South Sudan; US; Haiti; Iran; and more

South Sudan: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today voiced deep concern over continuing tensions along the border between Sudan and South Sudan, as well as the current crisis over oil, saying that the situation represented a worrying deterioration in the relationship between the two countries.

Meanwhile, the top United Nations envoy in South Sudan stressed today that the best way to protect civilians in the strife-torn state of Jonglei is through military deterrence and urged the Government to deploy more troops and police in the area to patrol buffer zones between rival communities and defuse tensions.

: United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay is voicing “deep disappointment” that the U.S. government has failed to close its detention facility at Guantanamo Bay (Cuba), as President Barack Obama pledged on taking office three years ago. Pillay, in a statement Monday, noted the 10th anniversary of the prison opening and the third anniversary of Obama’s inauguration promise to close the facility within 12 months.  She also said that prisoners remain “arbitrarily detained indefinitely,” and called the detentions “a clear breach of international law.”

The United Nations announced today that it is investigating two cases of sexual exploitation of children allegedly committed by its police personnel in Haiti. The first case involves UN Police officers based in the capital, Port-au-Prince, while the second case involves one or more members of the Formed Police Unit (FPU) in Gonaives, UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky told reporters in New York.

“The United Nations is outraged by these allegations and takes its responsibility to deal with them extremely seriously,” stated Mr. Nesirky. He added that the police contributing countries concerned have been informed. However, unlike cases involving UN military personnel, investigations into allegations involving UN police personnel fall under the responsibility of the UN. For this reason, a UN team was dispatched to Haiti on Saturday to investigate the allegations.

Experts from the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will visit Iran next week in an effort to resolve outstanding issues related to the country’s nuclear programme, it was announced today. In a statement issued today in Vienna, where the Agency is based, Director General Yukiya Amano announced the upcoming visit, which will take place from 29 to 31 January. The team will be led by the Deputy Director General for Safeguards, Herman Nackaerts, and will include the Assistant Director General for Policy, Rafael Grossi.

Somalia: Somalia government officials and UN sources confirmed that United Nations Political Office for Somalia [UNPOS] is due to re-open officially in the Somali capital, Mogadishu on Tuesday. Officials told RBC Radio that a highly organized event will be held in Mogadishu to mark re-starting what the government called ‘UN’s direct mission’ in Somalia. The office of UNPOS will be opened at Halane compound, the largest command centre of African Union troops [AMISOM] in Mogadishu.

Students everywhere will have the opportunity to learn more about the Holocaust thanks to a new online educational resource that debuted at United Nations Headquarters today and showcases video testimonies of survivors of one of the world’s greatest tragedies. IWitness – produced by the Shoah Foundation Institute at the University of Southern California – provides teachers and students access to the video testimonies of more than 1,000 Holocaust eyewitnesses from the Institute’s archive of nearly 52,000 testimonies.