Constitutional reform planned for Venezuela alarms UN human rights experts

Three independent United Nations human rights experts today voiced concern about planned constitutional reforms in Venezuela, saying the proposed changes could curb civil liberties and breach the South American country’s international treaty commitments.

Colombia must sustain recent steps on human rights, development – Ban Ki-moon

Colombia has taken encouraging steps towards establishing peace and security across the country but these measures must be sustained and reinforced over the next few years if they are to have any lasting effect in the Latin American country, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.

Abductions and killings of children in Haiti denounced by UNICEF

Condemning a recent spate of kidnappings and assassinations carried out against children in Haiti, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has called for action to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Ban Ki-moon voices concern about violent confrontations in Bolivia

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today voiced concern over recent violent confrontations as the Bolivian Constituent Assembly meets in the southern city of Sucre.

Heroic seamen honoured with UN maritime agency’s inaugural bravery award

Two seafarers who risked their lives to save others in a dramatic rescue operation in the Mediterranean Sea last year have been presented with the inaugural Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea by the United Nations International Maritime Organization (IMO).

UN rights expert calls for overhaul of Brazilian criminal justice system

Brazil’s police engage frequently in extrajudicial executions and many moonlight in death squads or militias involved in racketeering, an independent United Nations human rights expert said today, calling for wholesale reform of the country’s culture of policing.

UN refugee agency signs cooperation deal with Organization of American States

The United Nations refugee agency today signed a cooperation agreement with the 35-member Organization of American States (OAS) so that it can strengthen its programmes across the region to assist refugees, asylum-seekers, the stateless and internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Ban Ki-moon visits Amazon rainforest on latest stop of international trip

Climate change remained the focus today as United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon concluded the South American phase of his latest tour with a visit to the Amazon rainforest and meetings with local indigenous leaders.

UN agencies to help La Paz set up early warning system against disasters

United Nations agencies will help implement a new early warning system in the Bolivian city of La Paz, where floods and mudslides are recurring and often deadly disasters, as part of a scheme funded by the German Government.

Governments must take the lead on use of biofuels, says Secretary-General

Biofuels have the potential to cause both good and harm and governments must therefore be careful to balance the costs and benefits of developing them as energy sources, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said in Brazil as he continues an official trip focused on climate change.