DR Congo: The top United Nations refugee official today voiced his alarm at new inflows of refugees into Rwanda and Uganda, fleeing fighting in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  More than 8,200 refugees have crossed from DRC into Rwanda since 27 April, according to staff of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). These are in addition to the 55,000 Congolese refugees that Rwanda is already hosting.

Fighting has resumed in eastern DRC in recent weeks between Government forces, dissident groups and militia, causing suffering for civilians who are experiencing displacement, human rights violations, and loss of property.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is currently considering a request by the Libyan authorities to try the son of former leader Muammar al-Qadhafi in their national courts, Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told the Security Council today.

Earlier this month, the Libyan authorities submitted an admissibility challenge to the ICC in the case of Saif Al-Islam Qadhafi, who has been indicted by the Court, along with country’s former intelligence chief, Abdullah Al Sanousi, for their roles in attacks against protesters and rebels during the pro-democracy uprising last year. The challenge is currently before the Pre-Trial Chamber at the Court, which is based in The Hague, and the Prosecution will present its observations on 4 June.

Maternal Mortality:
The number of women dying of pregnancy and childbirth related complications has almost halved in 20 years, according to new estimates released today by the United Nations, which stressed that greater progress is still needed in significantly reducing maternal deaths.

The report, entitled Trends in Maternal Mortality: 1990 to 2010, shows that from 1990 to 2010, the annual number of maternal deaths dropped from more than 543,000 to 287,000 – a decline of 47 per cent. While substantial progress has been achieved in almost all regions, many countries – especially in sub-Saharan Africa – will fail to reach the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of reducing maternal deaths by 75 per cent from 1990 to 2015.

WHO Report:
The number of people with high blood pressure and diabetes is drastically increasing in both developed and developing countries, according to a United Nations report released today.  WHO’s World Health Statistics 2012 report, which includes data from 194 countries, states that one in three adults worldwide has raised blood pressure and one in 10 suffers from diabetes. According to WHO, non-communicable diseases currently cause almost two thirds of all deaths worldwide.

Women and Girls in ICT:
A South American leader, the head of a Chinese telecommunications company and a United States Oscar-winning actress today received a United Nations award recognizing their efforts to the use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) to empower women and girls.

The recipients of this year’s World Telecommunication and Information Society Award were President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina, the chairperson of the Chinese company Huawei, Sun Yafang, and United States Oscar-winning actress and human rights advocate Geena Davis.

The award was presented at a ceremony in Geneva, and ties in with the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, which is observed on 17 May, and the theme for which this year is ‘Women and Girls in ICT.’

Organized by the UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the chosen theme is aimed at extending digital opportunities by providing avenues for advancement to professional women at the highest echelons of decision-making, and by encouraging young women to seek new careers within the sector.