Middle East

First Person: Four years on, hopes of return still distant for refugee pianist

When UN News first interviewed award-winning Palestinian pianist Aeham Ahmad in 2016, he was a recent arrival in Germany, having fled a Palestinian refugee camp in Syria. Four years on, he wants to return home, but accepts that his chances are slim.

Yemen: Stricken oil tanker must be inspected to avoid environmental catastrophe, UN expert urges

 It is “vital” that technical experts be granted immediate access to a rusting oil tanker threatening an environmental calamity in the Red Sea, an independent UN expert said on Thursday. 

UN agency for Palestine refugees runs out of money as COVID-19 spreads

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNWRA) has run out of cash on hand to keep vital services going amid the worsening health emergency, UNRWA spokesperson Tamara Alrifai told a regular UN press briefing in Geneva on Tuesday.

UN rights experts call for release of Saudi activist championing women’s right to drive

The deteriorating health of Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain Al-Hathloul is “deeply alarming”, UN-appointed rights experts said on Wednesday, calling for her release along with “all other women human rights defenders in detention”. 

Dozens displaced in largest demolition in years in the West Bank, reports UN relief office

Seventy-three people, including 41 children have been displaced after Israeli authorities demolished their homes and other structures, and destroyed belongings in the Palestinian community of Humsa Al Bqai’a in the West Bank, the UN humanitarian wing has reported. 

‘High time for accountability’, UN expert says as Israel approves highest rate of illegal settlements 

The international community must answer a “grave” breach of international law with “more than mere criticism”, an independent UN expert said on Friday after the Israeli Government announced its approval of nearly 5,000 new settlement homes in occupied Palestinian territory.

Yemen: Combatants ‘have to find strength’ to end fighting, says UN humanitarian official

Parties to the conflict in Yemen must do more to protect civilians, a senior UN humanitarian official there has said, as the number of civilian deaths has witnessed a sharp rise over the last few weeks in the war-ravaged country. 

Rights experts urge UAE to halt repatriation of Yemeni nationals 

The repatriation of 18 Yemeni nationals previously held at the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, should be halted, as their lives could be in danger, UN-appointed human rights experts said on Thursday. 

Talks begin to resolve disputed Lebanon-Israel maritime border

The UN Secretary-General has welcomed the launch of ground-breaking discussions on Wednesday, over the disputed maritime border between Lebanon and Israel in the eastern Mediterranean, following a framework agreement between the two nations at the beginning of the month.

New agreement in Iraq signals ‘a first and important step’ toward a better future

An agreement between Iraq’s Federal and the Kurdish Regional governments on Friday paves the way for reconstruction in the north of the country, in what the UN has called “a first and important step in the right direction”.