Category Archives: News

A Weekly Update from the UN Department of Public Information No. 100/ 24 June 2015

Syrians face “unspeakable suffering,” says UN official
The Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria released on 23 June its latest report on the human rights situation in the country, covering the period from 15 March to 15 June. Presenting the report to the Human Rights Council in Geneva, the Chair of the Commission, Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, said that the conflict in Syria had mutated into a multi-sided and highly fluid war of attrition and civilians remain the main victims of an ever-accelerating cycle of violence, which is causing “unspeakable suffering.” Continue reading

South Africa’s progress towards gender quality – celebrating progress, highlighting challenges

Dr Ponga from UN Women speaking at the event. (Photo credit: EU Delegation to South Africa)

Dr Ponga from UN Women speaking at the event. (Photo credit: EU Delegation to South Africa)

Pretoria – “Progress for women equals sustained progress for all,” declared Dr Auxilia Ponga, Representative of UN Women South Africa Multi-Country Office, at an event held at the European Union (EU) Residence in Pretoria.

At the event, co-hosted by UN Women, Gender Links and South African Women in Dialogue, highlights from two key important reports were presented. A lively and interactive panel discussion followed which considered the implications of the reports’ findings for South Africa. In the audience were representatives of the diplomatic community, development partners and civil society organisations, including His Excellency Mr Anders Hagelberg, Ambassador, Embassy of Sweden in Pretoria.

Following opening remarks from the Deputy Head of the EU Delegation, Ms Sofia Moreira de Sousa, Dr Ponga presented key findings of UN Women’s recently launched flagship report “Progress of the World’s Women 2015-16”. With the theme “Transforming Economies, Realizing Rights”, the report proposes a comprehensive agenda to make human rights a lived reality for all women and girls. Continue reading

Security Council looks forward to weekend signing of Mali peace accord by armed groups

Wide view of the Security Council. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

New york, 18 June 2015 – The United Nations Security Council, reiterating today its support to the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali, said it looked forward to the expected signing of the accord this weekend by the so-called ‘Coordination’ armed groups.

“Recognizing the aspiration of all Malian citizens to enjoy lasting peace and development, the members of the Security Council urged the Coordination and Plateforme armed groups to refrain from any action that could undermine the peace process and to demonstrate responsibility and courage in the supreme interest of peace in Mali,” the Council said in a press statement. Continue reading

Unspeakable violence against children in South Sudan must stop – UNICEF chief

A child receives ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF), at the UNICEF-supported Al-Shabbah Children’s Hospital, in Juba, South Sudan. Photo: UNICEF/Sebastian Rich

New York, 18 June 2015 – The head of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has appealed “in the name of humanity and common decency” for a halt to the worsening violence against children in South Sudan that has seen boys reportedly castrated and left to bleed to death and girls as young as eight who have been gang raped and murdered.

“The violence against children in South Sudan has reached a new level of brutality,” UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said in a statement issued Wednesday. “The details of the worsening violence against children are unspeakable, but we must speak of them.” Continue reading

UN health agency ramps up efforts against Tanzania cholera outbreak

Burundian refugees being treated for acute diarrhoea in a cholera treatment centre in Kigoma, Tanzania. Photo: UNHCR/B. Loyseau

Tanzania, 18 June 2015 – The cholera outbreak in Tanzania continues to spread among the populations in the country’s western Kigoma region amid an influx of refugees from neighbouring Burundi, the United Nations health agency warned today as it detailed its ongoing response aimed at stemming the epidemic.

“Carrying out social mobilization, including door-to-door campaigns and health education is a key component to educate populations and inform district and community leaders about the disease,” Dr. Rufaro Chatora, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) Representative for Tanzania, declared in a press release. Continue reading

Older persons are still subjected to abuse and violence on a daily basis, UN rights experts warns

Ms. Rosa Kornfeld-Matte, Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons Photo: UNHR

Ms. Rosa Kornfeld-Matte, Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons Photo: UNHR

In May 2014, the Human Rights Council appointed Ms. Rosa Kornfeld-Matte as the first Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons (HROP).

Ms. Kornfeld-Matte served as the National Director of the Chilean National Service of Ageing where she designed and implemented the National Policy of Ageing.She has a long career as an academic and is the founder of the programme for older persons at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Rashida Manjoo highlighted the need to look at these issues from a gender perspective, age being an established contributory factor for risk of violence.

“Older women, due to their age and related physical, social and economic disadvantages are indeed particularly vulnerable to violence”, she said. “But the ways that older women’s rights are abused and the forms of violence affecting them have been so far seriously overlooked and neglected.” Continue reading

Adopting resolution, Security Council condemns violence against journalists, urges end to impunity

A crowd of journalists in Maluku transit camp, on the outskirts of Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where citizens of that country, deported from Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo, have gathered. (23 May 2014). UN Photo/Sylvain Liechti

New York, 27 May 2015 – Deeply concerned by the frequency of acts of violence in many parts of the world against media professionals in armed conflict, the United Nations Security Council today adopted a resolution condemning all violations and abuses committed against journalists and strongly deploring impunity for such acts.

The unanimously adopted resolution, which affirmed that the work of a free, independent and impartial media constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic society, “and thereby can contribute to the protection of civilians,” urged States to take appropriate steps to ensure accountability for crimes committed against journalists, media professionals and associated personnel in situations of armed conflict and to ensure accountability for crimes committed against journalists. Continue reading