Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world.

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WORK OF THE U.N. SYSTEM
FROM THE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESPERSON OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

THURSDAY, 26 DECEMBER 2013

[There are no noon briefings provided by the Office of the Spokesperson this week. Attached below are recent developments in the UN system.]

U.N. ENVOY IN SOUTH SUDAN CALLS ON POLITICAL LEADERS TO GIVE PEACE A CHANCE

  • The Special Representative of the Secretary-General in South Sudan, Hilde Johnson, called on political leaders of South Sudan on Thursday to order their forces to lay down their arms and to give peace a chance and to do so urgently.
  • In a press conference via video-link, Ms. Johnson also said that the UN Mission fully supports the intense and ongoing efforts of South Sudan’s neighbors to seek a peaceful resolution to the current crisis.
  • The Special Representative said she has been in regular contact with President Salva Kiir and with the other political leaders of South Sudan on this very critical process to bring an end to the fighting and to the violence.
  • Ms. Johnson also said that the UN Mission is in South Sudan to stay and to protect civilians. She said that the Mission is maintaining and increasing its foot print across the country. She said that there are more than 50,000 civilians in various UN compounds.
  • The Special Representative welcomed the Security Council’s resolution to bolster the ranks of peacekeepers and UN police by 5,500 and dispatch more military helicopters and assets to enhance the Mission’s capability to protect civilians.

U.N. SAYS AID AGENCIES NEED 166 MILLION US DOLLARS TO ADDRESS IMMEDIATE NEEDS OF PEOPLE IN SOUTH SUDAN

  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that aid organizations have appealed for $166 million to address the needs of communities affected by the ongoing fighting and displacement in South Sudan.
  • The appeal is a part of the overall requirement of $1.1 billion needed to help all communities in need in 2014 but is urgently needed now to prioritize emergency aid efforts.
  • The resources will be used to provide clean water and sanitation, healthcare, shelter, and deliver food and livelihood assistance.
  • It will also ensure that the rights of vulnerable people, including survivors of violence, are better protected. The money will be used to manage sites for displaced people and transport aid workers and supplies to strategic locations where communities are most at risk.
  • The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan, Toby Lanzer said that it is crucial that aid agencies have the resources they need to save lives in the coming months. He said that there are at least 90,000 people who have been displaced in the past ten days. This includes 58,000 people who are sheltering in UN peacekeeping bases.

D.R. CONGO: U.N. MISSION SUPPORTS CONGOLESE ARMED FORCES TO RETAKE POSITIONS IN KAMANGO AFTER ATTACK BY REBELS

  • The UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) said today that in the early morning of 25 December, elements of the Ugandan Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) attacked three Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC) positions in Kamango, in the Beni area (North Kivu), temporarily taking control over these positions.
  • During the attacks, the ADF reportedly burnt a number of houses in Kamango and abducted some 50 persons.
  • The FARDC responded with the support of the UN Mission and managed to regain control over all its positions in Kamango by the end of the day. According to initial reports, six FARDC troops were killed and seven wounded during the operations, while the number of ADF rebels killed is yet to be confirmed.
  • There were also civilian casualties reported. At least seven civilians lost their lives and eight were wounded. Up to 150,000 civilians were displaced, while some 2,000 reportedly crossed the border seeking refuge in Uganda. 
  • In keeping with its mandate, MONUSCO supported the FARDC during the operation against the ADF, including through the use of its attack helicopter, the provision of logistical support and medical evacuations.
  • The UN Mission is reinforcing its positions by deploying one company of its Force Intervention Brigade in the area. The Mission said that it is determined to fulfil its mandate to neutralise all armed groups elements that spread fear, death and destruction among civilians.

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: HUMANITARIAN ORGANIZATIONS CONCERNED ABOUT SAFETY OF CIVILIANS IN AND AROUND BANGUI

  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that humanitarian organizations are concerned about the protection and safety of civilians in and around the Central African Republic’s capital, Bangui, where the security situation remains tense.
  • Over 43 per cent of the population needs humanitarian assistance.
  • Despite the insecurity and funding constraints, UN agencies and humanitarian partners continue to reach people with critical aid supplies. Since the outbreak of violence in December, the World Food Programme (WFP) has reached over 196,000 people with food assistance.
  • Health partners have increased stocks of emergency medicine and kits, including anti-malaria treatment. UNICEF has distributed nutrition supplies to over 18,000 people in Bangui.
  • The UN Refugee Agency and partners have provided tents, sleeping mats, covers and mosquito nets to thousands of families in Bangui and Bossangoa.
  • A humanitarian assessment team left for Bouar and Bozoum in north-western Central African Republic earlier this week to look at the humanitarian condition and needs in the affected areas.
  • The funding gap, however, is affecting aid efforts throughout the country. So far, aid organizations have only received 53 per cent of the required funding of $195 million for 2013.

THAILAND: U.N. RIGHTS OFFICE CONCERNED OVER CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST JOURNALISTS

  • The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said it is seriously concerned that charges of criminal defamation have been brought against two journalists based in Phuket, Thailand. The Office said that criminal prosecution for defamation has a chilling effect on freedom of the press, and international standards are clear that imprisonment is never an appropriate penalty for defamation.
  • The Office reported that editor Alan Morison and reporter Chutima Sidasathian have also been charged for breaching the Computer Crimes Act for publishing the online article that cites an investigative report on the smuggling of Rohingya asylum seekers. The charges were filed by the Royal Thai Navy.
  • The Office has urged the Government of Thailand to drop the charges against the journalists and to ensure the freedom of the press in the country.