Posts tagged united nations
Posts tagged united nations
Nearly 800,000 refugees in Africa have had their food rations slashed by up to 60 percent, threatening to push many to the brink of starvation, the United Nations warned Tuesday.
The cuts are “threatening to worsen already unacceptable levels of acute malnutrition, stunting and anemia, particularly in children,” the UN’s World Food Programme and refugee agency UNHCR said in a joint statement.
The heads of the two agencies were in Geneva Tuesday to make an urgent appeal to government representatives for more funds to help feed Africa’s refugees.
"It is unacceptable in today’s world of plenty for refugees to face chronic hunger," said UNHCR chief Antonio Guterres.
WFP will need $186 million by the end of the year to restore full rations and prevent cuts elsewhere, while UNHCR said it needed another $39 million to fund the nutritional support it provides to vulnerable refugees across the continent.
"Many refugees in Africa depend on WFP food to stay alive and are now suffering because of a shortage of funding," Ertharin Cousin said in a statement.
The funding crisis has forced WFP to cut rations for a third of the 2.4 million refugees it helps feed in 22 African countries, with more than half of the 800,000 affected refugees seeing rations slashed by at least 50 percent.
On Thursday the UN General Assembly elected Chad, Chile, Lithuania, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia to serve as non-permanent members on the Security Council for 2-year terms beginning on 1 January 2014.
Read the full story at http://j.mp/1gnivsX
Find out more about the structure and work of the UN Security Council at: http://www.un.org/en/sc/
How did you celebrate UN Day In October? We saw photos online of parades in Uganda like this one, cupcakes in Washington, DC, classroom activities and much more!
Thanks to everyone for your messages of support on UN Day — and every day!
Mali: UN to Debate Military Intervention | allAfrica
Diplomatic efforts to ease the crisis in Mali are being stepped up at the United Nations this week, against the backdrop of warnings that the situation in the country will deteriorate if action is not taken by the end of the month.
A high-level meeting on the Sahel region is scheduled to take place as world leaders gather in New York for the opening sessions of the UN General Assembly in New York.
Photo: U.S. Army Africa/Flickr
Young and jobless? It’s not getting better, UN Agency says
Unemployment rates are expected to edge higher in coming years for young people worldwide, the International Labor Organization said in an analysis released Tuesday.
In the coming years, the euro crisis is predicted to be felt far beyond Europe in East Asia and Latin America, the agency warned. Last year, 12.5% of job-seekers between the ages of 15 and 24 were estimated to be unemployed, the ILO said, a rate projected to increase to 12.9% by 2017.
The most notable exception to the trend of growing youth unemployment is “developed economies,” where youth unemployment is expected to drop, the U.N. agency said.
Even there, however, the drop is “principally because discouraged young people are withdrawing from the labor market and not because of stronger hiring activity among youngsters.”
The global numbers also mask some big gaps around the world: Youth unemployment is far higher in the Middle East (25.7%) and North Africa (27.1%) than in South Asia (9.6%) and East Asia (9.2%.) Even within regions such as Europe, there are striking differences in youth unemployment rates, with less than 10% out of work in Germany and Switzerland compared to more than 50% in Spain.
The U.N. agency recommended that countries adopt targeted programs for young people, including providing training and giving companies tax cuts to hire young people. Such programs, it argued, can actually save countries money by keeping young people in the labor market.
Pictured: People line up outside an unemployment registry office in Madrid on Tuesday. In Spain, more than 50% of young people are out of work. Credit: Paul White/Associated Press
It’s a historic day in Somalia!
Somalia’s transitional governing arrangements are set to end on Monday, 20 August, heralding a key step in the war-torn country’s peace and national reconciliation process after decades of conflict.
The UN News Centre spoke with the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Augustine Mahiga, about the end of the country’s transitional period and what the future holds for the Horn of Africa country.
The UN-Arab League joint special envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan has announced he is leaving his post.
In a news conference, he said the Syrian people “desperately need action” but criticised the UN Security Council for “finger-pointing and name-calling”.
Mr Annan authored a six-point peace plan for Syria which was intended to bring an end to the fighting.
But the plan was never fully adhered to by either side and the violence has continued to escalate.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said it was “with deep regret” that he announced Mr Annan would not renew his mandate when it expires at the end of August.
The Syrian foreign ministry also expressed regret at the announcement, state TV reported.
Speaking in Geneva, Mr Annan said the increasing militarisation of the Syrian conflict and the “clear lack of unity” in the Security Council had “fundamentally changed the circumstances for the effective exercise of my role”.
He said the problems were “compounded by the disunity of the international community”.
Russia and China have vetoed resolutions on the crisis three times, citing opposition to any action which might be seen as regime change imposed from outside.
"When the Syrian people desperately need action, there continues to be finger-pointing and name-calling in the Security Council," he said.
"It is impossible for me or anyone to compel the Syrian government, and also the opposition, to take the steps to bring about the political process.
"Syria can still be saved from the worst calamity - if the international community can show the courage and leadership necessary to compromise on their partial interests for the sake of the Syrian people - for the men, women and children who have already suffered far too much."
Pictured: Kofi Annan: “There continues to be finger pointing and name calling in the Security Council”
UN and government helicopter gunships have opened fire on suspected rebel positions in eastern DR Congo.
The attack against the M23 rebels took place north of the town of Goma, close to the border with Rwanda, the UN said.
Correspondents say that it is rare for the UN to go on the offensive, and appears to be a sign they are running out of patience with the rebels.
Last week, the rebels overran a UN base on the Ugandan border, killing one peacekeeper and forcing an evacuation.
The Tutsi-led rebels, who took up arms in April as part of a mutiny led by Bosco “Terminator” Ntaganda, began taking positions north of Goma approximately a week ago.
They have withdrawn from several towns they took over the weekend, but have threatened to retake them should civilians perceived to be aligned to them continue to be attacked.
The rebels are accused by the UN and Congo of being backed by Rwanda, although Rwanda denies this.
The BBC’s International Development Correspondent Mark Doyle says that, according to an eyewitness, three UN gunships and two Congolese helicopters attacked a position about 35km (25 miles) north east of Goma.
The witness said they attacked near Bukima village, firing rockets in three separate approaches.
Our correspondent says it is not clear if there is a rebel position at Bukima, but there are civilians in the area. There are reports, he says, that one farmer has been badly injured, possibly losing both his hands.
The decisive action could lead to an escalation of the war, he says.
Earlier, African foreign ministers, including from Congo and Rwanda, agreed that a regional force should be created to help fight the rebels.
The deal was made at an African Union meeting where the ministers noted there was little trust in the 19,000-strong UN force.
Pictured: There are an estimated 19,000 UN peacekeepers deployed in DR Congo
Annan urges UN to ‘reunite’ on Syria plan
International envoy Kofi Annan has urged the UN Security Council to send a message to the Syrian government and
the opposition that there will be “consequences” if they don’t comply with demands for an immediate cease-fire.
"We had not been successful so far in ending the violence - this is still a fact today," said Annan during a press briefing on Wednesday.
"If we reunite, if the council speaks with one voice, that one voice will be much more powerful."
Russia and China, key allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and veto-wielding council members, have blocked repeated attempts by the United States and its European allies to even threaten “consequences” - a diplomatic code word for sanctions.
However, Bashar Ja’afari, the Syrian ambassador to the UN said any party calling for sanctions is ” not genuinely supportive of the mission of Mr. Kofi Annan”.
A UN diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because Annan’s videoconference briefing from Geneva was at a closed session, said that the council should insist on implementation of its resolutions including Annan’s six-point peace plan.
That plan calls for an immediate cease-fire and withdrawal of heavy weapons from populated areas by the Syrian government to be followed by an opposition cessation of hostilities.
Al Jazeera’s Scott Heidler, reporting from the UN in New York, said there is also talk of a “bottom up” approach.
"That is, work on the grassroots level politically to set up some kind of infrastructure, so that when peace talks do eventually come into play, they have that infrastructure there so they can start negotiating," said Heidler.
The UN sent a 300-strong unarmed observer mission for 90 days to oversee the cessation of violence and monitor implementation of the Annan plan.
It was forced to withdraw from key conflict areas because of the escalating fighting and the council must decide what to do about extending its mandate which expires on July 20.
Pictured: Annan said that both Iran and Iraq have committed to supporting his six point peace plan for Syria [AFP]
Refugees of 2011 underline ‘suffering on an epic scale’
More people became refugees in 2011 than in any other year since the new millennium began, with one out of every four of them coming from Afghanistan, the United Nations refugee agency reported Monday.
The agency called the new numbers a sign of “suffering on an epic scale.”
Though more than 800,000 people fled across borders last year, the highest number since 2000, the number of people displaced worldwide actually dropped as millions of people returned to their homes, the agency said.
All in all, 42.5-million people were displaced or seeking asylum last year, a figure that could actually be higher since many countries do not report the number of people believed to be stateless.
Afghanistan produced the most refugees, followed by Iraq, Somalia and Sudan. Most fled to neighboring countries such as Pakistan, Iran and Kenya; Pakistan hosted more than 1.7-million refugees last year, the largest number in the world according to government estimates. Nearly all of them came from Afghanistan.
The U.N. refugee agency said while growing numbers of displaced people have returned home, it is alarmed that almost three out of every four refugees under its watch have been exiled from their homes for at least five years, many of them languishing in refugee camps.
The report was released ahead of World Refugee Day on Wednesday. The day comes as the agency is grappling with several new crises.
The U.N. recently lamented a dire shortfall of funding to help people uprooted by conflict in northern Mali, where Tuareg rebels have declared their own state. Bangladesh has turned away Rohingya Muslims trying to leave Myanmar after a recent eruption of ethnic violence, despite calls from the U.N. and other countries to allow them in. And in South Sudan, tens of thousands of refugees crossing from Sudan are suffering from deadly dehydration.
Pictured: Afghan refugees travel on a truck as they cross the border between their homeland and Pakistan at Torkham on May 20. Credit: A. Majeed / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images.
Rwanda’s Calllixte Nzabonimana gets life for genocide
A former Rwandan youth minister has been given a life sentence after being found guilty of playing a key role in the 1994 genocide.
Callixte Nzabonimana was found guilty of genocide, conspiracy, incitement and extermination by the UN tribunal based in Arusha, Tanzania.
His lawyer told AFP he will appeal.
Ethnic Hutu militia and soldiers killed some 800,000 minority Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus in 100 days between April and June 1994.
""The trial chamber found that… Nzabonimana instigated the killing of Tutsis. It also found Nzabonimana guilty of entering into two separate agreements to kill Tutsis," the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) said in a statement.
The conviction of the former youth minister hinged on his participation, alongside other members of the government, in a meeting held on 18 April, 1994 in the town of Murambi, in the central Gitarama province.
This meeting led to “an agreement” between Nzabonimana and other ministers “to encourage the killing of Tutsis… with the specific intent to destroy, in whole or in part, the Tutsi population as such in Gitarama prefecture,” the AFP news agency reports the court’s verdict as finding.
The three ICTR judges ruled that Nzabonimana used public appearances in different parts of Gitarama to incite people to kill Tutsis.
"We will definitely appeal. The appeal hearing starts now," lead defence counsel, Vincent Courcelle-Labrousse, said.
Nzabonimana, 59, was arrested in Tanzania in February 2008.
The ICTR - set up in Arusha shortly after the 1994 genocide - is due to wind up its work by the end of 2014.
Pictured: Up to 800,000 people were killed in just 100 days
Abyei crisis: UN confirms Sudan troop pullout
Sudan has pulled its troops out of the disputed border region of Abyei, according to the UN.
The UN peacekeeping mission in Abyei confirmed the withdrawal took place late on Tuesday evening.
The pullout comes as negotiators from Sudan and South Sudan meet in Ethiopia to begin talks over several disputes.
Abyei is claimed by both Sudan and the South, which became independent in 2011 after a long civil war. Sudan’s forces seized Abyei last May.
But a source has told the BBC that the number of police in the area has been increased to about 200, raising fears that some Sudanese soldiers may have simply changed into police uniforms in order to stay.
Either way, the BBC’s James Copnall in Khartoum says the presence of Sudanese police is likely to worry the tens of thousands of displaced people who are now considering moving back to Abyei.
Its status was left undecided in the 2005 peace deal between the two sides, and a referendum on the issue has been postponed indefinitely.
Sudanese officials had said the pullout was designed to aid the progress of the peace talks.
Pictured: The Abyei region has been a flashpoint area in the months since South Sudan’s independence
The theme for this year’s International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, commemorated on 29 May 2012, is “Peacekeeping as a global partnership” and recognizes the important contributions of all our partners working to bring sustainable peace and security through our missions around the world.
Kofi Annan, the UN-Arab League envoy to Syria, has called on the country’s government to take bold steps to prove its commitment to restoring peace during a visit to Damascus.
Annan arrived in the Syrian capital on Monday for talks with high-level officials as world leaders said his peace plan was the only way to solve the country’s conflict.
The former UN chief called on “every individual with a gun” in Syria to lay down arms, saying he was horrified by a weekend massacre in Houla that killed about 110 people, including 49 children.
"I urge the [Syrian] government to take bold steps to signal that it is serious in its intention to resolve this crisis peacefully, and for everyone involved to help create the right context for a credible political process," Annan said.
"I am personally shocked and horrified by the tragic incident in Houla two days ago, which took so many innocent lives, children, women and men."
He was to meet Walid al-Muallem, Syria’s foreign minister, on Monday before holding talks with President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday, a Syrian official source said.
Half as many women dying in pregnancy, childbirth as 20 years ago.
About half as many women worldwide die from pregnancy, childbirth and related complications compared with two decades ago, according to United Nations estimates released Wednesday.
The declining numbers of maternal deaths — from 543,000 in 1990 to 287,000 worldwide as of two years ago — were cheered by the World Health Organization, the United Nations Population Fund, UNICEF and the World Bank, which jointly issued the report.
But a global goal of reducing maternal deaths by 75% from 1990 to 2015 remains distant in some countries where progress has been slow or nonexistent.
"We can’t stop here. Our work must continue to make every pregnancy wanted and every childbirth safe," U.N. Population Fund executive director Babatunde Osotimehin said.
Women whose deaths are linked to pregnancy or childbirth most commonly lose their lives to severe bleeding, infections, high blood pressure during pregnancy and unsafe abortions, the report said.
The report credited the increasing percentage of women who had skilled medical workers on hand during their pregnancy and childbirth, increased access to therapies for HIV-positive women giving birth, and more contraception use for the decline in deaths. The greatest strides were in eastern Asia, where the rate of maternal deaths dropped nearly 70% from 1990 to 2010.
But the problem remains grave in many parts of the world, particularly central and western Africa. Almost all maternal deaths occur in developing countries, with more than half occurring in sub-Saharan Africa.
The number of deaths rose in about one of seven countries analyzed in the report, including Chad, Somalia and Zimbabwe.
In the United States, the maternal mortality rate went up by almost two-thirds, putting it behind Western Europe, Canada and Australia and alongside Iran, Hungary and Turkey. The actual numbers, however, are still low compared with many other countries, going from 12 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births to 21 per 100,000.
The shaded map above, included in the U.N. report, shows the number of women who died per 100,000 live births as of two years ago, the most recent worldwide data available.