UN Special Envoy makes humanitarian assessment visit to Eritrea

With 1.9 million Eritreans facing starvation after four years of drought, the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Envoy to the Horn of Africa arrived today in Eritrea's capital city, Asmara, to look at gaps in assistance and assess the implementation of strategies to reduce the country's vulnerability to drought.

UN envoy pleads for help for Swaziland, world's highest prevalence of AIDS

Swaziland, with the highest prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS in the world, is undergoing socially wrenching changes, with some heads of families now as young as 8 and the number of orphans likely to rise to 10 or 15 per cent of the population by 2010, the United Nations Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa said today.

International observers say Guinea-Bissau's elections transparent - UN

International observers from more than a dozen governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) declared legislative elections held over the weekend in Guinea-Bissau to be "free, fair and transparent" and called on all political actors to respect the results, according to the UN Peace-building Support Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNOGBIS).

Sudan: Annan warns of 'devastating impact' of fighting in Darfur region

Calling civilian casualties and human rights violations unacceptable, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today he was "very disturbed" by the continuing conflict in the Darfur region of western Sudan.

Security sector reform in DR of Congo vitally important - UN peacekeeping chief

Security sector reform is of high priority in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as prisoners escape from the jail in Bunia and Ituri in the east, but the Transitional Government coordinated well in defeating an incursion into Kinshasa last weekend, the United Nations chief of peacekeeping said today.

Advance party of UN peacekeepers arrive in Côte d'Ivoire

An advance party of 30 military officers and five United Nations civilian police officers arrived today in Côte d'Ivoire from neighbouring Ghana, where they were in training for the full peacekeeping mission that is scheduled to be launched on 4 April.

Sudan: humanitarian crisis in Darfur deteriorating, UN agencies say

The already dire humanitarian situation in the Darfur region of western Sudan has worsened, United Nations agencies said today, with thousands of internally displaced people now facing water shortages and outbreaks of communicable diseases such as measles.

Annan disquieted by rising factionalism in DR of Congo Government

In a report chronicling regression in the post-conflict Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says the increasing factionalism in the Transitional Government is disquieting, the continuing reports of militia atrocities against civilians causes concern and the slowdown in normalizing relations with the country's neighbours is regrettable.

Security Council extends UN mission in Sierra Leone and slows troop withdrawal

Extending the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) by another six months, the Security Council today endorsed plans to scale down the size of its peacekeeping force to a residual presence next year to give Government forces time to assert control over the country.

UN rapporteurs gravely concerned by reports of ethnic cleansing in Sudan

Eight United Nations human rights fact-finding experts have issued a statement saying they are “gravely concerned” by the reports of ethnic cleansing and widespread human rights abuses occurring in the Darfur region of western Sudan.