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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

MONDAY, 18 AUGUST 2014

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL AND MALALA MARK DEVELOPMENT MILESTONE

  • The Secretary-General today marked 500 days of action until the deadline to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
  • The Secretary-General met on this occasion with Malala Yousafzai and 500 other young people in the Trusteeship Council Chamber in an electrifying hour.
  • The Secretary-General highlighted progress made following the MDGs roadmap, such as global poverty cut in half, more girls in school, more mothers surviving child birth and huge inroads in fighting malaria, tuberculosis and other killer diseases.
  • The Secretary-General said challenges were still daunting and called for accelerated action.
  • The Secretary-General’s full remarks are available online and I would also encourage you to take a look at the webcast and watch a very powerful young lady speak to the crowd.

W.H.O. DENOUNCES THREATS TO HEALTH WORKERS AHEAD OF WORLD HUMANITARIAN DAY

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) said today that authorities in countries affected by Ebola should check people departing at international airports, seaports and major border crossings, and stop any with signs of the virus from travelling. However, it reiterated that there was no need for wider travel or trade restrictions.
  • In a statement issued ahead of World Humanitarian Day, WHO also denounced the threats and harassment of health workers fighting the Ebola outbreak in West African countries and called for their protection.
  • The number of cases continues to grow. It reached 2,127 in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, and a total of 1,145 deaths, according to WHO.
  • The United Nations System Coordinator for Ebola, Dr. David Nabarro, is meeting with the Secretary-General this afternoon and is expected to speak to the press tomorrow.

IRAQ: AID AGENCIES SCALE UP ASSISTANCE IN DAHUK

  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that the United Nations and its partners are scaling up their efforts to address the needs of thousands of displaced people in Dahuk Governorate, Iraq.
  • The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is coordinating with the Kurdistan Regional Government to provide shelter in camps for a minimum of 60,000 people.
  • The World Food Programme (WFP) and its local partner have doubled the number of field kitchens they now operate across Dahuk. So far, WPF has provided 2.5 million meals.
  • The humanitarian situation in Amirli, 200km south of Erbil, is said to be deteriorating quickly. An estimated 15,000 to 20,000 people reportedly remain inside Amirli, primarily Turkoman Shiites. There have been reports of severe food shortages, and the lack of fuel and power has affected the availability of water.
  • The Iraqi authorities have requested the assistance of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) in lifting the siege on Amirli and providing humanitarian relief to the area. The United Nations has been seeking a way to get food to the area but insecurity is affecting access to assess the situation and deliver aid.
  • The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says that aid organizations are working to improve conditions for Iraqi refugees arriving in Syria. Several thousand children are among an estimated 12,000 Iraqi refugees now sheltering at a camp in Syria after crossing the remote border between the two countries.
  • UNICEF says there has been a steady improvement in the conditions but there are still concerns about the risk of waterborne diseases due to poor sanitary conditions, especially in the current extreme heat.
  • UNICEF has delivered more than 3,000 water purification tablets together with other lifesaving supplies at the Nawrouz camp in Syria hosting Iraqi refugees. 

HEAD OF U.N.S.C.O. CALLS FOR DURABLE SOLUTION FOR PEACE IN GAZA

  • Robert Serry, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO), told the Security Council today that the temporary ceasefire between Israel and Gaza has been holding, now on the fifth and last day of its current extension.
  • By the deadline later today – midnight Cairo time, or 5 pm here in New York – he urged the parties to reach an understanding on a durable ceasefire which also addresses the underlying issues affecting Gaza, or make substantive progress towards it. At the very least, he said, we hope that the ceasefire will be extended and the situation remains quiet.
  • Mr. Serry reiterated his conviction that we must not leave Gaza in the condition it was in before this latest escalation.  Otherwise, the restrictions on the Strip – on exit and entry of goods and people – will continue to fuel instability, underdevelopment and conflict, and the next escalation will be just a matter of time. 
  • He also expressed support for today’s announcement by Norway and Egypt to co-host a donor’s conference once a durable ceasefire is in place and once adequate access conditions have been established. Mr. Serry will speak to reporters at the stakeout following today’s Council meeting.
  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has reported that the number of displaced people in Gaza has risen again, with more than 237,600 internally displaced people taking refuge at 81 UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) schools as of yesterday.
  • UNRWA, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Ministry of Social Affairs have reached 150,000 out of a targeted group of 730,000 people with an exceptional food distribution to affected families who are not receiving regular food assistance.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that they have been providing medicines and medical supplies to the Palestinian Ministry of Health to fill critical shortages in hospitals in the Gaza Strip providing health services for a total of 1.8 million people.
  • In recent days, 24 trucks with medical supplies were sent via the Rafah border crossing with the support of the Egyptian Red Crescent to be distributed to all hospitals in the Gaza Strip, benefiting 100,000 patients for a period of two months.

U.N. WELCOMES IMPROVEMENTS TO AUDIT PROCESS IN AFGHANISTAN

  • The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Ján Kubiš, today congratulated the people of Afghanistan on the occasion of the 95th anniversary of the country’s independence.
  • The United Nations also welcomed the updates and refinements made to the ongoing comprehensive audit of the results of the presidential run-off election.
  • The improvements will strengthen the integrity of the process as well as help meet the highest international standard and be consistent with the Afghan constitution and laws.

U.N. MISSION IN LIBYA CONDEMNS LATEST VIOLENCE IN TRIPOLI

  • The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has condemned the grave escalation in the military confrontations in Tripoli and its suburbs. The Mission strongly denounced the shelling of residential neighbourhoods, which has inflicted casualties among civilians, forced them out of their homes and caused damage to property. 
  • UNSMIL deeply regrets that there was no response to the repeated international appeals and its own efforts for an immediate ceasefire.
  • The Mission has called on all parties to work to put an end to the security deterioration, which forebodes serious consequences on the humanitarian level.
  • The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has sent two convoys with humanitarian aid from Tunisia into Libya, the first one since the beginning of the current crisis.
  • Several thousand people recently displaced by on-going fighting in and around Tripoli received urgently needed medical supplies and relief items including blankets and sleeping mats. 

SECRETARY-GENERAL DEEPLY SADDENED BY KILLING OF PEACEKEEPERS IN MALI

  • The Secretary-General is deeply saddened by the death today of two United Nations peacekeepers and the wounding of at least seven others in a suicide attack in Ber (Timbuktu region). 
  • The Secretary-General condemns this and all such criminal acts against United Nations personnel. 
  • Such attacks will not deter the United Nations from its efforts to support the Malian people in their search for peace in their country.
  • He expresses his deepest condolences to the families of the peacekeepers who were killed and wishes a full and speedy recovery to those who were injured in today’s attack, and those who have been injured in two earlier attacks this week.

SOUTH SUDAN: SECURITY SITUATION IN UNITY STATE REMAINS TENSE

  • The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) reports that the situation in Bentiu and Rubkona in Unity State remained tense, following clashes between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and Opposition forces on Friday.
  • Earlier today, the United Nations Mission reported sporadic fighting south of its base in Bentiu. Over the weekend, the Mission also received reports of sporadic firing west of the Rubkona airstrip and near the Bentiu bridge.
  • The Mission also reports that three of its patrols travelling from Bentiu to Rubkona were stopped over the weekend by SPLA troops, who behaved aggressively towards them.
  • UNMISS reiterates its call on all parties to respect the lifesaving work of the UN and ensure unhindered freedom of movement for Mission personnel and all humanitarian workers.