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Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,

SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

FRIDAY, 31 JULY 2015

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL SPEAKS OUT AGAINST ‘HORRIFIC’ MURDER OF PALESTINIAN CHILD IN WEST BANK

  • In a statement, the Secretary-General condemns today's murder of a Palestinian child in the West Bank and calls for the perpetrators of this terrorist act to be promptly brought to justice. He expresses his deepest condolences to the family of Ali Dawabsha, who were themselves severely injured in the arson attack. Continued failures to effectively address impunity for repeated acts of settler violence have led to another horrific incident involving the death of an innocent life. This must end.
  • The absence of a political process and Israel's illegal settlement policy, as well as the harsh and unnecessary practice of demolishing Palestinian houses, have given rise to violent extremism on both sides. This presents a further threat to the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people and to the security of the people of Israel. The Secretary-General urges both sides to take bold steps to return to the path of peace. The Secretary-General reiterates his call on all parties to ensure that tensions do not escalate further, leading to more loss of life.
  • The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, said he was outraged by the attack perpetrated against the Dawabsha family. The Special Coordinator said that this murder was carried out for political objectives and added that we must not permit such acts to allow hate and violence to bring more personal tragedies and to bury any prospect of peace. This reinforces the need for an immediate resolution of the conflict and an end to the occupation.
  • Mr. Mladenov also joined the strong condemnations issued by Israeli and Palestinian Government officials and political leaders. And he called for a full and prompt investigation to bring the perpetrators of this terrorist crime to justice.
  • Mr. Mladenov went this morning to visit the family in the hospital where they are being treated and Mr. Mladenov also met with the President of Israeli, Reuben Rivlin, who was also at the hospital. Tomorrow morning he will meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and will visit Douma village, where the house was burned down.

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO MEET U.S. PRESIDENT IN WASHINGTON

  • The Secretary-General will travel to Washington D.C. to meet with US President Barack Obama on Tuesday, 4 August. They are expected to discuss various issues, including climate change, the post-2015 development agenda as well as the situations in Syria and Yemen, among many others. 
  • The Secretary General will back in New York that same afternoon.

U.N. EBOLA MISSION WRAPS UP WORK

  • In a statement, the Secretary-General said as we continue to actively strive to end the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, we have reached an important milestone in the global Ebola response.
  • The UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) will close on 31 July. The Mission has achieved its core objective of scaling up the response on the ground and establishing unity of purpose among responders in support of the nationally led efforts.
  • As of 1 August, the oversight of the UN system’s Ebola emergency response will fully be led by the World Health Organization (WHO), under the direct authority of the WHO Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan. UN agencies, funds and programmes, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), national and international partners have undertaken the necessary steps, to enable this seamless transition.
  • The Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Ebola, Dr. David Nabarro, will continue to provide strategic guidance for the response. And the full text of that statement is available online.
  • The World Health Organization today welcomed results from an interim analysis of a vaccine trial show the possibility of a highly effective vaccine against the Ebola virus.
  • This comes after an independent body of international experts called the Data and Safety Monitoring Board reviewed the preliminary results of the analyses from the Guinea Phase III efficacy vaccine trial. However, the board has advised that the trial should continue.
  • According to World Health Organization, while the vaccine shows 100 per cent efficacy in people, more conclusive evidence is needed on its capacity to protect populations through what is called “herd immunity.”
  • The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says that it is supporting a drive by the Liberian Government to register more than 70,000 children, whose births were not recorded during the Ebola crisis, leaving them vulnerable to marginalization and exclusion.
  • UNICEF is helping to revamp the registration systems, and will assist with training, logistics, and outreach efforts prior to a planned nationwide campaign later this year.

YEMEN: HUMANITARIAN DELIVERIES CONTINUING WHERE POSSIBLE

  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that aid deliveries continue throughout Yemen, where possible.
  • The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and Society Humanitarian Solidarity distributed basic household supplies to families staying in schools in Aden's Al Mansura district.
  • Medicines and medical supplies were sent to all eight districts of Aden, with twenty-four health facilities and four mobile teams using the medical supplies and medications. 
  • Three mobile teams covering at least 300 internally displaced people and host community members provided essential service packages for women and children in Mansouria district and Hudayda's Lohaia district.

SOMALIA: WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME AIDING THOUSANDS OF RETURNEES FROM YEMEN

  • In response to a question on people who have fled the conflict in Yemen and are now in Somalia, the Spokesman said that according to UNHCR, more than 23,000 people, 90 per cent of them whom are Somalis, have arrived in Somalia. The World Food Programme (WFP) is providing cooked meals to all returnees at the transit centres as well as nutrition support to children under five, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers to prevent malnutrition. WFP is also issuing electronic transfer cards with the value of $100 to provide to vulnerable Somalis leaving the transit centres and returning to their regions of origin. WFP is providing similar assistance to the Yemeni nationals who are settled in Gardo, Puntland.
  • As for a distinction between Somalia and Somaliland, the UN system is guided by humanitarian principles of neutrality and impartiality. We are responding to the needs of vulnerable people in both regions regardless of politics.

MYANMAR: U.N. PROVIDING ASSISTANCE IN WAKE OF FLOODS, U.N. SPECIAL ENVOY ANGELINA JOLIE MEETS DISPLACED PEOPLE IN RAKHINE

  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that Cyclonic Storm Komen has made landfall in Bangladesh and caused heavy rainfall in several areas across Myanmar before it dissipated.
  • The storm was off the northernmost part of Rakhine State for several days, causing flooding, and disrupting transport, electricity and communications. The airport in the state capital Sittwe is still closed. The Government reports that 21 people have died this month as a result of the floods, with 117,000 people severely affected.
  • Aid agencies are assessing initial damage to infrastructure in camps for the displaced around Sittwe. It has not yet been possible to fully access other towns in Rakhine State, but joint assessments with the Government are expected to start tomorrow, weather permitting.
  • The United Nations and international aid agencies are providing assistance in some areas, as requested by the Government.
  • Local authorities, the Government, the military, the Myanmar Red Cross Society and civil society organizations are carrying out rescue operations and providing relief.
  • Meanwhile, Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), yesterday visited Myanmar’s Kachin State, where more than 100,000 people have been displaced since a ceasefire agreement between the Myanmar armed forces and ethnic armed groups broke down in 2011.
  • In the township of Myitkyina, the Special Envoy met with displaced families and heard about challenges, including access to basic services such as health care.

SECRETARY-GENERAL DISCUSSES GUYANA-VENEZUELA BORDER CONTROVERSY WITH GUYANESE LEADER

  • Yesterday afternoon, the Secretary-General spoke over the telephone with the President of Guyana, Mr. David Granger, following their meeting on the margins of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community in Barbados earlier this month.
  • The Secretary-General took note of President Granger’s views regarding the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy. The Secretary-General stated his intent to dispatch UN Secretariat staffers to undertake a mission to both Guyana and Venezuela. He expressed his willingness to further discuss the issue with the Presidents of both countries on the basis of the mission's recommendations.