‘The war on Syria has failed,’ Foreign Minister says in UN speech, denouncing the West’s hegemonic ambitions

The current chaotic state of the world – from wars to the spread of terrorism and climate-induced disasters – is the result of hegemonic, wealth-hoarding countries and their ambitions to subjugate others, “which Syria knows only too well,” Foreign Minister Fayssal Mekdad said on Monday. In his address to the last day of the UN… Continue reading ‘The war on Syria has failed,’ Foreign Minister says in UN speech, denouncing the West’s hegemonic ambitions

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With help, Iraq’s spirit of hope, forward-looking youths can keep nascent democracy on track, Prime Minister says

“The hope embodied by the people of Iraq, had enabled them to snatch opportunities for life, progress and peace from the clutches of crisis and conflict,” the Prime Minister told leaders gathered in New York for the Assembly’s annual high-level debate. The people of Iraq had also used that same spirit of hope to fight terrorism… Continue reading With help, Iraq’s spirit of hope, forward-looking youths can keep nascent democracy on track, Prime Minister says

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Palestine calls for full UN membership and a plan to end the occupation

“Palestine, the Observer State in this Organization for 10 years now has proved that it qualifies for full membership. You have all recognized this,” he said, citing contributions that include chairing the G-77 and China developing country coalition.  “We are the exception. We are the only ones in the world on whom double standards are… Continue reading Palestine calls for full UN membership and a plan to end the occupation

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Leadership Council marks ‘new era’ for Yemen, but country remains wary of terrorist threat

President Rashad Mohammed Al-Alimi said on Thursday that with the formation in early April of the Presidential Leadership Council as the legitimate representative of the Yemeni people, his country had entered a new era in based on partnership and national consensus. “The highest goals of the Presidential Council will be [securing] peace and ending human… Continue reading Leadership Council marks ‘new era’ for Yemen, but country remains wary of terrorist threat

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At UN, Iran’s leader decries West’s ‘double standard’ towards country’s nuclear programme

Taking the rostrum at the annual United Nations General Assembly, Iran’s President decried as a great injustice the “double standard” exhibited by Western nations towards what he described as his country’s peaceful nuclear activities. “I explicitly declare that the Islamic Republic of Iran is not seeking to develop nuclear weapons and such weapons have no… Continue reading At UN, Iran’s leader decries West’s ‘double standard’ towards country’s nuclear programme

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Syria: Cholera outbreak is ‘serious threat’ to whole Middle East

The official declaration of a cholera outbreak in the Aleppo region of Syria at the weekend, represents “a serious threat to people in Syria”, and the whole Middle East region, said the UN humanitarian relief coordinator for the country on Tuesday. Imran Riza, who is also Resident Coordinator, said in a statement that “swift and urgent action… Continue reading Syria: Cholera outbreak is ‘serious threat’ to whole Middle East

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Visa refusal for UN human rights staff in Palestine part of wider ‘worrying trend’: Bachelet

The development is occurring in a context where Israeli authorities are increasingly limiting what she called human rights “eyes and ears on the ground”. Search for solutions Although the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) in Palestine has been operating for 26 years, the 15 international staff there “had no choice but to leave” in 2020,… Continue reading Visa refusal for UN human rights staff in Palestine part of wider ‘worrying trend’: Bachelet

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Young Jordanians innovate to tackle food insecurity

In Jordan, where many struggle to find enough to eat, young people are finding creative ways to tackle food insecurity, and create sustainable, environmentally friendly employment, with support from a UN innovation programme. Jordanians are dealing with multiple overlapping challenges including slow economic growth, high youth unemployment, water scarcity and increased cost of living. With… Continue reading Young Jordanians innovate to tackle food insecurity

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Israeli suppression of Palestinian rights organizations ‘illegal and unacceptable’

Twenty-four UN-appointed independent human rights experts condemned on Wednesday, Israel’s escalating attacks against Palestinian civil society in the occupied West Bank, describing it as “illegal and unacceptable”. During a raid last week, the Israeli army broke into and shut down the offices of seven Palestinian human rights and humanitarian groups operating in Ramallah, located in the… Continue reading Israeli suppression of Palestinian rights organizations ‘illegal and unacceptable’

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Rights experts urge Iran to end ‘systematic persecution’ of religious minorities

The experts said they are deeply concerned at the increasing arbitrary arrests and enforced disappearances of members of the Baha’i faith, as well as the destruction or confiscation of their properties, “in what bears all the signs of a policy of systematic persecution”.  These acts were not isolated, they added, but formed part of a… Continue reading Rights experts urge Iran to end ‘systematic persecution’ of religious minorities

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Saudi Arabia: UN calls for release of woman sentenced to 34 years in prison for tweeting

The UN human rights office, OHCHR, expressed outrage on Friday over a 34-year prison sentence handed down to a Saudi woman charged with following and retweeting so-called dissidents and activists. The UN human rights office, OHCHR, expressed outrage on Friday over a prison sentence spanning more than three decades handed down to a Saudi woman… Continue reading Saudi Arabia: UN calls for release of woman sentenced to 34 years in prison for tweeting

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Israel urged to allow humanitarians to continue working in Palestine

Allow human rights and humanitarian organizations to continue their work in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), UN agencies and other partners have urged Israel. On Thursday morning, Israeli Forces broke into, searched and sealed the offices of seven Palestinian human rights and humanitarian organizations³ in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. Their property was confiscated… Continue reading Israel urged to allow humanitarians to continue working in Palestine

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UN agriculture agency helps protect against threat of locust in Yemen

Following heavy widespread rains in Yemen, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) remains on high alert as the threat of desert locust emergence looms, the UN agency said on Wednesday. To avert losses triggered by the voracious pest, FAO recently delivered various equipment and machinery to the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Fisheries (MAIF) in Aden.… Continue reading UN agriculture agency helps protect against threat of locust in Yemen

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The World Health Organization steps up assistance to flood-ravaged Yemen

The World Health Organization (WHO) has provided emergency assistance, in an urgent response to the needs of communities affected by floods in Yemen, the UN agency said on Wednesday. In addition to health and laboratory supplies, it has supported specialized trauma teams and joined field missions along with national health authorities and other humanitarian partners.… Continue reading The World Health Organization steps up assistance to flood-ravaged Yemen

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First Person: ‘We are the hope, we are the power keeping Afghanistan together’

Mahbouba Sera, one of the world’s most prominent women’s rights activists, chose to stay in Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover in August 2021, to witness what was happening to her country, and to work for a society that benefits all of its people. “The first nights and days were especially horrible. Afghanistan was turning into… Continue reading First Person: ‘We are the hope, we are the power keeping Afghanistan together’

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First Person: ‘I realized Afghan women were still fighting. And I chose to be one of them’

Nasima*, 36, is a peacebuilder and a women’s rights activist in Afghanistan. After the Taliban regained effective control of the country a year ago, she continued to work in Afghanistan, in what would soon become one of the world’s most complex humanitarian emergencies. “I was in my office on 15 August 2021. At 8 a.m.,… Continue reading First Person: ‘I realized Afghan women were still fighting. And I chose to be one of them’

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ILO calls for adequate workers conditions during extreme heat in Iraq

The UN labour agency, ILO, says it is becoming increasingly concerned about working conditions in Iraq, where temperatures have soared to 50 degrees Celsius in recent weeks. In a call for action to protect workers, ILO Country Coordinator in Iraq Maha Kattaa has urged that measures be put in place to reduce the risks for… Continue reading ILO calls for adequate workers conditions during extreme heat in Iraq

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UN experts call for international investigation into 2020 Beirut explosion

A cohort of independent UN experts has called on the Human Rights Council to launch an international investigation into the massive explosion in Beirut two year ago, with a view to securing justice for those who died and were injured. The powerful blast, caused by a stockpile of ammonium nitrate in a port warehouse, occurred on 4 August 2020 and… Continue reading UN experts call for international investigation into 2020 Beirut explosion

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Syria: Australian teen’s death in prison ‘utterly preventable’, rights experts say

Yusuf Zahab, 17, had been taken to Syria when he was 11 by older relatives who had become radicalized, according to various media reports.   He is believed to have died from injuries sustained during and after the ISIL siege on Al Hasakah camp in January, compounded by lack of adequate medical treatment.  Never should… Continue reading Syria: Australian teen’s death in prison ‘utterly preventable’, rights experts say

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From the Field: Afghan earthquake survivors look to rebuild their lives

Afghans caught up in the devastating earthquake that hit the country on June 22, killing more than 1,000 and injured over 6,000 people, are sharing their traumatic stories. A boy walks up the hill to his former home, destroyed by the earthquake that hit Afghanistan in June 2022 ., by IOM/Léo Torréton ”I saw bodies… Continue reading From the Field: Afghan earthquake survivors look to rebuild their lives

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Iran: Top rights expert welcomes Swedish verdict in mass executions case

The conviction of an Iranian official by a Swedish court for his part in the mass execution and torture of political prisoners was welcomed on Friday by a top UN-appointed independent rights expert. The development came after Hamid Nouri – a former Iranian prosecutor and prison officer – was arrested at a Stockholm airport in… Continue reading Iran: Top rights expert welcomes Swedish verdict in mass executions case

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As global food and fuel crisis deepens, Lebanon’s crisis is affecting ‘everyone, everywhere’

Veteran UN aid coordinator Najat Rochdi on Friday signalled grave concerns about rising humanitarian needs across Lebanon linked to the global food and fuel crisis, which are affecting “everyone, everywhere”. Since last year, the number of people in urgent need of support has risen by 46 per cent, said the UN Deputy Special Coordinator for Lebanon… Continue reading As global food and fuel crisis deepens, Lebanon’s crisis is affecting ‘everyone, everywhere’

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Syria’s needs are at their highest ever, says top rights probe 

Syria’s humanitarian needs are at their highest ever and any move to block aid from reaching the war-torn country should be resisted strongly, a top UN Human Rights Council probe said on Wednesday.  According to the Commission of Inquiry on Syria, 14.6 million Syrians depend on humanitarian assistance, 12 million face acute food insecurity, and… Continue reading Syria’s needs are at their highest ever, says top rights probe 

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Abu Akleh shooting: fatal shot came from Israeli forces, says OHCHR

Israeli forces were behind the fatal shooting of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the West Bank – not indiscriminate Palestinian firing – the UN human rights office, OHCHR, alleged on Friday. Ms. Akleh – an experienced television journalist familiar with reporting in the Occupied Palestinian Territories – was killed on 11 May, as… Continue reading Abu Akleh shooting: fatal shot came from Israeli forces, says OHCHR

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Supporting UN’s Palestine refugee agency, means ‘investing in stability for the region’

“It means investing in the economic and social wellbeing of Palestine refugees and advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” Secretary-General António Guterres told the UN General Assembly ad hoc committee for voluntary contributions to UNRWA. “It means investing in the future through education of children and youth, girls and boys, young women and men and…honouring… Continue reading Supporting UN’s Palestine refugee agency, means ‘investing in stability for the region’

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Socio-economic meltdown leaves Lebanese ‘hanging on by a thread’

“I have listened to stories of shock and of loss. Young people whose dream is simply to go to school are now chasing informal jobs to provide for their families,” Najat Rochdi told journalists at a press briefing. “Others desperately seek to leave and start a new life elsewhere, leaving the country almost void of… Continue reading Socio-economic meltdown leaves Lebanese ‘hanging on by a thread’

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Occupation, discrimination driving Israel-Palestine conflict, recurring violence

The finding comes in the first report by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel, established last May by the UN Human Rights Council.  The Commission said occupation and discrimination are the key root causes of the recurrent tensions, instability, and drawn out nature of the… Continue reading Occupation, discrimination driving Israel-Palestine conflict, recurring violence

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Rights experts urge Israel to cease eviction and demolition of Bedouin village

Israel must halt plans to demolish a Bedouin village in the Naqab desert that will forcibly displace hundreds of residents in a bid to expand Jewish-only settlements, two experts appointed by the UN Human Rights Council said on Friday.  Special Rapporteurs Fernand de Varennes and Balakrishnan Rajagopal said the move could result in “irreparable damage”… Continue reading Rights experts urge Israel to cease eviction and demolition of Bedouin village

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UNDP steps up efforts to keep Syrians off the daily breadline

As the Syria war enters its 12th year, the impact that the war in Ukraine is having on food security, is being felt by the most vulnerable Syrians, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) said on Wednesday. Food insecurity in Syria has reached an historic high, amidst a downward socio-economic spiral, while humanitarian needs soar to… Continue reading UNDP steps up efforts to keep Syrians off the daily breadline

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Saudi Arabia: Release Abdullah al-Howaiti, stem death penalty

In May 2017, the then 14-year-old was arrested on charges of robbery and murder. Despite having an alibi, and based on a confession extracted under torture and other ill-treatment, he was convicted, and recently sentenced to death for a second time after his original conviction was overturned by the Saudi Supreme Court last year. “We… Continue reading Saudi Arabia: Release Abdullah al-Howaiti, stem death penalty

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Israel: UN rights chief calls for end to ‘culture of impunity’

Investigations must be held into the actions of the Israeli security forces, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said on Saturday, calling for accountability and an end to impunity. Her appeal comes in the wake of the killing of Al Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh, who was fatally shot on Wednesday while covering… Continue reading Israel: UN rights chief calls for end to ‘culture of impunity’

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Syria: Rights experts call for humanitarian access to detained children

Their statement comes in the aftermath of a deadly jailbreak in January at a facility in the Al-Hasekeh region, led by ISIL combatants in an attempt to free detained counterparts.  🇸🇾#Syria: Concern for welfare of children arbitrarily held in detention centres & those missing, after January attack on ISIL prison. 100 boys still unaccounted for.… Continue reading Syria: Rights experts call for humanitarian access to detained children

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$4.3 billion needed to help over 17 million people across Yemen

After more than seven years of war, “tens of thousands of civilians – including at least 10,000 children – have died”, Mr. Guterres said, adding that “for millions of internally displaced people, life is a daily struggle for survival”. Today, over 23 million Yemenis face hunger, disease, and other life-threatening risks as the country’s basic… Continue reading $4.3 billion needed to help over 17 million people across Yemen

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UN rights chief decries mass execution of 81 people in Saudi Arabia

The UN human rights chief has condemned the beheading of 81 people by Saudi Arabia during the course of a single day, charged with terrorism-related offences. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet urged the authorities in a statement released following Saturday’s mass execution, to “bring the country’s counterterrorism laws fully into line with international… Continue reading UN rights chief decries mass execution of 81 people in Saudi Arabia

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Fears grow for Syria amid rising violence, deepening humanitarian crisis

Presenting the latest UN Human Rights Council-mandated report on the nearly 11-year-old conflict at a virtual press conference in Geneva, Paulo Pinheiro, Chair of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, described the “devastating” impact on communities. Half the country displaced “Hundreds of thousands have been killed, more than half of… Continue reading Fears grow for Syria amid rising violence, deepening humanitarian crisis

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Displacement, humanitarian needs surging inside Afghanistan and across region

Conflict last year had forced more than 700,000 Afghans to leave their homes and added to the 5.5 million people already displaced over past years, the UN migration agency said on Tuesday. “The ongoing crisis in Afghanistan is intensifying humanitarian needs and increasing displacement risks both inside the country, as well as across borders to… Continue reading Displacement, humanitarian needs surging inside Afghanistan and across region

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Palestine: Nutrition campaign targets pregnant and nursing women

To combat malnutrition and iron deficiency in Gaza and the West Bank, the World Food Programme (WFP) on Friday, launched a campaign to provide support to hundreds of pregnant and nursing women. Through community-based and online initiatives, the campaign will accelerate and support “a knowledge-sharing process”, according to Samer AbdelJaber, WFP Representative and Country Director.… Continue reading Palestine: Nutrition campaign targets pregnant and nursing women

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Griffiths to Security Council: ‘Your responsibility is not over’ to Syrian people 

The UN and its partners need to reach more Syrians with immediate life-saving aid, the UN relief chief warned the Security Council on Thursday, calling for expanded access and more funds to sustain humanitarian operations, as the country struggles with an uptick in violence, deepening economic crisis, and a winter storm that has left a… Continue reading Griffiths to Security Council: ‘Your responsibility is not over’ to Syrian people 

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UNICEF providing aid for children caught up in Syria prison siege

Boys and girls caught up in intense fighting which raged for six days around a besieged prison in northeast Syria, need protection and assistance, the UN children’s agency, UNICEF, said on Thursday. ISIL fighters launched an assault on the Ghwayran/Sinai’i detention centre in the city of Al-Hasekeh last week, in an attempt to free some of… Continue reading UNICEF providing aid for children caught up in Syria prison siege

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Military solution for Syria war remains ‘an illusion’: Pedersen

With no shifts in the frontlines in almost two years, the UN Special Envoy for Syria warnedt he Security Council about “a strategic stalemate” in the nearly 11-year-old war.  For Geir Pedersen, despite the continued violence and suffering, it is clear that “a military solution remains an illusion”and no combatant can determine the outcome of the conflict. Mr. Pederson also said that Syrians continue to suffer deeply. Just last month, they had to deal with airstrikes, more crossfire and shelling… Continue reading Military solution for Syria war remains ‘an illusion’: Pedersen

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Syria: 700 child detainees held in prison under siege

The attempted jailbreak began last Thursday with two coordinated car bomb attacks to free suspected ISIL members – sparking violence between ISIL fighters and Kurdish-led Syrian Defence Forces (SDF) which control the prison, including in residential areas of Al-Hasekeh. “We are particularly disturbed by reports that a significant number of boys, possibly several hundred, are… Continue reading Syria: 700 child detainees held in prison under siege

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Senior humanitarian describes ‘horror scenes’ in Syria camps

Speaking by videoconference to journalists in New York, Mark Cutts said humanitarians had seen “some real horror scenes” in the last few days, especially in the northwest, where he said the camps were “bad at the best of times”. “Our humanitarian workers have been pulling people out from under collapsed tents”, he added. Mr. Cutts described a scenario where many people do not have shovels or other equipment to clear the snow, so… Continue reading Senior humanitarian describes ‘horror scenes’ in Syria camps

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Experts decry measures to ‘steadily erase’ Afghan women and girls from public life

Taliban leaders in Afghanistan are institutionalizing large scale and systematic gender-based discrimination and violence against women and girls, independent UN human rights experts warned on Monday. The group of around three dozen Human Rights Council-appointed experts highlighted a “wave of measures” such as barring women from returning to their jobs, requiring a male relative to accompany them… Continue reading Experts decry measures to ‘steadily erase’ Afghan women and girls from public life

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Conviction of top Syrian intelligence official ‘a landmark leap forward’

The man, known as Anwar R, was charged with complicity in the torture of thousands of people between 2011 and 2012 in the Al-Khatib Branch of Syrian General Intelligence in the capital, Damascus.   Renewed spotlight on atrocities  UN Human Rights High Commissioner, Michelle Bachelet said his trial cast a much-needed renewed spotlight on the torture… Continue reading Conviction of top Syrian intelligence official ‘a landmark leap forward’

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Each day ‘a new adventure’ for UN humanitarian air service worker  

Despite having been “around aircraft for so long” due to her personal and family history, Rasha admits that she still gets a “heart flutter” every she watches a plane take to the skies.  “It never gets ordinary being here”, she said.  Like mother, like daughter  Early last year, Rasha joined the World Food Programme’s (WFP) UNHAS team as an Aviation Assistant at Qamishli airport in Syria’s northeast. Prior to that, she’d worked in commercial aviation… Continue reading Each day ‘a new adventure’ for UN humanitarian air service worker  

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Despite ‘rampant’ poverty, ‘existential’ lack of funding impedes UNRWA’s work

A long-term lack of funding for the UN’s relief agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, now represents an “existential” threat, its top official warned on Thursday.   Philippe Lazzarini, Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, said that chronic and drastic funding shortfalls could even precipitate its collapse.  “Today, austerity has reached its limit and is impacting the quality of our services”, he said, highlighting that despite “rampant” poverty, the agency can no longer increase… Continue reading Despite ‘rampant’ poverty, ‘existential’ lack of funding impedes UNRWA’s work

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Yemen alert: 8 million face reduced rations amid funding shortages

The UN food relief agency warned on Wednesday that it is running out of funds to continue providing food assistance to 13 million Yemenis. From January, eight million who are going hungry in Yemen will receive a reduced food ration, while five million others who are at immediate risk of slipping into famine, will remain… Continue reading Yemen alert: 8 million face reduced rations amid funding shortages

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Bachelet describes ‘disastrous’ human rights situation across Occupied Palestinian Territory 

“This clearly also has damaging impact on prospects for peace and sustainable development for Israel, as well as the surrounding region”, she argued.   Ms. Bachelet was briefing the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, in Geneva.   She argued that, “no matter how long the road has been, ‘never-ending’ cannot be an acceptable description for… Continue reading Bachelet describes ‘disastrous’ human rights situation across Occupied Palestinian Territory 

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Investing in UNRWA is ‘an investment in peace and hope’

 Thanking the Governments of Jordan and Sweden for organizing the pledging conference for the Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the UN chief pointed out the agency’s many accomplishments. In addition to providing more than half a million children with high quality education, investing in human development and offering… Continue reading Investing in UNRWA is ‘an investment in peace and hope’

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Iran death penalty threat for abortion unlawful: UN rights experts

In a statement released on Tuesday, the experts called on the Iranian authorities to repeal the ‘Youthful Population and Protection of the Family’ law, which was ratified by Iran’s Guardian Council on the first of November. The law, said the experts, severely restricts access to abortion, contraception, voluntary sterilization services and related information, in direct… Continue reading Iran death penalty threat for abortion unlawful: UN rights experts

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Syria: Conflict, COVID and rising costs, ‘pushing people beyond their limits’

Blaming a deadly combination fighting, climate change, COVID-19 and rising food and fuel costs, he said, “Mothers are telling me that with the upcoming winter they are caught between a rock and a hard place”. “They either feed their children, and let them freeze, or keep them warm and let them go hungry. They cannot… Continue reading Syria: Conflict, COVID and rising costs, ‘pushing people beyond their limits’

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Afghanistan: Girls at increasing risk of child marriage

In a statement released on Friday, the agency’s Executive Director, Henrietta Fore, said that she was “deeply concerned” over reports that child marriage is on the rise.   Even before the latest political instability, UNICEF’s partners registered 183 child marriages and 10 cases of selling of children in Herat and Baghdis provinces between the ages of six months and 17 years from 2018 to 2019.   The agency estimates that 28 per cent of Afghan women between the ages 15 and 49 were married… Continue reading Afghanistan: Girls at increasing risk of child marriage

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Salaries for Afghanistan health workers sends ‘message of hope’ to millions

Almost all international support came to a halt, and it seemed certain that for health workers in lifesaving facilities throughout the crisis-wracked nation, and the millions they serve, things would only get worse. But then, as one midwife* recalled, in testimony exclusively supplied to UN News, the support started coming, thanks to a groundbreaking new… Continue reading Salaries for Afghanistan health workers sends ‘message of hope’ to millions

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Israeli military deauthorization of Palestine NGOs, ‘deepens concern’ of UN agencies

UN Agencies and the Association International Development Agencies (AIDA) said on Tuesday they were standing firmly behind civil society organisations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, following an Israely military decision to de-authorize six NGOs.  In a statement released this Tuesday, the agencies said they regretted the decision, made on 7 November by the Military Commander in the West Bank, saying it represents “a… Continue reading Israeli military deauthorization of Palestine NGOs, ‘deepens concern’ of UN agencies

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Iraq: UN condemns assassination attempt on Prime Minister ‘in the strongest terms’

The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) has condemned “in the strongest terms” the assassination attempt on Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, following a drone attack overnight on Sunday, aimed on his house in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone. According to news reports, the exploding drone caused damage to the residence and several of the Prime Minister’s security… Continue reading Iraq: UN condemns assassination attempt on Prime Minister ‘in the strongest terms’

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More than half of Afghans face food insecurity at ‘crisis’ or ‘emergency’ levels

Nearly 23 million people, or 55 per cent of the Afghan population, are estimated to be in crisis or experiencing emergency levels of food insecurity between now and March of next year.   Speaking to journalists in New York, the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General pointed to reports that isolated clashes and violence affecting civilians and resulting in casualties continued countrywide this week.  In Jalalabad, in… Continue reading More than half of Afghans face food insecurity at ‘crisis’ or ‘emergency’ levels

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UN experts call for protection of trafficked workers from Viet Nam in Saudi Arabia 

Some women and girls being recruited in Viet Nam to serve as domestic workers in Saudi Arabia, are suffering sexual abuse and torture, leading a group of UN independent human rights experts on Thursday to call on both nations to curb human trafficking.  “We are seeing traffickers targeting Vietnamese women and girls living in poverty, many of whom are already vulnerable… Continue reading UN experts call for protection of trafficked workers from Viet Nam in Saudi Arabia 

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Israel settlement expansion ‘tramples’ on human rights law, experts contend

Israel’s plan to build thousands of new homes for Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem has drawn strong condemnation from two independent experts appointed by the UN Human Rights Council.  Settlement expansion “tramples” on human rights law, Special Rapporteurs Michael Lynk and Balakrishnan Rajagopal said in a statement on Wednesday.  Solidifying a permanent presence  Nearly… Continue reading Israel settlement expansion ‘tramples’ on human rights law, experts contend

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‘Climate of fear’ prevails for human rights defenders in Afghanistan 

Human rights defenders in Afghanistan report that they are now enduring a “climate of fear”, threats, and becoming increasingly desperate over conditions in the country, an independent UN expert said on Wednesday.   Stating that “the threat is very real”, Mary Lawlor, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, called for an urgent coordinated response from the international community.  “Defenders tell me of direct threats, including gendered threats… Continue reading ‘Climate of fear’ prevails for human rights defenders in Afghanistan 

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First Person: Telling the tragic story of mercury poisoning in Japan

Masami Ogata is a survivor of Minamata Disease, a debilitating illness caused by industrial mercury poisoning, which originated in the Japanese town of the same name in the 1950s. As a UN conference on preventing future poisoning outbreaks gets underway, we hear Mr. Ogata’s story. As a storyteller at the Minamata Disease Municipal Museum, Mr.… Continue reading First Person: Telling the tragic story of mercury poisoning in Japan

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Syria: Progress still possible, following ‘disappointment’ over constitutional talks

Geir Pedersen reported on the sixth session of the Committee’s so-called “Small Body”, which he convened last week in Geneva.  [email protected] It is important that the Constitutional Committee continues its work with urgency & purpose – indeed that it works, as its ToRs say that it should, “expeditiously & continuously to produce results & continued… Continue reading Syria: Progress still possible, following ‘disappointment’ over constitutional talks

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UN experts condemn Israel’s designation of Palestine rights defenders as terrorist organisations 

Independent UN human rights experts on Monday strongly condemned the decision by the Israeli Minister of Defence to designate six Palestinian human rights and civil society groups, as terrorist organisations.  In a joint statement, the experts called the decision “a frontal attack on the Palestinian human rights movement, and on human rights everywhere.”  “Silencing their voices is not what a democracy adhering to well-accepted human rights and… Continue reading UN experts condemn Israel’s designation of Palestine rights defenders as terrorist organisations 

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‘Big disappointment’ over lack of Syria constitution agreement

The process of drafting a new constitution for Syria has been “a big disappointment” UN Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen concluded on Friday. Following the end of discussions in Geneva, a consensus on how to move forward was not achieved, he added. The drafting process between Government and opposition Co-Chairs of the Syrian Constitutional Committee (Small Drafting Body) and… Continue reading ‘Big disappointment’ over lack of Syria constitution agreement

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Fears grow for the lives of 5 Palestinians on hunger strike in Israeli prisons

Israel has been urged to either release or charge five Palestinian prisoners currently on hunger strike in Israeli prisons. Grave concerns have been expressed for the lives of the prisoners by UN independent rights experts, who on Thursday, called on the Israeli Government to completely end the “unlawful practice “ of administrative detention.  In a statement, the… Continue reading Fears grow for the lives of 5 Palestinians on hunger strike in Israeli prisons

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Four children killed on their way to school in northwest Syria

Four children – three boys and a girl – were killed on Monday morning while travelling to school in northwest Syria, along with a teacher, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Wednesday. UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Ted Chaiban, said in a statement that they were victims of an… Continue reading Four children killed on their way to school in northwest Syria

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Build consensus or face ‘increasingly desperate reality’, warns Middle East envoy

Political stagnation is “fuelling tensions, instability and a deepening sense of hopelessness”, the top UN official working towards peace in the Middle East warned the Security Council on Tuesday.   “We should have no illusions about the current state of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”, Special Coordinator Tor Wennesland said, describing a situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) that… Continue reading Build consensus or face ‘increasingly desperate reality’, warns Middle East envoy

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