Secretary-General mourns deaths of senior Guatemalan officials

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today voiced sadness over the deaths of two senior Guatemalan officials.

UN rights expert calls on United States to ensure death penalty is applied fairly

The United States should take immediate steps to ensure that the death penalty is applied fairly and justly in states where it is practised, a United Nations human rights expert said today, voicing particular concern that officials in the state of Alabama “seem strikingly indifferent to the risk of executing innocent people.”

Ecuador opens new refugee office along border with Colombia with UN help

The Government of Ecuador today opened its first refugee office along the border with Colombia with the support of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Coca cultivation in Andean countries on the rise, UN survey shows

The head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is urging comprehensive, large-scale and ecologically-friendly agriculture and forestry schemes in coca growing areas, after a new survey shows a “marked increase” in cultivation in the Andean region.

Rural Guatemalans win financial support from UN agency

The United Nations agency tasked with reducing rural poverty is lending $17 million to Guatemala to help authorities boost development in the Central American country’s central and eastern regions.

UNESCO chief welcomes literacy work of US First Lady Laura Bush

The head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has welcomed the announcement by United States First Lady Laura Bush that she will host a second international literacy meeting in New York in her capacity as Honorary Ambassador for the UN Literacy Decade.

UN human rights chief welcomes United States court ruling on Guantánamo Bay

The United Nations human rights chief has welcomed today’s decision by the United States Supreme Court that the country’s constitution extends to foreigners being held in Guantánamo Bay and that they have the right to challenge their detention in the civilian court system.

UN workshop on tracing small arms opens in Brazil

The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs opened a workshop today in Rio de Janeiro to help governments trace illicit small arms and light weapons.

Latin American, Caribbean nations must tackle effect of food crisis on poor – UN

Mitigating the impact of rising food and fuel prices on low-income groups must be a priority for countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, a senior United Nations official has stressed at the start of a regional meeting taking place in Santo Domingo.

General Assembly President holds talks with senior Argentine official

General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim and Argentina’s External Relations Minister Jorge Enrique Taiana have held talks today on issues ranging from the global food crisis to Security Council reform to key regional challenges.