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Jun 29, 2015

U.N. extends Darfur peacekeeping mission amid withdrawal calls

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United Nations Security Council on Monday extended for another year a peacekeeping mission to protect civilians and ensure aid delivery in Sudan’s remote western region of Darfur despite calls by Khartoum to withdraw the $1.1 billion operation.

Law and order have collapsed in much of Darfur, where mainly non-Arab rebels took up arms in 2003 against the Arab-led government in Khartoum, accusing it of discrimination. A joint African Union-United Nations Mission (UNAMID) deployed in 2007.

Jun 26, 2015

U.N. council told sound of helicopters has Syrians ‘watching for death’

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The sound of whirring helicopter blades fills Syrians with fear that “hell and fire” is about fall in a barrel bomb, a rescue worker told the United Nations Security Council on Friday as pressure mounts for the body to take action to stop civilian killings in Syria.

“This sound means watching for death,” said Raed Saleh, head of the Syrian Civil Defence, an organization of rescue workers known as white helmets who rush to the site of bomb and mortar attacks to dig through rubble for survivors.

Jun 26, 2015

U.S. proposes six rival South Sudan leaders for first U.N. sanctions

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United States has proposed six rival commanders from South Sudan be the first people blacklisted by the United Nations Security Council for threatening the peace and stability of the world’s newest state.

The council’s 15-member South Sudan sanctions committee operates by consensus, so if there are no objections by 3 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, a global travel ban and asset freeze will be imposed. Britain and France co-sponsored the proposal.

Jun 25, 2015

U.N. council, aid chief urge more shipments to Yemen amid famine threat

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United Nations Security Council and U.N. aid chief Stephen O’Brien on Thursday pushed for more aid and commercial access to Yemen, where a near total blockade by Saudi Arabia has slowed shipments to the war-torn Arabian Peninsula country to a trickle.

O’Brien said 80 percent of Yemen’s 25 million people needed help and half the country was just one step from famine. Yemen imports nearly all its goods and O’Brien said commercial shipments had dropped to 15 percent of the pre-crisis levels.

Jun 25, 2015

Rights groups blast U.N. Security Council response to Syria killings

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – A coalition of some 81 human rights and aid groups blasted the United Nations Security Council on Thursday for a “woefully inadequate” response to the killing of civilians in Syria, and urged it to ensure that those responsible will be punished.

The 15-member council has been largely deadlocked over how to deal with the four-year war in Syria. Syrian ally Russia, backed by China, has vetoed several resolutions threatening action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

Jun 24, 2015

Internet firms should brief U.N. on tackling extremists: experts

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Key Internet and social media companies should brief a United Nations Security Council sanctions committee on their efforts to stop al Qaeda, Islamic State and other extremist militants spreading their ideology online, U.N. experts said.

Alexander Evans, coordinator of the team of experts, said such a briefing could stimulate a conversation among the 15-committee members on whether U.N. sanctions could be expanded to help stem Internet use by Islamist militants, but he added that the “the answers are not easy.”

Jun 24, 2015

U.N. calls on Netanyahu to act on commitment to two-state solution

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United Nations called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday to translate into action his commitment to a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians, including halting settlement construction.

Netanyahu took a stand against Palestinian statehood during his election campaign earlier this year, but has since committed to a two-state solution. Palestinians seek a state in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, lands Israel captured in 1967.

Jun 24, 2015

U.N. chief calls on Security Council to take action on Syria

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the U.N. Security Council to take “urgent action” on Syria amid daily atrocities and rights abuses, warning the war-torn country would otherwise slip deeper into chaos.

In his monthly report to the council on Syria aid access, seen by Reuters on Wednesday, Ban did not specify action, but his former aid chief Valerie Amos appealed in April for an arms embargo and sanctions for violations of humanitarian law.

Jun 23, 2015

U.N. wants truce observers in Mali, urges sanctions for violators

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United Nations wants to send 40 military observers to Mali to monitor ceasefires agreed between an alliance of Tuareg-led rebels and the Malian government, and urged the U.N. Security Council to consider blacklisting people who violate the deal.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recommended in a report, made public on Tuesday, that the council authorize the observers when it renews the mandate for the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali, known as MINUSMA, later this month.

Jun 23, 2015

U.N. peacekeepers accused of abusing Central African Republic street children

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – United Nations peacekeepers have been accused of sexually abusing street children in the Central African Republic capital of Bangui and an investigation has been launched by the country that contributed the troops, a U.N. spokesman said on Tuesday.

The United Nations did not identify which country the troops were from or how many soldiers may have been involved. There are 10,000 U.N. peacekeepers in Central African Republic, where violence erupted in 2013 after mostly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power, sparking reprisal attacks from Christian militia.

    • About Michelle

      "I am a Reuters correspondent at the United Nations in New York. I have also covered general news for Reuters in the United States, Afghanistan, Australia, South East Asia and the Pacific. Before joining Reuters more than a decade ago, I had a two year stint at The Scotsman newspaper in Edinburgh, Scotland and began my career at The Border Mail newspaper in Albury/Wodonga in Australia."
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