Author Archives: Romain Lecadou

Fighting human trafficking is not just about law enforcement” – UN rights expert

Geneva, 28 July 2015 – Speaking ahead of World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, United Nations human rights expert Maria Grazia Giammarinaro calls for sweeping changes in policy and on perception of trafficking. Fighting trafficking is not just about law enforcement, the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children reminds governments across the world.

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Security Council approves one year renewal of UN Assistance Mission in Iraq

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

Iraq, 29 July 2015 – The Security Council today extended for another year the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) and expressed its intention to review the operation’s mandate in 12 months or sooner, if requested by the Iraqi Government.

Adopting a resolution, the Council extended UNAMI’s mandate through 31 July 2016, and, in line with the recommendations in the Secretary-General’s latest report to revise and prioritize the Mission’s tasks, requested the UN chief, in full consultations with the Iraqi Government, to report back with further details within the next 90 days. Continue reading

At Security Council, Ban and UN special envoy outline ‘way forward’ on political solution for war-torn Syria

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the Security Council meeting on the situation in Syria. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the Security Council meeting on the situation in Syria. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Syria, 29 July 2015 – Describing the more than four years of “slaughter” in Syria as a “shameful symbol of the international community’s divisions and failure,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today appealed to the Security Council to endorse his Special Envoy’s recommendations on reaching the political solution that “all parties claim to support.”

“On March 28, I instructed my Special Envoy for Syria, Mr. Staffan de Mistura, to intensify efforts…to find a political settlement to the conflict,” reminded Mr. Ban, who specifically asked him to work to “operationalize the Geneva Communiqué.” Continue reading

Orangutans face extinction on Borneo where deforestation is ‘simply unsustainable’ – UN

Burning rainforests on Borneo and Sumatra to make space for palm oil plantations is one of the greatest threats to orangutans. Photo: UNEP GRID Arendal/Peter Prokosch

Burning rainforests on Borneo and Sumatra to make space for palm oil plantations is one of the greatest threats to orangutans. Photo: UNEP GRID Arendal/Peter Prokosch

Borneo, 29 July 2015 – The massive conversion of Borneo’s forests for the production palm oil together with the impact of climate change is driving to extinction the orangutan on Asia’s largest island, making it “clear that a future without sustainable development will be a future with a different climate and, eventually, without orangutans, one of our closest relatives,” a new United Nations report revealed today.

This, according to Achim Steiner, the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), who wrote the foreword of the report, The Future of the Bornean Orangutan: Impacts of Change in Land Cover and Climate, released today. And the report’s lead author Dr. Serge Wich declared: “The current policies for land conversion on Borneo are simply unsustainable” not just for orangutans but for the human population as well. Continue reading

New UN-backed plan sets disaster resilience standards for hotels in Asia and Pacific

An aerial view of the vast destruction of the Indonesian coast, between the towns of Banda Aceh and Meulaboh, caused by the 26 December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

An aerial view of the vast destruction of the Indonesian coast, between the towns of Banda Aceh and Meulaboh, caused by the 26 December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Asian Pacific, 29 July 2015 – A United Nations-backed plan to develop and pilot disaster risk management standards for the hotel industry in Asia and the Pacific, home to 80 per cent of the world’s disaster events, has been announced today.

“The hotel industry in hazard prone areas of the world is very vulnerable to major setbacks from floods, storms and earthquakes. Such events can result in closure of resorts and have a significant impact on tourism and employment. The hotel industry has a very important role to play in encouraging disaster risk management at the local level,” the head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), Margareta Wahlström, said. Continue reading

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