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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

THURSDAY, 14 AUGUST 2014

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL TRAVELS TO CHINA TO ATTEND SUMMER YOUTH OLYMPIC GAMES

  • The Secretary-General is departing New York today for a visit to Nanjing, China. On 16 August, he will attend the opening ceremony of the 2014 Summer Youth Olympic Games.
  • While in Nanjing, the Secretary-General will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach.
  • The Secretary-General is expected to hold a discussion with young people on their key role in promoting development. He will also take part in a live discussion on social media about the potential of young people, the power of sport and the importance of addressing climate change.

SECRETARY-GENERAL CONTINUES TO EXPRESS DEEP CONCERN ABOUT PERSECUTION OF MINORITIES IN IRAQ

  • The Secretary-General has repeatedly expressed his deep concern about the persecution of Yezidis, Christians and other religious minorities by the so-called Islamic State forces in Iraq. 
  • The Secretary-General has reiterated that any attack on the civilian population or segments of the civilian population because of their ethnic background, religious beliefs or faith may constitute a crime against humanity and those responsible must be held accountable.
  • The Deputy Secretary-General today met with Bishop Sarhad Jammo and Bishop Francis of Iraq's Chaldean American Community, leading a delegation of Iraqi Christian representatives and community leaders from throughout the United States.
  • The Deputy Secretary-General recognized the serious plight of religious minorities in Iraq at the hands of so-called Islamic State forces. He expressed his deep compassion for the victims and affected communities.
  • He assured the delegation that the United Nations is now taking urgent humanitarian action. He also underlined the need for global solidarity and support to address the needs of these afflicted communities.
  • The Security Council issued a press statement yesterday saying that its members are encouraged by the Iraqi President Fuad Masum’s decision to nominate a new Prime Minister-designate.
  • The Council said that the nomination is an important step towards the formation of an inclusive Government that represents all segments of the Iraqi population and that contributes to finding a viable and sustainable solution to the country’s current challenges.
  • Council members have urged the Prime Minister-designate, Haider al-Abadi, to work swiftly to form an inclusive Government. They have also urged all political parties and their supporters to remain calm and respect the political process.
  • The United Nations has declared a ‘level 3 emergency’ for Iraq – the highest global humanitarian priority for the UN and partner agencies.
  • The Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Nickolay Mladenov, said that the declaration will facilitate the mobilization of additional resources in goods, funds and assets to ensure a more effective response to the humanitarian needs of communities impacted by forced displacement.
  • Since mid-June, UN agencies have scaled up assistance and reached tens of thousands of people with food, water, shelter, health care and medical supplies.
  • The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is working with other humanitarian partners to step up efforts to meet the growing needs of people arriving from Sinjar Mountain. Tens of thousands of people are reportedly still trapped on the mountain, many with deteriorating health conditions.
  • The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says that tens of thousands of mainly Yezidis people have now crossed the Semalka/ Peshkabour border, after transiting through Syria, into the Dahuk Governorate over the last 10 days. An estimated 15,000 Yezidis are seeking refugee inside Syria where UNHCR is working with local NGOs and UN partners to provide aid.
  • UNHCR has also begun transporting newly arriving Iraqi refugees from the border area to the Newroz camp near Al Qamishli, where it is providing tents, blankets, hygiene and other essential supplies.

U.N. SENDS MORE HUMANITARIAN AID TO SYRIA

  • The United Nations has sent four shipments of humanitarian aid to Syria from neighbouring countries under the terms of Security Council Resolution 2165.
  • This amounted to almost fifty truckloads, including food for almost 5,000 households; household items for more than 14,000 displaced families, hygiene and sanitation supplies for more than 15,000 households and medical supplies for more than 22,000 households, as well as various other items. The aid was delivered to several locations in the governorates of Aleppo, Idleb, Lattakia and Dar'a.
  • All the shipments arrived safely at their destinations without major impediments and the distribution of relief supplies by international and local implementation partners began immediately.
  • The distribution of supplies from the first shipment from Turkey began after Eid on 28 July and is almost completed in one location, while distribution in a second location should be completed towards the end of the month or the beginning of September.
  • The distribution of supplies from the first shipment from Jordan began on 7 August and has been completed in two out of four locations.

AID ORGANIZATIONS WELCOME EXTENSION OF CEASEFIRE IN GAZA

  • Humanitarian agencies have welcomed the extension of the ceasefire in Gaza, which will enable access for humanitarian workers to carry out life-saving activities, to complete search and rescue operations in several areas, and to repair critical water, sanitation networks and electricity infrastructure.
  • The removal of unexploded ordnance in built-up areas will continue, as will repair work to schools. Safe and secure transportation inside the Gaza Strip during the ceasefire will enhance the delivery of urgently-needed relief supplies.
  • The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has started to distribute maternity packages to mothers who have given birth during the current hostilities, and who are registered as displaced people in its shelters across the Gaza Strip.
  • A total of 344 babies, 152 girls and 192 boys, have been born in UNRWA schools designated as shelters. The maternity packages contain essential items to help mothers care for their new-borns while they are sheltering in temporary accommodation.

U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF TO TRAVEL TO IRAN TO DISCUSS REGIONAL COOPERATION

  • UN Humanitarian Chief Valerie Amos will visit Iran from 17 to 18 August 2014. She is expected to meet senior officials in Tehran.
  • Ms. Amos’ meetings will focus on expanding regional cooperation on humanitarian assistance and strengthening the partnership between Iran and the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

W.H.O. REPORTS NEARLY 2,000 CASES EBOLA IN WEST AFRICA

  • Between 10 and 11 August 2014, a total of 128 new cases of Ebola, as well as 56 deaths were reported from Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this brings the total to 1,975 cases and 1,069 deaths since the beginning of the outbreak.
  • Regarding the response to the crisis, WHO indicates that between 94 per cent and 98 per cent of contacts of Ebola cases are identified and followed-up in Guinea, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
  • In Liberia, efforts are underway to strengthen contact tracing but help is needed in this area, and the Liberian Army has placed a third province under quarantine as part of the ongoing effort to stop transmission of the virus.

U.N.A.M.I.D. CONCERNED ABOUT SAFETY OF DISPLACED PEOPLE IN DARFUR

  • The African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) is concerned about the impact to civilians of security raids, recently conducted by the Government of Sudan, on camps for internally displaced people in Nyala and surrounding localities in South Darfur.
  • The Mission has taken measures to mitigate the impact of such operations on the civilian population of these camps.
  • UNAMID monitored the trials of those arrested during an operation on 5 August at the Al Salam camp. Most of those arrested have been released, but the Mission has been engaging relevant state authorities on the conditions of those still being detained.

SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS NEW ENVOY FOR LIBYA

  • The Secretary-General has appointed Bernardino León of Spain as his Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).
  • He will succeed Tarek Mitri of Lebanon on 1 September 2014. The Secretary-General is grateful to Mr. Mitri for his dedication and leadership of UNSMIL.
  • Mr. León’s most recently served as European Union Special Representative for Libya and European Union Special Representative for the Southern Mediterranean.

SECERTARY-GENERAL AND MALALA TO DISCUSS MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS

  • On 18 August, the Secretary-General, and education advocate and co-founder of the Malala Fund, Malala Yousafzai, will hold an interactive conversation about the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to mark the 500 Day Countdown of the MDGs.  
  • They will talk and take questions from young people in the audience about how we can all play our part to achieve the MDGs, from boosting education, eliminating poverty and hunger, and empowering women and girls to protecting the environment, improving maternal health and combating infectious diseases.
  • The discussion will be moderated by Amy Robach, news anchor with ABC’s Good Morning America with opening remarks by John Ashe, President of the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

***Kieran Dwyer from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) was the guest at the noon briefing. He called in from the Dahuk Governorate to discuss the humanitarian situation in northern Iraq***