Middle East

Asylum-seekers must not be forcibly returned to central Iraq – UN

The United Nations refugee agency today called on all States to continue to refrain from forcibly returning Iraqi asylum-seekers to Baghdad, Kirkuk and other violence-prone areas in the centre of the country, warning that the situation was still too precarious due to continuing violence and serious human rights violations.

Cultural diversity of Iraq reaffirmed in UNESCO-backed round table

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has helped to organize a round table to reaffirm Iraq’s diverse cultural heritage, as the country seeks to rebuild after years of conflict and economic hardship.

Ban appoints new military commander for UN mission in Lebanon

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced the appointment of a Spanish Major General as Force Commander of the United Nations peacekeeping operation in Lebanon, where Israel fought a 34-day war with Hizbollah in 2006.

Israel’s evictions in Jerusalem violate international law, says senior UN official

The forced evictions of Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem by Israel are in contravention of international law, the head of the United Nations agency tasked with assisting millions of Palestinian refugees said today.

UN-backed appeal for nearly $700 million launched to help Palestinians

The United Nations and partner aid organizations today issued a call for $664 million to respond to humanitarian needs in the occupied Palestinian territory, with the top humanitarian official in the region underscoring how Palestinians are becoming increasingly dependent on aid.

Security Council and Ban deplore series of deadly car bombings in Baghdad

The Security Council and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned today’s series of apparently coordinated car bombings across Baghdad that have killed or injured scores of residents of the Iraqi capital.

UN force commander confers with Lebanese, Israelis on recent incidents

The military chief of United Nations peacekeepers in Lebanon today discussed with senior Lebanese and Israeli military officials recent incidents in the south, where Israel fought a 34-day war with Hizbollah in 2006.

Agreement on Iraqi election law means polls can go ahead in February – UN

The United Nations today pledged to give Iraq support and technical assistance for holding delayed national elections following parliamentary approval of a revised electoral law, noting that the poll could now be held as early as the end of February.

Lebanon: senior UN official assures new unity Government of full assistance

United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon Michael Williams met with Prime Minister Saad Hariri today, reassuring him once again of the world Organization’s readiness to lend assistance to the new unity Government in all fields through all its various agencies whenever requested.

Prosecutor of UN-backed tribunal meets Lebanese Justice Minister

The Prosecutor of the United Nations-backed tribunal set up to try the perpetrators of recent political killings in Lebanon, including the February 2005 murder of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, met today with the country’s Justice Minister.