SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS TERRORIST ATTACK IN KABUL
· The Secretary-General condemned the terrorist attack in Kabul on 23 July.
· This despicable crime targeted citizens peacefully exercising their fundamental human rights.
· The Secretary-General extends his condolences to the families of the victims and expresses his solidarity with the people and Government of Afghanistan. He calls for those responsible for this attack to be brought to justice.
AFGHANISTAN: RECORD NUMBER OF CIVILIAN CASUALTIES SINCE 2009
· A UN report on Afghanistan published today shows a record number of civilian casualties since counting began in 2009, with 5,166 civilians recorded killed or maimed in just the first six months of this year, of whom almost one-third were children.
· This represents an increase of four percent in the total number of casualties compared to the first six months of 2015 – and is the highest half-year total since 2009.
· While anti-Government elements remain responsible for the majority – 60 percent – of civilian casualties, there was an increase in the number of civilians killed and injured by pro-Government forces between January and June this year.
SYRIA: CONTINUING BLATANT DISREGARD FOR INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW
· This morning, the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien briefed the Security Council on Syria and said that the undeniable fact is that, today, in many places, civilians in Syria are as much at risk as they have ever been, due to the parties’ continuing blatant disregard for international humanitarian law.
· He said he was deeply alarmed by the disturbing developments in and around Aleppo city. Hundreds of mortars, missiles and projectiles were launched on both eastern and western Aleppo in past weeks, resulting in scores of deaths and hundreds of injuries.
· Mr. O’Brien said that the population in eastern Aleppo city is at serious risk of besiegement as the fighting closes in and their access to basic necessities runs out. He added that the highest priority is to ensure access through both cross-line or cross-border operations under the Security Council’s existing Resolutions so that we can replenish stocks and ensure people’s access to the basic necessities of life.
· Mr. O’Brien said he was equally alarmed by reports of deteriorating humanitarian conditions and urgent medical evacuation needs in Madaya, Foah, Zabadani and Kefraya, where over 62,000 people are and continue to be besieged.
· The Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, has been invited to participate in a trilateral meeting called by the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) Co-chairs, to discuss the situation on the ground and how to move forward on the political process. The meeting will take place tomorrow.
U.N SPECIAL COORDINATOR FOR MIDDLE EAST CONDEMNS ISRAEL’S PLAN TO EXPAND GILO SETTLEMENT
· Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, strongly condemned the recent decision by Israeli authorities to advance plans to build some 770 housing units in the settlement of Gilo, built on the lands of occupied Palestinian towns and villages between Bethlehem and East Jerusalem.
· He is also concerned about repeated efforts by a number of families to rebuild the Israeli outpost of Mitzpeh Avichai near Hebron in the occupied West Bank. Such moves raise legitimate questions about Israel’s long-term intentions.
· This decision to expand Gilo comes only three weeks after Middle East Quartet jointly called on Israel to cease the policy of settlement construction and expansion.
· Mr. Mladenov reiterates that settlements are illegal under international law and urges the Government of Israel to cease and reverse such decisions. He said that continuing on the current trajectory entrenches a one-state reality of perpetual occupation and conflict that is incompatible with realizing the national aspirations of both peoples.
U.N. AGENCIES FIGHTING HUNGER HAIL U.S FOOD SECURITY LAW
· The leaders of the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) applauded new legislation in the United States aimed at strengthening global food assistance programs in the years ahead.
· The Global Food Security Act (GFSA) supports initiatives that focus on developing agriculture, assisting small-scale food producers and improving nutrition, especially for women and children worldwide.
· It also aims to improve coordination among various U.S. agencies providing overseas aid, to ensure the wisest possible spending practices.
· It was passed by the US congress with bipartisan support earlier in July and signed just a few days ago by President Barack Obama.
SECRETARY-GENERAL HAS VIDEO CALL WITH SOLAR IMPULSE ON FINAL LEG OF JOURNEY AROUND THE WORLD
· The Secretary-General had a video call with Captain Bertrand Piccard who is on the final leg of the Solar Impulse journey around the world -- nine hours from landing in Abu Dhabi. The call was made available via Facebook live, with more information via our social media platforms.
· The Secretary-General told Captain Piccard that “you have flown 40,000 kilometres without fuel. But you have much energy.” And he told him that Solar Impulse may be ending its journey, but the journey to a sustainable world is just beginning.