Category Archives: News

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

Burundi: UN chief condemns killing of opposition politician as tensions in country rise

The police in Bujumbura, Burundi, have increasingly broken up opposition party gatherings. Photo: IRIN/Desire Nimubona

Burundi, 24 May 2015 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the killing of a Burundian politician and his bodyguard in a move that threatens to further destabilize the country amid simmering political tensions and a growing humanitarian crisis.

Zedi Feruzi, leader of the opposition Union pour la paix et le développement (UPD) Zigamibanga party in Burundi, and his bodyguard, were reportedly shot dead in the country capital of Bukumbura late yesterday evening. According to the UN spokesperson’s office, the killing comes just one day after a fatal grenade attack on Bujumbura’s central market that left two dead and many others wounded. Continue reading

Somalia: UN official condemns killing of parliamentarian, reiterates support for political process

Special Representative for Somalia, Nicholas Kay. UN Photo/Ilyas Ahmed

Somalia, 24 May 2015 – The top United Nations official in Somalia has condemned a deadly attack against two Somali Members of Parliament (MP) and reiterated the Organization’s support for the country’s democratic process.

Yusuf Muhammad Dirir, a Member of the Federal Parliament, was shot and killed on 23 May along with his driver while another MP, Abdullahi Boss Ahmed, was wounded in the same attack, according to a press release issued by the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia earlier today. Continue reading

Government responsibility for equity and quality in education must be our first concern – UN expert

INCHEON, KOREA (21 May 2015) – “Governments’ responsibility for ensuring inclusive, quality education is the cornerstone of the post-2015 education agenda,” said the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to education, Kishore Singh, at the World Education Forum 2015, a gathering of over 130 world leaders seeking to set a roadmap for global education to 2030. Continue reading

World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development 21 May

Message from the Director-General of UNESCO for 2015

Seventy years ago, UNESCO’s founders voiced a simple conviction: just as ignorance of each other’s ways and lives exacerbated mistrust and misunderstanding between peoples, the search for peace calls for mutual knowledge of cultures and peoples to be strengthened, so as to promote a better understanding of each other. Continue reading

South Sudan: UNICEF warns women and children being victimized ‘with frightening regularity’

Women and children have suffered devastating attacks in South Sudan’s Unity State. Photo: UNICEF/South Sudan/Sebastian Rich

South Sudan, 19 May 2015 – Almost two years since the eruption of the conflict in South Sudan, the situation continues to deteriorate with women and small children making up the majority of most recent casualties, a representative from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in the country said today.

Speaking by phone from the capital, Juba, UNICEF Representative Jonathan Veitch confirmed to journalists in Geneva that dozens of children have been killed, raped and abducted in the Unity state over the previous two weeks. Continue reading

At Security Council, senior UN official warns Middle East status quo ‘not tenable’

Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov briefs the Security Council. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

New york, 19 May 2015 – The Middle East is threatened by “a vicious tide of terror and extremism” amid stalled peace negotiations and growing regional tensions, a United Nations envoy on the region warned today.

“The inability to respond, for over 60 years, both on the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for a state and to Israel’s quest for security, has fuelled a situation that is becoming more dangerous by the day,” UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov told the Security Council this afternoon. Continue reading

Violence against women and girls ‘shames every society,’ UN anti-crime chief warns

Hundreds of thousands of women displaced by conflict and living in camps in Somalia are especially vulnerable to sexual and gender-based violence, having lost their families and homes. Photo: OCHA/R. Maingi

Vienna, 19 May 2015 – Voicing concern over the continued killing of women and girls, the United Nations anti-crime chief today issued a strong call to end such acts, as well as to unravel the gender at the heart of the “dreadful daily experiences of violence” that blight so many of their lives.

“Violence against women and girls, in all its many forms, shames us all,” Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said in a statement issued in Vienna today during the 24th Session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, which opened yesterday and runs through 21 May. Continue reading

Burundi humanitarian crisis worsens as political tensions in country grow

Women wash their cookware as a boat carring Burundian refugees approaches the shore at Mboko, a Congolese fishing village on Lake Tanganyika. Photo: UNHCR/Federico Scoppa

Geneva, 19 May 2015 – The humanitarian crisis caused by the “escalating political tensions” in Burundi has worsened, according to the United Nations which today reported an uptick in the number of Burundian refugees seeking asylum and a deterioration in health conditions at refugee camps receiving them.

Addressing journalists at a press briefing in Geneva earlier this morning, World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson Tarik Jašarevic voiced concern about the situation in the village of Kagunga in neighbouring Tanzania where the original population has increased from 10,000 to 90,000 due to the influx in refugees. Continue reading

In talks with Southeast Asian leaders, top UN officials stress need to protect migrants stranded at sea

People risking sea journeys across the Bay of Bengal often set sail at night. Photo: UNHCR/S. Alam

New york, 17 May 2015 – Increasingly concerned about the plight of migrants and refugees stranded in the Andaman Sea and Straits of Malacca, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson have spoken separately to leaders in Southeast Asia reiterating the need to protect lives and uphold the obligation of rescue at sea.

A statement issued today in New York by a UN spokesperson said that in recent days, the Secretary-General has spoken to the Prime Ministers of Malaysia, Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak, and Thailand, Prayuth Chan-ocha. The Deputy Secretary-General has also spoken to the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, Abul Hasan Mahmood Ali, and the Deputy-Minister for Multilateral Affairs of Indonesia, Hasan Kleib. Continue reading