Security Council authorizes ongoing African Union deployment in Somalia, extends UN assistance mission

African Union peacekeepers in Mogadishu, Somalia. Photo: AU-UN IST/Stuart Price

African Union peacekeepers in Mogadishu, Somalia. Photo: AU-UN IST/Stuart Price

Somalia, 28 July 2015 – The Security Council today authorized the Member States of the African Union to maintain the deployment of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) for an additional 10 months, until 30 May 2016.

By the unanimously adopted text, the Council followed the Secretary-General’s recommendation that conditions would not be appropriate for a United Nations peacekeeping operation in the country until the end of 2016, at the earliest. Continue reading

UN agencies and partners warn of ‘acute shortage’ of meningitis vaccines

A child receives a vaccination against meningitis in E Fasher, North Darfur. Photo: UNAMID/Albert González Farran

A child receives a vaccination against meningitis in E Fasher, North Darfur. Photo: UNAMID/Albert González Farran

West Africa, 28 July 2015 – West Africa is at risk of a large meningitis outbreak unless drug manufacturers increase vaccine production by 5 million doses before the 2016 meningitis season starts in January, the United Nations and leading public health organizations warned today.

“We have had preliminary discussions with vaccine manufacturers and impressed upon them the need to produce a stockpile of 5 million doses of vaccine so as to be ready for flare-ups of the disease next year in Africa, but so far they haven’t yet revised their production plans to meet demand,” said Dr. Imran Mirza, a health specialist with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Continue reading

UN human rights officials seriously concerned by verdicts in trial of former members of Qadhafi regime

Photo: UNODC

Photo: UNODC

Libya, 28 July 2015 – The verdicts in the trial of 37 Qadhafi regime officials, including against the former leader’s son, Saif al-Islam Qadhafi, handed down today by the Tripoli Court of Assize, has drawn serous concern from senior United Nations human rights officials in Libya, as well as in Geneva, amid fears the trial did not meet international standards on a number of fronts.

“Concerns over the trial include the fact that several defendants were absent for a number of sessions. The evidence of criminal conduct was largely attributed to the defendants in general, with little effort to establish individual criminal responsibility,” said Claudio Cordone, Director of the Human Rights, Transitional Justice and Rule of Law Division of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL). Continue reading

Security Council condemns Boko Haram violence, backs regional efforts to counter ongoing attacks

Thousands of people, mainly women and children, are scattered across the arid land of Nguigimi, Niger, after fleeing Boko Haram violence in Nigeria. Photo: WFP Niger/Vigno Hounkanli,

Thousands of people, mainly women and children, are scattered across the arid land of Nguigimi, Niger, after fleeing Boko Haram violence in Nigeria. Photo: WFP Niger/Vigno Hounkanli

Nigeria, 28 July 2015 – While acknowledging progress made against Boko Haram following joint regional military efforts in recent months, the United Nations Security Council today encouraged increased regional cooperation to stamp out the terrorist group, which the Council strongly condemned for its ongoing deadly violence, human rights abuses and mass abductions in the Lake Chad Basin.

Adopting a Presidential Statement during a formal meeting, the Security Council expressed its concern at the continued threat posed to international peace and security by Boko Haram “and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with A1-Qaida,” and reaffirmed Member States’ determination to continue doing all “they can to resolve conflict and to deny terrorist groups the ability to put down roots and establish safe havens.” Continue reading

Finding safe shelter in Burundi

“I had never heard gunfire before,” says Benjamin, 12, from one of the communes that has witnessed many clashes since violence broke out in April.© UNICEF Burundi/2015/Luthi

“I had never heard gunfire before,” says Benjamin, 12, from one of the communes that has witnessed many clashes since violence broke out in April.© UNICEF Burundi/2015/Luthi

Burundi, 27 July 2015 – “We heard a lot of gunshots where we live, in Musaga,” says Brice, 7. “I was scared. I cried all the time.”

Brice is one of more than 80 children being sheltered by a faith-based organization in Bujumbura, Burundi’s capital city. The children are from neighborhoods in Bujumbura that have seen the worst clashes between security forces and protestors since the beginning of the unrest that started in April.

The heightened insecurity has led some parents to send their children to find refuge – either in the countryside, where things are calmer, or in sheltered neighborhoods of the city. For many of these children, unlike their parents and older siblings who experienced the last lengthy civil conflict in Burundi, it is a terrifying first-time encounter with violence. Continue reading

Nepal: children still at risk three months after devastating quake, UNICEF warns

Three children play with a rusted wheelbarrow in the town of Singati, near the town of Charikot in Dolakha District, Nepal, epicentre of the 12 May earthquake. Photo: © UNICEF/NYHQ2015-1499/Sokol

Three children play with a rusted wheelbarrow in the town of Singati, near the town of Charikot in Dolakha District, Nepal, epicentre of the 12 May earthquake. Photo: © UNICEF/NYHQ2015-1499/Sokol

Nepal, 27 July 2015 – Three months after Nepal’s devastating 25 April earthquake and its aftershocks, children continue to face multiple risks as their families have been pushed deeper into poverty and they remain in need of aid, warned the United Nations’s Children Fund (UNICEF).

“When a major disaster strikes like the earthquakes on 25 April and 12 May, it incurs not only loss of lives but also destruction of assets, sources of livelihoods and substantially reduces household income particularly among the most vulnerable population,” said Tomoo Hozumi, the UNICEF Representative in Nepal, over the weekend. Continue reading

UN chief condemns deadly Al Shabaab attack against hotel in Mogadishu

A street scene in Mogadishu, the Somali capital. Photo: AU-UN IST/Stuart Price

A street scene in Mogadishu, the Somali capital. Photo: AU-UN IST/Stuart Price

Somalia, 27 July 2015 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has strongly condemned the attack perpetrated by Al Shabaab yesterday on the Al-Jazeera Hotel in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu.

“The attack resulted in a number of casualties and injuries, including to staff of diplomatic missions of several countries whose missions were based in the hotel,” reads a statement issued by Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General. Continue reading

UN mission finds overall environment in Burundi ‘not conducive’ to credible election process

In accordance with its mandate, MENUB observes the electoral process in Burundi, before, during and after the elections of 2015. Photo: MENUB

In accordance with its mandate, MENUB observes the electoral process in Burundi, before, during and after the elections of 2015. Photo: MENUB

Burundi, 27 July 2015 – While the 21 July election in Burundi that won President Pierre Nkurunziza a controversial third term was relatively peaceful and conducted adequately, the overall environment was ‘not conducive’ for an inclusive, free and credible electoral process, the United Nations Electoral Observation Mission in the country (MENUB) announced today.

This was the main conclusion of MENUB’s preliminary findings on the conduct of the presidential polls in Burundi, which took place after two postponements in an environment of “profound mistrust” between opposing political camps. The decision of the incumbent President to run for another term precipitated a deep political and socioeconomic crisis, the mission said. Continue reading

South Sudan takes steps to formulate a policy on charcoal production

A Man selling charcoal in Juba the capital of  South Sudan Photo: FAO

A Man selling charcoal in Juba the capital of
South Sudan Photo: FAO

South Sudan, 27 July 2015 – In South Sudan, the current demand for cooking fuels, and access to these resources, has huge implications for the environment and people’s well-being. The environmental risks associated with fuel wood use in the country are significant, given the damaging, long-term effects of over-exploiting natural forests. With these risks in mind, FAO and the Government of South Sudan launched a one-day consultative workshop on charcoal production and trade to raise awareness on the impact of charcoal production. Continue reading

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Presidential Elections in Burundi

New York, 23 July 2015 The Secretary-General takes note of the broadly peaceful conduct of polling in the Burundian presidential elections on 21 July. He calls on all parties to continue to remain calm and immediately resume an inclusive political dialogue to resolve their differences and address the challenges facing the country.

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