Middle East

Bahrain: UN voices concern at sentences given to medical staff, activists

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the United Nations human rights office today voiced concern at the harsh sentences handed down this week by a court in Bahrain to medical professionals, teachers and others as a result of pro-democracy protests earlier this year.

Ban welcomes Saudi move giving women right to vote in municipal elections

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the recently announced measures by Saudi Arabian King Abdullah granting women the right to vote and stand in municipal elections as well as to become members of the Shura Council.

Security Council refers Palestinian application to UN membership committee

The President of the Security Council today referred Palestine’s application to become a United Nations Member State to the committee that deals with the admission of new members.

UN political chief urges Israelis and Palestinians to give diplomacy a chance

While the Security Council mulls over the Palestinian application to become a Member State, the United Nations political chief today called on the Israelis and the Palestinians to return to negotiations to reach a comprehensive and lasting settlement.

Aid agencies preparing to assist Libyans in remaining pockets of fighting – UN

Aid agencies have pre-positioned food and medical supplies on the outskirts of the Libyan city of Sirte, where fighting between pro- and anti-Government forces has displaced about 6,000 people and limited humanitarian access, the United Nations reported today.

Top UN officials renew call on Syria to end crackdown on protesters

Top United Nations officials today renewed their call on the Syrian Government to end its crackdown on pro-democracy protesters and to cooperate with the Commission of Inquiry charged with investigating alleged human rights abuses.

Syria may fall victim to ‘new cycle of colonial wars’ – UN debate hears

Syria runs the risk of falling victim to the same “new cycle of colonial wars” that was imposed on Libya, Venezuela told the General Assembly’s annual general debate today.

Change in Yemen must follow constitutional process, UN debate told

The turmoil gripping Yemen will only be resolved through a constitutional process and a smooth transition of power that does not violate democratic principles, the country’s Foreign Minister told the General Assembly today.

Security Council to discuss Palestinian request for UN membership on Wednesday

The Security Council will discuss Palestine’s application to become a United Nations Member State on Wednesday morning, when it plans to refer it to the committee tasked with examining such requests.

At UN, Syria warns of ‘blatant conspiracies’ from outsiders against its people

Syrian authorities will continue to undertake political, social and economic reforms but they will also act to protect citizens from “blatant conspiracies” aimed at sabotaging national security or inviting outside interventions, the country’s Foreign Minister told the United Nations today.