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Afghan conflict takes increasing toll on civilians in first half of 2013 – UN report

The number of Afghan civilians killed or injured in the first half of 2013 rose by 23 per cent compared to the same period last year, owing mainly to the increased use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by insurgents, according to a United Nations report released today.

UNICEF launches initiative to shine spotlight on ‘invisible’ violence against children

Violence against children often goes unseen, unheard and unreported the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said today, launching a new initiative urging the international community to speak out more forcefully against the scourge, which leaves millions of girls and boys physically and emotionally scarred every year.

Chile must stop using anti-terrorism law against Mapuche indigenous group – UN expert

A United Nations independent expert has urged the Chilean Government to stop applying an anti-terrorism law against its Mapuche indigenous people, who are fighting to recover their ancestral land.

Following Cambodian elections, UN rights expert appeals for calm

A United Nations independent expert today appealed for calm and reconciliation in Cambodia, following the country's “largely peaceful” presidential elections on 28 July.

Egypt: UNICEF calls for protection of children amid ongoing protests, violence

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has voiced deep concern at reports that children have been killed or injured during the recent violent confrontations in Egypt.

UN chief urges regional, global support for Africa’s Great Lakes peace accord

Only a credible political process will end the crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and address the root causes of cyclical violence in the wider Great Lakes, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today in a message to a high-level international summit on the situation in this strife-ridden region of Africa.

In Iraq, UN goodwill envoy Pau Gasol urges aid for children affected by Syrian crisis

Pau Gasol, National Basketball Association (NBA) champion and Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has wrapped up a visit to Iraq by urging additional support for the hundreds of thousands of Syrian children forced out of their homeland by conflict.

Ban discusses concerns about Egypt with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today voiced his deep concern about the direction of the transition in Egypt in a conversation with European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton, who visited the country this week and met with its deposed leader, Mohamed Morsy.

India school deaths highlight need to phase out toxic pesticides – UN agency

The tragic incident in India in which nearly two dozen children died after eating a contaminated school meal is a stark reminder that highly hazardous pesticides should be phased out in developing countries, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said today.

As violence escalates in Libya, UN urges greater efforts to tackle security challenges

The United Nations mission in Libya today strongly condemned the recent violence in the country and called on the authorities to boost efforts to address ongoing security challenges.