Category Archives: Media

Sierra Leone begins 42-day countdown to be declared free of Ebola virus transmission – UN health agency

Adama Sankoh, who is the last Ebola case in Sierra Leone so far, was released from the Makheni Ebola treatment unit on 24 August 2015. Photo: WHO/M. Harris

Adama Sankoh, who is the last Ebola case in Sierra Leone so far, was released from the Makheni Ebola treatment unit on 24 August 2015. Photo: WHO/M. Harris

Sierra Leone, 26 August 2015 – Sierra Leone today began its countdown to be declared by the World Health Organization as free of Ebola virus transmission as the West African nation’s President described the release of the last patient treated for the disease at a treatment centre as “the beginning of the end of Ebola.”

“For first time in more than a year, there are no people being treated for Ebola virus disease and no confirmed cases of Ebola in the country,” WHO reported, but noted that President Ernest Bai Koroma reminded the nation that Ebola transmission would not be considered ended in Sierra Leone “until the WHO declares we have gone 42 days with no case.” Continue reading

Ebola response panel studying ways to enforce compliance with key UN legal health instrument

Chair of the Review Committee on the Role of International Health Regulations in the Ebola Outbreak and Response Didier Houssin briefs the press in Geneva. Photo: WHO Webcast video capture

Chair of the Review Committee on the Role of International Health Regulations in the Ebola Outbreak and Response Didier Houssin briefs the press in Geneva. Photo: WHO Webcast video capture

Geneva, 26 August 2015 – A special United Nations international panel reviewing the role of existing international health regulations in the response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is studying the use of possible sanctions and other mechanisms to ensure better compliance with what it described as “a very important legal instrument in order to improve the global health security.”

“In many countries, even in the Ministry of Health… sometimes the regulations about the International Health Regulations are not well known, so I think that there is a question of information communication, there is a question of capacities, there is a question of compliance to the rules; that’s very important,” said Didier Houssin, newly-elected Chair of the Review Committee on the Role of International Health Regulations in the Ebola Outbreak and Response. Continue reading

At Security Council, UN envoy says Libyan parties must come together, make ‘final push’ for peace

Special Representative and Head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Bernardino Léon (shown on screen), briefs the Security Council. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Special Representative and Head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Bernardino Léon (shown on screen), briefs the Security Council. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Libya, 26 August 2015 – With the United Nations-supported political dialogue process in Libya nearing its last stages, “time is running out” for leaders on all sides and at all levels to make the “final push,” the head of the UN Mission in the country (UNSMIL) told the Security Council today.

“Overcoming the political polarization and divisiveness in Libya will be no easy task…the onus is on Libya’s leaders on all sides, and at all levels, to make that final push towards peace,” said Bernardino León, who is also the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the North African country. Continue reading

Concerned by ongoing political violence in Nepal, UN rights office urges peaceful resolution to crisis

Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). UN Photo

Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). UN Photo

Nepal, 25 August 2015 – Voicing concern over continuing political violence and killing of protestors in Nepal, the United Nations human rights office today called on the authorities to respect dissenting voices and seek a peaceful solution with demonstrators.

“The rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly are essential elements in the promotion of democracy and human rights,” Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), told reporters in Geneva. Continue reading

UN human rights chief urges Maldives to consider release of imprisoned former President

Former President of Maldives Mohamed Nasheed. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz

Former President of Maldives Mohamed Nasheed. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz

Maldives, 25 August 2015 – The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) today expressed deep concern that Government of the Maldives after former President Mohammad Nasheed was once again sent to prison, calling the move a “serious set-back” for the country.

“We had been encouraged by the Government’s earlier decision to move Mr. Nasheed to house arrest after widespread national and international criticism of the clearly flawed trial which resulted in him being sentenced to 13 years in jail in March this year”, said Rupert Colville, an OHCHR spokesperson. Continue reading

Experienced official from Netherlands appointed Deputy UN Special Representative for Mali

MINUSMA peacekeepers on patrol in Ansongo, in the Gao Region of eastern Mali. Photo: MINUSMA/Marco Dormino

MINUSMA peacekeepers on patrol in Ansongo, in the Gao Region of eastern Mali. Photo: MINUSMA/Marco Dormino

Mali, 25 August 2015 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced the appointment of Koen Davidse, of the Netherlands, as his Deputy Special Representative in the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). He will succeed Arnauld Akodjènou, of Benin, in September 2015.

Mr. Davidse brings with him 25 years of international experience. From 2011 to 2015, he served as Director of Multilateral Institutions and Human Rights at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Netherlands, and as Director of Peacebuilding and Stabilization, and acted as the Dutch Special Envoy for Sudan. Continue reading

With peace deal set to be signed, South Sudanese parties must address ‘drivers of conflict,’ Security Council told

Fighting in South Sudan’s Greater Upper Nile region has remained intense and civilians have fled their homes in areas around Wau Chollo (Shilluk) district to the UNMISS protection site in Malakal. Photo: UNMISS

Fighting in South Sudan’s Greater Upper Nile region has remained intense and civilians have fled their homes in areas around Wau Chollo (Shilluk) district to the UNMISS protection site in Malakal. Photo: UNMISS

South Sudan, 25 August 2015 – Welcoming the decision by rival parties in South Sudan to convene tomorrow a ‘mini-summit,’ where the Government, “in the interest of peace,” is expected to sign the agreement already endorsed by former Vice-President Riek Machar, the top United Nations official in the country today said that the security situation on the ground remains “volatile and tense.”

“I reiterate my call to the leaders of South Sudan to place the interests of their people above their personal ambitions and to implement the peace agreement in good faith,” said Ellen Margrethe Løj, the head of the UN Mission in the country (UNMISS) in a briefing to the Security Council. Continue reading

Ban welcomes agreement to resume regular inter-Korean dialogue, hopes for talks on nuclear issue

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

New York, 24 August 2015 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the news of the agreement reached between the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea today.

“In particular, I highly appreciate the agreement to hold regular inter-Korean dialogue, and hope that this will serve as a mechanism to effectively manage any problems that may arise on the Korean Peninsula”, Mr. Ban said in a statement issued by the UN spokesperson. Continue reading

Ebola aftermath is ‘best chance’ to transform future epidemic response – UN health agency

Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone: WHO staff talking to mothers on getting children to health care. WHO/M. Harris

Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone: WHO staff talking to mothers on getting children to health care. WHO/M. Harris

Geneva, 24 August 2015 – The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) today warned that infectious diseases have become “a much larger menace” under the unique conditions of the 21st century with its unprecedented global travel volume of nearly 100,000 flights carrying 8.6 million passengers every day.

WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan, said however, that “the aftermath of the Ebola outbreak likely represents our best chance ever to transform the world’s response to epidemics and other health emergencies. Continue reading

Abuja: honouring victims of 2011 terrorist attack, Ban sees Nigeria as key partner in achieving UN goals

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is presented with a flower bouquet upon arrival in Abuja, Nigeria. UN Photo

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is presented with a flower bouquet upon arrival in Abuja, Nigeria. UN Photo

Nigeria, 24 August 2015 – Commemorating the 4th anniversary of the “vicious terrorist attack” that killed 23 United Nations employees in Abuja, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today also paid tribute to the “extraordinary fortitude” and determination of the survivors, many of whom suffered terrible injury and trauma.

“Our fallen colleagues and partners will be remembered this morning with moments of silence in many places. But nowhere are the memories of these colleagues more immediate, more vivid and more compelling than here in Abuja. We will remember them forever as truly the best of humanity,” Mr. Ban stated in his remarks during a wreath-laying ceremony. Continue reading