HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
FRIDAY, 7 OCTOBER 2016
NIGER: SECRETARY-GENERAL SPEAKS OUT AGAINST DEADLY ATTACK ON REFUGEE CAMP
- In a statement, the Secretary-General condemns the attack against a security post at a refugee hosting area in Tazalit, in the Tahoua region of Niger, on 6 October, in which at least 22 members of Niger’s security forces were killed and several others were injured.
The Secretary-General extends his deepest condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government and people of Niger. He wishes a swift recovery to the injured.
The Secretary-General calls on the authorities of Niger to pursue and bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice. He also urges the government of Niger to further reinforce security around refugee camps and other vulnerable targets.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS AWARDING OF 2016 NOBEL PEACE PRIZE TO COLOMBIAN LEADER IS ‘INSPIRATION’ TO PRESS AHEAD WITH PEACE PROCESS
- In a statement, the Secretary-General said that the 2016 Nobel Prize for Peace has been awarded to President Juan Manuel Santos at a critical moment when this special acknowledgement provides needed hope and encouragement to the Colombian people.
- He said that this is a timely message to all who have toiled so hard for peace, telling them to keep working until they have brought the peace process to a successful conclusion.&nbsp This award says to them: you have come too far to turn back now.&nbsp The peace process should inspire our world.
- In remarks he made in Hamburg, Germany, before receiving the National German Sustainability Award, the Secretary-General said that the Prize is an inspiration to press ahead until peace is achieved.
- He welcomed the continuing commitment of the Parties to the cease-fire and encouraged the leaders to conduct a pragmatic dialogue focused on the Colombian people. And he added that the United Nations will always be with the Colombian people in every step of the peace process.
U.N. MISSION: COLOMBIAN PARTIES REITERATE COMMITMENT TO CEASEFIRE
- The delegations of the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP), after meeting in Havana with guarantor countries and the Chief of the UN Mission in Colombia, Jean Arnault, reiterated the commitment to maintain the ceasefire declared on 29 August. They also stressed the commitment to maintain the Monitoring and Verification Tripartite Mechanism—with the participation of both parties under the coordination of the UN Mission in Colombia—as well as the guarantees of safety and protection of communities in their territories.
- The parties requested the Secretary-General and the Security Council to authorize the UN Mission in Colombia to exercise the functions of monitoring, verification, resolution of differences, recommendations, reporting and coordination of the Monitoring and Verification Mechanism, particularly relating to the ceasefire. The parties also invited the countries contributing to the UN Mission to continue deploying their men and women, who will continue to count on all the necessary safety guarantees.
IN GERMANY, SECRETARY-GENERAL HAILS ‘GROUNDBREAKING’ JUDGMENTS OF TRIBUNAL FOR THE LAW OF THE SEA
- The Secretary-General was in Hamburg, Germany, today for the 20th Anniversary of the establishment of the Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. In his remarks at a commemorative ceremony, he said that the judgments of the Tribunal have been ground-breaking and vital but often overlooked.&nbsp The Secretary-General underscored the importance of oceans and seas in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with Sustainable Development Goal 14 reflecting the global commitment to conserve and sustainably use the oceans and their resources by implementing international law, as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.&nbsp To guarantee the capacity of the oceans to continue to provide for humanity’s many and varied needs in a sustainable manner, we must do much more to ensure the uniform and consistent application of the Convention, he added.
- In Hamburg, the Secretary-General also received the replica of Germany’s ratification of the Paris Agreement on climate change, a symbol of the country’s unwavering commitment to sustainability, as well as the National German Sustainability Award, which he received on behalf of the United Nations.&nbsp He stressed that sustainable social, economic and environmental development is an imperative for people, the planet, peace and prosperity.
- The Secretary-General is traveling to Iceland to participate in the Assembly of the Arctic Circle.
HAITI: U.N. AGENCIES MOBILIZING TO RESPOND TO HURRICANE MATTHEW
- The World Food Programme (WFP) is deploying logistics and assessment teams in coordination with the Government of Haiti and international agencies to bring in much needed relief after Hurricane Matthew struck the country and determine the hurricane’s wider impact on the food and nutrition security of Haitians. At the time the hurricane struck Haiti, the agency had already pre-positioned sufficient emergency supplies to feed up to 300,000 people for a month.
- Meanwhile in Cuba, WFP has stocks to feed more than 25,000 people for a month as part of government-led efforts.&nbsp
- The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says that some 500,000 children live in southern Haiti, the worst-hit parts of the country. A UNICEF team has reached Les Cayes and has reported massive flooding. It had prepositioned emergency supplies with national authorities to reach up to 10,000 people. Additional water and sanitation supplies, such as water purification tablets, water bladders and plastic sheeting, have been dispatched to the most affected departments in the westernmost tip of Haiti.
- UNICEF says it needs at least $5 million to meet children’s most pressing needs including restoring health services to help prevent and treat malnutrition among young children and provide essential vitamins and anti-diarrhoea treatment setting up temporary learning spaces so that children can resume their learning and supporting child protection services to protect children from violence, exploitation and abuse.
U.N. ENVOY BRIEFS SECURITY COUNCIL ON SYRIA, U.N. AGENCY CALLS ON PARTIES TO HALT HOSTILITIES IN CIVILIAN AREAS
- The Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, briefed the Security Council this morning in closed consultations on the latest developments there.
- The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) calls on all parties to the conflict in Syria to comply with international law and stop conducting hostilities in civilian residential areas, including Palestine refugee camps. The Agency further urges parties to refrain from using explosive weapons in populated areas, whose indiscriminate effects expose civilians to imminent danger and suffering.
- Three Palestine refugees lost their lives in Khan Eshieh camp on 2 and 3 October, while another 11 were injured, as a result of the intensification of hostilities in the area.
- UNRWA is deeply concerned about the well-being of all residents in Khan Eshieh, including Palestine refugees. Too many lives have been lost while those injured are often not able to receive required emergency medical and other health services.
U.N. MISSION WARNS THAT CLASHES IN SOUTH SUDAN’S UPPER NILE STATE COMPOUNDING ALREADY DIRE HUMANITARIAN SITUATION
- The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) reports intermittent clashes and exchanges of fire, including the usage of heavy calibre weapons, between the Sudan People''s Liberation Army (SPLA) and Opposition in Nassir in Upper Nile over the past few days. The Mission also received reports on Wednesday of clashes between the two sides in Wau town in Western Bahr El Ghazal and is seeking to verify reports.
- UNMISS remains very concerned by the violence and tensions between the SPLA and Opposition, which continues to impact the already dire humanitarian situation in the country. The Mission calls on both sides to adhere to the July ceasefire agreed to by the parties and reiterates the need for them to fully implement the peace agreement, which remains the only viable path for achieving peace and stability in the country.&nbsp
MALI: WITHOUT IMPLEMENTATION OF PEACE PACT, U.N. MISSION CANNOT EXECUTE MANDATE
- Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous briefed the Security Council on Mali yesterday. He said that the UN Mission in the country (MINUSMA) would not be able to fully implement its mandate as long as the signatories to the peace agreement do not resolutely engage in its implementation.
- Mr. Ladsous said that civilians continued to suffer from the consequences of the armed groups’ and Government’s military operations and that the ceasefire violations had further hampered access for humanitarian actors. He noted that the Mission’s capacity to protect civilians and counter asymmetric attacks was further hampered by the absence of the required capabilities.
- Under-Secretary-General for Field Support Atul Khare added that for the UN Mission to implement its mandate, it had to be provided with the capacities and capabilities required to operate safely and effectively in the current environment. He stressed that a failure to enhance the Mission’s capability would have a significant impact on the UN’s capacity to deliver on its mandate.
NIGERIA: U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY WARNS OF DANGERS FACING CIVILIANS IN AREAS RECAPTURED FROM BOKO HARAM
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) warned today that most civilians living in areas of northern Nigeria recaptured from Boko Haram face serious protection problems and lack the most basic assistance, with women particularly at risk. UNHCR and partners report major food shortages as well as issues related to shelter for most of the displaced populations.
- UNHCR reports that many families are headed by women because their husbands have been killed by Boko Haram, forced to join the insurgents or disappeared. The Agency notes that many women and children remain traumatized by their time under Boko Haram rule and need counselling and livelihoods support.&nbsp&nbsp
U.N. RELIEF WING VOICES CONCERN OVER PLIGHT OF PEOPLE FORCED TO FLEE CLASHES IN AFGHANISTAN’S KUNDUZ
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is deeply concerned about large scale displacements as a result of recent fighting in Kunduz city, Afghanistan, as well as the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation for those still trapped in the city.
- Initial reports suggest up to 10,000 people have fled Kunduz in recent days, arriving in Kabul, Taloqan and Mazar-i-Sharif.&nbsp OCHA says many of those families were unable to bring their possessions with them and are in a precarious situation.&nbsp Some have been forced to sleep out in the open and many are without food.
- Meanwhile, families trapped in Kunduz are facing water shortages and power cuts, and are finding it increasingly difficult to find food, fuel or health services.
- OCHA is working with partners to help the most vulnerable by coordinating the delivery of humanitarian assistance.
ETHIOPIA: U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS WING CALLS FOR INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION INTO VIOLENCE IN ETHIOPIA
- The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights today also expressed its concern over the increasing unrest in several towns in the Oromia region of Ethiopia following a protest at a religious festival.
- The Office calls on the protestors to exercise restraint and to renounce the use of violence, adding that security forces must conduct themselves in line with international human rights laws and standards.
- It stresses the need for an independent investigation into what exactly transpired, as well as to ensure accountability for this and several other incidents since last November involving protests that have ended violently.
- The Office also voiced concern over this week’s arrest of two bloggers – Seyoum Teshoume and Natnael Feleke – as well as of worrying reports of mass arrests in the Oromia and Amhara regions. It urges the Government to release those detained for exercising their rights to free expression and opinion, emphasizing that silencing criticism will only deepen tensions.
U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICE VOICES HOPE OF PASSAGE OF JUSTICE BILL IN GUATEMALA
- The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights today expressed hope that a draft bill in the area of justice will be swiftly approved in Guatemala, as it represents an historic opportunity to consolidate the remarkable progress the country has achieved in fighting impunity and corruption in recent years.
- The Office said that the proposed constitutional reforms aim to improve access to justice, in particular for women and indigenous peoples, as well as to strengthen the independence and impartiality of judges, among other measures.
- The Office said it was concerned at growing threats against Attorney General Thelma Aldana, stressing the need for judicial authorities to be able to carry out their work in a secure environment.
NUMBER OF MEMBER STATES PAYING U.N. DUES REACHES 129
- Malawi and Trinidad and Tobago have paid their regular budget dues, bringing the total number of Member States which have done so to 129.