Play on – music serves as tool in UN-backed plan for peaceful elections in Sierra Leone

If music be the food of love, then it can also serve to promote peaceful elections in a country recovering from a disastrous decade-long civil war. Such is the updating of the famous line from Shakespeare adapted by the United Nations and its partners to fit the upcoming polls in Sierra Leone.

Despite progress too many children in Niger still face alarming malnutrition, UN warns

As the impoverished West African country of Niger enters the “lean season,” when food from the last harvest runs out, too many children are still at risk of malnutrition despite much progress made over the past two years, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned today.

UN, international partners to step up contacts with reconciliation body in Somalia

The United Nations and its international partners in the search for peace in Somalia plan to step up their contacts with the country’s National Reconciliation Congress in an effort to bring stability to a faction-riven land that has had no functioning central government for 16 years.

Security Council authorizes hybrid UN-African Union operation in Darfur

The Security Council today approved the creation of a hybrid United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force to quell the violence and instability plaguing the Darfur region of Sudan, where hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and two million others forced to flee their homes.

Sierra Leone: UN, partners voice ‘utmost concern’ at electoral violence

The United Nations and its international partners have voiced renewed concern at widely reported cases of intimidation and violence ahead of elections in Sierra Leone next month, calling on all concerned to avoid incitement and provocation in the small West African country that is still recovering from a disastrous decade-long civil war.

UN launches flash appeal for drought-stricken Lesotho

With one of the worst droughts in 30 years ravaging Lesotho, the United Nations has launched a $18.9 million flash appeal for the small Southern African kingdom where it is estimated that up to 553,000 people – one in four of the population – could face severe hunger.

Security Council extends UN mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea

The Security Council today agreed to extend the mandate by six months of the United Nations peacekeeping mission monitoring the ceasefire that ended the border war between Ethiopia and Eritrea in 2000, voicing concern about the ongoing tensions between the two African neighbours.

UN welcomes start of disarmament process in Côte d’Ivoire

United Nations officials in Côte d’Ivoire welcomed a “flame of peace” ceremony held there today to officially launch the disarmament process by setting fire to weapons handed over by rebels.

Conviction of Government soldiers in DR Congo welcomed by UN mission

The United Nations peacekeeping mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) today welcomed the conviction by a Congolese court of nine Government soldiers for killing 31 unarmed civilians last year.

UN human rights chief praises Rwanda’s abolition of death penalty

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour today hailed Rwanda’s abolition of capital punishment, calling the decision by a country that has suffered genocide an example for others to follow in the pursuit of justice while repudiating violence in all its forms.