be arranged. Earlier we were told that there were four people missing in action. But the latest information is that all have been accounted for except for one soldier and we think he was taken alive as a hostage."

UN Deputy Spokesperson, Farhan Haq, said that the head of UN Peacekeeping, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, would be in Tanzania soon.

"He will head to the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to attend the memorial ceremony that will take place in Goma on Thursday Mr. Lacroix will also meet the wounded peacekeepers, as well as personnel of the UN Mission to thank them for their service and dedication in the name of peace. Mr. Lacroix will travel on 15 December to Dar es Salaam, to personally convey to the people and Government of Tanzania the UN's deep gratitude for the sacrifices of their men and women and their continuing contributions over the years in the DRC, as well as to some of our most challenging missions, including in the Central African Republic, Darfur and Lebanon."

Global economic upturn "paves the way" for tackling longer-term issues

An upturn in the global economy, now growing by around 3 per cent, can pave the way for polices to tackle longer-term issues such as climate change, and sustainable development, according to a new UN report.

The World Economic Situation and Prospects report, launched today at UN Headquarters by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), offers hope that growth can help tackle fundamental inequalities.

UN chief Antonio Guterres, in a foreword to the 2018 report, says that it demonstrated "that current macroeconomic conditions offer policymakers great scope to address some of the deep-rooted issues that continue to hamper progress".

This year's growth rate is the highest since 2011, and shows that improvement is widespread, with roughly two thirds of all countries experiencing stronger growth, than last year.

It's expected to remain steady for the next two years, said DESA.

DESA chief, Liu Zhenmin, said that it was "important to remember that this may come at an environmental cost".

He said there needed to be stronger efforts to minimize the environmental impact of growth, as emphasized at November's UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn.

Millions displaced as violence takes "heavy toll" on Somali civilians

Violence is continuing to take a "heavy toll" on millions of civilians across Somalia, according to a new report released on Monday by the UN Human Rights Office and the UN mission in the country.

Internal displacement is still rife, impeding access to humanitarian relief for communities in need.

The report says that from the start of last year up to mid-October this year, the UN has documented 2,078 civilian deaths and 2,507 injuries.

Sixty per cent of these casualties are attributed to Al Shabaab militants and 13 per cent to clan militias.

Here's Farhan Haq again.

"The report also notes that conflict has disproportionately affected children, exposing them to grave violations during military operations, including killing, maiming and arrest and detention by Somali security forces. In addition, reports of recruitment of children increased sharply."

Source: United Nations Radio