Category Archives: News

Deadly mosque explosion ‘another painful blow to the people of Afghanistan’

The United Nations has condemned a deadly explosion at a Sufi mosque in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, on Friday, which reportedly killed at least 10 people and injured up to 15 more, many of them seriously. 

The blast at the Khalifa Sahib mosque, located in the Darulaman area in the west of the city, is the latest in a series of attacks on civilian targets in the capital and provinces.

The explosion tore through the mosque, damaging the roof, which caved in on worshippers, the UN humanitarian affairs office (OCHA) in the country said, citing initial reports.

The UN Secretary-General António Guterres, strongly condemned the attack in a statement released on Saturday.

The UN Security Council also issued condemnation of the multiple recent terrorist attacks targeting minorities in Afghanistan, publishing a detail statement on Saturday. More

‘The world sees you’ UN chief tells Ukrainians, pledging to boost support

Describing Ukraine as “an epicentre of unbearable heartache and pain”, the UN chief took to the podium alongside its president in Kyiv on Thursday, vowing to increase support for the people amidst the suffering, and the millions displaced in the wake of Russia’s invasion.

“I am here to focus on ways on how the UN can expand support for the people of Ukraine, saving lives, reduce suffering and help find the path of peace”, Secretary-General António Guterres told reporters from across the world gathered in a stately room, with curtains drawn.

Shortly after the press conference, two missile strikes reportedly rocked the capital, a reminder that the war is far from over, despite the Russian withdrawal from the surrounding suburbs.

At least one person was killed, and several injured – with some buried beneath rubble as two high rise buildings caught fire – according to news reports, in the northwest of the city. More

UN appoints first independent expert on climate change and human rights

Demonstrating the wide-ranging consequences of the climate crisis, the UN Human Rights Council has appointed the first-ever Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in the context of Climate Change. Ian Fry, who is of Australian and Tuvalu heritage, teaches environmental policy at the Australian National University in Canberra.

As UN Special Rapporteur, he will be tasked with studying how climate change affects the full enjoyment of human rights, and recommend ways to prevent these effects.

In an interview with the UN’s Julia Dean, Mr. Fry explained why the Human Rights Council created his new role. More

Russia agrees ‘in principle’ to UN and Red Cross involvement in evacuations from Mariupol

Russia has agreed “in principle” to UN involvement in the evacuation of citizens from the last remaining holdout in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, following a meeting between Secretary-General António Guterres and President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Tuesday.

The UN chief, who was in the Russian capital for talks on the war in Ukraine, also met with the country’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov.

During his “tête-a-tête meeting” with President Putin, Mr. Guterres reiterated the UN’s position on Ukraine, according to a readout issued by his Spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric.

They also discussed proposals for humanitarian assistance and evacuation of civilians from conflict zones, namely in relation to the situation in the besieged port city of Mariupol, where thousands of civilians and Ukrainian troops remain holed up in the Azovstal steel mill.

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First Person: Torres Strait Islanders fight the loss of their ancestral home

Yessie Mosby is one of the so-called Torres Strait Eight, a group from the Pacific Islands which lodged a complaint with the UN Human Rights Council, that Australia is not doing enough to protect their people from climate change, in the first ever case of its kind. Mr. Mosby explained to UN News why they decided to take this unprecedented step.

The Torres Strait Islands, an autonomous part of Australia, are particularly vulnerable to the effects of the climate crisis, and extreme weather, including storms, rising sea levels and erosion, are a major threat to the indigenous people, who have inhabited the islands for some 70,000 years.

With the case ongoing, Mr. Molby and his fellow activists have been recognized as human rights leaders for their efforts to draw attention to the plight of their community. More

Extractive projects cause irreparable harm to indigenous cultures, languages, lives, speakers tell Permanent Forum

The explosive growth of extractive operations around the world often plays out on indigenous people’s lands without their consent, causing irreparable harm to their livelihoods, cultures, languages and lives, speakers told the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues on Monday, as it opened its 2022 session amid calls to respect their free, prior and informed consent on the existential decisions uprooting their communities.

Gathered in the UN General Assembly Hall for the first time in three years, indigenous representatives were welcomed in a traditional ceremony led by Katsenhaienton Lazare of the Bear Clan, Mohawk of the Haudenosaunee, who acknowledged nature in its great diversity – the winds, thunders, lightening, sun and other life forces – which give purpose and protection to humankind, and summoned generations of traditional ancestors who still have much to offer today’s societies.

The invocation dovetailed with the theme of the Forum’s twenty-first session – ‘Indigenous peoples, business, autonomy and the human rights principles of due diligence including free, prior and informed consent’ – and start of the International Decade of Indigenous Languages, 2022-2032More

Guterres urges youth: Keep pushing, mobilizing, ‘bringing your ideas to the table’

Despite war, COVID-19 and the climate crisis, all of which compound the other challenges facing young people today, the UN chief lauded youth for raising their voices and mobilizing for a better future.

“Young people are…leading the way in the fight against climate change, standing up for racial justice and gender equality…holding leaders to account…[and] are at the forefront of our efforts to secure a more inclusive, peaceful, and prosperous future for all,” Secretary-General António Guterres said on the second of a two-day forum on youth.

Under the theme Youth 2030: Achieving the SDGs, he delivered a recorded video message to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)’s annual Youth Forum encouraging young people to “keep pushing; to keep mobilizing; and to keep bringing your ideas to the table”.

“We have no time to lose”

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Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance

António Guterres released the initial recommendations of his Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance (GCRG) on Tuesday, set up in response to the hunger crisis provoked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Russia and Ukraine represent more than half of the world’s supply of sunflower oil and about 30 percent of the world’s wheat. Ukraine alone provides more than half of the World Food Programme’s (WFP) wheat supply.

The war has resulted in disrupted supply chains and rising prices – not just of food, but also fuel and fertilizer.

When he announced the formation of the GCRG in March, Mr. Guterres called on countries to find creative ways to finance increased humanitarian and development recovery needs worldwide, to give generously and immediately release pledged funds. More

COVID-19 vaccine access in conflict areas remains critical

Ambassadors met to review implementation of two resolutions: one on the Secretary-General’s appeal for a global ceasefire during the crisis, and the other on cooperation to facilitate vaccine access.

Ted Chaiban, Global Lead Coordinator for COVID-19 Vaccine Country-Readiness and Delivery, highlighted the need for urgent action this year.

“The window of opportunity is gradually closing. We risk losing the momentum and failing on vaccine equity,” he said, speaking from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“We must therefore use every opportunity to bundle or integrate COVID-19 vaccination with other health and humanitarian interventions and leverage these investments for the longer-term strengthening of health systems.” More