HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY ERI KANEKO,
ASSOCIATE SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
FRIDAY, 17 APRIL 2015
SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE CEASEFIRE IN YEMEN
· The Secretary-General spoke at the National Press Club last night on the many crises that the United Nations faces. He called for an immediate ceasefire in Yemen by all the parties. He said that it is time to support corridors for lifesaving aid and a passage to real peace.
· The Secretary-General also made a special plea on behalf of Palestinians in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus, saying that they are caught between the military machine of the Syrian Government and the brutality of extremist groups, notably Da’esh.
· The Secretary-General also announced that he will visit the Vatican later this month and meet with His Holiness Pope Francis to discuss common concerns, including the encyclical on the environment that he plans to issue in the months ahead. The transcript of his remarks is online.
YEMEN: U.N. LAUNCHES HUMANITARIAN FLASH APPEAL FOR $274 MILLION
· In Amman, Jordan today, UN agencies and humanitarian partners launched a flash appeal asking for $274 million to meet the life-saving and protection needs of an estimated 7.5 million people affected by the escalating conflict in Yemen.
· The Humanitarian Coordinator for the country Johannes Van Der Klaauw stressed that ordinary families are struggling to access food, water, health care and fuel for their survival.
· The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that airstrikes are now affecting 18 of Yemen’s 22 Governorates. Hospital, schools, airports and mosques have been damaged and there are serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.
· According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 760 people have died and nearly 3,000 have been wounded from 19 March to 14 April. At least 150,000 people have been displaced. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) warns this figure could rise significantly if violence continues.
· An estimated 12 million people are now food insecure and food prices have risen by more than 40 percent in some locations. The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says that 160,000 children are in need of urgent therapeutic treatment for malnutrition. Lack of fuel and electricity has triggered a breakdown in basic water and sanitation services.
· The appeal is expected to help aid organizations to provide medical supplies, safe drinking water, food assistance, emergency shelter and other essential support for the next three months.
· OCHA adds that access to people in need remains severely constrained by insecurity and logistical challenges, including difficulties in bringing emergency supplies and aid workers into Yemen.
$30 MILLION NEEDED IMMEDIATELY FOR YARMOUK CAMP
· The UN Relief and Works Agency or UNRWA is seeking an immediate injection of $30 million to provide life-sustaining assistance to an estimated 18,000 civilians from Yarmouk, including 3,500 children.
· This emergency call for funds forms part of the UNRWA Syria Crisis Appeal, which provides critical humanitarian support to 480,000 Palestine refugees throughout Syria and to those displaced to Lebanon and Jordan.
· Over the past days, UNRWA has significantly expanded its response in areas neighbouring Yarmouk, where civilians from Yarmouk have sought shelter. Yesterday, UNRWA was able to hold a fourth distribution mission to Yalda, an area the Agency previously had not had presence. It adds that despite intermittent distributions of humanitarian aid, the situation in Yarmouk is one of extraordinary misery.
UKRAINE: BAN KI-MOON CONCERNED BY RECENT KILLINGS OF PROMINENT FIGURES
· The Secretary-General is seriously concerned by reports of recent killings of prominent figures in Ukraine, including the reported gunning down of Oleg Kalashnikov and Oles Buzyna.
· The Secretary-General takes note of President Poroshenko's call for a swift investigation into both killings, and urges that all other such crimes be urgently investigated. This will be critical in order to ensure the rule of law and the need to bring the perpetrators to justice.
HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICE INCREASINGLY WORRIED BY DIRE SITUATION IN EASTERN UKRAINE
· The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights today said that it is increasingly worried that the dire human rights situation in areas of eastern Ukraine is likely to deteriorate further due to breaches in the ceasefire.
· There are reports of intensified fighting, especially in the vicinity of the Donetsk airport and near the village of Shyrokine in the Donetsk region, where heavy weapons, including mortars, artillery and tanks are reportedly extensively used.
· The Office said that since April 2014 until 14 April (that’s this Tuesday), at least 6,116 people – both military personnel and civilians – have been killed and 15,474 wounded.
· The Office said that the actual number of casualties could be considerably higher. Hundreds of people remain missing and hundreds of bodies are still pending recovery and/or identification.
· Civilians continue to suffer seriously as a result of the protracted conflict.
The Office said that the protection of civilians must be the utmost priority, and that those committing violating human rights and international humanitarian law must be held accountable.
· It said that the killings in Kyiv of a former parliamentarian, Oleh Kalashnikov, and of two journalists, Oles Buzyna and Serhiy Sukhobok, are also very disturbing and must result in a swift, independent and credible investigation shedding light on these crimes and ensuring justice and accountability for those responsible.
AT WORLD BANK AND I.M.F. SPRING MEETINGS, SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS LAST MILE AGAINST EBOLA MAY BE THE MOST DIFFICULT
· The Secretary-General attended today in Washington, D.C. events at the spring meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund.
· In the morning, the Secretary-General and the World Bank and International Monetary Fund’s heads heard from the Presidents of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone about the efforts to deal with the Ebola outbreak in those countries.
· In the international response to Ebola, the Secretary-General said, we have seen multilateralism at its best. As a result, he said, we have seen a significant decline in new Ebola cases. The Secretary-General said that our Marathon effort has been a success, but the last mile may be the most difficult.
· He later told reporters that we must focus on reaching zero Ebola cases and staying there. He said that this is now the toughest stage of the response.
· He also met with President Koroma of Sierra Leone, and they discussed the need to reach zero cases and then focusing on recovery.
IRAQ: MORE THAN 25,500 PEOPLE FLED MILITARY OPERATIONS IN RAMADI DISTRICT
· Aid agencies and local authorities report that an estimated 25,500 people have fled central Ramadi District in Iraq, because of military operations launched on 8 April. The families have reportedly fled to places including Ramadi, Khaldiya, Habaniyah and Baghdad.
· The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP) and partners have provided initial emergency aid, including food, water, mattresses and hygiene items to recently displaced families.
· Additional assistance will be provided in the coming days. Medical NGOs have also mobilized to provide mobile health clinics in Baghdad and its surrounding areas.
HEAD OF U.N. MISSION IN D. R. CONGO CONDEMNS NEW ATTACK ON CIVILIANS IN NORTH KIVU
· From the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Head of the UN Mission in the country, Martin Kobler, condemned today the murderous attack on civilians in Matiba, in the North Kivu province.
· He said he was deeply shocked by the killings and that it was absolutely necessary that the Congolese Army and MONUSCO resume their cooperation.
· The attack is suspected to be an assault from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).
SOUTH AFRICA: U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY SENDS ASSESSMENT TEAM TO DURBAN AFTER WAVE OF XENOPHOBIC ATTACKS
· The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) on Friday welcomed government efforts to contain a wave of xenophobia in South Africa but said it was extremely concerned about the attacks in the past three weeks that have killed six people and displaced more than 5,000 foreigners.
· Those uprooted include refugees and asylum-seekers.
· A UNHCR team has been sent to the coastal city of Durban to assess the situation and identify where the organization can support government and civil society partners in their response.
· The displaced are grouped in four tented shelters established by the local Disaster Management Centre.
· South Africa currently hosts some 65,000 refugees and 295,000 asylum-seekers.
NEW FUNDS AIMS TO UNLOCK $1 BILLION FOR CHILDREN NUTRITION
· A new independent fund was launched yesterday in Washington, the Power of Nutrition, backed by leading organisations from private philanthropy and international development, including the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
· It aims to unlock one billion dollars to tackle child undernutrition in some of the world’s poorest countries.
SERBIA BECOMES 74th MEMBER STATE TO PAY ITS FULL BUDGET CONTRIBUTION
· Serbia has paid its dues becoming the 74th Member-State to pay its contribution in full.