HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
TUESDAY, 9 AUGUST 2016
SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES ARGENTINE YOUTH TO MAKE THEIR LEADERS 'KEEP THEIR PROMISES’
- On Tuesday morning, the Secretary-General met with Buenos Aires Mayor Horacio Rodriguez Larreta. He witnessed the signing of an agreement between the City of Buenos Aires and the Argentine federal government on the implementation of Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals at the municipal level. Buenos Aires is the first city in Argentina to sign such an agreement. Mayor Rodriguez Larreta also offered the keys to the city to the Secretary-General.
- The Secretary-General then addressed a group of Argentinian Youth and Civil Society leaders. He told them that Youth and civil society groups helped push governments to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals and now is the time for them to make leaders keep their promises. He urged the young people to stay engaged and raise their voices for a better world.
- Later this afternoon, he will meet with senior officials from the Government including the President of the Chamber of Representatives and the Vice President of Argentina and President of the Senate, as well as members of the Argentinian Supreme Court.
- The Secretary-General will leave Argentina later that evening for Los Angeles.
SECURITY COUNCIL STUDIES HUMANITARIAN ACCESS IN SYRIA
U.N. HUMANITARIAN OFFICIALS CALL FOR PAUSE IN SYRIA FIGHTING
- Our senior humanitarian officials dealing with Syria, Yacoub El Hillo and Kevin Kennedy, said that the United Nations urgently calls for a humanitarian pause in the fighting in Aleppo to enable immediate access to repair the electricity and water networks, and provide humanitarian assistance to people in need.
- An estimated 250,000 to 275,000 people remain trapped in east Aleppo since early July following the closure of Castello road, the last remaining access route into this area.
- The UN stands ready to assist the civilian population of Aleppo. At a minimum, the UN requires a full-fledged ceasefire or weekly 48-hour humanitarian pauses to reach the millions of people in need throughout Aleppo and replenish the food and medicine stocks, which are running dangerously low.
- Civilians, including the sick and wounded, must be reached through the most effective way both through cross-line and cross-border operations from Turkey. They must be assisted without discrimination and wherever they are located. All parties must guarantee the security, safety and dignity of all civilians and civilian infrastructure in accordance with international humanitarian and human rights law.
- The UN reiterates its call for the immediate lifting of all sieges. When used to intentionally deprive people of food and other items essential to their survival, siege tactics constitute a war crime.
- Also, UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl has completed a three-day visit to Syria, meeting with Palestine refugees, UNRWA staff and Government officials.
U.N. RIGHTS CHIEF ASKS MALDIVES NOT TO CARRY OUT EXECUTIONS
- The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Tuesday asked the Government of the Maldives to refrain from carrying out planned executions and to uphold the de facto moratorium that has been in place in the country since 1954.
- The High Commissioner, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, said, “The death penalty is not effective in deterring crime.”
- He said, “Revenge must never be confused with justice, and the death penalty only serves to compound injustice.”
- Recent legal decisions in the Maldives have potentially allowed for executions, which have been effectively abandoned since the fifties.
- Some 17 persons are now on death row.
- Mr. Zeid said “I urge the leaders and the people of the Maldives to continue to uphold the moratorium on the death penalty and work towards prohibiting the practice altogether.
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES CONTINUE TO FACE ‘SYSTEMATIC DISCRIMINATION’: U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL
- Today is the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples and this year’s theme is indigenous peoples’ right to education.
- On this occasion, the Secretary-General said that indigenous peoples face a wide range of challenges including systematic discrimination, denial of their land and territorial rights and inadequate access to essential services.
- They regularly face stigmatization of their cultural identity and lack of respect for their heritage and values.
- Indigenous youth are also graduating from high school at rates well below the national average. In some countries, less than 40 per cent of indigenous children attend school full-time.
- The Secretary-General called on Governments to improve access to education for indigenous peoples and to reflect their experiences and culture in places of learning.
- “We will not achieve the Sustainable Development Goals if we fail to address the educational needs of indigenous peoples”, he said.
U.N. FOOD AGENCY SEEKS FUNDING TO HELP PEOPLE IN NORTHEAST NIGERIA
- The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today launched a campaign to help feed 385,000 people in northeast Nigeria.
- The agency said some $10 million is needed to supply seeds, fertilizers and irrigation equipment for displaced persons in the area and the people who are hosting them.
- FAO said for the past few years normal agriculture and fishing activities have been hampered by conflict.
- But this year, significant territory previously controlled by Boko Haram has been rendered accessible to humanitarian assistance, the agency said.
- FAO said there is now a “critical opportunity to tackle the alarming levels of food insecurity in northeast Nigeria,"
KEEP YEMENI CHILDREN OUT OF HARM’S WAY: UNICEF
- The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today issued a statement deploring the killing of four children earlier this week in Yemen, and calling for both sides to keep children out of harm’s way.
- The agency said that the four were killed, and three others injured Sunday in the Nihm District, east of Sana’a.
- UNICEF said since the escalation of the conflict in March of last year at least 1,121 children were killed and another 1,650 were injured.
- The statement said “UNICEF urges all parties to the conflict in Yemen to adhere to International Humanitarian Law and keep children out of harm’s way.”
SECRETARY-GENERAL ‘CONCERNED’ BY REPORTS OF EXCESSIVE USE OF FORCE IN ETHIOPIA
- The Secretary-General is concerned by media reports claiming that excessive use of force by Ethiopian security forces resulted in dozens of deaths of protesters in the Oromia and Amhara regions of Ethiopia last weekend.
- The Secretary-General underscores that security forces must at all times operate in line with international human rights norms and standards and urges the Ethiopian authorities to ensure full accountability in case of any human rights violations.
- He stresses the importance of ensuring the protection of the right to peaceful assembly, the right to freedom of expression and opinion and the right to life and integrity of the person, taking the necessary lawful measures when dealing with demonstrations.