20,000 child soldiers in Sudan have been demobilized, says UN official

About 20,000 former child soldiers have been demobilized from rebel groups in southern Sudan since 2001, but an estimated 17,000 young combatants remain and their reintegration could be hampered by prevailing poverty and discrimination, a paper co-authored by a United Nations official says.

UN rights officials tell Security Council international police are required in Sudan

An international police presence is needed in Sudan's troubled Darfur region to accompany and monitor local police officers so that the vast population of internally displaced persons (IDPs) there are protected, two senior United Nations human rights officials told the Security Council today.

Liberia can't yet fund diamond certification scheme needed to end sanctions - UN

Experts monitoring the ban on Liberia's diamond trade say without external funding, the country will not be able to institute a certificate-of-origin regime for trade in the gemstones - a condition considered necessary for the United Nations Security Council to lift the sanctions.

Annan presses Côte d'Ivoire's political leaders to deliver on peace pact pledges

With Côte d'Ivoire poised to miss a deadline for implementing its peace plan, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today voiced regret at the "very limited progress" made so far and urged the parties to take quick remedial action.

UN rights officials to brief Security Council on latest situation in Darfur, Sudan

The United Nations' top human rights official and its expert on genocide will brief the Security Council tomorrow on the findings of their weeklong mission to the troubled Sudanese region of Darfur, where more than 1.65 million people have been forced to leave their homes and armed militias are accused of killing thousands of others.

UN report on African economies calls for boost to manufacturing and exports

Africa is starting to enjoy economic growth again after years of dismal statistics, but to cut poverty and be more competitive its countries must invest more in manufacturing and improve their export performance, a major United Nations report on the continent has found.

Security Council urges Guinea-Bissau's leaders to persist on peace path

The political leaders, public institutions and authorities in the troubled West African nation of Guinea-Bissau must persevere with the peace process beyond next year's scheduled presidential polls if they want to reap all the benefits, the President of the Security Council said today.

UN study argues case for forgiving Africa's debt burden

A new United Nations report argues that with many African countries struggling to service their debt while striving to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the continent's financial obligations should simply be written off.

UN agency calls on DR Congo to ensure safety of returnees from Burundi

The United Nations refugee agency today called on the authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), particularly local leaders in South Kivu, to ensure the safety of Congolese nationals who choose to return to their country after taking refuge in neighbouring Burundi during fighting in June.

UN agency appeals for $78 million to feed 2 million in southern Africa next year

The United Nations emergency feeding agency today launched a $78 million appeal to provide aid early next year to almost 2 million people in three southern African countries facing food shortages caused by poor harvests.