Independent Commission reports war crimes by both sides in Gaza war

This was among the conclusions listed in the report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel, released on Tuesday. “Amid months of losses and despair, retribution and atrocities, the only tangible result has been compounding the immense suffering of both Palestinians and Israelis, with civilians,… Continue reading Independent Commission reports war crimes by both sides in Gaza war

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Gaza: Security Council adopts US resolution calling for ‘immediate, full and complete ceasefire’

The United States-drafted text calls for Hamas to accept a ceasefire proposal announced on 31 May by President Joe Biden that has already been accepted by Israel. Adopted by a large majority with 14 votes in favour and Russia abstaining, the resolution also urges both parties to fully implement the terms of the proposal “without… Continue reading Gaza: Security Council adopts US resolution calling for ‘immediate, full and complete ceasefire’

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Situation in southern Gaza ‘horrific and apocalpytic’: WFP

Matthew Hollingsworth, WFP Country Director in Palestine, warned that with limited access to the south “we will no doubt see what we saw happen in the north in the first months of the war”. Mr. Hollingsworth recently spent 10 days in Gaza.  Speaking from Jerusalem, he told journalists in New York that people in the… Continue reading Situation in southern Gaza ‘horrific and apocalpytic’: WFP

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Gaza: Rafah camp attack heightens focus on dwindling health resources

Many of those injured suffered terrible burns, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), which will require intensive treatment, electricity and high-level medical services, all of which are scarce after nearly eight months of war.  Massive medical challenge  It is just another massive challenge for all the medical teams in the enclave, WHO spokesperson Margaret… Continue reading Gaza: Rafah camp attack heightens focus on dwindling health resources

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UN chief mourns loss of Iranian President in helicopter crash

20 May 2024UN Affairs UN Secretary-General António Guterres, alongside members of the Security Council, has extended heartfelt condolences to the people and Government of Iran following the death of President Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter accident on Sunday. The crash, which occurred in a mountainous region of northwestern Iran, also claimed the lives of… Continue reading UN chief mourns loss of Iranian President in helicopter crash

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Israel refutes South Africa’s accusations at UN world court

Linked to South Africa’s ongoing case accusing Israel of violating its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (the Genocide Convention), the new request, filed on 10 May, asked the ICJ to order Israel to “immediately withdraw and cease its military operations in the Rafah governate”. Gilad Naom… Continue reading Israel refutes South Africa’s accusations at UN world court

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Gaza: Aid delivery via floating dock welcomed, but land routes ‘more important’

17 May 2024Humanitarian Aid Trucks carrying desperately needed aid into Gaza have started moving ashore on the temporary floating dock built by the United States military, but this is not enough to meet the needs of civilians, UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, said on Friday.  OCHA warned that the maritime corridor cannot replace critical land… Continue reading Gaza: Aid delivery via floating dock welcomed, but land routes ‘more important’

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Food and fuel for Gaza ‘will run out in days’, warn UN aid teams

“Food and fuel stocks will run out in a matter of days,” the UN World Food Programme (WFP) warned in a social media post on X. “Since 6 May, we have not been able to access and receive aid from the Kerem Shalom crossing. The situation is becoming unsustainable.” The UN agency highlighted the very real… Continue reading Food and fuel for Gaza ‘will run out in days’, warn UN aid teams

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Patients in Rafah ‘afraid to seek services’, WHO reports

The current situation has reached an “unprecedented emergency level”, he said, and the most recent evacuation order by Israel has forced tens of thousands to flee. As part of the contingency effort, WHO and partners have been establishing field hospitals and supporting restoration of the Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis, which will be used… Continue reading Patients in Rafah ‘afraid to seek services’, WHO reports

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Pillay: Israel is helped by ‘powerful States’ in violation of Palestinians’ rights

Today, more than ever amid the ongoing war in Gaza, this independent commission of inquiry has its work cut out. We took a closer look at its role, speaking to its chair, former UN Human Rights Commissioner and judge Navi Pillay, who provided fresh insight into the developing situation and what’s happening in the field… Continue reading Pillay: Israel is helped by ‘powerful States’ in violation of Palestinians’ rights

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Gaza’s unexploded ordnance could take 14 years to clear

Pehr Lodhammar, a senior officer from the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), said that the war has left an estimated 37 million tonnes of debris. He said it was impossible to determine the exact amount of unexploded ordnance in the enclave where formerly heavily built-up and densely populated neighbourhoods have been reduced to rubble,… Continue reading Gaza’s unexploded ordnance could take 14 years to clear

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Gaza: Heatwave brings new misery and disease risk to Rafah

25 April 2024Humanitarian Aid Unexpected blistering temperatures across Gaza have added to the daily misery faced by the enclave’s people and sparked new fears of disease outbreaks amid a lack of sufficient clean water and waste disposal, UN humanitarians said on Thursday. The warning from the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, came as some… Continue reading Gaza: Heatwave brings new misery and disease risk to Rafah

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Syria crisis intensifies in shadow of Gaza war

Briefing ambassadors on the Security Council, Geir Pedersen called for a regional de-escalation, starting with an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. In addition to the regional spillover effects, he expressed deep concern over the ongoing conflict within Syria itself. “There are in fact no signs of calm in any of Syria’s theaters – only unresolved conflicts,… Continue reading Syria crisis intensifies in shadow of Gaza war

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UNRWA seeks $1.2 billion to meet urgent needs in Gaza and the West Bank

24 April 2024Humanitarian Aid The UN agency that assists Palestine refugees, UNRWA, launched a $1.2 billion appeal on Wednesday to address the unprecedented humanitarian crisis in the besieged Gaza Strip and to respond to needs in the West Bank as violence there increases.  The funding will cover humanitarian response through the end of the year,… Continue reading UNRWA seeks $1.2 billion to meet urgent needs in Gaza and the West Bank

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UN coordinator in Gaza announces new plan to deliver lifesaving aid

“The operationalisation of the mechanism will allow for pipeline prioritisation, predictability, visibility and tracking of supplies to Gaza,” she told ambassadors. The new plan stemmed from Security Council resolution 2720, adopted in December, which established Ms. Kaag’s position and requested her to forge a UN mechanism to accelerate aid deliveries into the war-torn enclave, which now faces… Continue reading UN coordinator in Gaza announces new plan to deliver lifesaving aid

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Mass graves in Gaza show victims’ hands were tied, says UN rights office

The development follows the recovery of hundreds of bodies “buried deep in the ground and covered with waste” over the weekend at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, central Gaza, and at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City in the north. A total of 283 bodies were recovered at Nasser Hospital, of which 42 were identified.  “Among… Continue reading Mass graves in Gaza show victims’ hands were tied, says UN rights office

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UNRWA committed to implement independent review recommendations

Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini briefed journalists in New York a day after the independent review panel published its findings.  Former French foreign minister Catherine Colonna spearheaded the report, which found that UNRWA has put in place a large number of mechanisms and procedures to ensure its commitment to the principle of neutrality and outlines some 50… Continue reading UNRWA committed to implement independent review recommendations

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Guterres upholds UNRWA as a ‘lifeline’ following receipt of independent panel’s report

The final report, led by former French foreign minister Catherine Colonna, was due to be released later on Monday. Ms. Colonna was also preparing to speak to journalists at a scheduled noon briefing in New York as Chair of the Independent Review Group on UNRWA.  “The Secretary-General accepts the recommendations contained in Ms. Colonna’s report,” Mr.… Continue reading Guterres upholds UNRWA as a ‘lifeline’ following receipt of independent panel’s report

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Independent review panel releases final report on UNRWA

“Israel made public claims that a significant number of UNRWA employees are members of terrorist organisations. However, Israel has yet to provide supporting evidence of this,” according to the 54-page final report, Independent review of mechanisms and procedures to ensure adherence by UNRWA to the humanitarian principle of neutrality. The UN Secretary-General, who received the final… Continue reading Independent review panel releases final report on UNRWA

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Israel continues to block aid into northern Gaza amid famine

1 April 2024Humanitarian Aid Israeli forces are blocking aid deliveries into famine-stricken northern Gaza as the five-month-long war grinds on despite recent strong demands from the top UN court and the Security Council for unfettered access for lifesaving food shipments into the enclave and for a temporary ceasefire and the return of all hostages taken… Continue reading Israel continues to block aid into northern Gaza amid famine

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Rights expert finds ‘reasonable grounds’ genocide is being committed in Gaza

Francesca Albanese was speaking at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, where she presented her latest report, entitled ‘Anatomy of a Genocide’, during an interactive dialogue with Member States. “Following nearly six months of unrelenting Israeli assault on occupied Gaza, it is my solemn duty to report on the worst of what humanity is… Continue reading Rights expert finds ‘reasonable grounds’ genocide is being committed in Gaza

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Israel’s new aid ban on UNRWA in Gaza ‘a wrong move’: UN coordinator

On the heels of Israel’s announcement on Sunday that it would no longer approve aid shipments into northern Gaza by the UN agency for Palestine refugees, UNRWA, UN Coordinator Jamie McGoldrick cautioned of current catastrophic food shortages and growing hunger across the enclave while offering swift solutions to averting a looming famine. “Any interruption to… Continue reading Israel’s new aid ban on UNRWA in Gaza ‘a wrong move’: UN coordinator

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Israel tells UN it will reject UNRWA food convoys into northern Gaza

“As of today, UNRWA, the main lifeline for Palestine refugees, is denied from providing lifesaving assistance to northern Gaza,” UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini wrote in a social media post on X. He called the decision “outrageous”, saying it was made to intentionally obstruct lifesaving aid deliveries during a man-made famine in the northern part of… Continue reading Israel tells UN it will reject UNRWA food convoys into northern Gaza

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Syria: Political deadlock and violence fuels humanitarian crisi

21 March 2024Humanitarian Aid After thirteen years of conflict in Syria, a continuing political stalemate threatens to prolong the suffering of millions and hinder efforts to bring about peace, the UN Special Envoy for the country said on Thursday. Briefing ambassadors at the UN Security Council, Geir Pedersen said that recent spike in violence, including… Continue reading Syria: Political deadlock and violence fuels humanitarian crisi

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UNRWA review panel presents interim findings to Secretary-General

Global perspective Human stories File photo of Catherine Colonna, Chair of the Independent Review Group on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). 20 March 2024UN Affairs UN Secretary-General António Guterres has received the interim findings of an independent panel conducting an assessment of UNRWA, the UN agency that assists Palestinians, his office said… Continue reading UNRWA review panel presents interim findings to Secretary-General

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Children of Gaza spread joy for Ramadan, despite the war

While ceasefire talks failed to end the five-month-long conflict that has killed nearly 32,000 Palestinians – most of them women and children – the goal of some youngsters living in the makeshift camp was simple. The children of Deir Al-Balah decided to lift their spirits in the face of ongoing war and celebrate the holy… Continue reading Children of Gaza spread joy for Ramadan, despite the war

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Explainer: What is famine and how is it declared?

With the release of the latest food security report from the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) on war-ravaged Gaza since December, World Food Programme (WFP) chief economist Arif Husain walked UN News through the process. When is famine declared? Famine is essentially a technical term, referring to a population that faces widespread malnutrition and hunger-related deaths… Continue reading Explainer: What is famine and how is it declared?

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Security Council: ‘Risky military adventurism’ could push Yemen into new cycle of war

Briefing ambassadors at the UN Security Council, Hans Grundberg voiced his disappointment at the failure to achieve key milestones that ordinary Yemenis have been demanding, by Ramadan. “As I briefed last month, the mediation space has grown more complex. This continues to be the case,” he said. “Although we have tried to shield the peace… Continue reading Security Council: ‘Risky military adventurism’ could push Yemen into new cycle of war

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Gaza: ‘The population is literally besieged’, UNRWA Deputy chief

Ms. Boucly spoke to Khaled Mohamed from UN News as news emerged of fresh Israeli airstrikes on Gaza, and an UNRWA report that more children have been killed there in recent months than in four years of conflict worldwide.  On Wednesday, the agency reported that at least one of its staffers had been killed and a… Continue reading Gaza: ‘The population is literally besieged’, UNRWA Deputy chief

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Gaza: ‘Children are dying from hunger’, says UN aid coordinator

“Children are dying from hunger,” he said via videolink, as media reports indicate that at least 20 children have succumbed to starvation in the besieged and bombarded enclave, including most recently a 14-day-old baby. Calling for a plan to address this crisis, he said immediate needs would include using a military access road to northern… Continue reading Gaza: ‘Children are dying from hunger’, says UN aid coordinator

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UN rights expert condemns ‘systematic’ war-time mass destruction of homes

Citing alarming examples in Aleppo, Grozny, Mariupol, Myanmar, Sudan and Gaza, Balakrishnan Rajagopal, the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, said an “increasingly systematic, massive and arbitrary destruction of civilian housing and infrastructure” during too many conflicts around the world is in blatant violation of international human rights and humanitarian laws. “We have seen or are… Continue reading UN rights expert condemns ‘systematic’ war-time mass destruction of homes

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Gaza: ‘Babies slowly perishing under the world’s gaze,’ UNICEF warns

“The child deaths we feared are here,” Adele Khodr, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement issued on Sunday. At least 10 children have died from dehydration and malnutrition at Kamal Adwan Hospital in the north in recent days, according to reports. Helplessness and despair Ms. Khodr warned… Continue reading Gaza: ‘Babies slowly perishing under the world’s gaze,’ UNICEF warns

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No medicine, no hope: Doctors describe life under Israeli attack in Gaza

“Life is very difficult here,” hospital manager Dr. Haidar Al-Qudra told UN News. Currently, only 12 of Gaza’s 36 hospitals are “partially functioning”, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), with the rest destroyed by Israel’s near constant bombardment of the enclave. As the war in Gaza enters its fifth month, Israeli forces continue to… Continue reading No medicine, no hope: Doctors describe life under Israeli attack in Gaza

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Dozens address UN world court hearings on Israeli practices

Filed before the ongoing four-month-old war in Gaza began, the case has triggered heated commentary even before the court’s president, Judge Nawaf Salam, opened the hearings. This recap provides snapshots of the first days of hearings, from 19 to 21 February. The hearings will close on 26 February. Israel chose not to participate. World court… Continue reading Dozens address UN world court hearings on Israeli practices

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Rights experts call for probe into alleged violations against Palestinian women and girls

Palestinian women and girls have reportedly been arbitrarily executed in Gaza, often together with family members, including their children, according to information they have received. Killed while fleeing  “We are shocked by reports of the deliberate targeting and extrajudicial killing of Palestinian women and children in places where they sought refuge, or while fleeing. Some… Continue reading Rights experts call for probe into alleged violations against Palestinian women and girls

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Despite myriad challenges, UNRWA continues lifesaving work in Gaza

Agency employees and volunteers at the UNRWA-affiliated Deir Al-Balah Preparatory School in central Gaza told UN News that despite difficult conditions restricting the movement of workers at many international aid organizations, they continue preparing and distributing food rations. Yousuf Sagr of UNRWA “People cannot buy any supplies due to their lack [of availability], and even… Continue reading Despite myriad challenges, UNRWA continues lifesaving work in Gaza

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Gaza: Rafah invasion would be a disaster “beyond imagination”, warn UN medics

14 February 2024Peace and Security UN medics said on Wednesday that they feared a humanitarian disaster “beyond imagination” if a full-scale incursion by the Israeli military happens in Rafah in southern Gaza. Echoing renewed deep concerns by the UN’s top humanitarian official Martin Griffiths that an assault on Rafah “could lead to a slaughter”, the… Continue reading Gaza: Rafah invasion would be a disaster “beyond imagination”, warn UN medics

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Gaza: UN health agency warns over continuing attacks on healthcare

9 February 2024Peace and Security The unrelenting war in Gaza hasn’t spared hospitals, their staff or the people sheltering there, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday, as it unveiled data indicating more than 350 attacks on healthcare in the enclave since hostilities erupted. A total of 645 people have died since 7… Continue reading Gaza: UN health agency warns over continuing attacks on healthcare

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Gaza ‘buffer zone’ possible war crime: UN human rights chief

8 February 2024Human Rights Israel’s reported attempt to create a “buffer zone” with Gaza could constitute a war crime, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk warned on Thursday.  The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) are reportedly destroying all buildings in the Gaza Strip that are within a kilometre of the Israel-Gaza fence and “clearing… Continue reading Gaza ‘buffer zone’ possible war crime: UN human rights chief

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One year on, for survivors of Türkiye-Syria quakes the suffering is far from over

In the early hours of February 6, 2023, a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the border region between the two countries, claiming over 50,000 lives in Türkiye and a further 5,900 in Syria, with thousands more injured. “Thousands of families have yet to heal from the impact of the devastation. Survivors live with the loss… Continue reading One year on, for survivors of Türkiye-Syria quakes the suffering is far from over

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UN and partners launch $2.7 billion humanitarian appeal for Yemen

Nearly a decade of fighting between Government forces, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, pitted against Houthi rebels who control much of the country, has left 18.2 million Yemenis in need of life-saving assistance and protection, and 17.6 million are estimated to face acute food insecurity. The 2024 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) is based on robust… Continue reading UN and partners launch $2.7 billion humanitarian appeal for Yemen

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Gaza: UN rights experts condemn ‘killing and silencing’ of journalists

Expressing deep concern, the Human Rights Council-appointed experts highlighted the alarming toll on journalists and media workers in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in Gaza. “We are alarmed at the extraordinarily high numbers of journalists and media workers who have been killed, attacked, injured and detained in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in Gaza, in… Continue reading Gaza: UN rights experts condemn ‘killing and silencing’ of journalists

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Guterres: Two-State solution the only path to a just, lasting peace

Addressing the annual session of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, the UN chief voiced deep concern over the violence and suffering that has intensified, particularly since the October 7 attack by Hamas and other militants based in Gaza and the subsequent military offensive by Israel. “The death,… Continue reading Guterres: Two-State solution the only path to a just, lasting peace

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‘No substitute’ for UNRWA’s lifesaving work in Gaza: Senior Humanitarian Coordinator

Apart from a political decision, which would have to be made by the General Assembly, “there is no way any organization can replace or substitute the tremendous capacity and the fabric of UNRWA and its ability and knowledge,” Sigrid Kaag, Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator for Gaza, told correspondents at a stakeout outside the Security… Continue reading ‘No substitute’ for UNRWA’s lifesaving work in Gaza: Senior Humanitarian Coordinator

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UN chief to meet UNRWA donors as major charities call for continued support

29 January 2024Humanitarian Aid Secretary-General António Guterres is due to meet with major donors to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) on Tuesday, as major non-governmental organizations (NGOs) issued an urgent plea to keep lifesaving funds flowing. The UN chief also met with the head of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), the… Continue reading UN chief to meet UNRWA donors as major charities call for continued support

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UN chief urges countries to reverse UNRWA funding suspension

28 January 2024Humanitarian Aid Secretary-General António Guterres has appealed to the countries that suspended funding to the UN agency assisting Palestine refugees (UNRWA) to reconsider their decisions, to ensure continuity of its vital humanitarian operations. In a statement on Sunday, the UN chief said that the Organization is promptly responding to the extremely serious allegations… Continue reading UN chief urges countries to reverse UNRWA funding suspension

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Lifesaving programmes in peril, UNRWA chief urges countries to reconsider funding suspension

27 January 2024Humanitarian Aid The head of the UN agency assisting Palestine refugees (UNRWA) said on Saturday that some countries’ decisions to halt funding will jeopardize its lifesaving programmes, urging them to reconsider. It was “shocking” to see the suspension of funds in reaction to allegations against a small group of staff, Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA… Continue reading Lifesaving programmes in peril, UNRWA chief urges countries to reconsider funding suspension

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‘High-risk mission’ delivers fuel to Al-Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza

23 January 2024Health The World Health Organization (WHO) and partners have delivered 19,000 litres of fuel to Al-Shifa hospital in northern Gaza, the UN agency said late on Tuesday. The “high-risk mission”, carried out the previous day, was marked by delays at the checkpoint and severely damaged roads. Thousands of hungry civilians also surrounded the… Continue reading ‘High-risk mission’ delivers fuel to Al-Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza

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Iran urged to halt ‘horrific wave of executions’

Mohammad Ghobadlou, 23, who reportedly had a mental health condition, was arrested in September 2022 for running over a policeman and killing him during a demonstration near the capital, Tehran. Thousands of people nationwide took to the street after the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody earlier that month. She had been detained by… Continue reading Iran urged to halt ‘horrific wave of executions’

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UPDATING LIVE: Top diplomats to debate Middle East crisis in Security Council

23 January 2024Peace and Security Many of the world’s top diplomats are due to meet in the UN Security Council chamber at 2 PM New York time, to debate the deepening crisis in the Gaza Strip and the whole Middle East, against the backdrop of Israel’s unrelenting military operation, mounting death toll and escalating global… Continue reading UPDATING LIVE: Top diplomats to debate Middle East crisis in Security Council

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Ukraine war: UN humanitarians launches $4.2 billion appeal for most vulnerable

Today, some 14.6 million people in the country need humanitarian assistance – or 40 per cent of the population – and 6.3 million have fled beyond its borders as refugees. “We must stay the course” with the people of Ukraine, Mr. Griffiths told journalists in Geneva, adding that “no place” had been untouched by the… Continue reading Ukraine war: UN humanitarians launches $4.2 billion appeal for most vulnerable

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Justice served: Lebanon’s Special Tribunal closes

31 December 2023Law and Crime Prevention The UN Secretary-General praised the hard work of judges and staff of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which closed on Sunday following efforts to try those responsible for a 2005 attack that killed 22 people, including former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, and injured 226 people. Established by Security… Continue reading Justice served: Lebanon’s Special Tribunal closes

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Iraq: UN team issues latest report on terrorist atrocities

4 December 2023Human Rights The UN team investigating crimes committed by Da’esh terrorist group has issued its latest report documenting the terrorist group’s atrocities in Iraq, laying the groundwork for future prosecutions. Christian Ritscher, head of the UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh – otherwise known as the Islamic State… Continue reading Iraq: UN team issues latest report on terrorist atrocities

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Stories from the UN Archive: The origin of #PalestineDay

Global perspective Human stories Palestine refugee children on their way to school in UNRWA’s Khan Younis camp, built on the stand dunes of the crowded Gaza Strip in 1963. Why 29 November? On that day in 1947, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on the partition of Palestine. At the founding commemoration of the international… Continue reading Stories from the UN Archive: The origin of #PalestineDay

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UN affirms solidarity with the Palestinian people on International Day

The annual observation on 29 November marks the day in 1947 that the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on partitioning Palestine into two independent States, one Arab and one Jewish. The 1948 displacement of Palestinians from land that became Israel – known as the Nakba (“catastrophe” in Arabic) – is the subject of an… Continue reading UN affirms solidarity with the Palestinian people on International Day

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UN delivers more aid into Gaza on first day of humanitarian pause

24 November 2023Humanitarian Aid The United Nations was able to scale up delivery of humanitarian assistance into and across Gaza during the humanitarian pause that went into effect on Friday following an agreement reached this week between Israel and Hamas. Gaza has a population of over two million, with the UN agency that assists Palestine… Continue reading UN delivers more aid into Gaza on first day of humanitarian pause

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Gaza crisis: aid agencies warn of ‘tragic, avoidable surge’ in child deaths

21 November 2023Peace and Security A “tragic…entirely avoidable surge” in child deaths is expected in Gaza where some 160 youngsters are already being killed every day, UN humanitarians warned on Tuesday, after six weeks of aerial bombardment by Israeli forces in response to the 7 October Hamas terror attacks on southern Israel that claimed 1,200… Continue reading Gaza crisis: aid agencies warn of ‘tragic, avoidable surge’ in child deaths

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War and health crisis in Gaza a ‘recipe for epidemics’ warns WHO

WHO’s Dr. Mike Ryan was briefing journalists at UN Headquarters and added that “so many children” remain in danger, as fighting between Palestinian militants and Israeli forces continues, from hostages to those living under bombardment with no safe place to shelter. Up to 1,500 children in Gaza remain missing – many likely under rubble –… Continue reading War and health crisis in Gaza a ‘recipe for epidemics’ warns WHO

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Gaza: ‘Hospitals are not battlegrounds’, children’s suffering must stop, UN humanitarians say

Her comments came amid reports on Wednesday morning of an ongoing Israeli Defense Forces raid inside Gaza City’s Al-Shifa hospital, where patients including premature babies have died over the course of the past days after incubators and other life-saving equipment lost power. “Hospitals are not battlegrounds,” UN relief chief Martin Griffiths wrote on social platform… Continue reading Gaza: ‘Hospitals are not battlegrounds’, children’s suffering must stop, UN humanitarians say

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Iran urged to end new rights clampdown following teenage girl’s death

They issued a statement expressing shock over the death of Armita Geravand, the teenager who collapsed in the subway in Iran’s capital, Tehran, earlier this month, allegedly following an altercation about failing to wear a headdress or hijab. Ms. Geravand died on Saturday, according to international reports which cited State media. The experts called for… Continue reading Iran urged to end new rights clampdown following teenage girl’s death

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UN independent experts ‘unequivocally condemn’ violence against civilians in Israel, Gaza

In a news release, the experts denounced the ruthless attacks by Hamas on Israeli civilians starting 7 October. They also stressed their concern for the victims of subsequent counter-terrorism measures by Israeli forces. “We decry the scale of the brutal assault on mothers, children, babies, the elderly and ordinary citizens going about their daily lives… Continue reading UN independent experts ‘unequivocally condemn’ violence against civilians in Israel, Gaza

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Explainer: How UN delivers life-saving aid amid crises

One in every 33 people (that’s 242 million people) on the planet needed humanitarian assistance in 2022, and most of that aid was coordinated through the UN. Here’s how the UN does it: Coordination: Crisis HQ This week, as the Israel-Palestine crisis erupted on 7 October, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)… Continue reading Explainer: How UN delivers life-saving aid amid crises

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From the Field: How UN distributes food aid in Gaza, West Bank

10 October 2023Humanitarian Aid Despite closed borders and the escalating Israel-Palestine crisis, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) was rapidly expanding its new emergency operation to provide critical aid to over 800,000 people facing dire circumstances and lacking access to essential supplies. A World Food Programme (WFP) staff member distributes bread to a family sheltered… Continue reading From the Field: How UN distributes food aid in Gaza, West Bank

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Israel/ Palestine: UN urges parties to spare civilian lives

The High Commissioner said that he was “deeply shocked and appalled by allegations of summary executions of civilians, and, in some instances, horrifying mass killings by members of Palestinian armed groups”. “It is horrific and deeply distressing to see images of those captured by Palestinian armed groups being ill-treated, as well as reports of killings… Continue reading Israel/ Palestine: UN urges parties to spare civilian lives

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UN supports ‘monumental step’ for cancer sufferers in northwest Syria

A doctor treats a cancer patient in a hospital in Idlib, northwest Syria. 3 October 2023Humanitarian Aid The first radiotherapy machine to treat cancer arrived in northwest Syria over the weekend, the UN’s aid coordination office (OCHA) said on Tuesday. It marks a “monumental step” for cancer treatment in the region said UN Spokesperson Stéphane… Continue reading UN supports ‘monumental step’ for cancer sufferers in northwest Syria

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Syrian minister denounces ‘American chaos’, says States must respect the UN Charter

Bassam Sabbagh, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of the Syrian Arab Republic, addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s 78th session. 26 September 2023UN Affairs In remarks on Tuesday to the UN General Assembly, Syrian Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Bassam Sabbagh underscored the need to build a multipolar world order that… Continue reading Syrian minister denounces ‘American chaos’, says States must respect the UN Charter

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Palestine: Rights experts call for stronger torture prevention measures

The members of the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) issued the appeal after concluding their first visit to the State of Palestine, conducted from 10 to 21 September. Daniel Fink, who headed the delegation, said they received full cooperation from the Palestinian Authority to visit locations in the West Bank, “but we regret that, despite all… Continue reading Palestine: Rights experts call for stronger torture prevention measures

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Saudi Foreign Minister outlines plans for better, greener Middle East

Describing the national vision for 2030, Faisal bin Farhan Al Furhan Al-Saud said it centred on promoting development for future generations and empowering women and young people by developing their creativity. Human rights are of utmost importance, he said, adding that Saudi Arabia has adopted laws to protect its citizens and is also working on… Continue reading Saudi Foreign Minister outlines plans for better, greener Middle East

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Iraqi Prime Minister highlights national priorities focused on people

Addressing the annual high-level general debate of the UN General Assembly, the Prime Minister empahasized that the coalition has adopted a programme with crucial priorities aimed at immediate implementation for the benefit of the Iraqis. These priorities include the creation of employment opportunities, the eradication of poverty, the fight against corruption, and the enactment of… Continue reading Iraqi Prime Minister highlights national priorities focused on people

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Israel on the cusp of historic peace with Saudi Arabia, Netanyahu announces at UN

22 September 2023UN Affairs Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Friday that Israel is at the cusp of a “dramatic breakthrough”: a historic peace deal between his country and Saudi Arabia. “Such a peace will go a long way in ending Arab-Israeli conflict and will encourage other Arab States to normalize their relations with Israel,”… Continue reading Israel on the cusp of historic peace with Saudi Arabia, Netanyahu announces at UN

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This ‘hideous occupation’ will not last, Abbas tells UN Assembly

He said he had come carrying the cause of his people, who are struggling for freedom and independence, and to remind the Assembly of the tragedy caused by the Nakba 75 years ago, the effects of which continue to be exacerbated by the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory. “This occupation that challenges your resolutions, violates… Continue reading This ‘hideous occupation’ will not last, Abbas tells UN Assembly

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Lebanon faced ongoing insecurity amid regional tensions and weak international cooperation

20 September 2023UN Affairs Overlapping crises and regional tensions amid a weakened international system have led to economic, political, and institutional insecurity in Lebanon, the President of the Council of Ministers told the UN General Assembly Wednesday evening.  Mohammad Najib Azmi Mikati argued that one of the primary challenges facing Lebanon was filling the presidential… Continue reading Lebanon faced ongoing insecurity amid regional tensions and weak international cooperation

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Syria: UN chief welcomes reopening of life-saving aid corridor

Trucks carrying essential humanitarian supplies travel from Türkiye through the Bab al-Salam border crossing, into northwest Syria. 19 September 2023Humanitarian Aid A large UN aid convoy was able to cross into northwest Syria on Tuesday following the reopening of a vital border crossing. In a statement, UN Secretary-General António Guterres welcomed the resumption of deliveries… Continue reading Syria: UN chief welcomes reopening of life-saving aid corridor

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Lebanon: School occupations condemned as violence grips Palestine refugee camp

8 September 2023Humanitarian Aid Thousands of children have been put at risk amid a resurgence of violence at a Palestine refugee camp in Lebanon, the UN’s top humanitarian official in the country said on Friday. Clashes between rival factions in the Ein el Hilweh camp, the largest in Lebanon, has also displaced thousands of refugees,… Continue reading Lebanon: School occupations condemned as violence grips Palestine refugee camp

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Yemen: Alarming surge in measles and rubella cases, reports WHO

A child receives a vaccine during a nationwide immunisation drive in Yemen. 31 August 2023Health The UN World Health Organization (WHO) issued a stark warning on Thursday over rising cases of measles and rubella among children in Yemen, as a vaccination campaign there faces cutbacks due to insufficient funding. As of July, there have been… Continue reading Yemen: Alarming surge in measles and rubella cases, reports WHO

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UN rights chief concludes visit to Iraq

Climate change crisis Speaking at the end of his four-day visit on Wednesday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk provided a first-hand account of the impact of climate change in Basra, in the country’s south. “In 50-degree-Celsius heat, in the midst of drought-ridden and barren fields, local community leaders and representatives showed me… Continue reading UN rights chief concludes visit to Iraq

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Lebanon: Vital UN refugee health centre reopens

9 August 2023Humanitarian Aid A UN health centre providing medical care to Palestine refugees at a camp in Lebanon reopened on Wednesday, as a ceasefire between opposing armed groups holds. Services at the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)’s Health Centre II were suspended last week following clashes… Continue reading Lebanon: Vital UN refugee health centre reopens

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Türk calls on Israeli Government to ‘heed the calls of the people’ over judicial reform

Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, in Jerusalem. 27 July 2023Human Rights The UN human rights chief issued a statement on Thursday calling on “those in power” in Israel to heed the calls of the broad-based coalition in the country which has been protesting new laws limiting the judicial power of the Supreme Court. Volker Türk said… Continue reading Türk calls on Israeli Government to ‘heed the calls of the people’ over judicial reform

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UN rights experts denounce forced evictions of Palestinian families

In a news release issued by the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR), the experts said it was “deeply shocking and heartbreaking” to see an elderly Palestinian couple, Nora Ghaith and Mustafa Sub Laban, evicted from their family home where they lived all their lives and raised their children. ‘Apartheid machinery at work’ “As we have repeatedly… Continue reading UN rights experts denounce forced evictions of Palestinian families

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Iran: Executions and detentions in spotlight at Human Rights Council

“We have expressed concerns” over the investigation into her death, said Viviana Krsticevic, a member of the Fact-Finding Mission on Iran, speaking at a press conference in Geneva: “in particular over the fact that today her family’s right to truth and justice remains unfulfilled”.  She added that the investigations had “fallen short of international human… Continue reading Iran: Executions and detentions in spotlight at Human Rights Council

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Israel-Palestine: UN envoy ‘deeply alarmed by continuing cycle of violence’

Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland was reacting on Twitter to the news of a shooting attack reportedly by two Palestinian gunmen, who opened fire at a petrol station on a road outside an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank. News reports quoting the Israeli military said both of the… Continue reading Israel-Palestine: UN envoy ‘deeply alarmed by continuing cycle of violence’

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Iraq: UNESCO architectural design winners to rebuild iconic Al-Nouri Mosque complex 

15 April 2021Culture and Education Eight Egyptian architects have been awarded the job of restoring the historic Al-Nouri Mosque complex in Mosul, Iraq, the UN cultural chief announced on Thursday.  Selected by an international jury from among 123 entries in a global competition, the winning design – called “Courtyards Dialogue” – is a major component… Continue reading Iraq: UNESCO architectural design winners to rebuild iconic Al-Nouri Mosque complex 

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UN envoy highlights diplomatic unity, as key to help end Yemen war

Briefing the Security Council, Martin Griffiths highlighted international unity in support of ending six years of fighting between Yemeni Government forces, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, and the Ansar Allah movement, also known as the Houthis.  “These arrangements will allow for a normalization of life that has all too often, and perhaps today, seemed like… Continue reading UN envoy highlights diplomatic unity, as key to help end Yemen war

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Settler violence is rising in Occupied Palestinian Territory, warn experts

14 April 2021Human Rights Violence attributed to Israeli settlers against Palestinians living in the West Bank has worsened in recent months, amidst “an atmosphere of impunity”, UN-appointed independent rights experts said on Wednesday. Highlighting more than 210 incidents already this year and one Palestinian fatality, the Special Rapporteurs urged the Israeli authorities to investigate thoroughly, maintaining that the Israeli… Continue reading Settler violence is rising in Occupied Palestinian Territory, warn experts

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UNRWA chief reports on despair and hope among Palestinians, as US announces $150 million in aid

Philippe Lazzarini, Commissioner General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, UNRWA, briefed Member States during an online meeting to mobilize political and financial support ahead of a donor conference later this year.  His report came just hours before the United States Government announced that it was to restart economic, development and… Continue reading UNRWA chief reports on despair and hope among Palestinians, as US announces $150 million in aid

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Yemen: Arrival of COVID-19 vaccines a ‘gamechanger’

31 March 2021Health The arrival of the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines in Yemen on Wednesday has been hailed by health experts as a “gamechanger” in the fight against coronavirus spread in the war-torn country.  The 360,000 doses were shipped through the COVAX Facility, the global equity initiative, and will enable health workers and other… Continue reading Yemen: Arrival of COVID-19 vaccines a ‘gamechanger’

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Ending Syria’s war is our collective responsibility, UN chief tells donor conference

“After a decade of war, many Syrians have lost confidence that the international community can help them forge an agreed path out of the conflict. I am convinced that we still can, along with the Syrian parties themselves”, he said in a video message to the fifth Brussels Conference, co-chaired by the European Union and… Continue reading Ending Syria’s war is our collective responsibility, UN chief tells donor conference

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‘No respite’ for civilians in Syria, UN officials urge international support

29 March 2021Humanitarian Aid Senior United Nations officials have called on the international community to step up funding for relief programmes supporting millions of people in Syria and the region, who depend on the life-saving assistance and livelihood support after a decade of brutal conflict.  With the added impact of the coronavirus pandemic, “there is… Continue reading ‘No respite’ for civilians in Syria, UN officials urge international support

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Syria’s decade of ‘death, destruction, displacement, disease, dread and despair’

Mark Lowcock, who’s also the Humanitarian Affairs chief, said that after a decade of “death, destruction, displacement, disease, dread and despair”, Syrians “see no respite”.   Indeed “needs are higher than ever”, he said. “We estimate that 13.4 million people across all parts of Syria require humanitarian aid” – 20 per cent more than last year.   … Continue reading Syria’s decade of ‘death, destruction, displacement, disease, dread and despair’

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UN envoy calls for more support to aid Palestinian COVID-19 response

25 March 2021Peace and Security COVID-19 continues to have a devastating effect on Palestinians, the Secretary-General’s envoy for the Middle East peace process told the Security Council on Thursday, urging greater support for vaccination efforts. UN Special Coordinator Tor Wennesland said the disease remains a “persistent health threat” in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), with new cases increasing significantly in the West… Continue reading UN envoy calls for more support to aid Palestinian COVID-19 response

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Guterres welcomes Saudi peace initiative to end fighting in Yemen

23 March 2021Peace and Security The UN Secretary-General on Tuesday welcomed the announcement by Saudi Arabia of steps aimed at helping end the fighting and restart the political process in Yemen. In a statement issued by his Spokesperson, António Guterres said that he welcomed all steps proposed on Monday, “aimed at bringing the parties closer to a resolution” in… Continue reading Guterres welcomes Saudi peace initiative to end fighting in Yemen

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Eight children killed this month, as fighting intensifies in Yemen: UNICEF

20 March 2021Peace and Security The brutal conflict in Yemen continues to exact a devastating toll on children, with at least eight killed and a further 33 injured in attacks since the beginning of March, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Saturday.  According to the agency, the incidents occurred as conflict intensified along active… Continue reading Eight children killed this month, as fighting intensifies in Yemen: UNICEF

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‘Yemen can’t wait’, UN and partners warn in seeking $3.85 billion for humanitarian response

17 March 2021Humanitarian Aid The UN and its humanitarian partners are seeking $3.85 billion to reach 16 million people in Yemen this year, or nearly 80 per cent of the population, as the country descends deeper into crisis.  The 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for the country, published on Tuesday, aims to provide aid and… Continue reading ‘Yemen can’t wait’, UN and partners warn in seeking $3.85 billion for humanitarian response

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Syria’s decade of conflict takes massive toll on women and girls

Atop the persistent insecurity, Syrians are also enduring the COVID-19 pandemic and worsening economic conditions – all of which are taking a disproportionate toll on women and girls across the region.  “For many girls and young women like me, this is all that we have known”, Samia (we have changed the names and locations of… Continue reading Syria’s decade of conflict takes massive toll on women and girls

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UN envoy warns of ‘dramatic’ deterioration in Yemen conflict

Special Envoy Martin Griffiths reported that “the war is back in full force”, with Ansar Allah, commonly referred to as the Houthis, continuing an offensive in Marib.  The northern governorate had previously been relatively unaffected in the fighting, now in its seventh year, but the violence is putting civilians, including more than one million displaced… Continue reading UN envoy warns of ‘dramatic’ deterioration in Yemen conflict

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Syria: Grim 10-year anniversary of ‘unimaginable violence and indignities’ 

“I want to commemorate Syrian victims and remember Syrian suffering and resilience in the face of unimaginable violence and indignities that…[they] have faced over ten long years”, Special Envoy Geir Pedersen said, reciting a litany of “countless” violations of international law, including “the unspeakable horrors of chemical weapons”.  Gruesome snapshot  The UN envoy said Syrians… Continue reading Syria: Grim 10-year anniversary of ‘unimaginable violence and indignities’ 

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FROM THE FIELD: Syrian photographers find hope despite 10 years of civil war

15 March 2021Humanitarian Aid The pain and deprivation of individual Syrians and the widespread destruction, a decade of conflict has wrought on Syria, has been documented in a series of images taken by 16 photographers working in the country. Hundreds of thousands of people have died, and 12 million have fled their homes – half as… Continue reading FROM THE FIELD: Syrian photographers find hope despite 10 years of civil war

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First Person: Poetry and the pain of loss and leaving; a voice from Syria

14 March 2021Culture and Education A young Syrian woman has told the United Nations how poetry helped her to convey the emotions of all the children who have been caught up in the decade-long civil war in her country. Amineh Abou Kerech’s poem “Lament for Syria” won the United Kingdom’s Betjeman Poetry Prize in 2017… Continue reading First Person: Poetry and the pain of loss and leaving; a voice from Syria

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Syria war: Average of one child injured or killed every eight hours over past 10 years – UNICEF 

“The triple crisis of 2020, and still this year, has somehow further exacerbated the situation for Syria’s children”, said UNICEF’s Representative in Syria, Bo Viktor Nylund, briefing journalists in Geneva. “So what does it mean in practical terms? It means for instance that two out of three families report that they cannot meet their basic needs.”   The Covid-19 pandemic has put a massive additional… Continue reading Syria war: Average of one child injured or killed every eight hours over past 10 years – UNICEF 

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FROM THE FIELD: Syria statistics tell tragic tale of decade-long conflict

12 March 2021Humanitarian Aid Ten numbers for each year of Syria’s seemingly interminable conflict: the UN’s Humanitarian agency (OCHA) has marked this tragic milestone by highlighting in figures the country’s miserable decade of suffering and loss. The statistics are staggering. Fighting has forced some 13 million people, more than 60 per cent of the country’s… Continue reading FROM THE FIELD: Syria statistics tell tragic tale of decade-long conflict

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‘Hell’ in Yemen, with millions ‘knocking on the door of famine’ WFP’s Beasley warns 

As famine-like conditions are emerging across Yemen David Beasley, Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme, said “the answer is simple”.   “We have a vaccine for this. It is called food. All we need to save lives is funding”, he spelled out.  Too weak to cry  In the capital of Sana’a, the UN official… Continue reading ‘Hell’ in Yemen, with millions ‘knocking on the door of famine’ WFP’s Beasley warns 

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Ten years on, Syrian crisis ‘remains a living nightmare’: UN Secretary-General

Briefing journalists at UN Headquarters on Wednesday, the UN chief stressed the need for countries to put aside their differences to support Syrians in finding a solution to the crisis.  “After a decade of conflict, in the middle of a global pandemic, and faced with a steady stream of new crises, Syria has fallen off… Continue reading Ten years on, Syrian crisis ‘remains a living nightmare’: UN Secretary-General

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Yemen: UN migration agency calls for urgent humanitarian access after ‘horrific’ fire  

IOM also called for the release of all migrants from the Immigration, Passports and Naturalization Authority Immigration Holding Facility, where many Ethiopian detainees were being held, along with “renewed commitment to providing safe, predictable movement options for migrants”.   Dozens have reportedly been injured, and IOM tweeted that more than 170 have been treated for injuries “with… Continue reading Yemen: UN migration agency calls for urgent humanitarian access after ‘horrific’ fire  

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In Iraq, Pope spreads message of peace, religious tolerance and humanity’s resilience

7 March 2021Culture and Education Pope Francis’ historic visit to northern Iraq to hold prayers at an ancient church destroyed by ISIL “sends a clear message to the world that harmony and cohesion between the followers of all religions is the only way for the advancement and progress of humanity,” the top UN culture official has… Continue reading In Iraq, Pope spreads message of peace, religious tolerance and humanity’s resilience

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Pope’s visit to Iraq, ‘a symbol of hope’

The Pope’s arrival in the Christian northern heartland, will come as a “message of peace and unity supported on a pillar of diversity”, UNESCO said.  “This message is at the core of our mandate, where inclusion and diversity are critical to understanding, mutual respect, and ultimately a more peaceful and just world”, it added.  Pope Francis… Continue reading Pope’s visit to Iraq, ‘a symbol of hope’

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ICC Prosecutor opens probe into alleged crimes in occupied Palestine

“I confirm the initiation by the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court of an investigation respecting the Situation in Palestine”, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a statement.  “The investigation will cover crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court that are alleged to have been committed in the Situation since 13 June 2014,… Continue reading ICC Prosecutor opens probe into alleged crimes in occupied Palestine

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20 die after human traffickers force migrants into sea en route to Yemen

4 March 2021Migrants and Refugees At least 20 people have drowned after smugglers threw dozens of migrants overboard as they sailed from Djibouti to Yemen, UN migration agency IOM said on Thursday. This is the third such incident in the Gulf of Aden in the last six months, according to the International Organization for Migration, which… Continue reading 20 die after human traffickers force migrants into sea en route to Yemen

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‘Limited’ progress in closing Syria chemical weapons file, UN Disarmament Chief tells Security Council

“At this stage, the declaration submitted by [Syria] cannot be considered accurate and complete,” Izumi Nakamitsu, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs told the Security Council in her monthly briefing, owing to “identified gaps, inconsistencies and discrepancies that remain unresolved”.  Detailing the latest developments, she said her Office received information from the Permanent Mission of Syria, which it carefully studied and forwarded to… Continue reading ‘Limited’ progress in closing Syria chemical weapons file, UN Disarmament Chief tells Security Council

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Saudi Arabia commutes three death sentences, UN experts call for charges to be dropped 

3 March 2021Human Rights Independent UN human rights experts welcomed on Wednesday Saudi Arabia’s decision to commute the death sentences of three men for crimes they had allegedly committed when they were minors, and urged the Kingdom to overturn their convictions and release them.  Five UN rights experts called Saudi Arabia’ decision to re-sentence to 10… Continue reading Saudi Arabia commutes three death sentences, UN experts call for charges to be dropped 

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Rights experts condemn ongoing demolition of Palestinian Bedouin village

2 March 2021Human Rights Two independent UN human rights experts are urging Israel to halt efforts to demolish the Palestinian village of Humsa Al-Bqai’a, fearing it is part of a wider pattern of forcible removals and displacement.   Michael Lynk, Special Rapporteur for the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, and Balakrishnan… Continue reading Rights experts condemn ongoing demolition of Palestinian Bedouin village

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Yemen pledging conference: Severity of suffering ‘impossible to overstate’ says Guterres 

Despite that, millions of Yemenis desperately need more aid to survive, with some $1.7 billion pledged by the end of the morning – falling short of the appeal when the conference began, for $3.85 billion.  “Cutting aid is a death sentence”, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said after the event concluded. “The best that can be said… Continue reading Yemen pledging conference: Severity of suffering ‘impossible to overstate’ says Guterres 

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Syria: ‘Unprecedented funding crisis’ means cuts for 2.5 million in need, warns WFP

13 June 2023Humanitarian Aid An unprecedented funding crisis in Syria has forced the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to announce cuts to aid being provided for 2.5 million of the 5.5 million people who rely on the agency for basic food needs. The announcement comes as the European Union gears up to host the seventh… Continue reading Syria: ‘Unprecedented funding crisis’ means cuts for 2.5 million in need, warns WFP

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Arrests and hate speech target Baha’i minority in Yemen

9 June 2023Human Rights The UN rights office (OHCHR) sounded the alarm on Friday over the detention in Yemen’s capital Sana’a of followers of the minority Baha’i faith – and a subsequent sermon by a leading cleric targeting them and other religious groups. OHCHR said that on 25 May, security forces stormed a peaceful meeting… Continue reading Arrests and hate speech target Baha’i minority in Yemen

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UN agency for Palestine refugees on verge of financial collapse

Chronic underfunding over the past decade, and resultant severe austerity measures, mean UNRWA is already operating with a $75 million shortfall, putting its lifesaving programmes across the Middle East at risk.   “As I address you today, I do not have the funds to keep our schools, health centres and other services running as of September,”… Continue reading UN agency for Palestine refugees on verge of financial collapse

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Gaza: Over a quarter of UNRWA centre patients needing mental health support

This is the highest rate of mental health need ever recorded, across UNRWA’s medical system. UNRWA’s health programmes support some two million Palestine refugees across Jordan, Lebanon, the occupied Palestinian territory composed of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and Gaza, as well as in Syria. Immensely challenging year Speaking to reporters in Geneva, Dr.… Continue reading Gaza: Over a quarter of UNRWA centre patients needing mental health support

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Millions of children still facing dire conditions 100 days after Türkiye-Syria quakes: UNICEF

In total, 2.5 million children in Türkiye, and another 3.7 million in neighbouring Syria, need continued humanitarian assistance, the UN agency said, appealing for greater support for affected families.  The earthquakes which struck on 6 February, followed by thousands of aftershocks, have pushed families to the brink and left children homeless and without access to… Continue reading Millions of children still facing dire conditions 100 days after Türkiye-Syria quakes: UNICEF

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Israel-Palestine: UN chief condemns killing of civilians as deadly Gaza violence escalates

10 May 2023Peace and Security The UN Secretary-General said on Wednesday he was following the latest exchanges of fire between Israeli forces and militants in the Gaza Strip with “deep concern” over the escalating conflict, and “risk of further loss of life.” In a statement released by his Spokesperson, António Guterres said that he condemned… Continue reading Israel-Palestine: UN chief condemns killing of civilians as deadly Gaza violence escalates

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Almost $15 billion needed for earthquake recovery in Syria

8 May 2023Humanitarian Aid Syria needs almost $15 billion to recover following the devastating February earthquakes, according to a new UN assessment report launched on Monday in the Lebanese capital, Beirut. The Syria Earthquake Recovery Needs Assessment (SERNA) puts the total damages and losses at almost $9 billion, said El-Mostafa Benlamlih, UN Resident and Humanitarian… Continue reading Almost $15 billion needed for earthquake recovery in Syria

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Israel: UN experts demand accountability over death of Palestinian hunger striker

The 45-year-old Palestinian died in his prison cell on Tuesday morning following a nearly three-month hunger strike. He had been protesting Israel’s widespread policy of arbitrarily detaining Palestinians in “abhorrent conditions” and in violation of fair trial guarantees. The call for greater accountability came from the independent expert, or Special Rapporteur, on the situation of… Continue reading Israel: UN experts demand accountability over death of Palestinian hunger striker

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Yemen health system ‘edging closer to collapse’ warns WHO

Hopes are running high of an end to the intense fighting between a Saudi-backed coalition standing alongside Government forces, and Houthi rebels and their allies, which since 2015 has led the near total collapse of the economy, with tens of thousands killed, and 21.6 million in need of humanitarian assistance and protection this year, according… Continue reading Yemen health system ‘edging closer to collapse’ warns WHO

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WHO mission to Syria quake zone boosts protection from disease outbreaks

The World Health Organization continues to support people displaced by the earthquake in northwestern Syria. 20 April 2023Humanitarian Aid The World Health Organization (WHO) has carried out a month-long field mission to areas of northwest Syria devastated by the February earthquakes there, and in Türkiye, helping stem the risk of further disease outbreaks or full-blown… Continue reading WHO mission to Syria quake zone boosts protection from disease outbreaks

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Beirut blast: ‘The faster we act, the better we can reduce human suffering,’ says UN deputy chief

“The explosion in Beirut last Tuesday shocked the world,” leaving neighborhoods flattened, a large part of Lebanon’s grain reserves obliterated, six hospitals damaged or destroyed, hundreds of thousands have been made homeless – many of them children, the Deputy Secretary-General told the donors teleconference, co-convened by French President Emmanuel Macron and the UN. The deputy… Continue reading Beirut blast: ‘The faster we act, the better we can reduce human suffering,’ says UN deputy chief

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As Beirut rescuers search for survivors, UN warns of ‘huge’ needs

Latest reports indicate at least 150 fatalities and thousands of wounded, but that figure is likely to rise, as rescuers search the port for survivors. World Health Organization (WHO) Spokesperson Christian Lindmeier said that many people were still missing and that hospitals were overwhelmed. Three facilities are “non-functional” and two more have been partially damaged,… Continue reading As Beirut rescuers search for survivors, UN warns of ‘huge’ needs

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Beirut blast: Here’s how you can help the UN aid Lebanon’s recovery

The comprehensive network of specialist UN agencies are working together to help the people of the Lebanese capital get back on their feet, but if you are wondering what you can do to help, we’ve put together this list of what they are doing, and where you can donate, to ensure that any aid you… Continue reading Beirut blast: Here’s how you can help the UN aid Lebanon’s recovery

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Security Council condemns ‘heinous and cowardly’ terrorist attack in Jalalabad, Afghanistan

6 August 2020Peace and Security Members of the UN Security Council have condemned “in the strongest terms” the terrorist attack at a prison complex in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, on Monday, that left at least 29 people – including civilians – dead. Many more were wounded in the attack, the responsibility for which was claimed by the… Continue reading Security Council condemns ‘heinous and cowardly’ terrorist attack in Jalalabad, Afghanistan

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Yemen: Human rights violations against journalists, coming ‘from all quarters’

“Journalists are under attack from all quarters”, said the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet.  The high number of rights violations against journalists across the war-torn country include killings, disappearances and death sentences in violation of international human rights law. Since just the start of April, the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) has documented… Continue reading Yemen: Human rights violations against journalists, coming ‘from all quarters’

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‘Immediate humanitarian assistance’ mobilized in force, to support Beirut after deadly blast

Reiterating the Secretary-General’s commitment to assist Lebanon, Resident Coordinator Najat Rochdi, who also coordinates the UN humanitarian effort in the country, has released $9 million from the Lebanese Humanitarian Fund to help meet immediate needs. “With the emergence of new challenges due to the latest devastating event, UN in Lebanon and partners are mobilized to… Continue reading ‘Immediate humanitarian assistance’ mobilized in force, to support Beirut after deadly blast

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Lebanon: Support for hospitals top UN priority in the wake of deadly blast

More than 130 people were killed in the blast, which ripped through the port and surrounding area, causing countless injuries and leaving thousands homeless. The Government has declared a two-week state of emergency. Speaking on Wednesday, UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq told journalists that support for hospitals and trauma response is a top priority. “The… Continue reading Lebanon: Support for hospitals top UN priority in the wake of deadly blast

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Lebanon: UN ‘actively assisting’ in response to huge explosions at Beirut port

4 August 2020UN Affairs The United Nations has said that it is “actively assisting” in the response to the horrific explosions that ripped through the port area of Beirut on Tuesday, reportedly leaving dozens dead and thousands wounded, among them some UN naval peacekeepers. A statement from a UN spokesperson  said Secretary-General António Guterres  expressed his deepest… Continue reading Lebanon: UN ‘actively assisting’ in response to huge explosions at Beirut port

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Six years after genocide, international community must prioritize justice for Yazidi community

The young human rights activist, who was among thousands of Yazidi women forced into sexual slavery by the terrorist group, reminded countries that the impacts of its atrocities endure to this day. Outrage and inaction Ms. Murad said although 100,000 Yazidis have returned to their homeland in Sinjar, in northern Iraq, they lack vital services… Continue reading Six years after genocide, international community must prioritize justice for Yazidi community

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Yemen: Crisis reaches new low, top UN officials tell Security Council

28 July 2020Peace and Security The humanitarian crisis in Yemen has never been worse, with conflict escalating, famine on the horizon, the economy in tatters and COVID-19 out of control, senior UN officials told the Security Council on Tuesday as they issued a fresh call for an immediate ceasefire. Four months on, negotiations between the… Continue reading Yemen: Crisis reaches new low, top UN officials tell Security Council

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COVID-19 provides opportunity to resolve conflicts, address weaknesses across Arab region: UN chief

António Guterres has released a policy brief outlining four sets of priorities to help these countries build back better and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the 2030 deadline. “The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed fault lines, fissures and fragilities in societies and economies around the world – and the Arab region is no exception,”… Continue reading COVID-19 provides opportunity to resolve conflicts, address weaknesses across Arab region: UN chief

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Security Council stalemate frustrates families of Syria’s missing detainees

Wafa Ali Mustafa, a Syrian journalist, activist and member of Families for Freedom, which campaigns for the release of Syrian detainees, said their numbers are still growing as the Syrian government and armed groups continue to use detention “as a weapon to terrorize civilians” in violation of international law. Among those detainees is her father,… Continue reading Security Council stalemate frustrates families of Syria’s missing detainees

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Iraq: ISIL’s acts of terror ‘divorced from the values of all faiths’ 

Key signatories of a landmark Interfaith Statement on the Victims and Survivors of ISIL – representing Islam, the Christian church and other faiths – joined the discussion online, held under the auspices of the UN Special Adviser who also heads up the Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh / ISIL (UNITAD)… Continue reading Iraq: ISIL’s acts of terror ‘divorced from the values of all faiths’ 

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UN independent expert welcomes UK court decision to allow Shamima Begum to fight for citizenship 

“Citizenship is a gateway right, which enables and supports the right to have other rights, and without it individuals are profoundly vulnerable to harm”, said Fionnuala D. Ní Aoláin, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism. Teen mother Shamima Begum was one of three schoolgirls who… Continue reading UN independent expert welcomes UK court decision to allow Shamima Begum to fight for citizenship 

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INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVE: Concerns and hopes of Yemenis at heart of UN plans for better future

The conflict between the Government of Yemen and Ansar Allah has entered its sixth year and has had a devastating impact on the lives of Yemeni citizens. Fighting in the country worsened in 2015, when a Saudi-led coalition intervened militarily at the invitation of the internationally-recognized Government in an effort to drive the Houthis, officially… Continue reading INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVE: Concerns and hopes of Yemenis at heart of UN plans for better future

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UN top court rules in favour of Qatar in international airspace dispute

14 July 2020Peace and Security The UN’s top court has ruled in favour of Qatar over an airspace dispute involving four other Middle Eastern countries. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) rejected an appeal, brought by Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which called into question the authority of the International… Continue reading UN top court rules in favour of Qatar in international airspace dispute

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BREAKING: Security Council extends for one year, lifesaving cross-border aid to Syria 

Updated resolution 2533 will allow the delivery of food, medicine and other lifesaving assistance through the Bab al-Hawa Border Crossing. Germany, cosponsor of the resolution, expressed relief over the extension.  “It is good news for millions of people in Syria that the Security Council was ultimately able to agree on our compromise proposal”, German Foreign… Continue reading BREAKING: Security Council extends for one year, lifesaving cross-border aid to Syria 

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Waiting to declare famine ‘will be too late for Yemenis on brink of starvation’

10 July 2020Humanitarian Aid In Yemen, fears of famine have resurfaced as UN humanitarians also warned on Friday that 360,000 severely malnourished children could die unless they continue to get treatment and aid is stepped up. In an urgent appeal for funding, the World Food Programme (WFP) said that it needs $200 million per month… Continue reading Waiting to declare famine ‘will be too late for Yemenis on brink of starvation’

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Lebanon ‘fast spiralling out of control’ leaving many destitute and facing starvation, warns Bachelet 

“Many have lost jobs, seen their life-savings evaporate before their eyes and lost their homes”, underscored High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, urging the Government, political parties and the financial sector, to work together to protect the poorest and most defenceless. Poorest most at risk Vulnerable Lebanese and other at-risk groups, such as refugees… Continue reading Lebanon ‘fast spiralling out of control’ leaving many destitute and facing starvation, warns Bachelet 

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Protecting migrant workers in Kuwait: a UN Resident Coordinator’s blog

3 July 2020Migrants and Refugees In Kuwait, the UN has played an important role in countering xenophobic rhetoric, falsely blaming the spread of COVID-19 on migrant workers. In this opinion piece, Tarek Elsheikh, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in the country, highlights the efforts being made to safeguard the rights of foreign residents.  The increase… Continue reading Protecting migrant workers in Kuwait: a UN Resident Coordinator’s blog

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Syria: Top UN officials appeal to donors to help end ‘shocking’ scale of suffering 

“After nearly a decade of war and economic hardship, the scale of suffering remains shocking”, said Secretary-General António Guterres. The conference received pledges of $5.5 billion in funding, to support humanitarian, resilience and development activities in 2020, and $2.2 billion for crisis response in 2021 and beyond. In addition, multilateral development banks and bilateral donors… Continue reading Syria: Top UN officials appeal to donors to help end ‘shocking’ scale of suffering 

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Israel’s illegal annexation plans for Palestine, ‘disastrous’ for wider Middle East – Bachelet

“Annexation is illegal. Period. Any annexation. Whether it is 30 per cent of the West Bank, or five per cent”, Michelle Bachelet stated, adding that it would have “a disastrous impact on human rights” throughout the Middle East. She warned that if Israel goes ahead, the “shockwaves will last for decades.” While acknowledging that the… Continue reading Israel’s illegal annexation plans for Palestine, ‘disastrous’ for wider Middle East – Bachelet

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Yemen: millions of children facing deadly hunger, amidst aid shortages and COVID-19

Marking more than five years since conflict escalated in the country between Government forces and their allies, against Houthi rebel militias, the new UNICEF report warns the number of malnourished children could reach 2.4 million by end of year, almost half of all under-fives.  An additional 30,000 children could develop life-threatening severe acute malnutrition over… Continue reading Yemen: millions of children facing deadly hunger, amidst aid shortages and COVID-19

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UN chief urges Israel to abandon annexation plans

“We are at a watershed moment”, António Guterres told a virtual meeting of the Security Council on Wednesday. “If implemented, annexation would constitute a most serious violation of international law, grievously harm the prospect of a two-State solution and undercut the possibilities of a renewal of negotiations. I call on the Israeli Government to abandon… Continue reading UN chief urges Israel to abandon annexation plans

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UN agency assisting Palestinians working at ‘full capacity with inadequate resources’

23 June 2020Migrants and Refugees Some 75 countries and non-governmental organizations have  pledged  $130 million in financial commitments to the UN agency that assists Palestinian refugees across the Middle East, UNRWA, following a  virtual conference on Tuesday, The meeting was held to bridge a $400 million funding gap so that UNRWA can continue providing health, education and… Continue reading UN agency assisting Palestinians working at ‘full capacity with inadequate resources’

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Syrian refugees resort to ever more desperate measures to resist pandemic impact

16 June 2020Migrants and Refugees The COVID-19 crisis has caused a dramatic spike in the number of Syrian refugees in need of emergency assistance in the last three months, UN humanitarians said on Tuesday, in an appeal for funding to confront new challenges posed by the health emergency. Now into its tenth year, the Syrian… Continue reading Syrian refugees resort to ever more desperate measures to resist pandemic impact

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Security Council: Time is on no-one’s side in Syria, warns top UN envoy

He told the Security Council on Tuesday – meeting via video-teleconference – that he is ready to convene a third session of the Syria-led and Syrian-owned constitutional committee in Geneva, towards the end of August, given COVID-19 travel restrictions. But he warned that the realities now facing the Syrian people – more than 80 per cent of… Continue reading Security Council: Time is on no-one’s side in Syria, warns top UN envoy

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Rights experts call for global opposition to Israel’s annexation plans

The move would create “a Palestinian Bantustan” and violates a core principle of international law, they warned in a statement issued on Tuesday. “The annexation of occupied territory is a serious violation of the Charter of the United Nations and the Geneva Conventions, and contrary to the fundamental rule affirmed many times by the United… Continue reading Rights experts call for global opposition to Israel’s annexation plans

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Iraq: UN probe into ISIL atrocities making ‘real progress’, Security Council hears

Karim Asad Ahmad Khan told the Security Council that the Team has already identified 344 alleged Da’esh perpetrators, the Arabic name for the extremist group, involved in the 2014 massacre of Yazidis in the Sinjar district of northern Iraq. Many categories of crimes The team has also identified at least seven categories of crimes for which Da’esh… Continue reading Iraq: UN probe into ISIL atrocities making ‘real progress’, Security Council hears

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Funding shortfall affecting critical water, sanitation services in Yemen

More than eight million people in the war-torn country, nearly half of them children, directly depend on the agency for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), amid ongoing conflict, cholera outbreaks and the COVID-19 pandemic. However, UNICEF reported that its $479 million appeal for Yemen is less than 40 per cent funded. Unless it receives $30… Continue reading Funding shortfall affecting critical water, sanitation services in Yemen

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Rights expert denounces interference in Beirut explosion probe

Special Rapporteur Margaret Satterthwaite expressed grave concern over interference in the investigation, including threats against Judge Tarek Bitar, who has been leading the process since February 2021.  “Judges should never be threatened or subjected to criminal or disciplinary action simply for doing their job,” she said.  Justice delayed  More than 200 people died as a… Continue reading Rights expert denounces interference in Beirut explosion probe

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First Person: ‘Simple dreams’ of Syrians following earthquake

Shirin Yaseen from the Office of the Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General visited northwestern Syria as part of an interagency mission to assess the situation there. “On the day we visited Jindairis in northern Syria, one of the areas most affected by the February earthquake, the weather conditions were very bad. A mobile medical clinic housed in… Continue reading First Person: ‘Simple dreams’ of Syrians following earthquake

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Türkiye, Syria quake response continues, food security threat rising

31 March 2023Humanitarian Aid Almost two months after deadly earthquakes struck Türkiye and northern Syria, a large-scale humanitarian operation is underway for which funding is still desperately needed, the UN Humanitarian Affairs coordination office (OCHA) said on Friday. OCHA Spokesperson Jens Laerke, told reporters in Geneva that the current phase was still “a humanitarian emergency… Continue reading Türkiye, Syria quake response continues, food security threat rising

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Greater protection needed for Palestinians amid rising violence, annexation threat

“The wave of deadly violence sweeping through the occupied West Bank since the beginning of this year is the inexorable consequence of an acquisitive and repressive occupation with no end in sight, and the culture of lawlessness and impunity Israel has nurtured and enjoyed,” UN Special Rapporteur Francesca Albanese said in a statement.  Tragic loss… Continue reading Greater protection needed for Palestinians amid rising violence, annexation threat

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ILO calls for fresh support as job losses grip post-quake Türkiye and Syria

28 March 2023Humanitarian Aid Urgent support is needed to prevent a slide into poverty and an increase in child labour and hand-to-mouth jobs, following the devastating earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria in February, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said on Tuesday in new assessment reports. Hundreds of thousands of workers in both countries have lost… Continue reading ILO calls for fresh support as job losses grip post-quake Türkiye and Syria

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Iran: possible crimes against humanity, absence of accountability – top rights expert

Presenting his report to the Human Rights Council, Mr. Rehman said that the “scale and gravity” of violations committed by Iranian authorities pointed to “the possible commission of international crimes, notably the crimes against humanity of murder, imprisonment, enforced disappearances, torture, rape and sexual violence, and persecution”. The expert slammed “so-called” investigations of Ms. Amini’s… Continue reading Iran: possible crimes against humanity, absence of accountability – top rights expert

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UN officials call for durable solution to end the war in Syria

For UN Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, this was an opportunity to remember the countless lives lost, and recall the abuses and suffering of millions, including those who have been forcibly displaced, or who remain arbitrarily detained, disappeared and missing.  War cannot endure  “The situation in Syria is untenable and to carry on in… Continue reading UN officials call for durable solution to end the war in Syria

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Compromise is crucial in search for peace for sake of all Syrians, urges UN negotiator

8 March 2023Human Rights The Syrian conflict will only be resolved if all parties involved in it are prepared to make the kind of compromises on humanitarian grounds that followed last month’s earthquake disaster, UN negotiator Geir Pedersen said on Wednesday. In an appeal for greater urgency to resolve the grinding war which erupted 12… Continue reading Compromise is crucial in search for peace for sake of all Syrians, urges UN negotiator

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More than 850,000 Syrian, Turkish children displaced by earthquakes

“Families forced from their homes by the earthquakes have spent the past four weeks focused on survival, their lives on hold while aftershocks continue to rumble,” said UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, Afshan Khan. She said it is now critical “to do all we can to help families begin… Continue reading More than 850,000 Syrian, Turkish children displaced by earthquakes

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WHO chief underscores need for ‘peace for health’ in landmark visit to northwest Syria

“I have rarely been so disturbed and heartbroken,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, speaking later at a media briefing.  “The earthquake that struck more than three weeks ago adds unimaginable suffering to people who have already suffered so much over 12 years of war, economic collapse, the COVID-19 pandemic and an ongoing cholera outbreak.” … Continue reading WHO chief underscores need for ‘peace for health’ in landmark visit to northwest Syria

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‘No words’ to explain people’s suffering in Türkiye: A UN Resident Coordinator blog

A $1 billion appeal was launched by the UN on 16 February to assist 5.2 million people affected by the earthquake, including the 1.9 million people who were made homeless and who are now living in tents and temporary shelters. Mr. Rodriguez gave UN News his impressions after visiting some of the most devastated communities. “February 6,… Continue reading ‘No words’ to explain people’s suffering in Türkiye: A UN Resident Coordinator blog

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Israel-Palestine: UN envoy gravely concerned over killings and retaliatory attacks

27 February 2023Peace and Security Following the latest wave of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, UN Middle East envoy Tor Wennesland on Monday appealed for both sides to take action towards addressing core issues fuelling their conflict.  Mr. Wennesland said he was gravely concerned by the deteriorating security situation in the occupied West Bank, particularly… Continue reading Israel-Palestine: UN envoy gravely concerned over killings and retaliatory attacks

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WFP chief describes ‘apocalyptic’ post-quake landscape in Syria, Türkiye

“While the world has quickly mobilized in support of people here, the impact of this quake will be felt for months and years to come,” said WFP Executive Director David Beasley. During a visit to the Hatay region in southern Türkiye, he described “incomprehensible” devastation and an “apocalyptic” landscape. With some 18 million people affected… Continue reading WFP chief describes ‘apocalyptic’ post-quake landscape in Syria, Türkiye

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UNICEF appeals for support for children affected by Türkiye earthquakes

Afshan Khan, UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, briefed journalists in Geneva on her recent visit to the region, where she saw first-hand some of the destruction.  “Children in Türkiye are at risk of developing anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder; they need to be able to resume their education, and they urgently… Continue reading UNICEF appeals for support for children affected by Türkiye earthquakes

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Syria-Türkiye earthquakes: Food, shelter and medicines among latest aid deliveries

23 February 2023Humanitarian Aid Aid continues to roll into northwest Syria, with 53 trucks crossing from southern Türkiye on Thursday, the UN reported in its latest update on response to the devastating earthquakes that struck the two countries on 6 February.  The trucks carried items from the World Food Programme (WFP), the International Organization for… Continue reading Syria-Türkiye earthquakes: Food, shelter and medicines among latest aid deliveries

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UN humanitarian delegation visits northwest Syria as earthquake response continues

22 February 2023Humanitarian Aid A total of 282 United Nations trucks transporting aid for earthquake victims in northwest Syria have passed through three border crossings with Turkiye over the past two weeks, UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said on Wednesday.  Seventeen trucks arrived in the region that day via two crossings – Bab Al-Hawa and Bab… Continue reading UN humanitarian delegation visits northwest Syria as earthquake response continues

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Israel’s new legal proposals pose ‘serious risks’, UN rights chief warns

22 February 2023Human Rights The UN human rights chief on Tuesday called for taking a measured approach to a package of new laws the Government of Israel is currently considering. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk raised a range of concerns that several sets of proposed legislative changes that Israel’s parliament is considering… Continue reading Israel’s new legal proposals pose ‘serious risks’, UN rights chief warns

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1.5 million now homeless in Türkiye after quake disaster, warn UN development experts

“This makes this clearly the largest earthquake disaster in Türkiye’s history and perhaps the largest natural disaster the country has ever faced,” said Louisa Vinton, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Türkiye Resident Representative.  Two further earthquakes measuring 6.4 and 5.8 on the Richter Scale killed six more on the Türkiye-Syria border on Monday, with “another 294… Continue reading 1.5 million now homeless in Türkiye after quake disaster, warn UN development experts

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Syria-Türkiye: Three border crossings now operational for earthquake aid delivery

20 February 2023Humanitarian Aid Two weeks after the devastating earthquakes, the UN and partners continue to scale-up cross-border aid delivery from Türkiye into northwest Syria, including through a new entry point, the UN Spokesperson said on Monday.  Ten trucks transporting shelter and other items from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) crossed into northern Aleppo… Continue reading Syria-Türkiye: Three border crossings now operational for earthquake aid delivery

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Quake latest: Aid convoys will keep crossing into Syria ‘for as long as needs are there’

Since 9 February, 143 trucks have passed through the Bab al-Hawa and Bab al-Salam border crossings, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). “The movements continue today, they continue over the weekend and will continue every day for as long as the needs are there,” OCHA spokesperson Jens Laerke told journalists in… Continue reading Quake latest: Aid convoys will keep crossing into Syria ‘for as long as needs are there’

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UN launches $1 billion appeal to scale-up aid operations in Türkiye

The funding, which covers a three-month-period, will allow aid organizations to swiftly ramp up their operations to support Government-led response efforts in areas that include food security, protection, education, water and shelter.    UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged the international community to step up and fully fund the response effort.  “Türkiye is home to the… Continue reading UN launches $1 billion appeal to scale-up aid operations in Türkiye

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Syrian women hope earthquake tragedy opens up possibility for peace

Ahead of a briefing to journalists in New York on Wednesday, Laila Baker, UNFPA Regional Director for Arab States, spoke to UN News from Aleppo, where women are clamouring for peace amid the rubble of the disaster and the ravages of war.  “Without fault, in every group of women, individual or collective, their message was… Continue reading Syrian women hope earthquake tragedy opens up possibility for peace

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Guterres calls on countries to fully fund $397 million quake appeal for Syria

14 February 2023Humanitarian Aid The UN Secretary-General on Tuesday announced a $397 million humanitarian appeal to aid the people of earthquake-ravaged Syria, to help secure “desperately needed” relief for nearly five million people. António Guterres told reporters outside the Security Council in New York that aid “must get through from all sides” and the funding would cover… Continue reading Guterres calls on countries to fully fund $397 million quake appeal for Syria

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First Person: Plea to prevent ‘lost generation’ in Syria

The devastating impact of 12 years of civil war has been compounded by the 6 February earthquake which has left tens of thousands of people dead and millions more in need of support on both sides of the border between Syria and Türkiye.  WHO’s Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Region, Dr. Ahmed Al Mandhari,… Continue reading First Person: Plea to prevent ‘lost generation’ in Syria

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WHO announces $43 million appeal to scale up response in Syria and Turkiye

The amount is set to increase as the magnitude of the disaster becomes clearer, he said, speaking during a press conference from the Syrian capital, Damascus. Latest reports put the death toll at more than 33,000, according to international media, with millions more left homeless. Ramping up operations Tedros also reported that the Syrian authorities… Continue reading WHO announces $43 million appeal to scale up response in Syria and Turkiye

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Türkiye: UN relief chief meets families affected by devastating earthquake

Mr. Griffiths was speaking in the Turkish city of Kahramanmaraş, where recovery efforts are ongoing in frigid temperatures. He met with families left homeless by the disaster and listened to their stories of shock and devastation.  “I am here to make sure that these people also are not forgotten,” he said. Hope for survivors The… Continue reading Türkiye: UN relief chief meets families affected by devastating earthquake

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Earthquake disaster: ‘We must put people first’ urges Guterres in race to save lives

In a heartfelt appeal based on his years of visiting the devastated area, as Secretary-General and previously as head of the UN refugee agency UNHCR, Antonio Guterres said that what had been a “centre of solidarity is now an epicentre of suffering.” ‘Nightmare on top of nightmare’ “People are facing nightmare on top of nightmare. The… Continue reading Earthquake disaster: ‘We must put people first’ urges Guterres in race to save lives

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First UN aid convoy reaches Syria’s quake-hit northwest since disaster

“Aid, life-saving aid, is desperately needed by civilians wherever they are irrespective of borders and boundaries,” he told journalists in Geneva. “We need it urgently, through the fastest, most direct, and most effective routes. They need more of absolutely everything.” According to UN aid coordinating office, OCHA, six trucks carrying “shelter items and non-food item… Continue reading First UN aid convoy reaches Syria’s quake-hit northwest since disaster

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Earthquake disaster latest: fresh snow compounds Syrians’ misery

“We have already a very vulnerable situation; people (are) already vulnerable, not capable of taking care of themselves…and all of a sudden comes this,” said El-Mostafa Benlamlih, UN Resident Coordinator for Syria. Progress lost “All the achievements we had before, anybody who had a small business has lost that business, anybody who could go to school… Continue reading Earthquake disaster latest: fresh snow compounds Syrians’ misery

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UN agencies launch emergency response after devastating Türkiye and Syria quake

“My heart goes out to the people of Türkiye and Syria in this hour of tragedy” said the UN Secretary-General António Guterres in a statement. “The United Nations is fully committed to supporting the response. Our teams are on the ground assessing the needs and providing assistance.” More than 1.500 have been reported to have died and… Continue reading UN agencies launch emergency response after devastating Türkiye and Syria quake

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UN rights chief appeals for Israelis and Palestinians to end ‘illogic of escalation’

“Rather than doubling down on failed approaches of violence and coercion that have singularly failed in the past, I urge everyone involved to step out of the illogic of escalation that has only ended in dead bodies, shattered lives and utter despair,” he said in a statement.   Record killings in 2022  Mr. Türk reported… Continue reading UN rights chief appeals for Israelis and Palestinians to end ‘illogic of escalation’

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Resolution of ‘racism’ complaint brought by Qatar against UAE and Saudi Arabia

2 February 2023Human Rights A UN body investigating discrimination complaints lodged by Qatar against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia concluded its work following the resolution of these disputes, according to an announcement on Thursday.  The ad hoc Conciliation Commission was established by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD)… Continue reading Resolution of ‘racism’ complaint brought by Qatar against UAE and Saudi Arabia

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Libya: human rights abuses must be addressed, says UN probe

30 January 2023Human Rights Top UN-appointed independent rights investigators on Monday urged the authorities to share more information on mass graves and other serious crimes linked to the country’s civil war. The UN Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya was established by the Human Rights Council in June 2020, to investigate alleged abuses of international human… Continue reading Libya: human rights abuses must be addressed, says UN probe

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Syria: WFP chief calls for action now, as hunger soars to 12 year high

WFP Executive Director, David Beasley, said that if we don’t address this humanitarian crisis, “things are going to get worse than we can possibly imagine”. Following 12 years of brutal conflict, an economy crippled by runaway inflation, a currency that has collapsed to a record low and soaring food prices, 12 million people do not know… Continue reading Syria: WFP chief calls for action now, as hunger soars to 12 year high

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Security Council: 12 years of war, leaves 70 per cent of Syrians needing aid

“As we move into 2023, the Syrian people remain trapped in a profound humanitarian, political, military, security, economic and human rights crisis of great complexity and almost unimaginable scale,” said Geir Pedersen, UN Special Envoy for Syria. Outlining recent developments, he reiterated his previous calls for calm on the ground, good faith engagement in Syria’s stalled Constitutional Committee… Continue reading Security Council: 12 years of war, leaves 70 per cent of Syrians needing aid

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Iran’s detention of Belgian aid worker a ‘flagrant violation of international law’: UN rights experts

17 January 2023Human Rights A group of UN Special Rapporteurs condemned Iran’s arbitrary detention of Belgian aid worker Olivier Vandecasteele on Tuesday, and demanded his immediate release, after he was sentenced to a cumulative 40-year jail term by a court in Tehran. “We believe Mr Vandecasteele has been arbitrarily deprived of his liberty and is… Continue reading Iran’s detention of Belgian aid worker a ‘flagrant violation of international law’: UN rights experts

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Syria: Rights experts call for renewal of cross-border aid resolution

4 January 2023Human Rights A UN Security Council Resolution that ensures millions of people in northwest Syria receive lifesaving aid through cross-border deliveries from Türkiye, must be extended, a group of independent human rights experts said on Wednesday.  They warned of the dire consequences of not renewing Resolution 2642, which is set to expire on… Continue reading Syria: Rights experts call for renewal of cross-border aid resolution

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Iran: UN rights experts condemn protestor’s execution, raise alarm over detained artists  

Mohsen Shekari was hanged on Thursday morning after the Islamic Revolution Court in Tehran found him guilty of moharebeh or “waging war against God”.   This was the first execution of a protester convicted for taking part in the recent anti-government unrest sparked by the death in custody of Mahsa Amini for violating strict dress codes,… Continue reading Iran: UN rights experts condemn protestor’s execution, raise alarm over detained artists  

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Saudi Arabia: Quash death sentence for Jordanian convicted of drug offences, urge UN experts 

“Under international law, States that have not yet abolished the death penalty may only impose it for the ‘most serious crimes’, involving intentional killing”, the UN Human Rights Council-appointed experts said in a statement, continuing to urge the Saudi Government to “abolish the death penalty for drug convictions”.  Hussein Abo al-Kheir was arrested at the… Continue reading Saudi Arabia: Quash death sentence for Jordanian convicted of drug offences, urge UN experts 

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UN rights body launches Iran human rights investigation

The Council, meeting in special session in response to the crisis that was sparked by the death in September in police custody of 22-year-old Jina Mahsa Amini, heard Mr. Türk criticize “the fortress mentality of those who wield power” in Iran. The “unnecessary and disproportionate use of force” must end, he insisted.  Harrowing images “It… Continue reading UN rights body launches Iran human rights investigation

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Saudi Arabia: Resumption of executions for drug offences ‘deeply regrettable’, UN rights office says

22 November 2022Human Rights Saudi Arabia must adopt a moratorium on executions for drug-related offenses, the UN human rights office, OHCHR, said on Tuesday, responding to the recent resumption of capital punishment for these crimes.  Spokesperson Liz Throssell said executions have been taking place almost daily over the past two weeks, following the end of… Continue reading Saudi Arabia: Resumption of executions for drug offences ‘deeply regrettable’, UN rights office says

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Rights expert urges Saudi authorities to allow family to access jailed activist

9 November 2022Human Rights The family and lawyers of a jailed Saudi activist, who reportedly is being held incommunicado, must be granted immediate access to him, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Mary Lawlor, said on Wednesday.  Ms. Lawlor has issued a statement expressing her increasing concern for the health… Continue reading Rights expert urges Saudi authorities to allow family to access jailed activist

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Safety and security of Yemeni civilians at risk unless truce is extended, says human rights chief

4 November 2022Human Rights Warring factions in Yemen are being urged to extend a UN-mediated truce following reports of deaths and injuries of civilians from sniper attacks and shelling. The truce, which started at the beginning of April, ended more than a month ago, and human rights chief, Volker Türk, says that there is grave… Continue reading Safety and security of Yemeni civilians at risk unless truce is extended, says human rights chief

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Cholera spreading throughout Lebanon, WHO warns

The first case was reported to WHO by the Ministry of Public Health on 6 October, and there have been 381 laboratory-confirmed cases. While the outbreak was initially confined to northern districts, it has spread rapidly said WHO’s office in Lebanon, with laboratory-confirmed cases now reported from all eight governorates and 18 out of 26… Continue reading Cholera spreading throughout Lebanon, WHO warns

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Huge needs remain in Yemen as fragile peace extends beyond truce: UN deputy relief chief

Some 23.4 million people in Yemen – more than two-thirds of the entire population – need humanitarian aid, said the deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, wrapping up a nine day fact finding mission, with 17 million people being food insecure. Malnutrition rates among women and children are among the highest in the world, with 1.3 million… Continue reading Huge needs remain in Yemen as fragile peace extends beyond truce: UN deputy relief chief

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Egypt urged to ensure civil society’s full participation in COP27 climate summit

7 October 2022Human Rights Authorities in Egypt must ensure civil society can safely and fully participate in the COP27 UN climate change conference taking place there next month, a group of UN independent human rights experts said on Friday, expressing alarm over restrictions ahead of the summit. This new wave of reprisals follows years of… Continue reading Egypt urged to ensure civil society’s full participation in COP27 climate summit

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

Iraq represents a living example of how hope prevails over seemingly impossible odds, especially conflict and political crises, Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi told the UN General Assembly on Friday, and while the nascent democracy still needed international support, it is looking to its younger generations to keep the spirit of hope and courage alive.

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‘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.  .@GeirOPedersen 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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