President Salva Kiir of South Sudan at the signing ceremony in the country’s capital, Juba. UN Photo/Isaac Gideon
South Sudan, 27 August 2015 – Welcoming President Salva Kiir’s signing of the agreement on the resolution of the conflict in South Sudan, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the move is “a critical and necessary step towards ending the 20 month-long conflict that has devastated [the country] and subjected its people to unspeakable suffering.”
In a statement issued late yesterday by his spokesperson in New York, Mr. Ban commended the Intergovernmental Authority on Development Partners Forum (IGAD)-led mediation for its tireless efforts to bring the peace talks to a successful conclusion. Continue reading
In the Tishreen camp for displaced persons in Aleppo, Syria, a boy carries a jerrycan he filled at a water tank built by OXFAM with UNICEF support. Photo: UNICEF/Razan Rashidi
Syria, 26 August 2015 – Amid the unremitting brutality of the war in Syria and a scorching summer heat wave, there is increasing evidence that parties to the conflict are using water to achieve military and political gains, warned the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
“Clean water is both a basic need and a fundamental right, in Syria as it is anywhere else,” reminded Dr. Peter Salama, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa in a press release. “Denying civilians access to water is a flagrant violation of the laws of war and must end.” Continue reading
Chin State, remote and mountainous and one of the poorest regions in Myanmar, was among the hardest-hit by floods. Photo: UNICEF/Mohammad Badrul Hassan
Myanmar, 26 August 2015 – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is now delivering rice, beans, cooking oil and salt to more than 400,000 people affected by flooding in Myanmar and “reachable only on foot, after floods and landslides destroyed roads across the country,” the agency said today.
More than 1.7 million people in Myanmar have been affected by widespread flooding and landslides as a result of heavy monsoon rains since early August.
In a press release issued in Yangon, Myanmar, WFP said it is appealing for $12.3 million urgently required to meet flood needs. Continue reading
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
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
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
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
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
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
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