Guatemala and UN sign deal for independent body to probe illegal armed groups

The United Nations today signed an agreement with the Guatemalan Government to set up an independent commission to investigate illegal armed groups that have been operating in the Central American country with impunity and to help justice officials carry out criminal prosecutions against them.

Brazil: UN loans set to help over 100,000 poor people in semi-arid North-East

More than 100,000 poor Brazilians are expected to benefit from a United Nations-backed development and income-generating project in the semi-arid north-eastern region of Latin America’s largest and most populous country.

Annan mourns death of former US Ambassador to UN Jeane Kirkpatrick

Secretary-General Kofi Annan today paid tribute to the late former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Jeane Kirkpatrick for her commitment to the world body.

Haiti: UN satisfied at voting process despite isolated violence

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) today expressed satisfaction with the conduct of elections in the country while voicing concern at isolated outbreaks of violence.

‘Widely practised’ police torture in Paraguay must be fully criminalized: UN expert

Torture is still widely used in police custody in Paraguay, an independent United Nations rights expert has warned, calling for the practice to be fully criminalized, measures put in place to prevent it, and all perpetrators to be prosecuted.

UN food agency backs hip-hop artist Wyclef Jean at festival to boost Haiti’s development

Supported by the United Nations food agency, internationally renowned hip-hop artist Wyclef Jean is convening a one-week festival in Haiti aimed at using culture and the arts to encourage young people to help boost sustainable development in the Western hemisphere’s poorest country.

Ahead of Haiti’s elections, UN mission pledges help to ensure peaceful process

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) will assist the country’s authorities to ensure peaceful run of municipal and local elections slated to start this Sunday, when Haitians go to polls to elect representatives and finish a number of legislative run-off elections.

Annan urges action on proposed $1.8 billion overhaul of UN complex

The United Nations General Assembly should act on how to fund a proposed $1.8 billion renovation of the world body’s dilapidated New York Headquarters, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a report released today.

Colombia: UN refugee agency welcomes draft law aimed at helping displaced people

The United Nations refugee agency today welcomed the introduction of a draft law to aid displaced people in Colombia, the country which has the largest population of agency concern with 3 million people driven from their homes by more than 40 years of fighting between the Government, leftist rebels and right-wing paramilitaries.

80,000 young die every year in Latin America, Caribbean due to family violence – UN

Scores of thousands of children and adolescents in Latin America and the Caribbean die every year because of violence related to a combination of extreme economic and social inequalities, the predominant culture of “machismo” and failure to implement existing legal protection, according to a United Nations-led study.