United Nations news: top stories

The sun’s impact on Earth and weather celebrated, as planet marks World Meteorological Day

Sat, 23 March 2019 00:00 +0000 GMT

Against a background of serious warnings against the effects of climate change, World Meteorological Day this year celebrates the crucial role played by the sun in powering all life on Earth, and in driving the weather, ocean currents and the hydrological cycle.

Gender equality, justice in law and practice: Essential for sustainable development

Fri, 22 March 2019 22:44 +0000 GMT

Fundamentally linked to human development, gender justice requires ending inequality and redressing existing disparities between women and men, according to a high-level United Nations forum on the situation in Arab States.

‘Mosques should be safe havens, not sites of terror’, says Guterres announcing UN plan to help safeguard religious sites

Fri, 22 March 2019 21:03 +0000 GMT

In the wake of a horrific mass shooting at two New Zealand mosques, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has announced his intention to launch a UN action plan for the safeguarding of religious sites, declaring that “mosques and all places of prayer and contemplation should be safe havens, not sites of terror.”

UN conference agrees better ways for Global South countries to work together on sustainable development

Fri, 22 March 2019 20:48 +0000 GMT

The Second High-Level UN Conference on South-South Cooperation, known as BAPA+40, concluded on Friday in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with a political declaration agreed by more than 160 Member States renewing the global commitment in the promotion and investment in this type of collaboration between countries.

Short survey: UN News wants to know what you think

Fri, 22 March 2019 19:52 +0000 GMT

UN News, your one-stop shop for all global and UN-related news, would like to hear from you through a short survey. 

Hunger, displacement and disease: 4.3 million people remain in dire need of aid in Chad

Fri, 22 March 2019 17:56 +0000 GMT

With Chad at a crossroads of life-threatening challenges ranging from violence to drought, the United Nations and its humanitarian partners appealed on Thursday for $476 million to support the most vulnerable of 4.3 million people relying on aid in the African country.

UN chief calls for ‘far greater support’ for Cyclone Idai response

Fri, 22 March 2019 17:35 +0000 GMT

The world needs to step up support for the survivors of Tropical Cyclone Idai, the UN Secretary-General said on Friday, in a strong personal appeal as relief workers rush to provide aid to people stranded across the storm countries in southern Africa.

Ferry capsizes near Mosul, UN chief offers solidarity, support ‘as needed’ 

Fri, 22 March 2019 15:15 +0000 GMT

As many Iraqis across the country celebrated Norwuz, the first day of spring, a passenger ferry in the Tigris River capsized on Thursday, prompting Secretary-General António Guterres to offer the United Nations’ support “as needed”. 

UN News Centre - Middle East

Gender equality, justice in law and practice: Essential for sustainable development

Fri, 22 March 2019 22:44 +0000 GMT

Fundamentally linked to human development, gender justice requires ending inequality and redressing existing disparities between women and men, according to a high-level United Nations forum on the situation in Arab States.

Ferry capsizes near Mosul, UN chief offers solidarity, support ‘as needed’ 

Fri, 22 March 2019 15:15 +0000 GMT

As many Iraqis across the country celebrated Norwuz, the first day of spring, a passenger ferry in the Tigris River capsized on Thursday, prompting Secretary-General António Guterres to offer the United Nations’ support “as needed”. 

Gaza investigators call on Israel to review ‘rules of engagement’ as Gaza protest anniversary looms

Mon, 18 March 2019 19:40 +0000 GMT

Human Rights Council-appointed investigators urged Israel on Monday to revise its military rules of engagement, shortly before the one-year anniversary of the start of mass demonstrations at the country’s border fence with Gaza, that have left hundreds of Palestinians dead and thousands more injured. 

UN Middle East Coordinator strongly condemns ‘arrests and violence’ by Hamas security forces during Gaza protests

Sun, 17 March 2019 17:16 +0000 GMT

The UN’s Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process has strongly condemned the violent response by security forces in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip during the past three days, towards Palestinian protests over the deteriorating economic situation there.

‘Moral obligation and political imperative’ to support Syria on path to peace: Guterres

Sat, 16 March 2019 12:05 +0000 GMT

Governments across the world have a “moral obligation” to help Syrians “unite around a vision for their common future”, finally bringing an end to eight years of brutal conflict, said the UN Secretary-General on Friday.

UN welcomes 'record' Brussels conference pledge of nearly $7 billion to support Syrians

Thu, 14 March 2019 14:52 +0000 GMT

Foreign ministers from more than 50 countries gathered on Thursday at a joint European Union-UN pledging conference, and pledged to provide a record $6.97 billion, to support millions of Syrians in need both inside the country, and sheltering in host communities beyond its borders. 

Dozens killed and injured by new attacks in western Yemen, UN coordinator condemns ‘outrageous’ toll

Mon, 11 March 2019 21:18 +0000 GMT

Reports from Yemen’s Hajjah Governorate indicate that scores of civilians have been killed following attacks on residential areas over the past two days. Medical sources suggest that at least 22 have died, with more than 30 injured during the bombardment.

FROM THE FIELD: Rebuilding Yemen’s future from the ground up

Fri, 08 March 2019 22:42 +0000 GMT

The ongoing conflict in Yemen has had a devastating impact on the Gulf country and while UN agencies continue to meet the immediate humanitarian needs of the Yemeni people, at least one UN agency has already begun planning for a future without war.

UN News Centre - Africa

Hunger, displacement and disease: 4.3 million people remain in dire need of aid in Chad

Fri, 22 March 2019 17:56 +0000 GMT

With Chad at a crossroads of life-threatening challenges ranging from violence to drought, the United Nations and its humanitarian partners appealed on Thursday for $476 million to support the most vulnerable of 4.3 million people relying on aid in the African country.

UN chief calls for ‘far greater support’ for Cyclone Idai response

Fri, 22 March 2019 17:35 +0000 GMT

The world needs to step up support for the survivors of Tropical Cyclone Idai, the UN Secretary-General said on Friday, in a strong personal appeal as relief workers rush to provide aid to people stranded across the storm countries in southern Africa.

‘Massive and protracted’ humanitarian crisis in DR Congo can be ‘beaten back’ if donors step up

Thu, 21 March 2019 17:42 +0000 GMT

“Urgent and sustained funding” for a Government-led response to what is now a “massive and protracted” humanitarian crisis across the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is required, said the head of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN relief chief on Thursday.

Idai disaster: Stranded victims still need rescue from heavy rains as UN scales up response

Thu, 21 March 2019 14:54 +0000 GMT

Dire conditions persist in vast areas of southern Africa affected by Cyclone Idai as heavy rain continues to cause “massive destruction”, the UN said on Thursday, while aid teams scale up efforts to reach those most in need.

Libya stands at a ‘critical juncture’, UN mission head tells Security Council

Wed, 20 March 2019 19:44 +0000 GMT

Predicting that the “days ahead will prove foundational to the years ahead for Libyans and the region”, the top United Nations official in the country told the Security Council on Wednesday, that it was no exaggeration to describe the oil-rich nation as having reached “a crucial juncture”.

UN allocates $20 million in emergency funding, as Cyclone Idai disaster unfolds

Wed, 20 March 2019 15:57 +0000 GMT

As the full scale of the devastation caused by Cyclone Idai in southern Africa continues to be assessed, the UN and humanitarian partners are ramping up the provision of emergency food, shelter, water and health care supplies to hundreds-of-thousands who have been affected across Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

First peaceful transfer of power in DR Congo ‘an extraordinary opportunity’ for advancing rights

Tue, 19 March 2019 18:24 +0000 GMT

The election of President Felix Tshisekedi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), marks “an extraordinary opportunity” for the country to advance civil and political rights, said a senior UN official, on Tuesday at the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Cyclone Idai: emergency getting ‘bigger by the hour’, warns UN food agency

Tue, 19 March 2019 15:18 +0000 GMT

The full scale of the devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone Idai in south-west Africa is becoming clearer, the UN said on Tuesday, warning that the emergency “is getting bigger by the hour”.

UN News Centre - Europe

UN court increases sentence of former Bosnian-Serb leader to life imprisonment

Wed, 20 March 2019 20:53 +0000 GMT

A United Nations appeals court on Wednesday increased the 40-year sentence initially imposed on Radovan Karadžić, former leader of the Republika Srpksa region of Bosnia and head of the Bosnian-Serb Army, to life imprisonment.

Joint UN, OSCE engagement can address crisis in Ukraine, other ‘dark spots of conflict’ in Europe

Thu, 07 March 2019 23:05 +0000 GMT

What is happening in and around Ukraine is “unacceptable, the Chairperson-in-Office for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) told the United Nations Security Council on Thursday.

‘I don’t like to give up': veteran UN envoy reveals how two decades of quiet diplomacy gave birth to North Macedonia

Thu, 28 February 2019 02:39 +0000 GMT

Last June, a historic agreement settled a 27-year-long name dispute between two countries, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Greece. One man, Matthew Nimetz,  patiently led the negotiations on behalf of the United Nations for over two decades and he told UN News, in an exclusive interview, that his faith in a positive outcome never faltered.

UN agencies call for action to bolster rights of Europe’s stateless children

Thu, 14 February 2019 20:29 +0000 GMT

United Nations agencies are calling on States and regional organizations across Europe to take urgent action to ensure that thousands of currently stateless children are given the support and protection they deserve.  

UN chief hails victory of ‘political will’ in historic Republic of North Macedonia accord

Thu, 14 February 2019 14:24 +0000 GMT

The UN-brokered agreement between Athens and Skopje to formally recognize the “Republic of North Macedonia”, is a welcome, “historical” step that should be supported by regional and international Member States, António Guterres has announced.

LGBT community in Chechnya faces ‘new wave of persecution’: UN human rights experts

Wed, 13 February 2019 18:06 +0000 GMT

People in Chechnya who are suspected of being lesbian, gay or bisexual, are facing a “new wave of persecution” following a spate of killings involving torture, and other rights abuses, said a group of independent UN human rights experts on Wednesday.

Civilians ‘continue to pay highest price’ in Ukraine conflict, with peace prospects losing ‘momentum’

Tue, 12 February 2019 22:21 +0000 GMT

“Civilians continue to pay the highest price” arising from Ukraine’s on-going conflict with separatist rebels in the east, the UN Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator told the Security Council on Tuesday, a conflict which is still claiming lives.

FROM THE FIELD: For refugees and migrants in Europe, healthcare’s essential but a challenge to find

Fri, 08 February 2019 21:20 +0000 GMT

There are some 68.5 million people currently displaced around the world, with 25.4 million crossing national borders in search of safety.

UN News Centre - Americas

UN conference agrees better ways for Global South countries to work together on sustainable development

Fri, 22 March 2019 20:48 +0000 GMT

The Second High-Level UN Conference on South-South Cooperation, known as BAPA+40, concluded on Friday in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with a political declaration agreed by more than 160 Member States renewing the global commitment in the promotion and investment in this type of collaboration between countries.

United States: UN human rights office welcomes California moratorium on death penalty

Thu, 14 March 2019 16:48 +0000 GMT

The UN human rights office (OHCHR) has welcomed the signing of an executive order by the Governor of California, in the United States, to impose a moratorium on carrying out the death penalty, which grants a reprieve to 737 inmates, up to end of his term in office.

UN rights team heading to Venezuela may pave way for official mission led by Bachelet

Fri, 08 March 2019 16:09 +0000 GMT

A United Nations human rights team is to begin an official visit to Venezuela on Monday at the invitation of the Government, potentially paving the way for an official mission to Caracas by the UN’s top rights official, Michelle Bachelet.

Venezuela must guarantee judicial impartiality - UN human rights expert

Fri, 01 March 2019 15:39 +0000 GMT

As political tensions continue to escalate in Venezuela, a United Nations independent human rights expert has called on the Government to “take all necessary measures to guarantee judicial independence,” following concerns that some pressure may have been placed on the country’s justice system “to act against the political opposition”.

Venezuela: Competing US, Russia resolutions fail to pass in Security Council

Thu, 28 February 2019 23:12 +0000 GMT

The second meeting of the week on the situation in Venezuela, took place in the UN Security Council on Thursday, during which competing resolutions produced by the United States and by Russia were presented. Neither text was adopted as the US draft was vetoed and the Russian draft failing to secure enough votes in favor.

Tensions escalate in Venezuela, civilians killed and injured: top UN officials lament excessive use of force by authorities

Sun, 24 February 2019 19:42 +0000 GMT

As tensions escalated on Saturday at various points along Venezuela’s borders with Colombia and Brazil, as well as within the country itself, resulting in the death and injury of various civilians, the United Nations chief, António Guterres, and the head of the UN human rights office (OHCHR), Michelle Bachelet, expressed their shock and appealed for calm.

Guterres meets Venezuela Foreign Minister, reiterates humanitarian principles

Sat, 23 February 2019 04:28 +0000 GMT

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres met Jorge Arreaza, Foreign Minister of Venezuela on Friday, and reiterated that the UN acts in accordance with the humanitarian principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence, and will work with Venezuelan institutions, to assist people in need.  

Nicaragua: UN rights chief ‘deeply concerned’ over increasing criminalization of dissenters

Fri, 22 February 2019 20:22 +0000 GMT

While the Nicaraguan Government claims to want to resolve its political and social unrest, dissenters continue to be arrested and convicted, clearly hindering a conducive environment for “genuine and inclusive dialogue,” the United Nations rights chief said on Friday.

UN News Centre - Asia Pacific

‘Mosques should be safe havens, not sites of terror’, says Guterres announcing UN plan to help safeguard religious sites

Fri, 22 March 2019 21:03 +0000 GMT

In the wake of a horrific mass shooting at two New Zealand mosques, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has announced his intention to launch a UN action plan for the safeguarding of religious sites, declaring that “mosques and all places of prayer and contemplation should be safe havens, not sites of terror.”

‘Growing alarm’ over Fall Armyworm advance, with cash crops ‘under attack’ across Asia

Thu, 21 March 2019 01:00 +0000 GMT

The Fall Armyworm pest is continuing to sweep across the globe, having moved eastwards from their native Americas, onto Africa, before arriving in Asia only last summer, where they now threaten to cost farmers from India to Thailand, billions of dollars in lost production. 

UN chief expresses solidarity with Indonesian authorities after flash floods kill dozens in Papua

Mon, 18 March 2019 00:49 +0000 GMT

More than 70 have died and dozens are missing in Indonesia’s eastern province of Papua, which was hit by flash floods and landslides on Sunday, and more than 4,000 have reportedly been displaced.

‘Stand united against anti-Muslim hatred’ urges Guterres, after mosque shootings in New Zealand leave 49 dead

Fri, 15 March 2019 16:07 +0000 GMT

The UN Secretary-General António Guterres has urged the international community to ‘stand united against anti-Muslim hatred’ following a mass shooting in New Zealand on Friday targeting two mosques, which has left at least 49 dead and many others wounded, some critically.

Despite progress towards peace, Afghanistan facing ‘daunting challenges’ ahead of presidential vote

Mon, 11 March 2019 16:12 +0000 GMT

The UN Special Representative in Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto, hailed on-going efforts made towards peace and the engagement of women and youth across the country, but warned the Security Council on Monday that “daunting challenges” remain.

Nearly four million North Koreans in urgent need, as food production slumps by almost 10 per cent

Wed, 06 March 2019 18:25 +0000 GMT

The UN is calling for some $120 million to provide life-saving humanitarian aid, desperately needed by 3.8 million North Koreans, as it releases its 2019 Needs and Priorities Plan for the country.

Stateless Rohingya refugee children living in ‘untenable situation’, UNICEF chief

Wed, 27 February 2019 22:28 +0000 GMT

With around half a million in effect, stateless Rohingya refugee children living in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar camp, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) chief stressed on Friday that the international community must address their “untenable situation” and “invest in this generation”.

Another sombre milestone for Afghanistan: 2018 saw record civilian deaths – UN report

Sun, 24 February 2019 06:25 +0000 GMT

With over 3,800 civilian women, children and men killed in just one year, Afghanistan has hit yet another “deeply disturbing and wholly unacceptable” record, according to a new report issued on Sunday by the UN political mission in the country (UNAMA) and the UN human rights office (OHCHR).