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Sep 9, 2013

U.N. rights team aims to probe chemical weapons in Syria: del Ponte

GENEVA (Reuters) – U.N. human rights investigators hope to get into Syria soon to try to find out who carried out apparent chemical attacks and other war crimes, Carla del Ponte, of the U.N. commission of inquiry on Syria, said on Monday.

Del Ponte gave no time frame for a visit but said that the team was in touch with U.N. chemical weapons inspectors and awaited their findings from the scene of an August 21 poison gas attack. She said the rights team’s work would continue whether or not the United States carried out mooted punitive military strikes against the Syrian government over the attack.

Sep 1, 2013

Life expectancy gap growing between rich/poor world women – WHO

GENEVA, Sept 2 (Reuters) – Life expectancy for women at 50
has improved, but the gap between poor and rich countries is
growing and could worsen without better detection and treatment
of cardiovascular disease and cancers, the World Health
Organization (WHO) said on Monday.

A WHO study, one of the first to analyse the causes of death
of older women, found that in wealthier countries deaths from
noncommunicable diseases has fallen dramatically in recent
decades, especially from cancers of the stomach, colon, breast
and cervix.

Aug 29, 2013

Military escalation in Syria will worsen civilians’ plight: ICRC

GENEVA (Reuters) – Any escalation of the Syrian crisis following an apparent chemical weapons attack will aggravate civilian suffering, the International Committee of the Red Cross said on Thursday.

Areas plagued by heavy fighting, including the countryside around Damascus, eastern Aleppo and Deir Ezzor province, are already reeling from breakdowns of services such as water, electricity and garbage collection, it said in a statement.

Aug 23, 2013

A million Syrian child refugees is ‘shameful milestone’: U.N.

GENEVA (Reuters) – The number of Syrian children forced to flee their devastated homeland reached 1 million on Friday, half of all the refugees driven abroad by a conflict that shows no sign of ending, the United Nations said.

Another two million Syrian minors are uprooted within their country where they are often attacked, recruited as fighters, and deprived of their education, the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR and U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said.

Aug 20, 2013

Iraqi Kurdistan sets quota for Syria refugees: aid groups

GENEVA (Reuters) – The government of Iraqi Kurdistan has put in place an entry quota of 3,000 refugees a day to cope with an influx of Kurds fleeing the civil war in Syria, aid agencies said on Tuesday.

About 30,000 refugees, believed to be mainly Syrian Kurds, have poured into Iraq since Thursday, and up to 3,000 were lined up to cross on Tuesday, the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said.

Aug 19, 2013

Swiss ban “inappropriate” ski lifts for North Korea

GENEVA, Aug 19 (Reuters) – Switzerland has banned the sale
to North Korea of equipment for a luxury ski resort planned for
the ruling elite in the widely impoverished state that is under
U.N. sanctions, officials said on Monday.

North Korean leader Kim Jung-un, who studied under an
assumed name in the Swiss capital Berne and is believed to have
gone on school ski trips in the Alps, wants to develop leisure
activities for tourists and the upper crust among its 23 million
citizens.

Aug 15, 2013

North Korean defectors to testify on torture and executions

GENEVA (Reuters) – North Korean defectors and prison camp survivors will start testifying at U.N. hearings in Asia next week about alleged rights abuses, including torture and executions, for which they hope their country’s leaders may one day face trial.

Three independent investigators, backed by 10 U.N. staff, have convened the hearings in Seoul and Tokyo to document alleged abuses, also including food deprivation and arbitrary detentions, in the country of 23 million people.

Jul 29, 2013

Afghan women’s rights at risk in peace process, U.N. watchdog says

GENEVA (Reuters) – Women’s rights in Afghanistan risk being further undermined in the fragile country’s peace process due to entrenched patriarchal attitudes, a United Nations watchdog warned on Monday.

Afghan women have made hard-fought gains in education and work since the collapse of the Taliban government in 2001, but fears are growing these could suffer a reversal when most foreign forces leave by the end of next year.

Jul 29, 2013

Afghan women’s rights at risk in peace process: U.N. watchdog

GENEVA (Reuters) – Women’s rights in Afghanistan risk being further undermined in the fragile country’s peace process due to entrenched patriarchal attitudes, a United Nations watchdog warned on Monday.

Afghan women have made hard-fought gains in education and work since the collapse of the Taliban government in 2001, but fears are growing these could suffer a reversal when most foreign forces leave by the end of next year.

Jul 25, 2013

Political trials in Ukraine, Tajikistan draw U.N. rebuke

GENEVA (Reuters) – A United Nations human rights watchdog on Thursday deplored “politically motivated” prosecutions in Ukraine and Tajikistan and told the two former Soviet republics to make sure judges were impartial.

It cited the case of former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, jailed for seven years in October 2011 for abuse of office, and of Zaid Saidov, a Tajik politician who was setting up an opposition political party before his arrest in May.