Major stories in March 2014


Browse top stories by month:
Egypt: UN rights experts denounce mass death sentences as ‘mockery of justice’

31 March 2014 – A group of eight United Nations human rights independent experts today urged the Egyptian authorities to quash the 529 death sentences announced in Egypt last week and give the defendants new and fair trials, in line with international human rights law.


UN rights council approves inquiry into alleged abuses in Sri Lanka war

27 March 2014 – The United Nations Human Rights Council today voted to open an international inquiry into alleged war crimes committed by both the Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the final stages of a decades-long conflict that ended in 2009.


On path to global eradication, UN health agency certifies 11 Asian nations free of polio

27 March 2014 – The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) today certified as polio-free 11 countries in Asia that together are home to a quarter of the global population.


Backing Ukraine’s territorial integrity, UN Assembly declares Crimea referendum invalid

27 March 2014 – In a vote that reaffirmed Ukraine’s unity and territorial integrity, the United Nations General Assembly today adopted a measure underscoring that the mid-March referendum in Crimea that led to the peninsula’s annexation by Russia “has no validity” and that the parties should “pursue immediately a peaceful resolution of the situation.”


‘Sierra Leone is a success story built on steady progress,’ Security Council told

26 March 2014 – With more than 15 years of United Nations peace operations in Sierra Leone set to wrap up at the end of this month, the top UN official there said today that while the West African nation has gained solid footing on the path to recovery, it will still require sustained international attention and support to address the lingering challenges from a brutal civil war in the 1990s.


‘Majestic’ Greenland provides UN chief first-hand look at impacts of climate change

26 March 2014 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon saw first-hand the impacts of climate change during a visit today to Greenland, where the melting of ice sheets is accelerating.


UN Human Rights office concerned over Turkey’s Twitter ban

25 March 2014 – The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) today expressed concern at Turkey’s recent decision to block access to the social media platform Twitter, noting that it is – along with any decision to curb freedom of expression online – in contradiction with the country’s international human rights commitments.


Air pollution now linked to 1 in 8 deaths worldwide, UN health agency reports

25 March 2014 – Air pollution – both indoor and outdoor – killed some 7 million people across the globe in 2012, making it the world’s largest single environmental health risk, according to new figures released today by the UN World Health Organization (WHO).


Diplomatic solution only way to resolve Russia-Ukraine crisis, Ban stresses in Kyiv

22 March 2014 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday reiterated his message that only a diplomatic solution, based on the ideals of the United Nations Charter, would solve the current crisis between Russia and Ukraine.


Afghanistan: UN strongly condemns deadly assault on Kabul hotel

21 March 2014 – The United Nations has strongly condemned last night’s deadly attack on the Serena Hotel in Kabul that has reportedly left nine civilians dead and several more wounded – the latest violence to strike Afghanistan ahead of next month’s elections.


Over half of Syria’s chemical weapons removed or destroyed, says joint OPCW-UN mission

20 March 2014 – The Joint Mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the United Nations said today that over half of Syria’s chemical weapons material has been removed or destroyed.


Head of UN rights probe on DPR Korea urges accountability for ‘unspeakable atrocities’

17 March 2014 – Detailing a raft of “unspeakable atrocities” committed in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) “without parallel in the modern world,” the head of a United Nations-mandated probe into the human rights situation there called today on the international community to hold the country to account, including through referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC).


Three years on, UN's top humanitarian officials urge end to Syrian conflict

15 March 2014 – With nearly 13 million Syrians uprooted from their homes, senior United Nations officials warn that without a political solution to the conflict, which today enters its fourth year, Syria and its people face years more of destruction and continued brutality.


UN Security Council action on Crimea referendum blocked

15 March 2014 – Owing to the negative vote of one of its permanent members, the United Nations Security Council today failed to adopt a draft resolution which urged countries not to recognize the results of this weekend's referendum in Crimea.


‘Extremely grave’ situation in Central African Republic demands urgent action – UN official

7 March 2014 – Painting a grim picture of war-torn Central African Republic (CAR), where months of inter-religious violence has wrecked State institutions, left millions on the brink of starvation and now threatens to suck in the wider region, the top United Nations relief official today called for urgent international action – more peacekeepers and more aid – to end the crisis.