Category Archives: News

Ban tells European Parliament to work together to address challenge of migration

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium. Photo: © European Union 2015 – European Parliament

Brussels, 27 May 2015 – In Brussels today, where he was addressing the European Parliament, the United Nations Secretary-General today the important role played by the European Union in boosting the UN agenda, particularly on matters of peace, development and human rights.

Within that context, he stressed the importance of addressing the challenge of migration, in the Mediterranean and in Southeast Asia, in his speech to the parliament. Continue reading

UN health agency devotes World No Tobacco Day 2015 to combatting illegal tobacco trade

Credit: WHO

Geneva, 27 May 2015 – One in every 10 cigarettes consumed is illicit, making them cheaper and more accessible to people from low-income groups, as well as to children, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned ahead of this year’s World No Tobacco Day, devoted to combatting the illegal tobacco trade.

“The tobacco epidemic is one of the world’s biggest-ever public health threats, killing nearly six million people annually,” WHO said in a factsheet on tobacco released today. “Unless urgent action is taken, the annual death toll could rise to more than eight million by 2030.” Continue reading

Condemning use of sexual violence, UN envoy warns Boko Haram aims to destroy family structures

A group of refugees in Diffa, Niger, after fleeing Boko Haram violence in Nigeria. Photo: OCHA/Franck Kuwonu

Nigeria, 27 May 2015 – The United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict has condemned Boko Haram militias in Nigeria for “waging war on women’s physical, sexual and reproductive autonomy and rights” by repeatedly raping their female captors and treating them as vessels for producing children for fighters.

“In this context, sexual violence is not merely incidental, but integral, to their strategy of domination and self-perpetuation,” Zainab Hawa Bangura said in a statement. Continue reading

Joint UN report says rate of world hunger dropping amid wider eradication efforts

A farmer in The Gambia shows a dry tuft of rice in a drought period. Photo: FAO/Seyllou Diallo

Rome, 27 May 2015 – The number of the world’s chronically undernourished has dropped below the 800 million mark as an increasing number of countries hit their Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets on hunger, according to a new United Nations report released today by the Organization’s three food agencies.

The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015 (SOFI) report, which was jointly published by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP), reveals that the number of hungry declined to 795 million – 216 million fewer than in the 1990 – 1992 biennium and nearly 100 million fewer than in 2012. This, the agencies said in a press release, is due in large part to successes in the world’s developing regions. Continue reading

Dialogues needed to tackle violence against women, ‘accountability deficit’ in Sudan – UN expert

Internally displaced women hold their ration tickets while waiting for a World Food Programme distribution in Mastura, West Darfur, Sudan. Photo: UNHCR/Helen Caux

Sudan, 27 May 2015 – More open and constructive dialogues should be held among Sudanese stakeholders as a top priority to address ‘the silence and the denials’ of crimes against women, a United Nations human rights expert concluded after her recent mission to the country.

“The silence and the denials, whether by State authorities or many civil society participants, regarding the subject of violence as experienced by women, is a source of concern,” Rashida Manjoo, the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, said in a news release which covered the events of her 12-day visit to Sudan. Continue reading

Syrian Crisis: United Nations Response No. 96 – 27 May 2015

SE de Mistura meets delegations from Iran, UAE, Jordan, Lebanon, EU and political groupings and civil society from Syria

On 27 May, in the framework of the Geneva Consultations, the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria met with a delegation from the Islamic Republic of Iran, led by Mr. Mohsen Naziri Asl, Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva. Ambassador Asl shared the views of his government regarding the Syrian crisis. Separately, Mr. de Mistura also met with a delegation from the United Arab Emirates, led by Mr. Fares Al Mazrouei, Assistant Foreign Minister for Security and Military Affairs. Mr. Al Mazrouei shared his Government’s perspectives on the Syrian conflict. At the end of the consultations on 27 May, Mr. de Mistura stressed the importance of the contribution of the regional countries to a political solution to the Syrian conflict. He also underscored an urgent need to find ways to end the bloodshed in Syria. In this respect, the Special Envoy reiterated his support to humanitarian pauses in fighting as called for by the World Food Programme (WFP), so farmers in Syria can safely harvest and transport crops in the coming weeks within the country to reach all Syrians in need. Continue reading

UNHCR mulls solutions for refugees affected by xenophobia

A mother feeds her child in a family tent. They were displaced by xenophobic violence in Durban

DURBAN, South Africa, May 26 (UNHCR) Approximately 1,000 Burundian and Congolese refugees who sought new lives in South Africa are turning to the UN refugee agency for help, after xenophobic violence forced them to flee their homes last month.

According to reports, more than 1,200 of the 5,400 people who took refuge in the three shelters of Phoenix, Isipingo and Chatsworth in this port city have been successfully reintegrated into the communities from which they fled. More than 2,000 have voluntarily repatriated to Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. However, many remain displaced and they favour resettlement. Continue reading

Message on Africa Day, 25 May

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/Mark Garten

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/Mark Garten

New York, 25 May 2015 – Each year, Africa Day gives us the opportunity to celebrate Africa’s achievements and to reflect on its challenges. The dominant story of the year has been the Ebola crisis that swept West Africa, claiming at least 11,000 lives and threatening hard-won social, economic and political achievements. With great courage and determination, and with the generous support of African nations and the international community, the affected countries have made remarkable progress toward ending the outbreak. Now, we have to intensify efforts to “get to zero and stay at zero” cases, repair the damage, and strengthen social and institutional resilience throughout the continent. To help mobilize support for this important task I will convene an International Ebola Recovery Conference at the United Nations in New York in July. Continue reading

In Ireland, UN’s Ban says strong cooperation key to overcoming global challenges

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

Ireland, 24 May 2015 – Amid an explosion of world conflicts, humanitarian crises and human rights challenges, the international community is enduring a “time of test” which demands strong global cooperation and bold action, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today affirmed.

“Today’s conflicts are increasingly complex,” the Secretary-General declared in remarks delivered upon receiving the Tipperary International Peace Award in a ceremony in Tipperary, Ireland.

“The lines between terrorists, transnational criminals and extremists are blurring. Civil wars have impacts well beyond their borders,” Mr. Ban continued. “Yet there remains an enormous gap between demands and our capacities.” Continue reading

Top UN official in South Sudan urges accountability for human rights violations

Children have been killed, raped and abducted in a series of recent attacks in South Sudan’s Unity State. Photo: UNICEF/Porter

South Sudan, 24 May 2015 – The United Nations Special Representative for South Sudan, Ellen Margrethe Løj, has urged accountability and justice for those responsible for gross human rights violations committed as a result of South Sudan’s continuing fighting.

The announcement came as Ms. Løj completed a visit to a protection-of-civilians (PoC) site run by the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in Bentiu, located in the country’s Unity state, and following a recent enlargement of the camp. Continue reading