News in Brief 6 September 2016 (PM)

Secretary-General visits UN-backed drug treatment centre in Lao

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has met with patients and their families at a community-based drug treatment centre in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

The Sisattanak district hospital in the capital city of Ventiane is supported by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as well as the World Health Organization (WHO).

Lao has been seriously impacted by the steady rise of the inexpensive and highly-addictive recreational drug known as methamphetamine or meth.

Mr Ban was in the country to attend the Association of South East Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) Summit.

Here’s UN Spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric.

“The Secretary-General later met with the Pr ime Minister of Thailand with whom he discussed the political and security situation in Thailand, and Hun Sen, the Prime Minister of Cambodia, with whom he discussed climate change and the work of the Extraordinary Chambers in Cambodia.”

One of the topics to be discussed at the ASEAN Summit is the expanding regional synthetic drug market.

Concern over continued detention of former UN official in Iran

The Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has expressed his “deep concern” over the continued detention of a former staff member in Iran.

Anthony Lake noted that Baquer Namazi has been in jail in the capital Tehran for over six months and said he worried about the detainees’ health and well-being.

Before retiring in 1996, Mr Namazi served as a representative of UNICEF in Somalia, Kenya and Egypt, among other posts.

He worked tirelessly on behalf of the children in all those positions and often in highly difficult circumstances.

According to media reports, the Iranian-American is almost 80 years old and suffers from a heart condition.

Mr Lake hoped the former UN official would be treated “as the humanitarian that he is” and that a humane perspective can be brought to his plight.

Gabon needs peaceful solution to electoral dispute, says UN chief

The Gabonese president and his chief rival are being urged by the UN chief to use peaceful and legal means to seek redress to their electoral dispute.

Clashes erupted between protestors and security forces following the re-election of the incumbent Ali Bongo Ondimba on 27 August.

The official election result gave him victory by around 5,500 votes.

This will be Ali Bongo’s second 7 year term as president. He was challenged for the top job by former African Union Commission chief, Jean Ping.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke to them on the phone from China, where he was attending the G20 Summit.

Mr Ban called on President Bongo to order the authorities to show restraint and asked opposition leader Ping to issue a “clear message” to his followers to refrain from any acts of violence.

The African Union is getting ready to send a high-level delegation to the country’s capital Libreville to defuse tensions. It would also include representatives of the AU Commission and the UN.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2’36”

Source: United Nations Radio.