United Nations news: top stories

Monday’s Daily Brief: Palestine demolitions, nuclear watchdog chief dies, UK troops to Mali, Afghan journalist murder condemned, Somalia sexual violence pledge

Mon, 22 July 2019 20:18 +0000 GMT

Our main stories today: UN condemns Israel’s destruction of Palestinian property; the head of the IAEA dies at 72; UK troops will bolster Mali mission; UNESCO chief condemns Afghan journalist’s murder; Somalia commits to ending conflict-related sexual violence.  

UN Youth envoy launches coding competition to help solve climate crisis and ‘Reboot the Earth’

Mon, 22 July 2019 20:05 +0000 GMT

Can young coders help solve the climate crisis? The UN’s Youth Envoy launched a global competition earlier this month, “Reboot The Earth”, in collaboration with the Office of Information & Communications Technology, to try and answer that question, fostering collaboration between the United Nations, academia, civil society, and young people to address the climate emergency.

UN health agency ‘strongly recommends’ dolutegravir antiretroviral medication to manage HIV

Mon, 22 July 2019 18:59 +0000 GMT

Based on new evidence, the United Nations health agency on Monday announced it was recommending the use of the antiretroviral drug dolutegravir (DTG) – which, with other medication, treats HIV/AIDS – as the preferred first- and second-line treatment for all cases, including pregnant women and those who have the potential to give birth.  

UN peacekeeping in Mali boosted with addition of 250 UK troops

Mon, 22 July 2019 16:44 +0000 GMT

The United Kingdom is to send a contingent of 250 troops to Mali next year, to support the UN’s peacekeeping operation in the country, MINUSMA.

Israeli destruction of Palestinian homes in West Bank, ‘not compatible’ with international humanitarian law, UN says

Mon, 22 July 2019 15:47 +0000 GMT

Following “with sadness” the Israeli authorities’ destruction of homes in the Palestinian community of Sur Bahir, three top United Nations officials issued a statement on Monday underscoring that the move was “not compatible” with Israel’s “obligations under international humanitarian law”.

‘Deep sadness’ at passing of UN nuclear watchdog agency chief, Yukiya Amano

Mon, 22 July 2019 15:42 +0000 GMT

The head of the UN body that oversees nuclear activities across the world has died aged 72, it was announced on Monday. In a statement, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed the passing of Director General Yukiya Amano, with “deepest sadness”.

Inclusive peace in Afghanistan means ‘women at the centre’ urges UN deputy chief in Kabul

Sun, 21 July 2019 17:02 +0000 GMT

The UN deputy chief issued an impassioned plea on Sunday for Afghans to reconcile with the past and put “women at the centre” of all efforts to forge a durable peace, and a truly inclusive political process where women’s voices are truly heard. 

Top UN sustainable development forum closes with galvanized effort toward ‘empowerment, inclusiveness and equality’

Fri, 19 July 2019 22:28 +0000 GMT

In closing the High-level Segment of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on Friday, President Inga Rhonda King assured participants that the session had contributed significantly to advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

UN News Centre - Middle East

Israeli destruction of Palestinian homes in West Bank, ‘not compatible’ with international humanitarian law, UN says

Mon, 22 July 2019 15:47 +0000 GMT

Following “with sadness” the Israeli authorities’ destruction of homes in the Palestinian community of Sur Bahir, three top United Nations officials issued a statement on Monday underscoring that the move was “not compatible” with Israel’s “obligations under international humanitarian law”.

‘Indiscriminate blasts’ in civilian areas ‘must stop’, UN mission in Afghanistan stresses 

Fri, 19 July 2019 19:27 +0000 GMT

The “deliberate targeting of educational facilities” during armed conflict is “a war crime”, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said on Friday after a bomb detonated near the entrance to Kabul University, in the country’s capital. 

Carnage must stop in northwest Syria demands Lowcock, as attacks intensify

Thu, 18 July 2019 20:53 +0000 GMT

After 80 days of intensifying attacks, many on health facilities, “the carnage must stop” in northwest Syria, said the UN relief chief on Thursday, noting that more than 70 civilians had been killed this month alone across the last rebel-held enclave of the country.

Yemen: UN Envoy ‘guilty’ of optimistic hope that war is ‘nearing the end’

Thu, 18 July 2019 17:05 +0000 GMT

With Yemen once again at a “crucial moment” the UN Special Envoy trying to facilitate peace there told Security Council members on Thursday that despite the dangers of being over optimistic, he could not help thinking the country could finally be “nearing the end of its war.”

UN agency helps stranded Ethiopians return home, ending ‘harrowing migration ordeal’

Tue, 16 July 2019 19:56 +0000 GMT

With the support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), some 280 Ethiopians returned home on 10-11 July, after being facing traumatic experiences in Yemen.  

Survivors of ISIL terror in Iraq want justice, not revenge, says head of UN investigation team

Mon, 15 July 2019 22:14 +0000 GMT

The scale and barbarity of the crimes committed by ISIL have ultimately served not to divide but to unify, Karim Asad Ahmad Khan, head of the UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (UNITAD), told the Security Council on Monday.   

UN’s Guterres condemns ongoing airstrikes on Syria’s hospitals, medical workers

Fri, 12 July 2019 14:36 +0000 GMT

Reports that airstrikes have hit several health facilities in north-west Syria have been strongly condemned by the UN Secretary-General.

UN experts voice ‘deep concern’ over Iran’s ‘consistent pattern’ of denying life-saving medical treatment to detainees

Wed, 10 July 2019 15:41 +0000 GMT

Despite repeated calls, Iran continues to deny medical treatment to detainees in what amounts to “a consistent pattern”, according to eight UN human rights experts, in a statement on Wednesday.

UN News Centre - Africa

UN peacekeeping in Mali boosted with addition of 250 UK troops

Mon, 22 July 2019 16:44 +0000 GMT

The United Kingdom is to send a contingent of 250 troops to Mali next year, to support the UN’s peacekeeping operation in the country, MINUSMA.

Zimbabwe: Droughts leave millions food insecure, UN food agency scales up assistance 

Fri, 19 July 2019 17:49 +0000 GMT

Severe drought has rendered more than a third of rural households in Zimbabwe – or around 3.5 million people – dangerously food insecure, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) revealed on Friday. 

Don’t panic, support DR Congo in fight against deadly Ebola virus, UN health agency urges

Fri, 19 July 2019 16:12 +0000 GMT

Ebola virus is just one challenge among many facing communities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday, reiterating an appeal for the international community to show support and solidarity for its people. 

DR Congo Ebola outbreak now an international Public Health Emergency, UN health agency declares

Wed, 17 July 2019 19:29 +0000 GMT

The second worst Ebola outbreak of all time, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), was officially declared an international Public Health Emergency of International Concern on Wednesday, with the head of the World Health Organization calling for countries to ‘take notice and redouble our efforts”.

Ebola emergency meeting to go ahead as UNICEF warns of higher risk to very youngest children

Tue, 16 July 2019 15:13 +0000 GMT

Ahead of a key expert meeting convened by the United Nations to decide whether to declare the ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) an international health emergency, the UN Children’s Fund UNICEF warned that the epidemic “is infecting more children” than earlier outbreaks.  

‘We won’t get to zero cases of Ebola without a big scale-up in funding,’ UN relief chief warns

Mon, 15 July 2019 20:48 +0000 GMT

Deadly, attacks on health workers in Ebola-hit areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), including one at the weekend that left two dead, are an indication that combating the disease outbreak will require far greater international support, UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock said on Monday. 

With half of Somaliland children not in school, UNICEF and partners launch education access programme

Sat, 13 July 2019 20:20 +0000 GMT

Access to education in Somaliland is extremely limited, with more than 50 per cent of children in Somaliland out of school. In an effort to address the problem, the UN children’s fund, UNICEF, has partnered with the government, and the global fund Education Cannot Wait, to launch a programme designed to help children affected by ongoing crises in the country.

UN chief condemns terror attack in Kismayo, Somalia

Sat, 13 July 2019 16:57 +0000 GMT

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has condemned the terrorist attack that took place on July 12 in southern Somalia. 

UN News Centre - Europe

Politicization of migrant ‘crisis’ in Hungary making them scapegoats, independent UN human rights expert warns 

Wed, 17 July 2019 18:27 +0000 GMT

Expressing deep concern over how migration and migrants themselves are being politicized and scapegoated in Hungary, an independent United Nations human rights expert on Wednesday urged the Government to immediately end its “crisis” approach to the issue. 

Human cost of Ukraine conflict is growing, Security Council told

Tue, 16 July 2019 18:50 +0000 GMT

The human cost of the conflict in Ukraine is growing, the UN political chief told the Security Council on Tuesday, during a briefing on the current situation in the country.

FROM THE FIELD: facing up to the extreme mental health pressures of conflict

Tue, 02 July 2019 16:03 +0000 GMT

For those caught up in conflict situations, the trauma can lead to severe mental health problems. This is also the case for the humanitarian workers who are trying to help them.

Tragedy of Mediterranean deaths continues, as seven drown, 57 rescued: UN migration agency

Tue, 11 June 2019 19:35 +0000 GMT

A rescue operation on the Mediterranean concluded on Tuesday with confirmation that seven people drowned and 57 were rescued, following a shipwreck off the Greek island of Lesvos, the UN migration agency, IOM, said.

Macron leads EU-wide minimum wage call as Merkel, Medvedev warn of global injustice 

Tue, 11 June 2019 16:36 +0000 GMT

“Fundamental change” to the world of work – including an EU-wide minimum wage – is needed to address the growing gap between society’s haves and have-nots, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday. 

UN expert criticizes States for ‘ganging up’ on Wikileaks’ Assange; warns against extradition, fearing ‘serious’ rights violations

Fri, 31 May 2019 15:29 +0000 GMT

After visiting Julian Assange in a London prison, an independent UN human rights expert expressed urgent concern on Friday, for the Wikileaks co-founder’s well-being, accusing “a group of democratic States” of “ganging up” on the prisoner to “isolate, demonize and abuse” him and warned against extraditing the controversial publisher to the United States. 

A ‘strong and united Europe’ has never been more needed, declares UN chief Guterres

Thu, 30 May 2019 13:03 +0000 GMT

With the post-world war international institutions eroded and under threat, a “strong and united Europe” standing alongside the United Nations, has never been more essential, said UN chief António Guterres in Germany on Thursday.

Children in crisis-torn eastern Ukraine ‘too terrified to learn’ amid spike in attacks on schools

Tue, 21 May 2019 00:25 +0000 GMT

Schoolchildren are bearing long-lasting mental and physical scars of eastern Ukraine’s conflict, the head of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Monday, as the agency warned of an “alarming” increase in attacks on schools during the first four months of 2019.

UN News Centre - Americas

‘Firmly united’ Security Council can bolster Colombia’s efforts to secure lasting peace, says UN envoy

Fri, 19 July 2019 21:34 +0000 GMT

The Colombian peace process is an outstanding example of how much support the United Nations can provide when the Security Council is ‘firmly united’, a senior UN envoy said on Friday, calling for the 15-member body’s continued commitment as the country works to overcome secure lasting peace. 

‘Severe’ new US asylum restrictions will put vulnerable families at risk, UN refugee agency says

Tue, 16 July 2019 19:35 +0000 GMT

Deeply concerned about the new rule barring from asylum the majority of people crossing the southern land border of the United States, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, has warned that the ‘severe’ measure will endanger vulnerable people in need of international protection from violence or persecution.

UN agencies welcome regional road map to help integrate ‘continuing exodus of Venezuelans’

Mon, 08 July 2019 20:50 +0000 GMT

A new road map adopted by Latin American and Caribbean countries, to help better integrate refugees and migrants from crisis-hit Venezuela into new host societies, drew a warm welcome from two UN agencies on Monday.

UN rights chief ‘appalled’ by US border detention conditions, says holding migrant children may violate international law

Mon, 08 July 2019 14:57 +0000 GMT

Conditions in which migrants and refugees are being held in the United States are appalling, said the UN human rights chief on Monday, underscoring that children should never be held in immigration detention, or separated from their families.

UN human rights chief ‘hopeful’ Venezuelan authorities are ready to address violations, calls for dialogue

Thu, 04 July 2019 19:15 +0000 GMT

“The only way out of this crisis is to come together, in dialogue”: that was the clear message delivered by Michelle Bachelet, the UN human rights chief, to the Government of Venezuela on Friday, during an address to the Human Rights Council, coinciding with the publication of a new UN report on Venezuela.

With Caribbean island life under threat, UN chief pushes to face ‘headwinds together’

Wed, 03 July 2019 23:14 +0000 GMT

To counter global challenges that are a particular threat to vulnerable island nations like those in the Caribbean, it’s vital to “face the headwinds together”, especially in the face of the destruction being wrought by climate change, the UN chief told the annual Caribbean Community (CARICOM) conference in Saint Lucia on Wednesday.

Venezuela: ‘Shocked’ by alleged torture, death of navy captain, UN human rights chief urges ‘in-depth’ investigation

Tue, 02 July 2019 19:58 +0000 GMT

The UN human rights chief has expressed her deep concern over the alleged torture and subsequent death of a retired navy captain who had been imprisoned in Venezuela, urging authorities to conduct a prompt, thorough, independent, and transparent investigation into his death.

Security Council approves ‘historic’ political Haiti mission, ending UN peacekeeping role in the country

Tue, 25 June 2019 21:02 +0000 GMT

The Security Council on Monday approved a resolution to create a UN “Integrated Office” in Haiti, designed to support the country’s government in strengthening political stability and good governance. The Office, named BINUH, will replace the peacekeeping mission in Haiti on October 16, putting an end to 15 years of peacekeeping presence in the country.  

UN News Centre - Asia Pacific

Inclusive peace in Afghanistan means ‘women at the centre’ urges UN deputy chief in Kabul

Sun, 21 July 2019 17:02 +0000 GMT

The UN deputy chief issued an impassioned plea on Sunday for Afghans to reconcile with the past and put “women at the centre” of all efforts to forge a durable peace, and a truly inclusive political process where women’s voices are truly heard. 

UN stands in solidarity with Japan following deadly arson attack at leading animation studio in Kyoto

Fri, 19 July 2019 13:57 +0000 GMT

UN chief António Guterres said on Friday he was “deeply saddened” at the death of at least 33 people inside a popular Japanese animation studio, in the city of Kyoto, following an arson attack that constitutes one of the worst mass-killings in the nation’s history. 

Monsoon rains turn millions of children’s lives ‘upside down’ across South Asia

Thu, 18 July 2019 15:37 +0000 GMT

Heavy rainfall, severe flooding and landslides across Nepal, India and Bangladesh have killed at least 93 children, and put the lives of millions more at risk, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which is “responding urgently”.

Asia and Pacific on course to miss all Sustainable Development Goals, says UN region chief

Thu, 18 July 2019 14:00 +0000 GMT

Unless progress is accelerated, Asia and the Pacific are on course to miss all of the 17 Goals of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Executive Secretary of the UN regional commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), told UN News at the Organization's Headquarters on Wednesday.

International Court of Justice orders Pakistan to review death penalty for Indian accused of spying

Wed, 17 July 2019 16:24 +0000 GMT

In a ruling delivered on Wednesday, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Pakistan to review a death sentence handed down in the case of a former Indian Navy officer accused by Pakistan of spying, finding that the country’s authorities acted in breach of the Vienna Convention, which lays out rules for diplomatic relations between countries.

As monsoon rains pound Rohingya refugee camps, UN food relief agency steps up aid

Fri, 12 July 2019 15:14 +0000 GMT

Since 4 July, heavy monsoon rains and wind have pounded the refugee camps in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar, with deaths, displacement and major damage following in their wake, the World Food Programme (WFP) said on Friday.

A quarter of Pacific islanders live below ‘basic needs poverty lines’, top UN development forum hears

Wed, 10 July 2019 19:18 +0000 GMT

While progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has been made over the past four years, some vulnerable island States are losing momentum in the race to 2030, according to discussions at the United Nations’ annual High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) on Wednesday.

Scores of Rohingya refugee shelters in Bangladesh destroyed by flooding

Fri, 05 July 2019 16:57 +0000 GMT

Heavy monsoon rains in Bangladesh have drenched the Cox’s Bazar settlement, home to more than 900,000 Rohingya refugees, destroying some 273 shelters, and injuring 11 people, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Friday. The huge refugee camp has been hit by three days of non-stop rain, and more heavy downpours are expected throughout next week, with four months of the monsoon season still to go.