WEEK OF APRIL 19, 2013

Articles for this Update were compiled by the City Bar's Committee on the United Nations.

Urgent aid needed to help thousands of migrant victims of abuse in Yemen, UN says

A United Nations humanitarian official warned that thousands of refugees and migrants from Ethiopia and Somalia are currently stranded in northern Yemen in deplorable conditions, including gross physical abuse and severe economic and sexual exploitation. UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, has called for urgent action to address the plight of the refugees and migrants.

Last year, a record of 107,500 African refugees and migrants took the dangerous journey to Yemen via boat, the largest influx since 2006, when the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) began compiling such statistics; about 22 per cent of the group are women and girls.

Read the full article at: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44674

UN senior officials urge action to halt rights violations in Central African Republic

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay urged action to stop grave violations to civilians in the Central African Republic (CAR), including torture, recruitment of children by armed forces, rape, and kidnappings. Over the weekend, more than 20 people were killed in Bangui alone. Since the fall of the former government on March 24, local Red Cross reported that at least 119 people have been killed.

After the Séléka rebel coalition launched an offensive in December, reports of human rights violations have been widespread in the country and 1.2 million people have been cut off from essential services. Mr. Ban is particularly concerned by reports of clashes between the Séléka movement and the population in Bangui, resulting in the deaths of many civilians, his spokesman said.

Welcoming regional efforts to restore peace in the CAR, the Secretary-General also called on the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the African Union (AU) to take urgent measures to address the gravity of the security situation with the assistance of the international community.

Read the full article at: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44667

Uganda: UN launches first of its kind mobile court initiative in refugee settlement

The government of Uganda and the United Nations refugee agency have launched a pilot mobile court program to improve access to justice and legal assistance for victims of crime in Nakivale, the country’s oldest and largest refugee settlement, located about 50 kilometers from the nearest law court in Kabingo, Isingiro. The project aims to benefit some 68,000 refugees and 35,000 Ugandan nationals currently living in Nakivale.

Read the full article at: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44675

Darfur: UN calls for humanitarian access to civilians protected by peacekeepers

Senior United Nations officials in Sudan called for immediate humanitarian access to areas of southern Darfur where an estimated 36,000 civilians have gathered for safety. Although this area is near African Union-UN peacekeeping bases, ongoing fighting prevents relief teams from reaching the civilians.

Read the full article at: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44672

UN reaffirms commitment to working with Palestinian partners after official’s resignation

The United Nations reaffirmed its commitment to working with Palestinian partners and President Mahmoud Abbas, despite the recent resignation of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. “The United Nations looks to build on [Mr. Fayyad’s] achievements for the Palestinian state-building and development agenda, and will continue to work with the Palestinian leadership, under President Abbas, on achieving the two-state solution,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson in a statement.

Read the full article at: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44652

Read the Secretary General’s statement at: http://www.un.org/sg/statements/index.asp?nid=6739

Conflict prevention in Africa must address poverty, marginalization, UN warns

The United Nations Security Council held a debate on preventing conflict in Africa, addressing the root causes of poverty, hunger, human rights abuses, marginalization, and impunity, especially with regard to sexual violence. The Council Statement, read out by Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo of Rwanda, Council president for April, delineated a spectrum of measures needed to prevent conflict, from early warning and response systems, preventive diplomacy, preventive deployment and mediation to practical disarmament measures, peacemaking, peacekeeping and peace-building strategies.

The Council also stressed that tackling the root causes of conflict are crucial to ensuring sustainable peace, in addition to partnership and cooperation between regional and sub-regional organizations in supporting conflict prevention and peace-building.

Read the full article at: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44655

Ban calls Boston marathon bombing ‘senseless, appalling’ act

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the bombing at the Boston Marathon, calling “this senseless violence. . . all the more appalling for taking place at an event renowned for bringing people together from around the world in a spirit of sportsmanship and harmony.”

Read the full article at: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44665

Somalia: senior UN official 'shocked and outraged' by today's deadly attacks

The UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, Augustine P. Mahiga, condemned the recent, deadly attacks in the capital city, Mogadishu, which have been linked to the Islamist armed group Al-Shabaab. The blasts occurred in multiple locations, including the Regional Court House, and killed many innocent civilians. Media sources reported that the assault on the courthouse consisted of a car bomb explosion and armed attackers who stormed the compound.

Mr. Mahiga stressed that, “the international community will continue to support the Federal government in their efforts to ensure a safe and secure Somalia for all its citizens.”

Last August, Somalia historically swore-in its first formal parliament and ended a “transition” phase, stemming from the 2004 launch of a UN-backed interim government. The previous functioning government ended in 1991 with the overthrow of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

Read the full article at: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44650

UN envoy in Iraq welcomes beginning of parliamentary voting process

Iraqi soldiers and policemen cast their ballots today ahead of the scheduled elections on April 20, the first elections that Iraq will hold since parliamentary elections in 2010. At least 15.5 million Iraqis are eligible to vote in the polls, according to official estimates, where more than 8,000 candidates are running for 378 seats on provincial councils.

Read the full article at: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44649

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