HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC, SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
FRIDAY, 06 MAY 2016
SECRETARY-GENERAL OUTRAGED BY RECENT ATTACK ON MAKESHIFT CAMP IN SYRIA
- In a statement issued today, the Secretary-General expressed outrage by yesterday’s attack on a makeshift camp for displaced persons near the Syrian village of Sarmada in Idlib province. The UN, along with humanitarian partners on the ground, are assessing the needs and mobilising a response for the families who fled the camp out of fear of further attacks.
- The Secretary-General reiterated his call on the Security Council to send a strong message to all warring parties that there will be serious consequences for grave violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.
- Those responsible for yesterday’s seemingly calculated attack against civilians in the camp in Idlib, which could constitute a war crime, must be held accountable. He again urges the Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court.
- The Secretary-General called upon all Member States to take immediate collective and decisive action to bring the tragedy unfolding in Syria to an end.
- Members of the Security Council should build on resolutions 2254 (2015) and 2268 (2016) and follow through on the commitments they made in these resolutions to press the Syrian parties to stop their indiscriminate attacks on civilians.
- The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, said today that the latest reports of civilian deaths and injuries, including bombings of Syrian marketplaces and medical facilities, revealed a “monstrous disregard for civilian lives by all parties to the conflict,” and he urged all sides to step back from a return to all-out war.
- He noted reports of mounting civilian casualties in recent days in Aleppo, Homs, Damascus and Rural Damascus, Idleb and Deir ez-Zour.
- The High Commissioner warned that the violence is soaring back to the levels seen prior to the cessation of hostilities, with deeply disturbing reports of military build-ups indicating preparations for a lethal escalation.
- In a statement last night, Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien said that he was horrified and sickened by the news of civilians killed by air strikes that hit two settlements where displaced people had sought sanctuary in Idleb Governorate.
- He said that if this obscene attack is found to be a deliberate targeting of a civilian structure, it could amount to a war crime. He called for an immediate, impartial and independent investigation into this deadly incident.
PROFOUND POLITICAL CRISIS ENGULFS IRAQ, WARNS U.N. REPRESENTATIVE
- The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Jan Kubiš, briefed the Security Council today and said that a profound political crisis has engulfed Baghdad and the country, bringing paralysis and deadlock in the work of the Government and the Council of Representatives.
- He noted the past months of protests and the recent storming of the Parliament. At this stage, he said, the situation remains unpredictable and could unfold in many different directions.
- He is concerned that the solutions currently being discussed would not meet the demands of the people, so that demonstrations are set to continue.
- Mr. Kubiš strongly urged the Government, constitutional and political leaders and civil society to work together in constructive dialogue that will not only resolve the political impasse but give a clear perspective of better future to the people, which will unite them and their leaders. His briefing text is available in our office.
U.N. CONCERNED OVER WEAKENED HEALTH CARE SYSTEM IN LIBYA
- The World Health Organization (WHO) is greatly concerned over the death of 12 new-borns in the Sabah Medical Centre neonatal intensive care unit in southern Libya. The deaths occurred as a result of a bacterial infection and the lack of specialized health staff to provide medical care.
- The organization says an already weakened health care system in Libya is on the brink of collapse due to critical shortages in health care workers and medicine, leaving almost 1.9 million people in need of health services.
- It has urged the Government and the international community to support the health care requirements in the Libyan Humanitarian Response Plan, which is only 20 per cent funded so far.
RECENT VIOLENCE IN NORTHWEST CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC DISPLACES OVER 10,000 PEOPLE
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that a recent wave of violence in Koui and Bocaranga, northwest of the Central African Republic (CAR), has forced more than 10,000 people to flee their homes.
- The week-long clashes between rival armed groups, including attacks against civilians, is a reminder that the security situation remains fragile and unpredictable despite improvement in security conditions observed in some areas.
- Humanitarian partners are conducting verification and registration, as well as providing assistance to some of the displaced families.
AID AGENCIES SEEK $360 MILLION FOR LIFESAVING ASSISTANCE IN ZIMBABWE
- Some 45 humanitarian partners in Zimbabwe have sought $360 million in funding to provide lifesaving food, health, water and sanitation support and other assistance for 1.8 million people.
- The El Niño-induced drought has exacerbated hunger and hardship for vulnerable people in Zimbabwe, leaving 2.8 million people - about 21 per cent of the population - food insecure.
- The combination of a poor 2014-2015 harvest, an extremely dry early season and forecasts for continuing hot and drier-than-average conditions through mid-2016 pose a risk of extensive crop failure, weakened power supplies and reduced drinking water for human and livestock consumption.
SECRETARY-GENERAL ESTABLISHES NEW MULTI-PARTNER TRUST FUND FOR ZIKA RESPONSE
- The Secretary-General today established the UN Zika Response Multi-Partner Trust Fund (MPTF) to finance critical unfunded priorities in the response to the Zika outbreak. The trust fund provides a rapid, flexible and accountable platform to support a coordinated response from the UN system and partners.
- The Fund will directly support the Zika Strategic Response Framework, developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in consultation with UN agencies, partners, and international epidemiological experts.
SECRETARY-GENERAL COMMENDS CHINA FOR ITS COMMITMENT TO FINANCE PEACE, SECURITY AND DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES
- The Chef de Cabinet, Edmond Mulet, and Liu Jieyi, Permanent Representative of the People’s Republic of China to the UN, signed an agreement today covering a multi-year contribution of $200 million from China to the UN to finance activities relating to peace, security and development.
- This is a follow-up of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s announcement last September of China’s contribution to a strong UN. Through this agreement, China has confirmed its intention to contribute $20 million annually for ten years to the newly established UN Peace and Development Trust Fund.
- With respect to each annual contribution, $10 million will be utilized towards activities in the area of peace and security and $10 million towards support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
- The Secretary-General is extremely appreciative of this generous contribution to the UN. The contribution is a further demonstration of the strong commitment of the Government and people of China to the goals and activities of the UN.
PEACEBUILDING: SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES NEW CONTRIBUTIONS TO U.N. FUND
- The Secretary-General has thanked the Government of Germany for its contribution of 10 million Euros for 2016 to the UN Peacebuilding Fund. He called on other Member States to contribute to the Fund. Coming in at almost $11.5 million, the new contribution makes Germany the fifth-largest contributor to the fund overall.
- The Secretary-General would also like to thank the Government of Japan for its recent contribution of $3.5 million dollars. A Peacebuilding Fund Pledging Conference will be held on the margins of the General Assembly on 21 September.
U.N. CHILDREN’S FUND CALLS FOR BETTER PROTECTION OF REFUGEE CHILDREN IN EUROPE
- The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has called for urgent measures to protect unaccompanied refugee and migrant children in Europe - who are at serious risk of abuse, trafficking and exploitation and whose number reached record of more than 95,000 last year.
- Interpol estimates 1 in 9 unaccompanied refugee and migrant children is unaccounted for or missing, but the figures may be much higher. In Slovenia, for example, more than 80 per cent of unaccompanied children went missing from reception centres, while in Sweden up to 10 children are reported missing each week. Earlier this year, 4,700 unaccompanied children were recorded as missing in Germany.
NEW AMMENDMENT SAFEGUARDING NUCLEAR FACILITIES TO ENTER INTO FORCE
- An important Amendment to the UN Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material will enter into force on Sunday, 8 May.
- The Amendment makes it legally binding for countries to protect nuclear facilities, as well as nuclear material in domestic use, storage and transport.
- The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano noted that the entry into force of this Amendment after 11 years of preparatory work will reduce the risk of terrorist attacks involving nuclear material.