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Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE ACTIVITIES OF THE U.N. SYSTEM

THURSDAY, 27 AUGUST 2015

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO VISIT CHINA TO DISCUSS U.N. 70TH ANNIVERSARY, FORTHCOMING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT SUMMIT

  • The Secretary-General will travel to the People’s Republic of China from 2 to 6 September 2015. He has been invited by President Xi Jinping to attend the commemorative event in Beijing, marking the 70th Anniversary of the end of the Second World War.    
  • While in Beijing, the Secretary-General is scheduled to meet with President Xi; Premier of the State Council of China Li Keqiang; Vice Premier Liu Yandong; and Minister for Foreign Affairs Wang Yi.
  • The Secretary-General is expected to discuss issues of mutual interest, including the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, climate change and the forthcoming UN Sustainable Development Summit.

U.N. RELIEF CHIEF TELLS SECURITY COUNCIL OF NEED FOR UNIMPEDED HUMANITARIAN ACCESS TO REACH SYRIANS IN NEED

  • The UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien, today told a Security Council meeting on Syria that more than a quarter of a million people have been killed, 7.6 million people displaced inside the country and more than four million people have fled the country.
  • We may all be living on borrowed time, he said.
  • Mr. O’Brien noted that over the past month, violence has continued to escalate across the country, and that indiscriminate and targeted attacks by all parties to the conflict have resulted in loss of life, destruction of infrastructure and access to basic services have been denied to hundreds of thousands of Syrians.
  • He said that despite the increasingly challenging environment, millions of people have continued to receive aid, but that more could be reached should unimpeded access be allowed. He expressed particular concern over the severely limited access to 4.6 million people living in hard-to-reach and besieged areas.
  • Mr. O’Brien, who recently visited Syria, said that while in the country, he discussed with senior Government representatives the need to strengthen protection of civilians and the overall humanitarian response.

SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES SIGNATURE BY PRESIDENT KIIR OF AGREEMENT IN SOUTH SUDAN

  • The Secretary-General welcomed yesterday the signature by President Salva Kiir of the Agreement on the resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan. He said that this is a critical and necessary step towards ending the 20 month-long conflict that has devastated South Sudan and subjected its people to unspeakable suffering.
  • The Secretary-General commended the IGAD-led mediation for its tireless efforts to bring the peace talks to a successful conclusion. He added that he was heartened by the unity of purpose that regional leaders have displayed in seeking an end to this tragic conflict. Their continued positive engagement remains essential to the achievement of lasting peace in South Sudan, he said.
  • The Secretary-General also stressed that now is the time to ensure that this agreement translates into an end to the violence, hardship and horrific human rights violations witnessed throughout this conflict.  The United Nations stands ready to support the Parties in the implementation of this Agreement, in close cooperation with IGAD, the AU and international partners.  The Secretary-General urged the Parties to work in good faith to implement its provisions, beginning with a permanent cease-fire and the granting of unhindered freedom of movement to UNMISS and to humanitarian actors working to reach people in need of urgent assistance. 
  • The Secretary-General recognised that the road ahead will be difficult.  He said that he looked forward to the participation of South Sudan's regional and international partners in the High-Level meeting he intends to convene in the margins of the upcoming General Assembly to ensure sustained support for the restoration of peace and security for the afflicted people of South Sudan.

NEW U.N. MISSION CHIEF IN THE CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC SETS OUT HIS PRIORITIES

  • The new Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Mission in the Central African Republic, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, reiterated yesterday the support of the United Nations to the population of CAR and called on the country’s political, economic and social leaders to intensify their commitment.
  • In his first press conference as Head of MINUSCA, Mr. Onanga-Anyanga said the priorities of MINUSCA remained to protect civilians, restore State authority and support the political transition, through democratic elections.
  • He stressed that the first challenge was to accompany the Central African population towards sustainable peace through reconciliation and a restored social cohesion.
  • Mr. Onanga-Anyanga said that these priorities required that the civilian and military personnel of MINUSCA be on their best behaviour, in line with the standards and the values that make the United Nations a respectable and respected organization.
  • He also reiterated the zero tolerance policy of the United Nations in cases of sexual exploitation and abuse.

NEW ROUND OF U.N.-FACILITATED LIBYA PEACE TALKS COMMENCE IN MOROCCO

  • A new round of UN-facilitated political dialogue on Libya started in Skhirat, Morocco, today.
  • According to the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), the discussions will focus on expediting the dialogue process with a view to finalising the Libyan Political Agreement, including reaching agreement on a Government of National Accord.
  • The mission noted that although the Libyan General National Congress will not be attending this round of talks due to the resignation of two of its members, it has reassured UNSMIL that it remains committed to the dialogue process and will participate in the next session.
  • The Special Representative for the Secretary-General, Bernardino León, reiterated that the onus is on Libya’s leaders to set aside their differences, and put the interest of their country to make a final push towards peace.

CHAD: AID COMMUNITY NEEDS TO SCALE UP HUMANITARIAN SUPPORT

  • The Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel, Toby Lanzer, completed a four-day visit to Chad today to assess the humanitarian impact of the crisis in the Lake Chad Basin.
  • Mr. Lanzer noted that Chad is the seventh largest refugee-hosting country in the world and said that it is time for the aid community to scale up its support for humanitarian action, especially for people in the Lake Chad region.
  • In the past weeks, the worsening security situation in the Lake Chad region has forced over 41,000 people to flee from their homes on islands and relocate to safer areas inland. Humanitarian teams are on the ground helping to respond but the volatile security situation and population movements make the response challenging.
  • Mr. Lanzer stressed that communities witnessed unspeakable atrocities and violence. Many fled without anything but the clothes on their backs, with no access to sufficient potable water or food, no shelter and high vulnerability to diseases.
  • This year’s humanitarian appeal for Chad calls for $572 million to address the most pressing needs. It is the highest of the nine Sahel countries. However, only 35 per cent of its financial requirements have so far been met.

U.N. SPECIAL ENVOY FOR GLOBAL EDUCATION, GORDON BROWN, URGES DONORS TO REMEMBER MISSING CHIBOK GIRLS IN NIGERIA

  • The United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown, today urged all donors to remember the girls of Chibok in Nigeria and to support the Safe Schools Initiative Multi-Donor Trust Fund.
  • Today is the 500-day anniversary of the Chibok Kidnapping in Nigeria, when 276 young girls were abducted in Chibok Nigeria from a Government Secondary School.
  • Gordon Brown stressed that 219 still remain missing and have been at risk of trafficking, forced marriage and other forms of exploitation.  He said these were some of Nigeria’s most courageous young women who wanted nothing more than an education to build a better future for themselves.
  • On this anniversary, he announced that the Safe Schools Initiative partnership, catalyzed by the Global Business Coalition for Education with the Nigerian government, and supported by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and multiple donor agencies from across the world, has now supported nearly 50,000 young girls and boys, displaced by the violence of Boko Haram, receive an education.  

YEMEN DEATH TOLL TOPS 4,500 – WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION

  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 4,513 people have been killed and 23,509 injured in Yemen as of 15 August. This means that 28 people were killed and nearly 150 injured on average every day since March.
  • During the conflict, 27 hospitals and 11 health centres in 11 governorates have been directly damaged by hostilities, according to WHO.

HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR FOR AFGHANISTAN MEETS FAMILIES DISCPLACED BY FIGHTING IN NORTHERN PROVINCES

  • The Secretary-General Deputy Special Representative and Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan, Mark Bowden, visited the country’s north-western province of Faryab where people have been affected by fighting in recent months.
  • In June and July alone, more than 1,000 families have been displaced by fighting, which has also affected other northern provinces.
  • An estimated 5,300 families have been displaced in the region, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
  • The Humanitarian Coordinator saw for himself the needs of the displaced communities in Faryab, saying that the UN has increased its humanitarian assistance in the area to help families meet their most urgent needs.

GUATEMALA: AS GENOCIDE TRIAL RESUMES, UNITED NATIONS CALLS TO PREVENT FURTHER DELAYS

  • Two United Nations experts on genocide prevention and transitional justice today called on the Guatemalan judicial authorities to prevent any further attempt at interference, obstruction of justice or manipulation of the law, while resuming the genocide trial against the former de facto Head of State and Chief of Intelligence of Guatemala.
  • The appeal by UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, and the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, Pablo de Greiff, comes as a Guatemalan court decided to restart, in January 2016, the trial against José Efraín Ríos Montt and José Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez.
  • The two men are accused of genocide and crimes against humanity for human rights violations committed against the Mayan Ixil population between 1982 and 1983.
  • Reports estimate that 200.000 persons were killed or disappeared during the internal armed conflict in Guatemala (1960-1996).
  • The United Nations experts say that the delaying strategies, abusive use of judicial recourses and alleged threats and pressure against judges and prosecutors working on the case that have characterized the genocide trial, reveal significant flaws in the administration of justice in Guatemala.
  • While some progress has been achieved in other judicial cases, many cases of alleged gross human rights violations and serious violations of international humanitarian law from the conflict period are still pending.

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION UNVEILS GLOBAL PLAN TO ACCELERATE PROGRESS AGAINST NEGLECTED TROPICAL DISEASES

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) today unveiled a global plan to better integrate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services with four other public health interventions to accelerate progress in eliminating and eradicating neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) by 2020.
  • Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director for Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health, stressed that millions suffer from devastating WASH-related neglected tropical diseases – such as soil-transmitted helminthiasis, guinea-worm disease, trachoma and schistosomiasis – and that solutions exist against them.
  • Targeted water and sanitation interventions are expected to bolster ongoing efforts in tackling 16 out of the 17 neglected tropical diseases which affect more than 1 billion of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable populations.
  • Besides advocating for basic water, sanitation and hygiene, the World Health Organization uses four other key interventions in overcoming this global burden: preventive chemotherapy, innovative and intensified disease management, vector control and veterinary public health services.