"When I was 9 years old, my mother told me that three of her sisters died because her grandmother practiced female genital mutilation (FGM)," says Patricia Tobon Yagarí, an Emberá indigenous lawyer from Colombia. "Her mother managed to rescue her, and she told me that the practice had been eradicated in our Emberá community."
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While the world clearly has the political will and legal tools to take on human traffickers and their criminal networks, what are needed is more meaningful international cooperation and adequate funding to take effective action, senior United Nations officials said today, warning that the scourge now has victims spread across 152 different citizenships in 124 countries.
Under the lead of the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations system is mobilizing a coordinated response to Zika aimed at minimizing the threat in affected countries and reducing the risk of further international spread.
Marking the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), dozens of women, girls, experts, and United Nations officials gathered today at a special event at UN Headquarters to discuss ways of eliminating the harmful practice by 2030 and to celebrate the increased mobilization against it.
Facing a series of allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today named Jane Holl Lute, an American official with wide-ranging United Nations experience, to coordinate efforts to curb the scourge.
NABATIEH, Lebanon - In late 2013, Haneen, now 14, fled Syria with her parents and 10 siblings. As her family made its way to the Turkish border, her father sustained injuries that left him paralyzed. Fearing he could no longer feed his 11 children or protect his daughters, he married Haneen, then 13, off to a middle-aged Turkish man.
Upholding women's human rights is essential if the response to the Zika health emergency is to be effective, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said today, following the advice to women by some governments to delay getting pregnant due to the possible link between the virus and neurological disorders affecting newborns.
The most senior United Nations officials are urging the world to eliminate female genital mutilation (FGM) by 2030, calling it a "violent practice" that scars girls for life, endangering their health, depriving them of their rights, and denying them the chance to reach their full potential.
Marking World Cancer Day, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that where a person lives should not determine if they develop a cancer or die from it, as he called to eliminate cervical cancer as a public health issue while also reducing the burden that millions face from all cancers.
The United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) reported today that it has identified seven new possible victims of sexual exploitation and abuse in the town of Bambari, just days after the UN revealed which countries' troops have been accused of abusing minors.
The United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA) today unveiled a set of six commemorative stamps to promote UN Free & Equal - a global UN campaign for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality launched and led by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has released eight million dollars from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) for severely underfunded aid operations in the People's Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK), to enable life-saving assistance for more than 2.2 million people most vulnerable and at risk of malnutrition.
European countries were called on today by the United Nations World Health Organization ( WHO) to act early and in a coordinated way to protect the region from Zika virus, just one day after another case was confirmed in the United States.
Guatemala - Repeatedly shaken down by gang members for a weekly US$30 protection payment he could barely afford, Salvadoran bus driver Javier filed a complaint with the police. A family man with two teenage daughters, he recalls waking up at 3:00 am the next day with a knot of fear in his stomach.
New York City - UNDP stands ready to join an international response, led by the World Health Organization, to an outbreak of microcephaly and other severe neurological abnormalities, which may have been associated with the mosquito-borne Zika virus.
The UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura today met with a delegation from the country's Government. He is also expected to issue invitations to Syrian women and civil society representatives to contribute to the talks, being held in Geneva between representatives of the Syrian government and the opposition.
Following yesterday's declaration of a public health emergency of international concern regarding the cluster of microcephaly and other neurological disorders in relation to the Zika virus, United Nations agencies today highlighted their actions to support affected communities.
Meeting today on the Zika virus outbreak, the World Health Organization announced that the recent cluster of neurological disorders and neonatal malformations reported in the Americas region constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.
In her statement to the media, Dr Margaret Chan summarized the evidence considered by members of an Emergency Committee on Zika virus disease convened under the International Health Regulations. The experts advised the Director-General that the outbreak, especially the association of clusters of microcephaly in time and place with infections, constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
As the world continues to witness record numbers forcibly displaced by war and conflict, there are many unsung heroes working tirelessly behind the scenes to help the millions of people caught up in these global crises. The UN Refugee Agency is asking for nominations by February 8th for the 2016 Nansen Refugee Award, to recognise those courageous people who have contributed directly to the refugee cause.
Hailing vital commitments the African Union (AU) has made on human rights and women's rights, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today encouraged the continent's leaders to move on from setting standards to what he called "the three I's" - Implementation, Institution-building and Investment in real change - and set a shining example for the wider world.
A groundbreaking survey in South Sudan seeking views on how to deal with the country's violent past has found significant support for perpetrators of violence to face trial, and for those missing or killed to be honoured publicly.
On a hot summer day in December 2015, Khady, a quiet 19-year-old, approached a lively crowd of Senegalese youth gathered on a beach in Keur Massar, a development near Dakar.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced the first-ever High-Level Panel on Women's Economic Empowerment to provide leadership and mobilize concrete actions aimed at closing economic gender gaps that persist around the world.
Like many child brides, Micheline Yotoudjim suffered terribly after she was married. She was married off at age 14, became pregnant at 16, and then experienced a prolonged, obstructed labour. Her baby was eventually delivered through a Caesarean section, but died four days later.
Welcoming the UN Security Council's unanimous adoption of a blueprint for peace in Syria, a senior United Nations official has called on all sides to immediately stop using sexual violence as a tactic in the fighting tearing the country apart.