On 1 January, António Guterres took over as the ninth Secretary-General of the United Nations. After taking office he issued a statement appealing for peace and asking that 2017 be a year for peace.
John Ging, Operations Director of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs told the Security Council that the evacuation operation from eastern Aleppo, Syria, ended late last night, with more than 35,000 people evacuated, including 20,000 people since resolution 2328 (2016) was passed earlier this week.
The United Nations Headquarters Board of Inquiry report said the 19 September attack on the United Nations/Syrian Arab Red Crescent humanitarian convoy could have been carried out only by aircraft of the international Coalition Forces or the Russian Federation and the Syrian Arab Air Force, and that Coalition involvement was highly unlikely.
Evacuations escorted by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) resumed today from eastern Aleppo, with United Nations teams at the Ramouseh Government checkpoint. ICRC estimates that more than 25,000 people were evacuated from the besieged areas from 15 to 20 December.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned today that countries in the Horn of Africa are likely to see a rise in hunger and further decline of local livelihoods in the coming months, as farming families struggle with the knock-on effects of multiple droughts that hit the region this year.
This morning the Security Council adopted a resolution expressing alarm over the continued deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Aleppo and the large-scale need for urgent evacuations and aid. The United Nations is on the ground monitoring and helping displaced people leaving the city’s remaining besieged areas.
Secretary-General-designate, António Guterres appointed Amina J. Mohammed of Nigeria as Deputy Secretary-General and Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti of Brazil as Chef de Cabinet. Kyung-wha Kang of the Republic of Korea was also appointed to the newly created position of Special Adviser on Policy.
The United Nations was deeply concerned by reports of fighting in Aleppo today, despite the announcement of a ceasefire agreement last night. The High Commissioner for Human Rights said any evacuation of the civilians must be carried out in compliance with international law.
The Deputy Secretary-General spoke today at the Security Council meeting on the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, noting that in 2014, a Commission of Inquiry concluded that crimes against humanity have been committed there — and rightly called for accountability.
The United Nations is concerned about civilians in Aleppo as fighting continues in the entire city. According to local partners, more than 40,000 people have left besieged areas for Kudish-held Sheikh Magsoud, among other areas. The United Nations has called urgently for a pause in the fighting.