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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

TUESDAY, 19 AUGUST 2014

 

ON WORLD HUMANITARIAN DAY, U.N. HONOURS AID WORKERS

  • To mark World Humanitarian Day, the Secretary-General participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the UN Secretariat Lobby earlier today to honour aid workers killed in the line of duty.
  • This afternoon, he will deliver remarks at a high-level event at the Economic and Social Council Chamber organized by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). 
  • World Humanitarian Day marks the anniversary of the United Nations Headquarters bombing in Baghdad in 2003 when 22 people lost their lives, including the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello. The Day also pays tribute to those who survived the attack and continued to work on humanitarian causes.
  • The Secretary-General’s current Special Representative for Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, said that Iraqis are now counting on the support of humanitarian workers more than ever as the violence and displacement remains widespread. He called on the Government of Iraq and the humanitarian community to step up their efforts to alleviate the suffering and ensure the protection of people in need. 
  • Briefing the Security Council on the protection of humanitarian workers, Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said that the consequences of the crimes against aid workers are not only felt by humanitarian workers and their families, but also by the millions of people who cannot be reached when assistance is sabotaged by violence.
  • According to OCHA, new figures published today show that 2013 has set a new record for violence against aid groups. There was a 66 per cent increase in the number of victims from 2012.
  • In 2013, 155 aid workers were killed and another 171 were seriously wounded. More than 80 aid workers were killed in Afghanistan alone, the country with the highest number of attacks that year. So far this year, nearly 80 aid workers have been killed.
  • Pierre Krahenbuhl, who heads the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), said that following the recent conflict in Gaza, the area needs nothing less than a “new deal”: recovery and reconstruction. On the occasion of World Humanitarian Day, he said we must put politics aside and focus on the human impact, on the utmost urgency, of delivering a new deal for all those affected by the Gaza conflict.

U.N. AGENCIES INCREASE AID TO DISPLACED PEOPLE IN IRAQ

  • In response to the deteriorating situation in Iraq, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is launching one its largest aid pushes aimed at helping close to half a million people who have been forced to flee their homes in recent months. 
  • Barring last-minute delays, an air, road and sea operation is expected to begin tomorrow with a four-day airlift from Aqaba in Jordan to Erbil. This would be followed by road convoys from Turkey and Jordan, and sea and land shipments from Dubai via Iran over the next 10 days. The shipments are expected to deliver shelter and housing supplies, tents, kitchen sets and plastic sheets.
  • The World Food Programme (WFP) says it has been able to scale up food assistance to hundreds of thousands of displaced Iraqis in recent weeks thanks to the recent generous contribution from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
  • WFP received nearly $149 million of the recent $500 million donation made in July. The funding has helped WFP provide desperately needed food to people who fled the conflict since mid-June, including Christian and Muslim families and most recently the Yezidi people. 

NUMBER OF EBOLA CASES IN WEST AFRICA INCREASES TO 2,240 – WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION

  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of cases in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, has reached 2,240 and a total of 1,229 deaths were also registered.
  • WHO is working with the World Food Programme (WFP) to ensure that people in the quarantine zone receive regular food aid and other non-medical supplies. Food has been delivered to hospitalized patients and people under quarantine who are not able to leave their homes to purchase food.
  • Governments have set up quarantine zones in areas of high transmission including severely-affected cities such as Gueckedou in Guinea, Kenema and Kailahun in Sierra Leone and Foya in Liberia.
  • The United Nations System Coordinator for Ebola, Dr. David Nabarro, will brief the press at 4 p.m. today.

SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS NEW MEMBER OF COMMISSIONER OF INQUIRY FOR CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

  • The Secretary-General has announced the third member of the Central African Republic (CAR) Commission of Inquiry, which will investigate events since January 1st 2013, as voted on by the Security Council.
  • Philip Alston of Australia has been appointed to succeed Mr. Jorge Castañeda, who stepped down for personal reasons earlier this year.
  • Later today, the Security Council will meet on CAR. The Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSCA) in CAR, Babacar Gaye, will brief Council Members.

U.N. MISSION IN SOUTH SUDAN CONDEMNS LIVE FIRE EXERCISE IN BENTIU

  • The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) condemned today a live fire exercise in the vicinity of its camp in Bentiu.
  • Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) soldiers based nearby fired in the air for 30 minutes in celebration of war veterans’ day. As a result, one child was injured in the Mission’s Protection of Civilian area and a total of nine bullets penetrated the Mission’s accommodations.
  • The Mission calls once again on national, state, local authorities and forces to protect all civilians, to ensure that the inviolability of United Nations premises is protected, and to take effective measures to prevent the recurrence of such incidences. 

U.N. POLITICAL CHIEF TO TRAVEL TO UKRAINE

  • Later today, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, will be travelling to Ukraine.
  • In Kiev, he is expected to hold meetings with senior government officials, United Nations colleagues and international partners in pursuit of the good offices of the Secretary-General.