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COVID-19: Testing still vital even as vaccines roll out

Testing will still be a critical tool against COVID-19, even as vaccines are deployed against the disease, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday during his regular briefing on the crisis. 

UN Committee urges end to impunity for enforced disappearances in Iraq

A pattern of enforced disappearance – and impunity for such acts - persists in Iraq, according to a report published on Friday by the UN Committee charged with monitoring how well the country upholds its international obligations in dealing with the issue.

Rising hunger in drought-stricken southern Madagascar forcing families to eat insects: WFP

Hunger is on the rise in southern Madagascar due to consecutive years of drought,  affecting half the region’s population, or 1.5 million people, and forcing most families to eat insects, the World Food Programme (WFP) reported on Friday. 

First of four UN humanitarian airlifts for Ethiopia refugees lands in Khartoum

An airplane loaded with humanitarian supplies for people fleeing violence in Ethiopia’s Tigray region has arrived in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, the UN refugee agency (UNCHR) said on Friday, in an appeal for international assistance to cope with the growing numbers seeking shelter in Sudan.

UN rights experts condemn retaliatory arrests of activists in Egypt

A group of UN independent human rights experts have called on Egyptian authorities to “immediately and unconditionally” release activists arrested, apparently in retaliation, for discussing human rights issues with foreign ambassadors. 

African nations ‘far from ready’ for COVID-19 vaccination drive, says UN health agency

As efforts to find safe and effective vaccines for COVID-19 are showing increasing promise,  the African continent is “far from ready” to roll out what will be its largest ever immunization drive, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.

Global HIV toll likely to be far higher owing to COVID-19, warns UNAIDS

Countries should adopt ambitious new targets to tackle HIV / AIDS to avoid hundreds of thousands of additional infections and deaths linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN said on Thursday.

Address water scarcity ‘immediately and boldly’, urges UN agriculture agency chief 

More than three billion people live in agricultural areas with high levels of water shortages and scarcity, the UN agriculture agency said in a new report launched on Wednesday. 

FROM THE FIELD: Girl child soldier shunned at home in Uganda

A young mother has been talking about how she was shunned by her community in Uganda when she returned home after being abducted and forced to fight for rebels as a child soldier.

UN experts decry Iran’s reported plan to execute Iranian-Swedish academic

Iran must halt any planned execution of Iranian-Swedish academic Ahmadreza Djalali, who has not been given a fair trial and was forced to confess under torture, two experts advising the UN Human Rights Council said on Wednesday.