UN expert sounds alarm over court order for Liberia to pay back ‘vulture funds’

A United Nations human rights expert voiced concern today over the decision of a court to order Liberia to pay debts of about $20 million to two so-called “vulture funds” – private investment firms that buy the debts of struggling countries or companies at below face value and then aggressively pursue repayment of the entire sum.

UN-backed meeting calls on world to support Somalia’s Government

An international meeting on Somalia, chaired by the United Nations, today called on the world community to offer practical and, where possible, direct support to the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) as it battles extremists in a country that has had no central government for almost two decades.

Security Council demands Liberia do more to freeze assets of alleged war criminals

While welcoming progress made by the Liberian Government in rebuilding the war-shattered country, the Security Council today demanded it “make all necessary efforts to fulfil its obligations” to freeze the assets of alleged war criminals and others, and urged it to tighten controls against so-called “blood diamonds” used to finance conflict.

Somalia: UN envoy welcomes international gathering to help Government

The top United Nations envoy to Somalia today welcomed the announcement of a meeting tomorrow of over 30 countries, known as the International Contact Group (ICG), to examine what concrete measures can be made to support the beleaguered Somali Government.

DR Congo: UN forces, army adopt new directives with civilian protection at core

United Nations peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the national army adopted new directives today for operations against rebels with the protection of civilians as the core focus following reports of massacres and other serious human rights violations by Congolese soldiers.

More than 80,000 people driven out by clashes in north-west DR Congo – UN agency

Tribal violence in the north-west of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has sent 84,000 people fleeing across the border into the Republic of the Congo since last month, with the United Nations refugee agency reporting today that supplies to assist the displaced are running low.

Central African Republic faces critical moment in bid to recover from conflicts – UN

International assistance is vital to prevent the Central African Republic (CAR) from falling back into political crisis and potential new fighting as it prepares for elections next year after a decade of violence and conflict between Government and rebel forces, the top United Nations official for the country warned today.

Top UN envoy welcomes peaceful end to voter registration in Sudan

The top United Nations envoy to Sudan today welcomed the peaceful ending of the registration process for next year’s elections, the first multi-party polls in the country in decades, with more than 75 per cent of people of voting age registering to cast their ballots.

UN launches $177 million appeal to tackle mounting humanitarian crisis in Yemen

The United Nations humanitarian arm today appealed for more than $177 million to provide the basic survival needs for some 1.6 million Yemenis suffering from acute poverty and a recent escalation in violent clashes in the country’s north.

Green campaigner Wangari Maathai to become UN Messenger of Peace

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate and green advocate Wangari Maathai will become a United Nations Messenger of Peace with a special focus on the environment and climate change, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced today.