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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 FARHAN HAQ, DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

WEDNESDAY, 28 JUNE 2016

 

NO SOLUTION CAN COME THROUGH VIOLENCE – SECRETARY-GENERAL IN MIDDLE EAST

  • The Secretary-General travelled to Gaza today where he visited the building site of the Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Hospital for Rehabilitation and Prosthetic Limbs, which is scheduled to be built later this year. He was also briefed on other infrastructure projects funded by Qatar. 
  • The Secretary-General and his delegation then went to the Zeytoun Preparatory Girls B School, run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). During the 2014 conflict, the school served as an emergency shelter hosting 3,000 internally displaced persons on average.
  • In his comments to the press upon arriving, the Secretary-General said that he stood with the people of Gaza and that the United Nations will always be with them.
  • He told reporters that until Gaza and the West Bank are united under a single, democratic and legitimate Palestinian government, based on the rule of law and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) principles, Gaza’s prospects for full recovery will be limited.
  • Immediately afterwards, he spoke to more than 100 UN staff representing the many thousands who work in Gaza and said he was inspired by their courage.
  • The Secretary-General then returned to Israel, where he was hosted for lunch by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Speaking to the press, the Secretary-General said that no solution can come through violence but must be based on mutual respect and the recognition of the legitimate aspirations of both peoples.
  • Later in the day, the Secretary-General received a briefing from Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the Israeli general in charge of Government coordination activities in the occupied Palestinian territories. The Secretary-General stressed the need to ease restrictions on the movement of Palestinian people and goods, as well as to review the dual-use list.
  • The Secretary-General also travelled to Ramallah to attend an Iftar at the invitation of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. 

U.N. OBSERVERS ARRIVE IN BOGOTA FOLLOWING RECENT AGREEMENT BETWEEN COLOMBIAN GOVERNMENT AND F.A.R.C.-E.P.

  • Following the signing in Havana, on 23 June, of the Agreement on Bilateral and Definitive Ceasefire and Laying down of Arms between the Government of Colombia and the FARC-EP, a first group of 23 United Nations observers arrived in Bogota this week. These observers are from Argentina, Bolivia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Paraguay and Uruguay.
  • They join an Advance Team of about 20 civilian staff already in the country preparing for the establishment of the mission. A second group of observers is expected to arrive at the beginning of July.
  • With their arrival, the UN will be able to begin monitoring and verifying activities as soon as a final peace agreement is signed and the bilateral cease-fire comes into effect.
  • For now, the team on the ground is engaging in preparatory activities, while the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Jean Arnault, is actively engaged in the discussions in Havana about cease-fire implementation.

SYRIA: AID CONVOY REACHES ALEPPO’S HARD-TO-REACH AREA

  • An inter-agency convoy today delivered much needed life-saving humanitarian assistance to the hard-to-reach Sheikh Maqsood area of Aleppo, in Syria. Today's convoy is the second of three, and will be delivering food and hygiene kits to some 27,000 beneficiaries.
  • The first convoy to the Sheikh Maqsood in eastern Aleppo City was on 23 June. Meanwhile, the United Nations and its partners are calling for the immediate facilitation to provide life-saving assistance, including food, medical, nutrition and non-food supplies to 62,000 people besieged in the Syrian towns of Zabadani, Foah, Madaya and Kefraya, most of them women and children.
  • The UN and partners were last able to deliver assistance to these people at the end of April. Any further delay will lead to a repeat of what we witnessed in the town of Madaya early this year, when several people died as a result of complications caused by starvation.

U.N. ENVOY IN IRAQ CONDEMNS RECENT SUICIDE ATTACK AGAINST MOSQUE

  • The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Ján Kubiš, strongly condemned the suicide bombing yesterday at a mosque in Abu Ghraib, west of Baghdad, in which a number of civilians were killed or wounded. He expressed his condolences to the families of those killed and wished the injured a speedy recovery.
  • Mr. Kubiš said that this cowardly attack, happening during the holy month of Ramadan and as worshippers were gathered for evening prayers, shows the terrorists’ total disdain for Islam and rejection of its values.

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS KILLING OF PEACEKEEPER, REMAINS CONCERNED OVER INSECURITY

  • In a statement issued yesterday on the Central African Republic, the Secretary-General condemned the killing of a peacekeeper from the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) on 24 June in Bangui.
  • He also expressed concern about recent security trends in the country, including in Bangui, and called on President Faustin-Archange Touadéra, the Central African Government and all relevant actors to continue pursuing a comprehensive process to achieve the disarmament of the armed groups in a spirit of national reconciliation and inclusiveness.

U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF URGES U.K. AUTHORITIES TO ACT TO STOP XENOPHOBIC ATTACKS

  • The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, said that he is deeply concerned at reports of attacks and abuses targeting minority communities and foreign citizens in the United Kingdom over the last few days.
  • He said that racism and xenophobia are completely, totally and utterly unacceptable in any circumstances. The High Commissioner urged the UK authorities to act to stop these xenophobic attacks and to ensure that all those suspected of racist and anti-foreigner attacks and abuses are prosecuted.

W.F.P. WELCOMES CONTRIBUTION FROM GERMANY TO PREVENT MALNUTRITION IN YEMEN

  • The World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed a contribution of 15 million  Euros from the Federal Republic of Germany to help WFP treat and prevent malnutrition among more than 660,000 children under five, and pregnant and nursing mothers in Yemen.
  • The agency said that Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) -- which measures malnutrition over large population groups   --- is at an alarming stage in most Yemeni governorates. It said food insecurity is at an emergency level in nine governorates.
  • WFP said about half of all children in Yemen under five are stunted – too short for their age – as a result of malnutrition; the consequences of which are irreversible.
  • Providing treatment and preventing malnutrition saves an entire generation and improves the country’s future prospects, the WFP said.

U.N. AND PARTNERS NEED $21.6 BILLION TO PROVIDE AID TO 95.4 MILLION PEOPLE IN 2016

  • The Global Humanitarian Overview mid-year report was released yesterday. It paints a worrying picture of rising humanitarian needs and inadequate funding of appeals across the world.
  • The funding requirements have shot up from US$19.7 billion to $21.6 billion, with new emergencies such as Cyclone Winston in Fiji, the earthquake in Ecuador and El Niño which has led to severe droughts in Ethiopia and Zimbabwe.
  • The funding is expected to help an estimated 95.4 million people in 2016. So far, donors have provided $5.5 billion in funding which leaves a gap of $16.1 billion.

NEW REPORT WARNS THAT 167 MILLION CHILDREN WILL LIVE IN POVERTY – U.N.I.C.E.F.

  • The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) released today its State of the World’s Children report, which paints a stark picture of what is in store for the world’s poorest children if governments, donors, businesses and international organizations do not accelerate efforts to address their needs.
  • Based on current trends, 69 million children under five will die from mostly preventable causes, 167 million children will live in poverty, and 750 million women will have been married as children by 2030, the target date for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) –  that is, unless the world focuses more on the plight of its most disadvantaged children.
  • The report notes that significant progress has been made in saving children’s lives, getting children into school and lifting people out of poverty.
  • The progress, however, has been neither even nor fair, and nowhere is the outlook grimmer than in sub-Saharan Africa, where at least 247 million children – or 2 in 3 – live in multidimensional poverty.

W.H.O. APPOINTS NEW HEAD OF HEALTH EMERGENCIES PROGRAMME

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) announced today the appointment of Dr. Peter Salama of Australia as the Executive Director of its new Health Emergencies Programme.
  • Dr. Salama is currently the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Regional Director for Middle East and North Africa and Global Emergency Coordinator for the Crises in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
  • The new Health Emergencies Programme is designed to deliver rapid, predictable and comprehensive support to countries and communities as they prepare for, face or recover from emergencies caused by any type of hazard to human health, whether disease outbreaks, natural or man-made disasters or conflicts.

U.N. COMMITTEE ON EFFECTS OF RADIATION MARKS 60TH ANNIVERSARY

  • The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) will commemorate its 60th anniversary during its annual session in Vienna this week (from 27 June to 1 July).
  • In a message to mark the occasion, the Secretary-General said that from assessing the significance of fall-out in the 1950s to evaluating the effects of radiation on the human genome today, the Committee has always taken an independent and impartial approach. This is crucial on topics that are often highly emotional and political.
  • On this occasion, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), which administers the Secretariat of the Committee, has published a guide intended for the broader public titled “Radiation: Effects and Sources” to support a better understanding of the topic.

 

**The guest at the noon briefing was the Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel, Toby Lanzer.**