News in Brief (AM) – Geneva

Aleppo violence claims new victims in rebel and government areas

In Syria's Aleppo, deadly fighting between armed rebel groups and pro-government forces has escalated in recent days and may constitute war crimes by both sides, the UN said Tuesday.

According to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), more than 30 civilians died in government-held western Aleppo when rebels fired rockets, mortars and homemade explosives at residential areas.

In the east of the city, attacks attributed to the country's military forces killed at least 12 people of which two of the victims were children, the UN Human Rights Office said.

Conditions remain dire in Aleppo's east, which has been under siege since July.

Six hospitals are still functioning and 30 doctors are "working round the clock" to help a population of around quarter of a million people, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

Call for action on conflict-related people trafficking

The international community has been urged to renew efforts to help people to flee conflict without them having to resort to illegal traffickers.

The call comes from United Nations rights expert Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, amid reports that more than seven in 10 migrants who've reached Europe via North Africa have been exploited.

Ms Giammarinaro warned that trafficking in people in conflict situations "happens on a regular basis".

This is because institutions, families and communities that usually offer protection against criminals are destroyed when wars break out.

The human rights expert told the UN General Assembly how traffickers target vulnerable people who face a high risk of being exploited for sex or cheap labour.

And she urged Member States to consider the declaration made at the recent global summit on migrants and refugees, which called for safe and legal channels of migration as the main tool to prevent trafficking and exploitation.

Condemnation of rocket fired from Yemen into Saudi Arabia

The launch of a rocket from Yemen into neighbouring Saudi Arabia has been condemned by the UN.

Reported last Friday, the incident has been blamed on Houthi rebels and their allies who are at war with Yemen's pro-government forces, but they deny this.

The UN Human Rights Office said that although the target of the weapon remains unclear, launching any missile indiscriminately into an area filled with civilians is forbidden under international humanitarian law.

In a statement on Tuesday, it urged all parties to the conflict to exercise restraint, amid reports of increasingly urgent humanitarian needs throughout Yemen, already one of the poorest countries on earth.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 2'24"

Source: United Nations Radio.

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