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Source: United Nations 2

A recap of Friday’s main stories: ‘Real people with real problems’ must be heard, Guterres tells world leaders; one-in-four pregnancies unplanned; Security Council on the situation in Central African Republic; displaced in northeast Nigeria; Libya, Colombia developments.  

Protests around the world: Politicians must address ‘growing deficit of trust’, urges Guterres  

Protests in cities across the world in recent days show that “people are hurting and want to be heard” by political leaders who must now address a “growing deficit of trust”, said the UN chief on Friday.  

Speaking to correspondents at UN Headquarters in New York, António Guterres said that although “every situation is unique” there are common underlying factors which constitute “rising threats to the social contract” between citizens and the political class.  

Here’s our full coverage.  

Listen to or download the full remarks on SoundCloud:  

One-in-four pregancies unplanned, two-thirds of women foregoing contraceptives 

Around two-thirds of sexually active women surveyed in a new UN study indicated that although they wished to avoid or postpone having children, they had stopped relying on contraception out of concern for how it was affecting their health. As a result, around a quarter of all pregnancies are unplanned.  

That’s according to World Health Organization (WHO) findings published on Friday. The family planning study of more than 10,000 women aged 15 to 49, across 36 low and middle-income countries confirms that 65 per cent of women with an unintended pregnancy were either not using contraception, or relied on traditional methods (such as withdrawal or calendar-based methods).  

More in our story, here. 

UN Libya mission denies enabling anti-Government forces to target medical facilities 

The UN Support Mission in Libya, UNSMIL, on Friday strongly denied “rumours” that it has been sharing coordinates of field hospitals and clinics with forces loyal to the self-styled Libyan National Army, which has been waging a military campaign to take the capital from the UN-recognized Government since April. 

UNSMIL “strongly condemns attacks on all civilian targets including health facilities and medical personnel” having documented at least 58 attacks on health workers and health facilities so far this year. 

The mission said it “categorically denies rumours that it has received coordinates for field hospitals and field clinics operating south of Tripoli, and passed them on to one of the parties to the conflict. UNSMIL reiterates that it has not received any coordinates for field hospitals and field clinics and has not provided such information to any party to the conflict.” 

Reports emerged online on Thursday, quoting an Anti-Terrorism Force spokesperson, alleging that drones had been deployed by rebel militia after UNSMIL had been given the positions of facilities, leading to an increase in attacks. 

“The UN stresses that attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure violate international humanitarian and human rights law and may constitute war crimes”, the UNSMIL statement continued. 

Central African Republic: ‘Transform dreams of peace into reality’: mission chief tells Security Council  

Updating the Security Council on the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) on Friday, the head of the UN Mission in the country, MINUSCA, called on the country’s friends and partners, including the Council, to “transform the dreams of peace, prosperity and development of millions of Central Africans into a lasting reality”.  

Looking back over events that have taken place since his last such briefing in June, Mankeur Ndiaye reiterated his observation that hopes have been raised, following the signing of a peace and reconciliation agreement in February, in the capital Bangui, the implementation of which has been a major preoccupation of MINUSCA. He outlined both the progress made, and the challenges faced by the vast nation. 

Here’s our story.  

More than 140,000 displaced in northeast Nigeria 

Renewed violence in Nigeria’s northeastern state of Borno has displaced more than 140,000 people this year alone, and with many farmers having missed planting seasons, three million people are now food insecure. 

UN relief chief and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, shared these observations on Friday, following a visit to the war-battered region.  

Most of the violence has been perpetrated by extremist group Boko Haram, with more than seven million people currently in need of humanitarian assistance in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States, he said.  

Murder of prominent former-FARC fighter condemned 

The UN Verification Mission in Colombia has condemned the murder of the prominent former FARC rebel leader, Alexander Parra, also known as Rodolfo Fierro, in the area where training and reintegration has been taking place, and expressed its “condolences to his family and community members”. 

The UN Verification Mission voiced its “profound” condemnation for this latest murder, reportedly at the hands of a death squad, which has seen more than 150 former members of the demobilized militia killed, since the signing of the historic peace agreement with the Government in 2016. 

Mr. Parra was a former commander, FARC delegate to the Departmental Council for Reintegration in Meta and international coordinator, said the Mission. He was “recognized for his commitment to the peace process and his active role in promoting reintegration. His partner, who was present during the events, is a FARC party candidate for the municipal council of Mesetas.” 

The assassination is the first to take place in the demobilization and reintegration area, where former FARC fighters are living under public protection, before being fully reintegrating into civilian life. 

Listen to or download our audio News in Brief for 25 October on SoundCloud:   

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