Iraq UN envoy urges political leaders to help end bloodshed following latest

“It is the responsibility of all leaders to stop the bloodshed in this country and to protect their citizens,” said the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Iraq, Martin Kobler. “Small children are burned alive in cars. Worshippers are cut down outside their own mosques. This is beyond unacceptable. It is the politicians’ responsibility to act immediately and to engage in dialogue to resolve the political impasse and put an end to this.”According to media reports, two bombs near a Sunni mosque north of Baghdad killed at least 43 people and wounded more than 80 on Friday. One bomb reportedly exploded as worshippers were departing a mosque in the city of Baquba, while a second went off after people gathered at the scene of the first blast.Hundreds of people have been killed or wounded in recent clashes across the country, including in Hawija, north of Baghdad, where government helicopters shot at militants hiding in the village, resulting in dozens of people killed or injured.Mr. Kobler has repeatedly called on Iraqi authorities to take decisive measures to stop the escalating violence. Earlier this month, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged all Iraqis to come together and engage in inclusive dialogue to overcome the “deep political crisis” facing the country.“Peace must come to this country now. The people of Iraq have suffered enough,” Mr. Kobler said. “We will continue to remind the leaders of Iraq that the country will slide backwards into a dangerous unknown if they do not take action.” read more

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UNESCO chief calls for safety of media workers amid violent unrest in

Journalists, police officers and protesters were among the dozens of people killed during violent clashes this week in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, which has been witnessing mass protests since late November.Irina Bokova, the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), strongly condemned the killing of Mr. Veremyi, who died in Kiev on 19 February, and voiced concern about the many journalists who have been injured in the clashes. She urged respect for the right of media workers to report news, even in “situations of internal turbulence.” “I call on all parties to recognize the specific status of reporters and let them carry out their work in safe conditions, and I appeal to the authorities to ensure that this case is investigated thoroughly and brought swiftly to justice,” Ms. Bokova stated in a news release.On 18 February, unknown assailants dragged Mr. Veremyi, a correspondent for the Ukrainian newspaper Vesti, out of a taxi on his way home from Maidan Square and shot him. He died in the hospital the next day.According to some sources, more than 30 journalists were injured in violent incidents in Ukraine on 18 February.The escalating violence in Kiev has sparked concern among senior UN officials, with both Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay urging all sides to exercise restraint and find a peaceful solution to the ongoing crisis. read more

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