HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
TUESDAY, 2 AUGUST 2022
SG TRIP ANNOUNCEMENT
The Secretary-General will be heading to Japan, where he will take part in the Peace Memorial Ceremony in Hiroshima, held on 6 August every year. The ceremony aims to console the souls of those lost to the atomic bombing, as well as to pray for the realization of lasting world peace. The Secretary-General will honour the victims of the bombings, commemorate all victims of the second world war, and reiterate his call to world leaders to urgently eliminate stockpiles of nuclear weapons.
During his visit, he will meet with several Japanese senior officials, including Prime Minister [Fumio] Kishida. He will also meet a group of surviving victims of the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, known as the hibakusha; and he will participate in a dialogue with young activists who are leading initiatives on nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and other global issues.
The Secretary-General will then go to Mongolia, at the invitation of President Khurelsukh Ukhnaa. Mongolia is a country that has also shown a commitment to non-proliferation and disarmament by declaring itself a nuclear-weapons-free zone.
During his visit to the capital of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, the Secretary-General will also take part in a tree planting ceremony to recognize Mongolia’s One Billion Trees initiative, which was launched in October and aims to plant, as its name implies, one billion trees by 2030, as part of the Mongolia’s efforts to reduce the impact of climate change and fight the increasing desertification which is impacting Mongolia. In addition, he will visit a nomadic family and learn about their way of life.
Following his visit to Mongolia, the Secretary-General will travel to the Republic of Korea from 11-12 August. The details of his visit to Seoul are still being discussed with the Government.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Ukraine says that civilians are facing tremendous challenges in areas that have experienced a dramatic increase in airstrikes and shelling over the last few days, particularly in the south of the country.
From Kherson, we received the horrifying news that a minibus with civilians trying to flee from a small settlement called Starosillia was hit yesterday, apparently by a missile. According to reports we received from humanitarian organizations, at least three civilians were killed and five injured.
The situation has also continued to deteriorate in Mykolaiv, where daily shelling is taking a heavy toll on civilians. Over the last 48 hours alone, dozens of houses, several health facilities and other critical civilian infrastructure have been damaged or destroyed in the city.
The strikes have caused civilian casualties, according to reports from humanitarian organizations, although we could not verify the actual figures.
Our humanitarian colleagues also tell us that access to health services in Mykolaiv and surrounding areas is extremely limited. We reiterate our calls on the parties to the conflict to respect civilians and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine, in accordance with principles of international humanitarian law. People in Ukraine desperately need a respite from the relentless violence.
Also, the M/V Razoni is making its way to the Bosphorous. We expect it to dock in a few hours. It will be inspected, according to protocols, with representatives of the United Nations, Türkiye, Russia and Ukraine, tomorrow.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
The UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has an update regarding the incident that occurred at Kasindi, on the border with Uganda, on Sunday.
Based on preliminary information, the incident occurred at the border post where a battalion from the UN Peacekeeping Mission’s Force Intervention Brigade, upon returning from leave, was not immediately granted access to the DRC.
The troops waited overnight in an area between the official exit point from Uganda and the official entry point into the DRC.
The violent incident that occurred the following morning is now the subject of an investigation opened by the mission. The peacekeepers involved have been detained on the Force Commander’s orders.
The Mission has also contacted the Troop-Contributing Country concerned with a view to advancing a national judicial investigation on those events.
In response to questions about the latest political developments in Myanmar, the Spokesman said the Secretary-General notes with concern that the self-declared State Administration Council on 31 July extended the State of Emergency that was declared on 1 February of last year was extended for another six months, following the convening of the National Defence and Security Council (NDSC).
The Secretary-General reiterates his grave concern regarding the transfer of all legislative, executive and judicial powers to the military since 1 February, and repeats his call yet again for an immediate end to violence and repression, for the full respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms and for the will of the people, and the immediate release of all arbitrarily detained prisoners in Myanmar.
The International Labour Organization says that Myanmar remains deeply impacted by heavy job losses 18 months after the military takeover and 2.5 years after the COVID-19 start.
ILO says that 1.1 million fewer women and men are employed, compared to 2020, with the quality of jobs deteriorating and women being impacted more overall.
In response to questions about the arrest of a journalist in Guatemala, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General has noted his concern about the legal action against justice officials in Guatemala. He is also following recent developments regarding the arrest of José Rubén Zamora, a journalist and founder of a newspaper that has played an important role in exposing corruption. The Secretary-General recalls that freedom of expression and of the press play a key role in democratic societies. He calls for the respect of human rights and guaranteeing due process.
The peacekeeping Mission in South Sudan said it is very concerned by the rise in cases of conflict-related sexual violence, despite an overall decrease in the number of civilians impacted by violence in the country.
The Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Nicholas Haysom, called the exponential surge in sexual and gender-based violence “completely unacceptable.” He called for an end to this violence that “divides communities and hampers reconciliation.”
The peacekeeping mission is supporting the national authorities to ensure accountability and access to justice for survivors and victims, through a range of special and mobile courts. It also urges the Government of South Sudan to swiftly investigate human rights violations and abuses and to hold perpetrators to account.
Martin Griffiths, our friend and Head of the Humanitarian Affairs department, is in Venezuela, where he met with the President of the Republic, and other senior government officials, the opposition delegation to the Mexico dialogue, UN agencies, national and international NGOs based in Venezuela.
Together, they discussed ways to strengthen efforts to ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable people are met and that opportunities are created so Venezuelans can also start to rebuild their lives and livelihoods and to meet their aspirations for the future. The Humanitarian Response Plan for this year requires $795 million for the year, and aims to support 5.2 million people with assistance, focusing on supporting health services, improving food security and nutrition, strengthening basic service delivery and education, promoting protection and addressing human mobility.
NOON BRIEFING GUEST
Rafael Mariano Grossi, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), briefed reporter on the NPT Review Conference.
HYBRID BRIEFING WEDNESDAY
Tomorrow, 3 August, at 12:15 p.m., the Secretary-General will brief reporters to introduce the third report of the Global Crisis Response Group.
He will be joined by Rebeca Grynspan, the Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development, otherwise known as UNCTAD.
Earlier this year, the Secretary-General launched this series of reports to examine the impact of the war in Ukraine on food, fuel and finance sectors.