HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
MONDAY, 27 JULY 2015
SECRETARY-GENERAL STRONGLY CONDEMNS AL SHABAAB ATTACK ON HOTEL IN SOMALI CAPITAL
- In a statement, the Secretary-General condemns in the strongest terms the attack perpetrated by Al Shabaab yesterday on the Al-Jazeera Hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia. The attack resulted in a number of casualties and injuries, including to staff of diplomatic missions of several countries whose missions are based in the hotel. The Secretary-General conveys his deepest condolences to the families of the victims and to their Governments, and wishes the injured a swift recovery.
- The Secretary-General affirms that this egregious attack will not deter the United Nations and international partners from our steadfast commitment to help the people and Government of Somalia realize a peaceful future for their country.
YEMEN: SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES ANNOUNCEMENT OF FIVE-DAY HUMANITARIAN CEASEFIRE BY SAUDI-LED COALITION
- In a statement issued yesterday evening, the Secretary-General welcomed the announcement by the Saudi-led Coalition of a unilateral five-day, renewable humanitarian pause in Yemen, which began overnight on Sunday. He urged the Houthis, the General People’s Congress and all other parties to agree to and maintain the humanitarian pause for the sake of all the Yemeni people and urged all sides to act in good faith throughout the pause. He appealed to all parties to exercise maximum restraint in cases of isolated violations and to avoid any escalation.
- The Secretary-General urges all parties to facilitate the urgent delivery of humanitarian assistance to all parts of Yemen, as well as rapid, safe, and unhindered access for humanitarian actors to reach people in need of humanitarian assistance, including medical assistance.
- Speaking today from Aden, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, Johannes van der Klaauw, said that what he saw in that city was that the intensification of violence and conflict over the past four months have devastated the city and destroyed the lives and livelihoods of the majority of its people.
- The Humanitarian Coordinator repeated his plea to all parties to put an end to the attacks on civilians and to end the destruction of critical infrastructure, vital for supplying essential goods and services to the civilian population.
- Stephen O'Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and the Emergency Relief Coordinator, said today that he hoped the humanitarian pause in Yemen would take hold, to allow civilians respite and humanitarian organizations time and space to provide more people with vital aid, in Aden and across the country.
- He said that we are hearing yet more shocking reports from Yemen on the impact of fighting and destruction on the lives of millions of people, stressing that it is essential now that the humanitarian agencies and partners are able to assess the needs of people and are enabled to bring people vital supplies and services.
BURUNDI: OVERALL ELECTION ENVIRONMENT NOT CONDUCIVE FOR INCLUSIVE, FREE AND CREDIBLE PROCESS, U.N. OBSERVERS FIND
- The UN Electoral Observation Mission (MENUB) in Burundi has given its preliminary statement regarding the conduct of the 21 July presidential elections.
- In its preliminary conclusions, the Mission says that while Election Day was relatively peaceful and conducted adequately, the overall environment was not conducive for an inclusive, free and credible election process.
- It says that Burundians in most places went peacefully to the polls to cast their ballots. It adds that polling activities in the observed polling sites largely followed procedure and that tabulation at the observed municipal and provincial locations was carried out expeditiously albeit in a disorganized manner.
- But the UN Observation Mission also notes the environment of profound mistrust between opposing political camps and that the parties did not reach agreement on a consensual electoral calendar. It says that freedoms of expression, assembly and association, essential conditions for the effective exercise of the right vote, remains severely impaired. Media freedom also remains severely restricted.
SOUTH SUDAN: U.N. RELIEF CHIEF URGES ALL PARTIES TO COMMIT TO PEACE TO HALT HUMANITARIAN CRISIS
- The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien, wrapped up his four-day visit to South Sudan over the weekend and is back in New York. He called on all parties to lay down their arms and commit to sustainable peace to halt the rapidly spiralling humanitarian crisis.
- He said that he was deeply shocked by what he had seen during his visit and said that the senseless cycle of violence had to stop.
- Some 4.6 million people are severely food insecure in South Sudan, with a quarter of a million children at risk from rapidly worsening nutrition.
- Massive displacement continues - over two million people, half of whom are children - have fled their homes. The South Sudan Humanitarian Response Plan for 2015 is currently only 42 per cent funded, leaving a gap of nearly $1 billion.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS GENERAL ASSEMBLY’S ADOPTION OF DEVELOPMENT FINANCING OUTCOME ‘MAJOR STEP’ TOWARDS ENDING POVERTY
- The Secretary-General spoke this morning at the adoption of the outcome of the 3rd International Conference on Financing for Development in the General Assembly Hall. He said that by endorsing the outcome document, the General Assembly will take a major step on the path towards sustainable development and ending extreme poverty in all its forms. Only by staying engaged we will ensure that the commitments we endorse today will lead to tangible progress on the ground, in all countries and for all people, he added, commending Members States for taking this critical step forward.
- Before this meeting, he paid tribute to the late Permanent Representative of Djibouti, Ambassador Roble Olhaye, calling him a passionate champion of Africa and a great believer in the value of the continent’s partnership with the United Nations.
U.N. MIDDLE EAST ENVOY VOICES CONCERN OVER STEPPED UP TENSIONS IN JERUSALEM’S OLD CITY
- The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, said he was concerned by recent incidents and heightened tensions in and around the Holy Sites of the Old City of Jerusalem, and he called upon people on all sides to maintain calm.
- Mr. Mladenov said that provocative actions and language carry the seed of violence and ultimately undermine the ability of worshippers of all faiths to have access to their respective Holy Sites. Respect for the status quo is in the interest of all and is essential for stability.
- The Special Coordinator calls upon all religious and political leaders to prevent extremist elements from abusing the sanctity of Holy Sites and the different religious sentiments of all people.
FUNDING SHORTFALL SHUTS DOWN HEALTH SERVICES IN IRAQ
- The Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, Lise Grande, confirmed today that 184 frontline health services have been suspended because of the paralyzing funding shortfall for humanitarian activities in Iraq. Over 80 per cent of general health programmes have been forced to shut down, affecting one million people.
- Ms. Grande said, “at a time when the people of Iraq need us the most, we are letting them down.” Partners estimate that one million sick people will now not receive help. Over half a million children will not be immunized, spreading the risk of a measles outbreak and the resumption of polio.
- These recent cut-backs come on top of cascading closures. In May, food rations for over one million people were sharply reduced, and nearly 30 per cent of water, sanitation and hygiene programmes have closed due to lack of funding.
- Only 15 per cent of the current humanitarian aid appeal - asking $498 million - has been so far received.
CYPRUS: LEADERS CONTINUING TO MAKE PROGRESS TOWARDS CONCLUDING SETTLEMENT, SAYS U.N. ENVOY
- The Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide, told reporters today that the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot leaders continue to make progress towards their shared vision of a united, federal Cyprus.
- Speaking on behalf of the leaders, Mr. Eide said that the positive and results-oriented climate of the talks continue to foster the progress required towards conclusion of a settlement as soon as possible. He said that today’s meeting focused on issues of property and territory.
- The leaders also underlined their commitment to maintaining the momentum of the process. Their next meetings will be held on 1 and 14 of September.
HALF OF ALL PEOPLE INJECTING DRUGS LIVING WITH HEPATATIS C – U.N. AGENCY
- Ahead of World Hepatitis Day, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reports that an estimated 6.3 million people, or every second person who injects drugs, is living with Hepatitis C.
- UNODC says that efforts against Hepatitis C are closely linked to HIV since both are blood-borne infections that can be transmitted through unsafe injecting practices.
- The head of UNODC, Yury Fedotov, stressed that the dignity of people living with Hepatitis C and HIV must be safeguarded at all times. UNODC, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) recommend the implementation of the nine HIV interventions that can also help prevent the spread of Hepatitis C.