Global perspective Human stories

UN and Africa

UNIC/Dar es Salaam

Tanzanian human rights champion for women and girls wins top award

They have a saying where Rebeca Gyumi comes from in Tanzania, which sums up the collective spirit of community she grew up in: “I am, because you are”.

The drive to champion human rights instilled in her as a girl, came to fruition last December, when she arrived at UN Headquarters in New York, as a recipient of the prestigious UN Human Rights Prize.

This came on top of major achievements at home, including leading a successful campaign to repeal Tanzanian law, which once permitted child marriages for girls as young as 14.

UN News/Assumpta Massoi

From DR Congo to New York City – one war refugee’s UN-aided journey

New York-based Lubunga Mwendanababo’s life has been very different from his work colleagues and friends.

Today, Lubunga is a US citizen, a recent graduate of Georgia State University, and manager of a furniture store in New York.

But, as a small child, he and his family were forced to flee a bloody conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and spent 14 years in a refugee camp in neighbouring Tanzania, along with over 14,000 others forced from their homes.

UNSOM/Ilyas Ahmed

Somalia ‘vulnerable but making progress’

The troubled Horn of Africa country, Somalia, is still vulnerable but is making progress towards a more stable future, according to the UN’s most senior official in the country.

Michael Keating, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, says the situation in Somalia, politically, economically and from a security perspective is improving; but he adds that after 30 years of civil war, long-held grievances are impeding progress in the country.

UN News/Matt Wells

Mandela letters reveal ‘the power of hope’

A newly published volume of prison letters written by the former President of South Africa and global anti-apartheid icon, Nelson Mandela, reveal to the world the enduring “power of hope”.

That’s according to the South African journalist and author who edited the volume of letters written by the world’s most renowned political prisoner, many of which have never been seen before.

UN News/Daniel Dickinson

Sahel not ‘land of misery but land of opportunities’

The Sahel region of Africa should not be considered a ‘land of misery’ but rather a ‘land of opportunities,’ according to the United Nations Special Adviser for the Sahel.

The region which stretches from Chad in central Africa to the west coast of the continent is one of the poorest parts of the world, where the dual effects of climate change and terrorism are leading to widespread insecurity and deepening levels of poverty.

UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

Ending border dispute, just one problem Eritrea must solve

The justification for “indefinite” national military service in Eritrea would “disappear” if a peaceful end can be found to a decades-old border dispute between the country and Ethiopia, a UN human rights investigator has said.

Sheila Keetharuth, the Special Rapporteur on Eritrea, spoke to UN News after presenting her last report to the Human Rights Council in Geneva at the end of her six-year mandate.

UN Photo/Marco Dormino

Reporting from the UN’s deadliest mission, as peacekeeping turns 70

For this edition of our podcast series UN & Africa, we’re in Mali, joining UN chief António Guterres and other top officials to mark the 70th year of peacekeeping, and honour the dedication and sacrifice of those who put their lives on the line to make the world a more secure place. 
For UN News, Jérôme Bernard hosts this special podcast from peacekeeping’s front line.

UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Twenty-year-old disarmament process in Sierra Leone 'miraculous'

Some 20 years after the process got under way of ridding Sierra Leone of weapons, following years of brutal civil war, the results are nothing short of “miraculous,” according to a former UN staff member and academic.

For this latest UN and Africa podcast, as the UN chief António Guterres unveils a new disarmament agenda, we’ll hear from a former UN staff member who watched the West African country rid itself of the menace of deadly battlefield weapons.