Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message on the joint response plan for the Rohingya refugee crisis, in Geneva today:
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is increasingly alarmed at the plight of thousands of Central African refugees who have fled to southern Chad since late 2017. The influx is the biggest since 2014, and is overwhelming the ability of humanitarian agencies to respond.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees issued protection guidance encouraging States to ensure that Venezuelans seeking asylum had access to territory and refugee procedures. Given the situation in Venezuela, the High Commissioner said it was crucial that people were not deported or forcibly returned.
Humanitarian operations in Iraq are contracting in 2018 versus last year, when 6.2 million people were targeted with assistance. The 2018 humanitarian response plan, launched on 6 March, seeks $569 million to assist 3.4 million highly vulnerable people struggling in the aftermath of the conflict with Da’esh.
The Food and Agriculture Organization Food Price Index for February found that rising world prices for staple grains and dairy products more than offset lower prices for vegetable oils, leading global food commodity prices up 1.1 per cent. FAO also lowered projections for global wheat harvests this year.
The United Nations takes note of the recent decision by the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn, to resign, to “allow further political reforms to take place in the country aimed at widening democratic space”.
More than five months since the start of the violence that forced 688,000 Rohingya to flee Myanmar into Bangladesh, a dangerous new crisis loomed, while restrictions on humanitarian access to the conflict areas posed a serious concern, the Security Council heard today, as it was briefed on the most recent developments in the region.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have agreed with the United Nations on the modalities to transfer, by the end of March, $930 million in support of the 2018 Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan, according to Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said today that ongoing violence in the Central African Republic has pushed forced displacement to the highest levels since the start of the crisis in 2013. Data as of the end of December show that 688,700 people were displaced internally.
The United Nations in Myanmar is following with concern the reports of violent clashes between the police and protesters in Rakhine State. The United Nations Office urges respect for the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, and calls for the security forces and demonstrators to act with restraint.
The United Nations refugee agency evacuated 74 refugees, mostly children and women, from Libya to Niger. In the Central African Republic, voluntary repatriation of Sudanese refugees has begun; since Tuesday, 230 refugees have arrived in Sudan. Agency-chartered flights will bring some 1,500 refugees home by the end of 2017.
Some 350,000 children remain in need of support across the Caribbean three months after hurricanes Irma and Maria barrelled through the region, UNICEF reported today. More than 35 per cent of children in Dominica - particularly those in shelters - are yet to be enrolled in education activities, and many children and families in Antigua and Barbuda remain unable to return home.
Describing “the most heartbreaking and horrific” accounts of sexual atrocities against girls and women in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, the Special Representative of the Secretary‑General for Sexual Violence in Conflict told the Security Council today that every woman or girl she had spoken with had either endured brutal assault or had witnessed sexual violence, including seeing women literally being raped to death.
At the annual Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) Pledging Conference, the Secretary-General called for a $1 billion CERF to help bolster contingency financing, noting that, since 2005, humanitarian needs have increased from $5.2 billion to over $24 billion today, with more people than ever on the brink of disaster.
The Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Yemen briefed the Security Council, warning of alarming levels of violence affecting civilians and emphasizing an acute need for a negotiated settlement and inclusive peace process at a time of sharply shifting political dynamics following the killing of the former President.
The Secretary-General is meeting for the first time with his High-level Advisory Board on Mediation, established to help his efforts to build stronger partnerships in preventing and resolving crises. The Secretary-General emphasized in his remarks the experience and knowledge of Board members and the critical role they could play in preventive diplomacy.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that the number of Rohingya refugees having fled Myanmar for Bangladesh since 25 August has now reached 621,000. As of this morning, the Rohingya Refugee Crisis Response Plan has received nearly $140 million, or 32 per cent of requirements. Donors had pledged $360 million for the October response.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights report having noted an increase in murders and threats against human rights defenders and community leaders in the country’s Pacific Coast region. In most cases, the victims are from indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities.
Today is World Diabetes Day, and the World Health Organization (WHO) is highlighting women’s right to a healthy future. The agency says there are some 422 million people living with diabetes, 205 million of whom are women. More than half are in the Western Pacific and South-east Asia regions.
The United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia and the Episcopal Conference of Colombia issued a joint press release highlighting the first month of ceasefire monitoring by the Government of Colombia and the National Liberation Army (ELN). The Mission has established 33 local or regional verification teams that are now operational.
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