Middle East

UN calls on Saudi Arabia to release jailed human rights defenders, including women activists

Concerned over the continuing arrests and “apparently arbitrary detentions” of human rights defenders – including campaigners who lobbied for an end to the ban on women driving – the United Nations human rights office (OHCHR) on Tuesday called on Saudi Arabia to “unconditionally” release all those being held.

UN human rights body strongly condemns recent ‘shocking attacks’ against civilians in south-west Syria

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued a strongly-worded statement on Tuesday, denouncing last week’s brutal killings and raids by members of the terrorist group ISIL, in Sweida, south-west Syria.

Local aid workers in Syria are the ‘backbone of response’, says top UN official, urging better protection as fighting rages

Delivering life-saving assistance to millions of women, children and men in Syria, local aid workers need to be safer and better protected, said the top United Nations humanitarian official in the country on Monday.

Hudaydah ‘one airstrike away from unstoppable epidemic’: UN humanitarian chief in Yemen

The crucial Yemeni port city of Hudaydah, which has been living under fire from pro-Government forces for weeks now, could be just “one airstrike away from an unstoppable epidemic”, said the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in the country on Sunday.

The ‘used and abused’ children of Syria must learn what ‘peace’ really means, Security Council hears

More than 7,000 children have lost their lives or been maimed as a result of the brutal conflict in Syria, a senior United Nations official told the UN Security Council on Friday, stressing that they had been abused by the warring parties for far too long.

‘Warehouses emptying’ amid growing humanitarian needs in south-west Syria

More than 180,000 people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance in south-west Syria after weeks of escalating hostilities that have restricted aid access to the area, the UN said on Friday.

UN human rights experts urge Egypt to release jailed poet who penned hit protest song

Galal El Behairy has been held in detention since February after penning a song critical of Egypt’s policies, prompting United Nations human rights experts on Thursday to urge the government to release him immediately.

UN chief strongly condemns terrorist attacks in south-west Syria

The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, has strongly condemned multiple suicide bombings on Wednesday in the government-held town of Sweida, in Syria’s south-west, which killed and injured scores of civilians.

Acute lack of funding threatens critical aid for Palestinians : UN agency

Despite major fundraising efforts, UNRWA – the UN agency tasked with providing life-saving support to Palestinian refugees – is facing the “largest ever reduction in funding” in its history which is threatening the very existence of many of its critical assistance programmes.

UN, Egypt help avert another Israel-Palestine war in Gaza that was ‘minutes away’, Security Council hears

Intense diplomatic efforts by the United Nations and Egypt have helped avoid another Israeli-Palestinian war in Gaza that appeared just “minutes away” over the past weekend, a senior UN official said on Tuesday.