HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
TUESDAY, 28 MARCH 2017
HUMAN REMAINS FOUND BY PEACEKEEPERS FROM U.N. MISSION IN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO BEING EXAMINED
- Peacekeepers from the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, MONUSCO, have found remains which are being examined to determine if they are those of our missing colleagues.
- We cannot at this time confirm that they are the bodies of the missing experts.
- All verified information will first be provided to our colleagues' families, and to the authorities of Sweden, the United States and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
SECRETARY-GENERAL VISITS ZAATARI REFUGEE CAMP IN JORDAN, EXPRESSES SOLIDARITY WITH RESIDENTS
- Today, the Secretary-General visited the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan in what he called a visit of solidarity.
- While in the camp, the Secretary-General toured a number of projects run by UN agencies for some 80,000 residents of the camp, including a UN-Women run project that gives women cash for work opportunities manufacturing school uniforms and sowing kits; a school run by the Jordanian Government and UNICEF; a UNFPA clinic; and a UNHCR-funded project that aims to address the continuing learning needs of girls.
- In speaking to the press before leaving the camp, the Secretary-General appealed to the parties to the conflict in Syria to understand that we must make peace. He said that the crisis has become a tragedy not only for the Syrian people but also a threat to the stability of the region and the world. Solidarity with Syrian refugees is “not only an act of generosity. It’s also an act of enlightened self-interest,” the Secretary-General added.
- Asked about the ongoing Geneva talks, the Secretary-General saluted the work of his Special Envoy, Staffan de Mistura, whom he supports fully.
- After leaving Zaatari, the Secretary-General met with His Majesty King Abdullah bin Hussein of Jordan. He and the King discussed regional and international issues, including the situations in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and Libya and the common international fight against terrorism. The Secretary-General reiterated the UN's commitment to a two-state to solve the Israeli-Palestinian issue and, in this regard, expressed support for the Arab Peace Initiative and King Abdullah's leadership. The Secretary-General also expressed his appreciation for the generosity of the Jordanian Government and people in addressing the needs of Syrian refugees in Jordan.
- Tomorrow, the Secretary-General will participate in the opening session of the Summit of the League of Arab States in Ishtar on the Dead Sea.
SYRIA: FOOD AND EMERGENCY ITEMS DELIVERED VIA CONVOY TO 25,000 PEOPLE IN NEED IN RURAL DAMASCUS
- Today, a UN-International Committee of the Red Cross-Syrian Arab Red Crescent convoy is delivering food and emergency items to 25,000 people in need in Bludan in rural Damascus. The last interagency convoy to that area was in June last year.
- There is also a UN-Syrian Arab Red Crescent convoy delivering assistance for 84,000 people in Talbiseh, in Homs, a location that was last reached on 5 February.
- We continue to call for safe, sustained and unimpeded humanitarian access to all those in need in Syria, particularly the close to 5 million people in hard-to-reach and besieged areas.
IRAQ: MASSIVE LOSS OF CIVILIAN LIVES IN WEST MOSUL DEPLORED BY U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF
- The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, today deplored the massive loss of civilian lives in west Mosul in recent days, victims of actions by Da’esh and of airstrikes.
- According to information verified by the UN Human Rights Office and the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), at least 307 people were killed and another 273 wounded between 17 February and 22 March.
- Zeid welcomed the announcement by Iraqi Security Forces and the International Coalition that they are conducting investigations into some of the most serious incidents resulting in the loss of civilian lives. He stressed that the investigations into all such incidents must be thorough and transparent and the findings must be made public.
YEMEN: ALMOST TWO-THIRDS OF POPULATION IN NEED OF HUMANITARIAN OR PROTECTION SUPPORT
- In a statement today, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, said that years of relentless conflict have devastated the lives of millions of people. An alarming 18.8 million of them – almost two thirds of the population – need some kind of humanitarian or protection support and seven million women, children, and men are at risk of famine in 2017.
- He said that over 50,000 civilians have been killed, injured or maimed, including at least 1,540 children killed; 2,450 children injured. Over 1,550 children recruited to fight or to perform military related duties have been reported.
TIME RUNNING OUT FOR MORE THAN ONE MILLION CHILDREN IN SOUTH SUDAN, SOMALIA, NIGERIA AND YEMEN
- More than a month after famine was declared in South Sudan, time is running out for more than a million children as drought and armed conflict devastate lives in northeast Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen, UNICEF said today.
- Some 22 million children have been left hungry, sick, displaced and out of school in the four countries, and nearly 1.4 million are at imminent risk of death this year from severe malnutrition.
- UNICEF will require close to $255 million to provide these children with food, water, health, education and protection services for just the next few months, according to a new funding update.
- The resources needed over the next few months are part of a broader appeal for all of 2017, totaling $712 million – a 50 per cent increase over funding requirements in the four countries at the same time last year.
MEASLES OUTBREAKS ACROSS EUROPE THREATEN PROGRESS TOWARDS ELIMINATING THE DISEASE: WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION
- Our colleagues at the World Health Organization (WHO) say today that measles outbreaks across Europe this winter threaten progress towards elimination.
- Measles continues to spread within and among European countries, with the potential to cause large outbreaks wherever immunization coverage has dropped below the necessary threshold of 95%.
- The largest current outbreaks in Europe are taking place in Romania and Italy.