UN envoy urges DR Congo authorities to probe recent allegations of mass rapes

The United Nations envoy dealing with sexual violence in conflict today called on the authorities of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to immediately investigate reports of a large number of rapes that occurred recently in the eastern province of South Kivu.

UN urges Nigeria to prevent further lead poisoning after recent cases

The United Nations has urged Nigeria to prevent further lead poisoning in the north and to implement measures to limit lead ore processing at sensitive sites, such as water sources which can easily become contaminated with the heavy metal.

On eve of South Sudan independence vote, UN ramps up its multiple roles

As Southern Sudan gears up for a week-long independence referendum starting on Sunday that could split Africa’s largest country in two, the United Nations is ramping up its multiple roles, from monitoring the vote to providing aid to returning southerners to preparing options for a worst-case scenario, however unlikely, of renewed warfare.

New Congolese law ‘significant’ step for indigenous rights – UN expert

An independent United Nations human rights expert today welcomed a new law recently adopted in the Republic of Congo, calling it a “significant” step in ensuring the rights of indigenous peoples.

Côte d’Ivoire: UN agency seeks $20 million to assist those affected by crisis

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is seeking over $20 million to enable the agency to respond to the humanitarian needs of people in Côte d’Ivoire and five neighbouring countries over the next three months.

Horn of Africa could become new launch pad for global terrorism, Ban warns

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is calling on the international community to provide urgent military and other support to Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) to stop “foreign fighters and other spoilers” turning the region into the next stronghold of international terrorism.

Joint UN-African Union envoy confers with Sudanese official on Darfur

The head of the joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) held discussions with a senior Sudanese official on the security and humanitarian situation following the recent fighting and heightened tensions between the Government and armed groups in the region.

UN-facilitated family visits for Western Sahara refugees resume

The United Nations refugee agency announced today that its programme to facilitate family visits for Western Sahara refugees who have been separated for more than 30 years has resumed.

Ahead of South Sudan referendum, UN official urges respect for voters’ rights

The United Nations human rights chief today urged authorities in Sudan’s north and south to ensure that the upcoming referendum on the future status of the south is not marred in any way by abuses of voters’ rights.

UN backs efforts against gender-based violence in southern Africa

In an effort to help law enforcement agencies in southern Africa respond to gender-based violence effectively, the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said today that it has launched a handbook and a training curriculum to improve the capacity of national police forces in the region to combat the problem.