HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC, SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
TUESDAY, 28 JULY 2015
RISE IN FOREIGN TERRORIST FIGHTERS IS A MANIFESTATION OF SPREAD OF VIOLENT EXTREMISM, WARNS SECRETARY-GENERAL
- In a video message to the Special Meeting of the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee on foreign terrorist fighters today, the Secretary-General said that the rise in the number of foreign terrorist fighters is a manifestation of the growing spread of violent extremism, which demands urgent international attention.
- The meeting, hosted by the Government of Spain, is expected to produce a set of strategies and techniques to guide Member States in their efforts to address such threats.
- The Secretary-General has stressed that although security measures and sometimes even military action may be necessary, our response must always be based on human rights and the rule of law. He added that counter-terrorism efforts that violate fundamental rights betray the values they seek to defend and can further fuel extremism.
SECRETARY-GENERAL DISCUSSES GLOBAL AGENDA, GUYANA-VENEZUELA BORDER ISSUE WITH VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT
- The Secretary-General today met with President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela and congratulated the Venezuelan Government on its contributions to the global agenda, particularly as a member of the Security Council.
- He also took note of President Maduro’s views regarding the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy and reiterated his assurances of the readiness of the UN Secretariat to discuss the way forward with both Governments.
SYRIA: U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF BRIEFS SECURITY COUNCIL
- The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Stephen O’Brien, briefed the Security Council on the situation in Syria earlier today. He said that the past month was yet another one with grim statistics about the suffering of the Syrians and a situation marked by the complete failure of the protection of civilians.
- He added that 12.2 million Syrians are in need of humanitarian assistance today and that intense fighting across the country has also created a surge in displacements.
- Mr. O’Brien said that obstacles from all sides continue to hinder the delivery of humanitarian aid and added that 77 humanitarian workers have been killed since the start of the conflict. He said that he hopes his visit to Damascus next month will provide an opportunity to constructively engage with the Government to address some of the significant access challenges that seriously impede humanitarian operations.
- Mr. O’Brien intends to speak to reporters at the Security Council stakeout once consultations on Syria have concluded.
- On 29 July, the Secretary-General and his Special Envoy on Syria, Staffan de Mistura, will brief the Security Council on Syria and speak to the media following the briefing.
SECURITY COUNCIL RENEWS MANDATE OF U.N. MISSION IN SOMALIA
- Earlier today, the Security Council adopted a resolution renewing the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) until the end of March 2016.
- The resolution also calls on the African Union (AU) to maintain the deployment of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) until the end of May 2016.
U.N. CONCERNED OVER IMPOSITION OF DEATH PENALTY IN LIBYA
- The Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) today expressed concern over the verdicts and sentences handed down today in Tripoli in the trial of former Gaddhafi officials, including the imposition of the death penalty against a number of them.
- The Human Rights Office said that although it is crucial to ensure accountability for serious human rights violations, the administration of justice needs to be done with scrupulous adherence to international fair trial standards and with full respect for the rights of the defendants. The Office stressed that the UN opposes the use of the death penalty in all circumstances.
- The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) continues to emphasize the importance of introducing legal reforms to enhance human rights and rule of law standards. In a statement issued today, it said that it will review the verdict before completing its full assessment of the trial.
LARGEST SINGLE ATTACK SINCE START OF YEMEN CONFLICT KILLS AT LEAST 55 CIVILIANS, WARNS U.N. AGENCY
- The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that the largest single attack since the escalation of the conflict in March has killed at least 55 civilians in Al Mukha District in the Taizz Governorate. The number is likely to increase as more bodies are recovered from the rubble, where an unknown number of people have been trapped for more than 36 hours since the attacks.
- The airstrikes hit a residential complex of the Al Mukha Power Plant on 24 July. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), nearly 20,000 internally displaced people were residing in Al Mukha District, some of whom were in or were staying close to the destroyed complex.
- The Director of the Taizz Health Office reported that local hospitals were overwhelmed by the number of casualties. Roughly 100 injured people were taken to hospitals in Al Hudaydah Governorate, about 184 kilometres away.
- Medical emergency kits have been dispatched to local hospitals and the mobilization of mobile health clinics is planned.
IRAQ: U.N. RIGHTS OFFICE STRESSES NEED FOR PROTECTION OF CIVILIANS ATTEMPTING TO FLEE DA’ESH CONTROLLED AREAS
- The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has received today reports that suggest a violent clampdown on people who are attempting to flee Da’esh-controlled areas in Iraq, particularly through the Hamrin mountain chain in northeast Iraq.
- An increasing number of people have been attempting to escape, and at least four families, including children and elderly people, reportedly died earlier this month after attempting the journey without a guide and with very few supplies.
- OHCHR reiterated that all parties must ensure that civilians are protected, that they have unhindered access to medical facilities and humanitarian assistance, and that they are able to leave areas affected by violence safely and with dignity.
- The World Food Programme (WFP) is assisting Iraqi families in returning to their homes in Garma in Anbar province, providing more than 925 people with food parcels to help them as they rebuild their shattered lives.
SHORTAGE IN VACCINES AGAINST MENINGITIS INCREASES RISK IN AFRICAN COUNTRIES
- UN agencies and international partners have warned of an acute shortage of meningitis C-containing vaccines which is severely limiting people’s access to medication in African countries.
- UN agencies and their partners have called on vaccine manufacturers to step up meningitis C-containing vaccine production by 5 million doses before the 2016 meningitis season starts in January.
ON WORLD HEPATITIS DAY, U.N. FOCUSES ON NEED FOR PREVENTION
- Today is World Hepatitis Day and the World Health Organization (WHO) has said that infections caused by the five distinct hepatitis viruses result in approximately 1.45 million deaths each year.
- Hepatitis B and C together alone cause approximately 80 per cent of all liver cancer deaths and kill close to 1.4 million people every year.
- Stressing on this year’s theme, prevent hepatitis, act now, WHO says that infection through all routes of transmission can be prevented through proven and effective interventions. It calls on everyone to be aware of hepatitis and to learn how they can protect themselves from being infected.