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UN body urges support for treaty regulating private military, security companies

A United Nations expert body is urging broad support for the creation of a new global treaty to regulate the activities of private military and security contractors, stressing the need for strict control mechanisms for this “highly specific and dangerous trade.”

Ban appeals for nuclear-weapon-free zones to spread around the world

On the eve of a major non-proliferation conference to be held at United Nations Headquarters, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for the number of nuclear-weapon-free zones to multiply and ultimately span the globe.

New online guide on children’s medicines could save 9 million lives annually – UN

Two United Nations agencies have released a new online guide on where to procure essential medicines formulated for children, a tool which could potentially prevent nine million child deaths from preventable and treatable causes every year.

Environmental disaster looms in Ukraine unless urgent steps are taken – UN report

Immediate action is needed to avert an environmental disaster in western Ukraine where toxic materials from former mines could spread into the area and threaten the health of local communities, according to the report of a joint United Nations-European Union mission of experts.

Nepal’s peace process entering ‘difficult phase,’ UN envoy cautions

The top United Nations official in Nepal today voiced concern that planned Maoist demonstrations tomorrow could result in violence as she warned that the country’s peace process has reached a “difficult phase.”

Crisis persists in Pakistan’s Swat Valley despite return of many displaced – UN

The effects of the humanitarian crisis sparked by the military offensive against insurgents in north-western Pakistan a year ago persist despite the return of most of the two million people who fled their homes because of the conflict, the United Nations refugee agency reported today.

Funding gap hinders recovery in Myanmar, two years after cyclone – UN

Two years after Cyclone Nargis left 2.4 million people in need of emergency food, housing and other forms of critical assistance, the United Nations aid coordinator in Myanmar said today that just a quarter of the pledged funds have come in and the gap threatens the long-term revival of the area hit by the disaster.

UN chief calls on all nations to join International Criminal Court

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on every nation to become a party to the Rome Statute that set up the International Criminal Court (ICC), stressing the vital role played by the institution in ending impunity for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

UN official urges European Union to set good example in refugee protection

The head of the United Nations refugee agency has urged European Union (EU) members to serve as examples of the proper treatment of refugees and to forge a cohesive regional response to new forms of forced displacement, including population movement caused by the effects of climate change.

Ban appoints experienced official as Assistant Secretary-General for peacekeeping

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today appointed Atul Khare of India as Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations.