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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

FRIDAY, 27 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.]

SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS A CAR BOMBING THAT KILLED A FORMER MINISTER IN BEIRUT, LEBANON

  • In a statement issued on Friday, the Secretary-General condemns in the strongest terms the car bombing in Beirut today that killed at least six people, including former cabinet minister Mohamed Chatah, and injured scores more.  He conveys his condolences to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy and full recovery to those injured.  The Secretary-General notes that, as Finance Minister in the government of Prime Minister Saad Hariri and as foreign policy advisor to Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, Dr. Chatah had served as a tireless voice for tolerance, diversity, and moderation.  In the Secretary-General's view, his death is a tremendous loss for Lebanon and a reminder of the need to end impunity. 
  • The Secretary-General is deeply troubled by the recurring acts of terrorism in Lebanon which pose a severe threat to the country’s stability and national cohesion.  He welcomes the efforts of the Lebanese authorities and security forces to address the security challenges and to protect the country from the impact of the crisis in neighbouring Syria.  He urges all Lebanese parties to act with restraint at this time and to support the institutions of the state, and particularly the security forces, as they seek to prevent further acts of terrorism.
  • The Secretary-General underlines the need for the perpetrators of this crime to be brought to justice. He reiterates the determination of the international community to support Lebanon’s security and stability.

U.N. MISSION IN SOUTH SUDAN SAYS THAT 63,000 CIVILIANS ARE SHELTERING IN U.N. BASES

  • The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said on Friday that approximately 63,000 civilians are now sheltering in UN bases around the country, including 25,000 in two Juba bases; 15,000 in Bor, 12,000 in Bentiu and 8,000 in Malakal.
  • UN peacekeepers continue to protect civilians in these locations, while humanitarian actors provide relief.
  • The UN Mission says that the security situation in Upper Nile and Unity States is tense, with reports of the presence of anti-Government and Government forces. Government forces are believed to have consolidated their positions in and around Bor, as well as at the airport. Anti-government forces remain in the vicinity and the situation remains tense.
  • The Department of Peacekeeping Operations said that it is working with other peacekeeping missions in the region, as well as troop and police contributing countries, in order to quickly mobilise personnel and equipment to be moved into South Sudan to strengthen the Mission’s protection of civilian capacity.
  • And the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Friday that at least 121,600 people have been displaced by the crisis in South Sudan since mid-December. Humanitarian organizations say the figure is expected to be higher.
  • Aid workers report that the priority needs of the affected communities include food, health care, shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene services.
  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that aid agencies are responding to the needs and have delivered food to thousands of people in Juba, Bentiu, Malakal and Awerial. They have not been able to access the relief warehouse in Bor, because of insecurity. Reports indicate that it may have been looted.
  • Mobile clinics operating in UN facilities in Juba are carrying out 350 consultations per day, and measles and polio vaccination campaigns are scheduled to begin before the New Year.
  • Aid organisations have distributed mosquito nets, mattresses, tents and soap to displaced families and have set up 160 latrines at displacement sites in Juba.

U.N. CONDEMNS DEADLY ATTACK ON CAMP HURRIYA IN IRAQ

  • The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, condemned on Friday a deadly attack on Baghdad International Airport Zone last night during which a number of rockets landed on Camp Hurriya. Mr. Mladenov called on the Government of Iraq to protect the Camp’s residents.
  • The UN Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) said that a number of residents were reported killed and injured. Of those, at least four were seriously injured and were taken to hospitals in Baghdad by the Iraqi authorities.
  • The Special Representative said that the responsibility for protecting the residents of the Camp falls on the Government of Iraq as agreed in the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed between the Government and the United Nations in December 2011. He also said that this latest incident must be fully investigated by the authorities and those responsible brought to justice.
  • The Secretary-General is following the situation closely and shares his Special Representative’s views on this subject.
  • And the UN Refugee Agency reiterated the need to find solutions for the Camp's residents. It appeals to countries to act urgently on 1,400 cases from Camp Hurriya that have already been submitted for relocation.
  • Since 2011, the Refugee Agency, together with UNAMI, has been engaged in an effort to find relocation opportunities outside Iraq for some 3,200 residents of the Camp. So far, the international community has managed to secure the relocation to third countries of 311 residents.

HUMANITARIAN ORGANIZATIONS APPEAL FOR $152 MILLION TO HELP PEOPLE IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Friday that humanitarian actors in the Central African Republic urgently need US$152 million to help save lives and ensure the protection of 1.2 million people in the country during the next three months.
  • Following the inter-communal violence in December, an estimated 370,000 people have been forced to flee from their homes into makeshift camps in the capital Bangui alone. Another 400,000 people are internally displaced across the country.
  • The resources requested will allow aid organizations to provide a priority response in multiple sectors to the people displaced by the escalating inter-communal armed conflict as well as to host communities in Bangui and nine districts in western Central African Republic.
  • Despite the growing insecurity in the country, humanitarian organizations have reinforced their presence and continue to provide assistance to vulnerable people.

PHILIPPINES: 4 MILLION STILL DISPLACED DUE TO TYPHOON HAIYAN

  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that 4 million people are still displaced seven weeks after Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines. The Office has reported that rain is causing significant health, water and sanitation concerns.
  • Humanitarian partners are finalizing a cholera contingency plan, while prepositioning cholera prevention and treatment kits in some of the worst affected areas.
  • The Office has said that classes are expected to resume on 6 January and the humanitarian community is working with the Government of Philippines to relocate displaced families who have been using schools as evacuation centres.
  • The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and partners are distributing back to school kits and have launched a return to school campaign encouraging children to resume schooling.
  • Other organizations such as the World Food Programme (WFP), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) continue to help meet people's immediate needs, as well as providing longer-term support through the distribution of tools to rebuild homes and rehabilitate farmland.   

U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICE CALLS ON PRESIDENT OF UGANDA TO REFRAIN FROM SIGNING ANTI-HOMOSEXUALITY BILL INTO LAW

  • The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said on Friday that it is deeply concerned by the Anti-Homosexuality Bill passed by the Ugandan Parliament on Friday, 20 December and called on the President of Uganda to refrain from signing this bill into law.
  • The Office of the High Commissioner said that if the bill becomes law, it would impose sentences of life imprisonment for consensual, same-sex relationships as well as prison sentences on those who “promote” homosexuality. It also said that this law would have a detrimental effect not only on the fundamental rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) members of Ugandan society but also on the work of human rights defenders and efforts to address HIV/AIDS in the country.
  • The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said that the Government has a legal obligation to prevent discrimination and cannot withhold basic rights from certain individuals because the majority disapproves of them.
  • OHCHR said that Uganda should also repeal colonial-era anachronistic provisions of the Penal Code that criminalise consensual same-sex relationships and that urgent steps must be taken to ensure effective protection of LGBT individuals from violence and discrimination.