Europe 

Children in crisis-torn eastern Ukraine ‘too terrified to learn’ amid spike in attacks on schools

Since the start of eastern Ukraine’s five-year conflict, more than 750 educational facilities on both sides have been damaged or destroyed, UNICEF said, explaining that there has been a four-fold increase in attacks on schools during the first four months of the year, compared to the same period in 2018. Between January and April, there were 12 attacks on schools, compared to three incidents during the same period last year. The alarming increase is reminiscent of the violence experienced by schoolchildren and teachers in 2017, when there were more than…

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Europe 

Promoting ‘a healthy sustainable future’, the UN health agency engages young and young at heart to ‘Walk the Talk’

In the lead up to Monday’s 72nd annual World Health Assembly (WHA), the World Health Organization (WHO) gathered people of all ages and abilities for a free walk/run event that ranged from three to eight kilometres.   Health advocates and the general public joined Assembly delegates and the UN family in recognizing the value of healthy lifestyles and the importance of all people having access the health services.   “Today is not only about sport”, said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “It is about promoting health for all”.  Special guest Margaret…

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Europe 

Chernobyl nuclear disaster-affected areas spring to life, 33 years on

Sixty per cent of Homiel’s produce – comprising meat, dairy products and handicraft – are exported to neighboring regions and countries while the region attracted $17.7 billion worth of domestic and foreign Investment between 2011 and 2017, representing just over 15 percent of the country’s total direct investment during that period. A ceremony marking International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day was held at UN Headquarters in New York on Friday. While the Soviet Government only acknowledged the need for international help to mitigate the disaster in 1990, that same year the…

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Europe 

Security Council: UN calls for ‘spirit and letter’ of Ukraine agreements to be upheld, as Russia issues simplified citizenship decree

Rosemary DiCarlo was addressing the Security Council on Thursday in a meeting requested by Ukraine, and in the wake of Ukrainian presidential elections and the signing of a decree by Russian President Vladimir Putin a day earlier, that reportedly aims to allow citizens in parts of eastern Ukraine, to apply for Russian passports, under a simplified procedure. Conflict in Ukraine between Government forces and largely pro-Russian separatists in the east during the past five years, have resulted in the deaths of more than 3,300 civilians, up to 9,000 injured, with…

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Europe 

UNESCO experts ready to assist reconstruction of iconic Notre Dame, following devastating blaze

That’s what UNESCO World Heritage Centre Director Mechtild Rössler told UN News after visiting the site on Tuesday. “Horrified by the pictures coming from Paris with the fire engulfing Notre Dame Cathedral – a unique example of world heritage that has stood tall since the 14th century. My thoughts are with the people and government of France” @UN Chief @AntonioGuterres. Photo: K. Dallinger pic.twitter.com/YeSjrt0kv0 — UN News (@UN_News_Centre) April 15, 2019 She described seeing people praying outside the stricken symbol of the city and the nation, still trying to take…

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Europe 

Peacekeeping: A ‘great opportunity’ to develop professionally and personally

Lieutenant Colonel Jorge Frias Barrera speaks from experience. He is on his second tour of duty to the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) and plays a key role as the current Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, in supporting the Force Commander who leads the military component in the mission. “Serving here is a great opportunity to develop, to meet other professionals, to know a mission that has many challenges and to get to know other cultures and another country. I am proud to serve the UN and…

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Europe 

Forced pregnancy in Italy violated ‘woman’s human right to health’, UN experts rule 

In 2008, the couple at the centre of the case, visited a fertility clinic in Italy and requested in vitro fertilization treatment, or IVF, where the egg is fertilized outside the mother’s womb. They asked the clinic to test for possible genetic disorders, before implantation.   They were told that the law prohibited clinical research on human embryos, so the couple filed and won a lawsuit, which ordered the clinic to carry out pre-implantation genetic testing, but the case was referred the matter to Italy’s Constitutional Court. Meanwhile, it was…

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Europe 

UN court increases sentence of former Bosnian-Serb leader to life imprisonment

In 2016, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), found the 1990s wartime leader guilty of genocide and war crimes, including the planning of the notorious 1995 Srebrenica massacre, during which some 8,000 Bosnian Serbs were murdered. The aftermath was described at the time as resembling “scenes from Hell” by a Tribunal judge. Karadžić was also found responsible for the three-year long siege of Sarajevo, which led to the deaths of an estimated 10,000 civilians. On Wednesday, the Appeals Chamber of the successor to the ICTY, the Hague…

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Europe 

Joint UN, OSCE engagement can address crisis in Ukraine, other ‘dark spots of conflict’ in Europe

“The crisis goes against everything the OSCE and the UN stand for,” continued Slovakian Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák in his briefing on OSCE’s activities. In late February 2014, the situation in Ukraine went from political crisis, to violent confrontation and, later, became a full-scale conflict between Government forces and separatists, in the country’s east. Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák of the Slovak Republic, Chairperson-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and former President of the General Assembly, briefs the Security Council., by UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe While stressing…

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Europe 

‘I don’t like to give up’: veteran UN envoy reveals how two decades of quiet diplomacy gave birth to North Macedonia

When the UN-brokered “Prespa Agreement” between Athens and Skopje was ratified by the two countries’ parliaments and formally entered into force on 12 February , recognizing the “Republic of North Macedonia,” his mission was finally accomplished. In a delightful twist of fate, due to various circumstances, the agreement had been signed by the Prime Ministers of Greece and North Macedonia seven months earlier, on 17 June: Mr. Nimetz’s 79th birthday.   Wanting to know more about the kind of determination it took to keep going over the years , UN News invited him to talk about the…

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