HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC, SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
THURSDAY, 3 SEPTEMBER 2015
IN BEIJING, SECRETARY-GENERAL COMMENDS CHINESE LEADER FOR COUNTRY’S COMMITMENT TO MULTILATERALISM
- The Secretary-General today attended commemorative events in Beijing to mark the 70th anniversary of the Second World War.
- At a meeting with President Xi Jinping earlier today, the Secretary-General commended China’s strong commitment to multilateralism and its contributions, including to peacekeeping operations, Ebola response and mediation efforts, notably in South Sudan, Iran and the Korean Peninsula.
- The Secretary-General also met with Premier Li Keqiang, Vice Premier Liu Yandong and Foreign Minister Wang Yi. He thanked China for its efforts to address climate change, both through its actions and policies, and its instrumental role in helping to reach the sustainable development agreement.
- The Secretary-General called for continued support from China for building momentum ahead of the Paris Climate Change Conference and the implementation of the new sustainable development agenda. The Secretary-General also highlighted China’s commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment, as we mark 20 years since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.
U.N.I.C.E.F. HEAD CALLS IMAGES OF CHILDREN’S BODIES ‘HEARTBREAKING,’ URGES STEPPED UP CHILD PROTECTION
- The Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Anthony Lake, today called images of children’s bodies washing up on the shores of Europe “heartbreaking.”
- He said that it is not enough for the world to be shocked by these images. Shock must be matched by action.
- Mr. Lake noted that the plight of these children is neither by their choice nor within their control, adding that they have a right to protection.
- UNICEF urges that measures be taken, including protecting children by providing essential services, deploying adequate numbers of trained child welfare experts and preventing the abuse and exploitation of migrant and refugee children.
- Mr. Lake emphasized that as debates on policies proceed, we must never lose sight of the deeply human nature of this crisis.
U.N.-BACKED VERIFICATION SCHEME TO INCREASE COMMERCIAL SHIPMENTS TO YEMEN
- At the beginning of August 2015, in response to a request from the Government of Yemen, the Secretary-General agreed that the United Nations would set up a verification and inspection mechanism to increase the flow of commercial goods into Yemen by sea. The United Nations, the Yemeni Government and the Coalition have now reached agreement on the mechanism. The UN Verification and Inspection Mission (UNVIM) is now being established in accordance with Security Council Resolution 2216.
- UNVIM will apply only to commercial imports. Shipments from UN humanitarian organizations, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Organization for Migration will not be subject to verification.
- A steering committee which includes the UN, the Government of Yemen, and the coalition will be established to oversee the work of the Mechanism, which will be established by UNOPS. Funding is open to all Member States.
- Meanwhile, aid agencies are providing medical supplies to hospitals treating people wounded by yesterday’s mosque bombing in Sana’a.
- According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 32 people were killed and about 100 wounded in the attack.
U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF URGES INVESTIGATION INTO ‘APPALLING’ ALLEGATION OF SEXUAL ABUSE IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
- In a statement issued from Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, the High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein announced that UN staff in the country learned on August 30 that a girl was allegedly sexually abused around a year ago by a member of the French military force, known as Sangaris.
- The girl, who is believed to have been in her mid to late teens at the time of the alleged abuse, gave birth to a child in April.
- The High Commissioner said this was the latest in a series of appalling allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by foreign troops in the Central African Republic.
- Although this particular case did not involve United Nations peacekeepers, there have been a number of other cases in CAR – and elsewhere – which have, he noted. He added that governments of troop-contributing countries have an obligation to investigate all these cases in a timely manner.
- The High Commissioner said that the French authorities have been informed of the latest allegation.
- UNICEF, through its partners, provides psycho-social support and legal assistance for the girl and her family.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: INDEPENDENT PANEL LOOKING INTO ALLEGED SEXUAL MISCONDUCT BY NON-U.N. TROOPS SEEKS EXTENSION
- The Central African Republic Independent Review Panel, appointed by the Secretary-General to look into the UN response into alleged sexual misconduct by non-UN command foreign military forces, has asked the Secretary-General for an extension of its deadline.
- Given the volume of work remaining, the Panel foresees that it will be in a position to submit its final report and recommendations in November.
U.N., INTERNATIONAL ENVOYS VOICE SUPPORT FOR D.R. CONGO AHEAD OF POLLS
- The Team of International Envoys for the Great Lakes of Africa emphasized yesterday its support to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in its path towards elections, which are critical to the country’s continued development and security.
- These elections, with the support of the international community, should be transparent, credible and inclusive, the Envoys said.
SOUTH SUDAN: U.N. MISSION SPEAKS OUT AGAINST ROCKET FIRING NEAR MALAKAL, CALLS IT VIOLATION OF RECENT PEACE PACT
- In response to questions on the situation in South Sudan, the Spokesman said that the UN Mission there (UNMISS) is reporting that two attack helicopters were firing rockets in the direction of the west bank of the River Nile in Malakal in Upper Nile State yesterday. Heavy explosions, including mortar shells, as well as heavy artillery and small arms fire were also heard coming from Malakal towards areas located on the west bank. UNMISS also reports instances of firing in Malakal earlier today.
- UNMISS condemns these violations of the Compromise Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict that came into force on 29 August and call on the parties to take all necessary steps to meet their obligations.
- The Mission continues to protect civilians in Malakal, including at its Protection of Civilians site and through regular patrols in the town and airport.
FUNDING SHORTAGE FORCING INTERNATIONAL AID AGENCIES TO SCALE BACK OPERATIONS IN SUDAN’S DARFUR – U.N. RELIEF WING
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today that many of the international NGOs working in Sudan’s Darfur region are scaling down their operations or facing closure because of lack of funds.
- Several organizations have ended vital lifesaving operations this year, mostly in the health sector, or have handed services over to the government and local communities which often lack the resources and capacity to deliver services.
- The global appeal for Sudan is only 39 per cent funded in 2015, and OCHA says humanitarian organizations urgently need more resources to help millions of people in need.
CONFLICT PREVENING 13 MILLION CHILDREN IN MIDDLE EAST, NORTH AFRICA FROM ATTENDING SCHOOL
- Surging conflict and political upheaval across the Middle East and North Africa are preventing more than 13 million children from going to school, according to a new report called “Education under Fire” by UNICEF which looks at the impact of violence on schoolchildren and education systems in nine countries that have been directly or indirectly impacted by violence.
- In Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya alone, nearly 9,000 schools are out of use because they have been damaged, destroyed, are being used to shelter displaced civilians or have been taken over by parties to the conflict.
- In Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, more than 700,000 Syrian refugee children are unable to attend school because the overburdened national education infrastructure cannot cope with the extra student load.
U.N. AGENCY SETS UP HEALTH POINT IN SYRIA’S YALDA
- The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA) said today it established a health point in Yalda, Syria, treating 240 patients over the course of the day. This included 10 suspected cases of typhoid and three suspected cases of scabies.
- UNRWA also provided 200,000 water purification tablets to the community, generously contributed by UNICEF.
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION DECLARES LIBERIA FREE OF EBOLA TRANSMISSION
- Today the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Liberia free of Ebola virus transmission in the human population, as 42 days have passed since the second negative result of the last lab-confirmed case of Ebola.
- Liberia now enters a 90-day period of heightened surveillance.
- The transmission had been declared over previously in May, but that the disease had re-emerged.
WITHOUT RAPID AID FOR MYANMAR’S FARMER, FOOD AVAILABILITY TO BE CURTAILED, U.N. AGENCY WARNS
- The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today cautioned that without swift assistance for Myanmar’s farmers, the availability of food will be severely limited.
- Heavy storms, floods and landslides across nearly all of the country’s provinces have dealt a major blow to the country’s agriculture.
- Myanmar has experienced a month of extreme weather, worsened by the arrival of Cyclone Komen at the end of July which affected more than 1.6 million people and inundated more than 1.4 million acres of farmland.
- With the water now receding, the Food and Agriculture Organization stressed the need to act quickly to help rural communities get back on their feet.
SECRETARY-GENERAL NAMES WORLD BANK OFFICIAL AS HEAD OF ‘SUSTAINABLE ENERGY FOR ALL’ INITIATIVE
- The Secretary-General today appointed Ms. Rachel Kyte of the United Kingdom as his Special Representative for the Sustainable Energy for All initiative. She succeeds Mr. Kandeh Yumkella.
- The Secretary-General noted Ms. Kyte’s extensive leadership experience in sustainable development and also her roles as the World Bank Group Vice President and Special Envoy for Climate Change.
- As co-chairs of the Sustainable Energy for All Advisory Board, the Secretary-General and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim believe that this announcement marks a new chapter in the Sustainable Energy for All initiative.
- As you know, the Sustainable Energy for All initiative will be based permanently in Vienna, thanks to the support of the Austrian Government.