HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
THURSDAY, 2 JULY 2015
SECRETARY-GENERAL SPEAKS OUT AGAINST DEADLY ATTACK ON U.N. CONVOY IN MALI, REITERATES U.N. SUPPORT FOR PEACE PROCESS
- The Secretary-General condemns the attack today against a convoy of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), on the Goundam-Timbuktu axis in the Timbuktu region, which killed six peacekeepers and injured five others. All the killed and injured peacekeepers are from Burkina Faso.
- The Secretary-General reminds all parties that attacks against United Nations peacekeepers constitute a serious violation of international law and urges all those responsible to be brought swiftly to justice.
- These attacks will not alter the determination of the United Nations to support the Malian people and the peace process, including through its assistance to the implementation of the Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali.
- This attack brings the total number of casualties from hostile acts since the beginning of the mission on 25 April 2013 to 42 peacekeepers killed, including ten in 2015 alone, and 166 peacekeepers wounded.
- The Secretary-General commends the brave men and women serving in MINUSMA for their efforts to bring lasting peace to Mali under such difficult conditions.
- The Secretary-General expresses his sincere condolences to the family of the victims and to the Government of Burkina Faso, and he wishes a speedy recovery to the wounded.
- MINUSMA also condemned the attack, and the head of the Mission, Mongi Hamdi, called for the perpetrators of the attack to be brought to justice quickly.
SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES BURUNDI, SECRETARY-GENERAL STRESSES NEED FOR DIFFERENCES TO BE RESOLVED THROUGH DIALOGUE
- The Security Council was briefed this morning in consultations about the situation in Burundi.
- The Secretary-General continues to follow this very closely. He deplores continued reports of violence in Burundi, where at least 6 people were reportedly killed yesterday in Bujumbura.
- He urges Burundians to express their views peacefully and exhorts relevant Burundian authorities to exercise restraint in their management of security incidents.
- These events are a stark reminder of the need for Burundians to solve their differences through constructive dialogue with a view to holding consensual, peaceful and credible elections, including through the able facilitation of the joint international facilitation.
SECRETARY-GENERAL REITERATES CALL FOR IMMEDIATE HALT TO FIGHTING IN YEMEN TO CURB HUMANITARIAN SUFFERING
- In a statement issued last night, the Secretary-General repeated his call for an immediate end to the fighting in Yemen to help stem the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe in the country. He calls on the parties to agree, at the very minimum, on an immediate pause in hostilities until the end of the holy month of Ramadan so that humanitarian aid can be delivered into and across Yemen and reach people who have been cut off from vital supplies for months.
- The Secretary-General emphasizes that the parties to the conflict must adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian law, protecting civilians and enabling humanitarian workers to deliver life-saving assistance.
- The Secretary-General reaffirms the commitment of the United Nations, as expressed through the efforts of his Special Envoy, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, to support Yemen in the search for a political solution, which is the only viable solution to the conflict.
- Mr. Ould Cheikh Ahmed is in Jeddah now to meet with Saudi officials. He is scheduled to travel to Yemen next week.
SOUTH SUDAN: SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS ATTACK ON SITE SHELTERING CIVILIANS IN MALAKAL
- Yesterday evening, we issued a statement in which the Secretary-General condemned the attack yesterday on a UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) protection of civilians site in Malakal by opposition forces. He deplored the killing of one Internally Displaced Person (IDP) and the injury of six others as a result of this attack.
- He also called on former Vice President Riek Machar and Johnson Olony, Commander of the opposition forces, to conduct an immediate investigation into this incident and hold to account those responsible. And he reminded the parties that they must respect the inviolability of UNMISS premises.
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that, according to aid agencies, people in Wau Shilluk town and surrounding areas in Upper Nile State will face dangerous levels of food insecurity unless urgent action is taken to address the food crisis. Nearly 40,000 people are displaced in Wau Shilluk.
- An assessment by partners of some 7,000 children shows a Global Acute Malnutrition rate of 19 per cent, which is above the emergency threshold of 15 per cent.
- Nutrition activities in the area stopped two weeks ago due to armed violence, and medical supplies are running dangerously low.
- Aid agencies are concerned that similar levels of malnutrition may be evident in other areas in Upper Nile and Unity states that are inaccessible due to conflict.
SYRIA CRISIS RESULTING IN GREATER CHILD EXPLOITATION IN LABOUR MARKET, NEW U.N.-BACKED REPORT FINDS
The conflict and humanitarian crisis in Syria are pushing an increasing number of children into exploitation in the labour market, and much more needs to be done to reverse this trend, according to a new report released by Save the Children and UNICEF.
The report shows that inside Syria, children are now contributing to the family income in more than three quarters of surveyed households, In Jordan, close to half of all Syrian refugee children are now the joint or sole family breadwinners in surveyed households, while in some parts of Lebanon, children as young as six years old are reportedly working.
The most vulnerable of all working children are those involved in armed conflict, sexual exploitation and illicit activities, including organised begging and child trafficking.
- The report finds that a spiralling number of children are employed in harmful working conditions, risking serious damage to their health and wellbeing. Three out of four working children surveyed in Jordan’s Za’atari refugee camp have reported health problems at work, according to the report. A further 22 per cent of children casually employed in the agricultural sector in Mafraq and the Jordan Valley have also been injured while working.
SECRETARY-GENERAL KICKS OFF BARBADOS VISIT
- The Secretary-General is in Barbados today to attend the opening of the 36th Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community, which will start this evening in Bridgetown.
- This morning, he held a meeting with the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Barbados, where he discussed climate change, renewal energy initiatives in the country as well as the Financing for Development and Post-2015 Development agendas.
- The Secretary-General also spoke at the opening ceremony of the Caribbean Sustainable Development High-level Dialogue on the partnership between the UN and CARICOM. Speaking to Heads of State and Government from the region, he stressed the need to speak and act in meaningful ways to address the unique needs and vulnerabilities of small island developing states and middle-income countries.
- The Secretary-General attended a UN Women and UNICEF event on ending gender-based violence, where UN Women and the Barbados Attorney General are expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to boost joint efforts to give women greater access to justice.
EBOLA COMEBACK IN LIBERIA SHOWS NEED FOR RIGOROUS TESTING – HEAD OF U.N. RESPONSE MISSION
- The Head of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response, Peter Graaff, said today that the comeback of the disease in Liberia underscored the need for rigorous testing.
- The Government of Liberia announced three new confirmed Ebola cases since Sunday.
- Mr. Graaff stressed the need to maintain active surveillance and commended the swift revival of the Ebola response mechanism led by the Liberian government.
WEST AFRICA HAS ‘UNPRECEDENTED’ OPPORTUNITIES FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH, NEW U.N. REPORT FINDS
- In a new report published today by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and partners, West Africa has unprecedented opportunities for agricultural growth.
- Most of these opportunities will require more effective regional integration, especially as West Africa's population, now 300 million, is expected to grow to 490 million by 2030.
- The subregion is already the most urbanized part of Sub-Saharan Africa and, with an expanding middle class, it is catalysing greater diversity in consumer food demands, providing great opportunities for value addition, job creation, economic integration and diversification, and import substitution.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS SHOOTING ATTACKS BY PALESTINIANS ON ISRAELIS IN WEST BANK
- The Deputy Spokesperson clarified earlier comments made on the West Bank shootings, adding that the Secretary-General condemns the latest shooting attacks by Palestinians on Israelis in the West Bank. He notes with concern the high number of violent incidents over the past two weeks and calls on the Palestinian authorities to condemn them. He also calls on all sides to exercise restraint, maintain calm and promptly bring the perpetrators of the violence to justice.
AHEAD OF WORLD HUMANITARIAN SUMMIT, NEED FOR STRONGER PARTNERSHIPS IN PACIFIC SPOTLIGHTED AT U.N.-BACKED TALKS
- UN-backed talks about the future of humanitarian action in the Pacific have wrapped up with calls for stronger partnerships with vulnerable and crisis affected communities.
- Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Stephen O’Brien said that Pacific Islanders live with the threat of disaster and climate change every day. These communities have a great deal to teach us about effective emergency response and the humanitarian community is keen to learn what it can do better.
- More than 140 delegates met in Auckland, New Zealand, this week for the seventh of eight regional consultations ahead of the first World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in May 2016. Taking part at the meeting – which was co-chaired by New Zealand, Australia and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) – were governments, representatives, aid agencies, the Red Cross, the private sector and others.
- Mr. O’Brien said that we are open to new approaches, partnerships and technologies that could reduce the suffering caused by emergencies in the Pacific and beyond.
MONGOLIA BECOMES 103RD MEMBER STATE TO PAY U.N. FULL DUES
- Mongolia has paid its regular budget dues in full for 2015, making it the 103rd Member State to do so.