News in Brief 31 July 2017 (PM)

Suicide attack against Iraqi embassy in Afghanistan condemned

An attack on the Iraqi embassy in the Afghan capital, Kabul, was condemned by the UN Mission in the country (UNAMA) on Monday.

The assault began when a bomber blew himself up at the embassy gate, in a residential area of the city.

Other attackers entered the compound, killing two Afghan civilian employees and injuring a police officer.

The gunmen were killed by Afghan security forces after a battle lasting around five hours, said UNAMA.

A branch of the ISIL terrorist organization based in Afghanistan and Pakistan claimed responsibility for the assault.

"This attack shows complete contempt for human life, as well as the international law designed to protect diplomats," said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan.

He commended the Afghan security forces "for their swift action that saved many lives."

UNAMA expressed its condolences to the loved ones of those Afghans killed in the attack and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured.

Tribute paid to Ugandan peacekeepers who "made the ultimate sacrifice"

The UN's Special Representative in Somalia has paid tribute to Ugandan soldiers from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), who lost their lives in an ambush on Sunday.

Michael Keating also expressed deepest condolences to the families and colleagues of the soldiers, who were killed by Al-Shabaab militants in the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia.

The men had been conducting a joint patrol with Somali National Army soldiers.

On Monday, a spokesperson for the Ugandan army said they were launching an investigation into the incident, which the spokesperson said left 12 dead, and a further seven wounded.

Here's UN Spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric:

"Mr Keating paid tribute to AMISOM troops who have made the ultimate sacrifice in pursuit of a more peaceful and prosperous future for Somalia, reaffirming the UN's solidarity with the people and government of Uganda as they mourn the loss of their compatriots."

Deaths of demonstrators in Venezuela need to be investigated: OHCHR

The deaths of at least ten people protesting controversial Constituent Assembly elections in Venezuela over the weekend, need to be effectively and independently investigated, said the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on Monday.

According to disputed government figures, around 41 per cent of Venezuelans went to the polls on Sunday to choose a new assembly which will rewrite the existing constitution.

Opposition parties boycotted the vote.

The UN Human Rights Office called on authorities to stop using excessive force to repress demonstrations, and ensure that the right of peaceful assembly is respected.

More details from Stephane Dujarric again.

"The Human Rights Office calls for the investigations into the deaths to be prompt, effective and independent, and urges the Government to cooperate fully with such investigations. The Office also expressed concern that the Venezuelan authorities continue to violate the right of peaceful assembly by violently dispersing demonstrators."

Park rangers facing "increasing challenges" worldwide

Park rangers across the world are facing increasing challenges and risks due to a surge in poaching and illicit trafficking in wildlife, the head of the United Nations entity on protection of endangered species said on Monday.

John Scanlon, Secretary-General of the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was honouring the work of park rangers in protecting wild animals, plants and culture.

"Honest and hardworking park rangers devote their lives to protecting our natural resources and cultural heritage" he said.

He added that in some areas, "these brave men and women regularly encounter well-resourced groups of poachers, equipped with high calibre weapons, who do not hesitate to use violence against them."

In recent years, rangers have increasingly been targeted by criminals seeking to profit from some of the world's most iconic animal species, such as elephants, rhinos, and plants such as the rosewood tree.

Source: United Nations Radio

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