Syria’s ‘disastrous’ conflict fuelling child labour and exploitation across region, warns new UN report

A boy in northern Syria uses a sponge to collect spilled fuel from an oil drum. Photo: Ahmad Baroudi/Save the Children

A boy in northern Syria uses a sponge to collect spilled fuel from an oil drum. Photo: Ahmad Baroudi/Save the Children

Syria, 2 July 2015 – Much more needs to be done to reverse the trend of an ever increasing number of children forced to work as a result of the conflict in Syria often “carrying heavy loads, being exposed to pesticides and toxic chemicals, and working long hours,” according to a joint report released today by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Save the Children.

“Syria’s children are paying a heavy price for the world’s failure to put an end to the conflict”, says a joint press release issued on the report in Amman, Jordan. Continue reading

Yemen: amid unfolding humanitarian “catastrophe,” Ban calls for end to hostilities

Smoke fills the sky above the Yemeni capital Sana’a after a series of airstrikes (12 May). Photo: Almigdad Mojalli/IRIN

Smoke fills the sky above the Yemeni capital Sana’a after a series of airstrikes (12 May). Photo: Almigdad Mojalli/IRIN

Yemen, 2 July 2015 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon repeated yesterday his call for an immediate end to the fighting in Yemen to help stem the unfolding humanitarian “catastrophe” in the country.

“He calls on the parties to agree, at the very minimum, on an immediate pause in hostilities until the end of the holy month of Ramadan, so that humanitarian aid can be delivered into and across Yemen and reach people cut off from vital supplies for months,” says a statement issued by the UN Spokesperson. Continue reading

Mali: UN condemns attack which killed six peacekeepers

MINUSMA peacekeepers on patrol in Mali. Photo: MINUSMA/Marco Dormino

MINUSMA peacekeepers on patrol in Mali. Photo: MINUSMA/Marco Dormino

Mali, 2 July 2015 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned today the attack against a convoy of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), which killed six peacekeepers and injured five others.

“The Secretary-General reminds all parties that attacks against UN peacekeepers constitute a serious violation of international law and urges all those responsible to be brought swiftly to justice;” says a statement issued by a UN spokesperson. Earlier, MINUSMA chief Mongi Mamdi had also strongly condemned the attack and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice. Continue reading

South Sudan: UN deplores deadly attack as tensions in country simmer

UNMISS Indian Battalion conduct an operation to extract civilians who were stranded during fighting in the Upper Nile State capital Malakal, South Sudan. Photo: UNMISS/UN Military

UNMISS Indian Battalion conduct an operation to extract civilians who were stranded during fighting in the Upper Nile State capital Malakal, South Sudan. Photo: UNMISS/UN Military

South Sudan, 2 July 2015 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned a deadly attack against a United Nations ‘protection-of-civilians’ site in South Sudan amid a renewed flare-up of violence in the newfound nation.

The attack – which occurred yesterday against the UN compound outside the city of Malakal – resulted in the shooting deaths of one internally displaced person (IDP) and the injury of six others, according to sources with UNMISS, the Organization’s Mission in the country. Continue reading

A Weekly Update from the UN Department of Public Information No. 101/ 1 July 2015

New York, 01 July 2015 – Secretary-General calls on the international community to waste no more time in ending the violence in Syria
On the third anniversary of the adoption of the Geneva Communiqué, the Secretary-General said that it should shame us all that the suffering of the Syrian people continues to plumb new depths. Continue reading

First-ever heatwave warning guidelines issued by UN as global temperatures soar

Degraded dryland ecossystems put at risk the social and economic well-being of millions of people. Photo: Binh Thuan, Thien Anh Huynh/Vietnam/UNEP

Degraded dryland ecossystems put at risk the social and economic well-being of millions of people. Photo: Binh Thuan, Thien Anh Huynh/Vietnam/UNEP

Geneva, 1 July 2015 – Two United Nations agencies have unveiled a series of new guidelines aimed at addressing the health risks posed by the increasing number and intensity of climate change-related heatwaves affecting the planet, as warm weather alerts spread across Europe following soaring temperatures that killed hundreds of people in India and Pakistan last month.

The set of guidelines, jointly produced by the UN World Health Organization (WHO) and World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and entitled Heatwaves and Health: Guidance on Warning-System Development, will seek to alert decision-makers, health services and the general public through the systematic development of so-called heatwave early warning systems which, in turn, will hope to trigger timely action in reducing the effects of hot-weather extremes on health. Continue reading

UN chief condemns latest Egypt terrorist attack

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/Amanda Voisard

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/Amanda Voisard

New York, 1 July 2015 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned today’s deadly attack in North Sinai.

In a statement issued this afternoon by the United Nations spokesperson’s office, the Secretary-General deplored the series of attacks committed earlier today in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula resulting in the deaths of over 70 Egyptian soldiers and the injury of many others and conveyed his condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government of Egypt. Continue reading

Security Council urges Libyan parties to agree on government of national accord

A wide view of the Security Council in session. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz

A wide view of the Security Council in session. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz

Libya, 1 July 2015 – Reiterating that there can be no military solution to the crisis in Libya, the United Nations Security Council today urged the parties to the conflict to agree on a Government of National Accord and sign the proposal presented by the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) “in the coming days.”

“The members of the Security Council agreed that commitment to a Government of National Accord is in the interests of the Libyan people and their future, in order to end Libya’s political, security and institutional crises, and to confront the rising threat of terrorism,” says a statement to the press, welcoming the meeting of the participants in the Libyan political dialogue in Morocco that took place from June 25 to 28. Continue reading

UN Ebola response mission flags importance of staying vigilant as virus resurfaces in Liberia

In Ebola-affected Liberia, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) set up this mobile clinic to provide basic healthcare services to about 1400 people in Gbaigbon and neighboring communities in Bomi County. Photo: UNMEER/Simon Ruf

In Ebola-affected Liberia, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) set up this mobile clinic to provide basic healthcare services to about 1400 people in Gbaigbon and neighboring communities in Bomi County. Photo: UNMEER/Simon Ruf

Liberia, 1 July 2015 – The World Health Organization (WHO) today reported that Ebola had resurfaced in Liberia after a teenager who died earlier this week tested positive for the disease in the West African country that had been declared free of Ebola transmission just two months ago.

Liberia has to wait for the incubation period of 42 days without new cases of transmission of the virus to confirm it was again free from Ebola, according to WHO.

“The re-emergence of Ebola in Liberia shows importance of staying vigilant. We must stay focused until we reach zero cases,” said the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER). ”The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is not over. We must stay engaged until the job is done.” Continue reading

UN rights chief urges concerted action to tackle Boko Haram’s ‘extensive and far-reaching’ abuses

Hadjara, 8, fled a Boko Haram attack against Baga in Nigeria with her family. She was shot during the attack and her arm had to be amputated at Baga-Sola hospital in Chad. Photo: OCHA/Caroline Birch

Hadjara, 8, fled a Boko Haram attack against Baga in Nigeria with her family. She was shot during the attack and her arm had to be amputated at Baga-Sola hospital in Chad. Photo: OCHA/Caroline Birch

Nigeria, 1 July 2015 – Describing a pattern of vicious and indiscriminate attacks by Boko Haram in north-east Nigeria that stretched back years, the United Nations human rights chief today urged the international community to help the subregion begin to repair the damage, and specifically appealed to Nigerian authorities to ease abortion restrictions for women and girls who had been sexually enslaved, raped and forced into so-called “marriages” by Boko Haram fighters.

In a briefing to the UN Human Rights Council, on Boko Haram’s rights violations and abuses, High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein discussed the findings to date by a 12-member team he dispatched to the Far North Region of Cameroon, southern Niger and the north-eastern regions of Nigeria. The team plans to visit Chad next, and a full written report, he said, would be presented to the Council in September. Continue reading