News in Brief 27 December 2016 (AM)

Integrity of Somalia electoral process “hangs in the balance”

The integrity of Somalia’s electoral process “hangs in the balance” the UN Assistance Mission in the country (UNSOM) has warned, quoting Somalia’s international partners.

Somalia’s first democratic elections in 47 years are underway as the country continues to recover from civil conflict and the ravages of recurrent droughts.

The UN, the African Union, the African regional trade bloc, IGAD and donors like Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States raised the alarm on Tuesday.

The international parties said that “more delays and a failure to hold accountable those parties responsible for serious abuses and malpractices will compromise their “ability and willingness” to engage with Somalia’s next federal government.

According to media reports, Somalia’s presidential elections have been delayed for the fourth time. Furthermore, the process has been marred by allegations of fraud and corruption.

Meanwhile, the same global partners have praised the Horn of Africa country for Tuesday’s inauguration of its Federal Parliament.

They are urging the newly elected lawmakers to elect the Speakers and the Deputy Speakers of the new parliament as well as the President.

The electoral process was supposed to have finished earlier this year.

Iraqi families in Mosul receive US $7.3 million in EU humanitarian aid

Families fleeing Mosul in Iraq because of an ongoing military campaign to retake the city from the ISIL terrorist group will receive additional support from the European Union, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said.

The EU’s humanitarian branch, ECHO, has pledged more than US $7.3 million to support the agency’s work in the country, bringing its total contributions to more than US $20 million.

The donation will cover not only the emergency needs of conflict-affected children, but also aims at reaching those trapped in active conflict zones and in newly accessible areas.

Furthermore, with the arrival of winter, the support comes at a critical time.

Many of the children affected by conflict in Iraq have gone without education, vaccinations, and other aid for more than two years.

More than three million people are displaced in Iraq, and an estimated 11 million are in need of humanitarian assistance; half of them children.

In 2017, as many as 1.2 million additional people may be forced from their homes as military operations continue.

Iraqi families return to their renovated homes in Ramadi

Families returning to the newly-liberated Iraqi city of Ramadi are being given the keys to houses that have been renovated by the UN Human Settlements Programme or UN-Habitat.

Tameem neighbourhood in Ramadi City was one of the areas largely damaged by the ISIL terrorist group and devastated by the military operations in December 2015.

Buildings were destroyed and houses were burned in the offensive.

UN-Habitat rehabilitated 123 houses in the neighbourhood to ensure that the returnees live in dignity and in safe and secured accommodation.

Source: United Nations Radio