Middle East

UN rights chief says Syria could plunge into civil war as more soldiers defect

The United Nations human rights chief warned today that Syria could descend into civil war as more members of the armed forces defect, noting that nearly 1,000 of the estimated 4,000 people who have died in the bloody crackdown on protesters have been members of the security forces.

Gaza: UN agency invites runners worldwide to take part in marathon

International runners, from top athletes to weekend warriors, are being invited to enter next year’s marathon in the Gaza Strip, the United Nations-created race that made its debut this year.

Unemployment in Gaza remains high despite improved economy – UN

The rate of unemployment among refugees registered with the United Nations in the Gaza Strip in the occupied Palestinian territory stands at 33.8 per cent, indicating that their participation in the labour market has declined despite growth in the construction industry, a new report unveiled today indicates.

Condemning violence in Yemen, UN rights chief urges protection of civilians

The United Nations human rights chief today condemned the killing of unarmed civilians in Yemen in recent days, and stressed that lethal force and heavy weapons must not be used against peaceful protesters.

Iraq: UN calls for more time to resolve issue of camp residents

The United Nations envoy for Iraq today voiced concern over the situation in a camp housing several thousand Iranian exiles and urged the Iraqi Government to extend the deadline for closing down the settlement as efforts continue o find a peaceful solution that conforms with international law.

UN Human Rights Council strongly condemns abuses by Syrian authorities

The United Nations Human Rights Council today strongly condemned the continued abuses by the Syrian authorities as part of its violent crackdown against protesters which has led to the deaths of more than 4,000 people since March, including over 300 children.

Conflict and chronic poverty leave millions of Yemenis in need of relief – UN official

Large segments of the population of Yemen are enduring chronic deprivation exacerbated by the breakdown of the delivery of essential social services as a result of civil unrest and widespread violence, a senior United Nations relief official who just returned from the country said today.

Iraq: UN mission to advise in selection of board of electoral commissioners

The United Nations mission in Iraq said today it will, at the request of the country’s Council of Representatives, play the role of adviser and observer in the ongoing selection of the board of the electoral commission, in an effort to enhance the transparency and credibility of the process.

Bahrain: General Assembly chief welcomes report on alleged rights abuses

The President of the General Assembly Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser has received the report of the independent commission that probed alleged human rights violations in Bahrain and voiced hope that implementation of its recommendations will help to fulfil the aspirations of the country’s people.

Ban welcomes Lebanon’s increased support for Special Tribunal

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed today Lebanon’s decision to increase its financial support for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), which was set up to try those alleged to be responsible for the 2005 assassination of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri.