Ban voices concern about reported military takeover in Lesotho

Prime Minister Thomas Motsoahae Thabane of the Kingdom of Lesotho. UN Photo/Sarah Fretwell

Prime Minister Thomas Motsoahae Thabane of the Kingdom of Lesotho. UN Photo/Sarah Fretwell

New York, 31 August 2014 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced concern on Sunday about the reported military takeover in the southern African nation of Lesotho, and called on all parties to resolve their differences peacefully.

“He calls for respect for the constitutional order and democratic rule,” said a statement issued by his spokesperson.

“He urges all parties to refrain from violence and work together towards a peaceful and lasting resolution of their differences.” Continue reading

SAMOA: Urging sustainable action, UN officials link small islands to global issues at conference opening

Nukunonu Atoll seaside is one of the regions of the world vulnerable to the impact of the climate change. UN Photo/Ariane Rummery

Nukunonu Atoll seaside is one of the regions of the world vulnerable to the impact of the climate change. UN Photo/Ariane Rummery

Samoa, 31 August 2014 – Calling small island developing nations a magnifying glass for vulnerabilities around the world, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday urged the international community to support sustainable development in these countries through multi-stakeholder partnerships.

“By addressing the issues facing SIDS we are developing the tools we need to promote sustainable development across the entire world,” Mr. Ban said at the opening session of the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States in the Samoan capital, Apia. Continue reading

UN chief demands immediate release of seized Fijian peacekeepers

A UNDOF base in the Golan. Photo: UNDOF

A UNDOF base in the Golan. Photo: UNDOF

Golan, 1 September 2014 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday again called for the release of 44 Fijian peacekeepers seized in the Golan.

The peacekeepers are serving with the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), monitoring a ceasefire established in 1974 between Israel and Syria.

“I again demand the immediate and unconditional release of these brave blue helmets who deployed to the region to bring stability for the sake of the people,” Mr. Ban told journalists in Apia, Samoa, where he is attending the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States. Continue reading

Enforced disappearances cannot be tolerated in 21st century, Ban says on International Day

Thousands commemorate the 17th anniversary of the Santa Cruz massacre. Many carried photographs of loved ones who died or who disappeared on 12 November 1991 when the Indonesian military opened fire on a group of pro-independence supporters during a peaceful demonstration.

Thousands commemorate the 17th anniversary of the Santa Cruz massacre. Many carried photographs of loved ones who died or who disappeared on 12 November 1991 when the Indonesian military opened fire on a group of pro-independence supporters during a peaceful demonstration.

New York, 30 August 2014 – Stressing that the enforced disappearance of individuals by States constitutes an unacceptable violation of human rights, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has declared that the time has come for the end to this “abhorrent” practice.

“Enforced disappearance is a practice that cannot be tolerated in the twenty-first century,” Mr. Ban said in a message to mark the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, which is observed annually on 30 August.

“This abhorrent practice places people outside the protection of the law, and thus, potentially in great danger of physical violence and sometimes barbaric execution. In addition to causing unimaginable worry and anguish for the victims and their loved ones, this creates a generalized climate of fear and terror across entire societies,” he said. Continue reading

Ban alarmed by ‘dangerous escalation’ in Ukraine crisis; Security Council holds emergency talks

Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, many being women with children. Photo: UNFPA Ukraine/Olena Kulyk

Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, many being women with children. Photo: UNFPA Ukraine/Olena Kulyk

New York, 28 August 2014 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he is alarmed by what seems to be a “dangerous escalation” in the crisis in Ukraine with reports of intensified fighting in the country south-east near the border with Russia, as the Security Council held emergency talks on the latest developments.

“The international community cannot allow the situation to escalate further nor can a continuation be allowed of the violence and destruction that the conflict has wrought in eastern Ukraine,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement. Continue reading

UN reports improved humanitarian access to Syria for first time in six months

Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Kyung-wha Kang briefs the Security Council on the humanitarian situation in Syria. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Kyung-wha Kang briefs the Security Council on the humanitarian situation in Syria. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

New York, 28 August 2014 – For the first time in six months, there has been some improvement recently on humanitarian access to Syria, but much more needs to be done by the parties to the conflict to ensure rapid and unhindered access to people in need, a senior United Nations relief official told the Security Council today.

“The progress in access during the past month has shown that where there is political will, there is a way to improve the situation for millions of civilians in Syria. We must all redouble our efforts until we reach everyone in need with humanitarian assistance,” said Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Kyung-wha Kang. Continue reading

Ebola caseload could exceed 20,000 in course of emergency, UN response roadmap shows

A health worker checks a blood sample for Ebola at Kenema government hospital, Sierra Leone. Photo: IRIN/Tommy Trenchard

A health worker checks a blood sample for Ebola at Kenema government hospital, Sierra Leone. Photo: IRIN/Tommy Trenchard

Geneva, 28 August 2014 – The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a roadmap that aims to stop Ebola transmissions within six to nine months, but acknowledges the actual number of cases may be much higher than that currently reported and the total caseload could exceed 20,000 over the course of the emergency.

Dr. Bruce Aylward, WHO Assistant Director-General for Polio, Emergencies and Country Collaboration, told a news conference in Geneva: “What we are seeing today in contrast to previous Ebola outbreaks [are] multiple hotspots within these countries, not a single remote forested area, the kind of environments in which it has been tackled in the past. And then not just multiple hotspots within one country, but international disease, and it is now, as you know, really a multinational effort, three countries, heavily affected.” Continue reading

In Bali, UN chief stresses role of young people in building peaceful, sustainable future

 Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) addresses the closing ceremony of the Youth Event organized by the Government of Indonesia and the Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) in Bali. UN Photo/Evan Schneider


Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) addresses the closing ceremony of the Youth Event organized by the Government of Indonesia and the Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) in Bali. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Bali, 28 August 2014 – Addressing a youth forum in Bali, Indonesia, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed the role of young people in building a peaceful, sustainable future and encouraged them to be solid global citizens and leaders of today.

“The United Nations is doing everything possible to encourage a global mobilization of youth,” Mr. Ban said in his remarks to the closing ceremony of the Youth Event organized by the Government of Indonesia and the Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC).

“We know that we cannot succeed in our ambitious goal to build a peaceful, sustainable future without young leaders.” Continue reading

Ebola: UN-organized workshop aims to boost Africa’s defences against deadly disease

Two midwives in Ebola protective gear supplied by UNFPA hand over a newborn to her mother at the Star of the Sea Clinic in West Point, Monrovia, Liberia. Photo: UNFPA Liberia

Two midwives in Ebola protective gear supplied by UNFPA hand over a newborn to her mother at the Star of the Sea Clinic in West Point, Monrovia, Liberia. Photo: UNFPA Liberia

Africa, 27 August 2014 – A three-day workshop organized by the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) aimed at strengthening Africa’s defences against the Ebola outbreak is underway with health experts from Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

The first in a series of preparedness and response workshops began on Tuesday in Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of Congo, with Dr. Deo Nshimirimana from the WHO Regional Office for Africa saying that “despite efforts being made to control the Ebola virus disease (EVD), the outbreak was continuing and the number of cases and deaths increasing, thus constituting a threat for all African countries and the world.” Continue reading

Syria’s brutal war threatens international peace and security, says UN rights panel

Syrian refugees gather around for the once-a-day water delivery in Za'atari camp in northern Jordan. Photo: IRIN/Heba Aly

Syrian refugees gather around for the once-a-day water delivery in Za’atari camp in northern Jordan. Photo: IRIN/Heba Aly

Syria, 27 August 2014 – Mass atrocities by Government forces and non-State armed groups continue to take place in Syria, causing immeasurable suffering to civilians and contributing to a spillover of violence affecting international peace and stability, a United Nations-appointed panel said today.

The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria emphasized that with the continuous influx of foreign fighters and the success of extremist groups, “risks of the conflict spreading further are palpable.” Continue reading