UN General Assembly


Not all rape is the same

Staff Reporter

In 2005 I spoke to a traumatised filmmaker who had returned from the Democratic Republic of Congo where he interviewed a 19-year-old woman who 18 months before had been raped by 49 soldiers, one after the other. The pregnant teenager was then shot in the belly by the soldiers, killing her baby and rendering her sterile, writes journalist Charlene Smith.

Forces intensify Burma crackdown

Aung Hla Tun

Troops cleared protesters from the streets of central Yangon on Thursday, giving them 10 minutes to leave or be shot as the Burma junta intensified a two-day crackdown on the largest uprising in 20 years. At least nine people were killed, state television said, on a day when far fewer protesters took to the streets after soldiers raided monasteries in the middle of the night.

UN on climate: It's now or never to save the planet

Jean-Marc Mojon

Humanity is changing Earth's climate so fast and devouring resources so voraciously that it is poised to bequeath a ravaged planet to future generations, the United Nations warned on Thursday in its most comprehensive survey of the environment. The fourth Global Environment Outlook is compiled by 390 experts from observations, studies and data garnered over two decades.

Libya, Vietnam, Burkina Faso elected to UN council

Patrick Worsnip

Libya, Vietnam and Burkina Faso were on Tuesday elected to non-permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council for the years 2008/09. The three countries were unopposed and obtained the required two-thirds majority of votes in favour from the 192-member UN General Assembly.

Riot police charge Yangon crowd

Staff Reporter

Burma riot police charged a crowd of more than 1 000 protesters after they pelted soldiers with rocks and water bottles in central Yangon on Thursday and at least one person collapsed as shots were fired, witnesses said. One man was on the ground, unconscious, but it was not clear whether he was alive or dead.

Junta raids Burma monasteries

Aung Hla Tun

Burma's generals launched pre-dawn raids on rebellious monasteries on Thursday in their crackdown on the biggest anti-junta protests in 20 years, defying desperate international calls for restraint. It was unusually quiet on the streets of Yangon, where troops killed an estimated 3 000 people in the ruthless suppression of a 1988 uprising.

Ahmadinejad denies rush to war with US

Staff Reporter

Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said on Sunday there was "no war in the offing" between his country and the United States. He told the CBS programme 60 Minutes: "It's wrong to think that Iran and the US are walking toward war. Who says so? Why should we go to war?"

Al-Maliki says Iraq is secure for expanded UN role

Claudia Parsons

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki met ministers from world powers and neighbouring countries on Saturday after telling the United Nations secretary general he could guarantee security for a broader UN role in Iraq. Ministers from Iraq, its neighbours and world powers met at UN headquarters.

Lack of troops, cash limit African peacekeeping

Staff Reporter

Peacekeeping missions in Africa are hampered by difficulties in generating forces and a shortage of funding, a senior United Nations official said on Friday. Nick Seymour, senior political officer with the UN's peacekeeping department, said getting enough troops to conflict zones will always be a challenge.

Rwanda joins push for moratorium on executions

Lily Hindy

Rwanda joined other countries on Friday in appealing for a global moratorium on executions, saying that if its government could abolish the death penalty while perpetrators of the 1994 genocide still await sentences, no country should use it. About 500 000 people, mostly ethnic Tutsis, were massacred in 100 days of frenzied killing led by radical Hutus.

UN extends sanctions on Côte d'Ivoire

Patrick Worsnip

The United Nations Security Council renewed arms and diamond sanctions against Côte d'Ivoire on Monday in a bid to make the West African country stick to the terms of a peace process. A resolution passed by the council extended the sanctions for a further year but promised to review them during that period.

Botswana's Bushmen in lodge controversy

Stephanie Nieuwoudt

A planned lodge development at the settlement of Molapo in Botswana's Central Kalahari Game Reserve has become a source of controversy. Tourists who frequent the 40-room lodge's luxury accommodation will enjoy the sights of the Kalahari. The outlook for indigenous Bushmen from the reserve is less positive, however.

Sarkozy to mend fences with Angola

Staff Reporter

French President Nicolas Sarkozy arrived in Angola on Friday in a bid to improve relations following an arms scandal that provoked tensions between the two countries. Sarkozy was to hold talks with Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos on Friday morning at the presidential palace.

Tutu 'devastated' by Mugabe's rule

Jason Szep

South African Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu said on Tuesday he was "devastated" by the human rights abuses of President Robert Mugabe's government in Zimbabwe. Tutu said he struggles to understand how Mugabe changed so drastically after steering the country to independence in 1980.

Mbeki to lead SA delegation to UN

Staff Reporter

President Thabo Mbeki will lead the South African delegation to the 62nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, which starts in New York next week, the Department of Foreign Affairs said on Thursday Speaking in Pretoria, ambassador George Nene, head of the multilateral section in the department, said several issues would be discussed.

UN racism expert condemns SA violence

Staff Reporter

The United Nations independent expert on racism urged South Africa on Friday to bring to justice those responsible for recent xenophobic violence that claimed more than 50 lives this month. "I condemn these acts in the strongest terms," special rapporteur Doudou Diene said as he called on South African authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice.

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