HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
MONDAY, 24 JANUARY 2022
The Secretary-General is following developments in Burkina Faso with deep concern. He is particularly worried about the whereabouts and safety of President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, as well as the worsening security situation, following the coup carried out on January 23rd by sections of the armed forces.
The Secretary-General strongly condemns any attempt to take over a government by the force of arms. He calls on the coup leaders to lay down their arms and to ensure the protection of the physical integrity of the President and of the institutions of Burkina Faso.
The Secretary-General calls on all actors to exercise restraint and opt for dialogue. The United Nations reiterates its full commitment to the preservation of the constitutional order and reaffirms its support to the people of Burkina Faso in their efforts to find solutions to the multifaceted challenges facing the country.
The Secretary-General remains deeply concerned about the continued escalation of cross-border attacks against the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, as well as the recent airstrikes in Sana’a, in Saada city, Hudaydah and elsewhere in Yemen.
The Secretary-General calls upon all parties to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law, including the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution. He further calls on all parties to exercise maximum restraint.
On January 20th, an attack on the prison in in Al-Hasakeh city resulted in rapidly escalating hostilities with gunfire and explosions reported from the area. Civilian casualties have been reported and about 45,000 people have reportedly been displaced from their homes.
Most of the displaced people have sought safety with family and friends in nearby areas, but there are about 750 people being hosted at two temporary shelters.
According to UNICEF, the situation has also put at serious risk the safety of nearly 850 children who are in detention. As fighting continues, the risk for children increases, including to be harmed or forcibly recruited.
The Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Rosemary Di-Carlo, briefed the Security Council on the situation in Libya.
The Spokesman provided an update on Afghanistan, following the 5.3 magnitude earthquake that struck in Qadis District on 17 January.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that on 20 January, another earthquake struck the area and many people are afraid of going into their homes. They are currently living in makeshift shelters or traditional tents in cold weather conditions.
Inter-agency assessments continue in Qadis, Qala-e-Naw and Muqur districts, but some areas remain inaccessible due to heavy snowfall in recent days. The inter-agency teams have thus far identified 1,092 families, that is about 7,644 people, who are in need of humanitarian assistance.
People in impacted areas are using water wells that are unsafe, and our humanitarian colleagues stress that water sources need to be repaired to prevent outbreaks of water-borne diseases.
Emergency response efforts are ongoing in parallel to the assessments, including food, non-food items, and emergency shelter provided by the International Organization for Migration, the UN Refugee Agency and the Afghan Red Crescent for about 300 families thus far. More assistance is planned in the coming days.
The reported number of deaths due to the earthquake stands at 27 people.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that as of today, some 2.9 million people will need humanitarian assistance this year in Ukraine, with most of these people living in non-Government-controlled areas in the east.
In 2022, our humanitarian response partners aim to help 1.8 million people, with a funding requirement of $190 million.
The humanitarian community in Ukraine is committed to standing with the people of Ukraine and to respond to the existing and potential needs in an impartial, independent and neutral manner.
In Tonga, humanitarians on the ground are continuing to support the Government in its response to the disaster.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs hopes to soon deploy a team of Environmental Experts with expertise in volcanology, ash management, environmental pollution, ecology and green response.
The Spokesman provided an update regarding the oil spill in Peru, which was linked to the volcano eruption in Tonga. A team of nine UN international experts landed today in the capital, Lima. They will carry out a rapid assessment of the social and environmental impacts of this disaster, supporting the authorities to manage and coordinate their response. The team is comprised of experts from the UN’s humanitarian office and the UN Environment Programme, who are specialized in contamination assessment and response to oil spills. They will also advise authorities on incident management and contingency planning, as well as marine chemistry, with geographic information analysis and mapping, as well as disaster management. The team started working today and expects to continue for two weeks. It will also provide technical advice to reduce risks of future disasters linked to oil spills.
Peru yesterday received nearly 2 million COVID vaccines from COVAX. In total they have received 8.2 million.
The Resident Coordinator in Peru, Igor Garafulic, thanked all partners and reiterated what the Secretary-General has said: that vaccinating everyone, everywhere, is the way to overcome the pandemic.
Today, Paraguay received more than 460,000 doses donated by Germany, through COVAX. We thank them. More than 40 per cent of people in Paraguay are now vaccinated.
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF EDUCATION
Today is the International Day of Education.
In his message to mark the day, the Secretary-General noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused chaos in education worldwide, and school closures continue to disrupt the lives of millions of students.
The Secretary-General said that he is convening a Summit on Transforming Education later this year, saying that the Summit will be the first time that world leaders, young people and all education stakeholders come together to consider these fundamental questions.
And, also to note, Education Cannot Wait, the global fund for education in emergencies, is marking the day with an announcement of $228 million in new funding from Germany. This brings the trust fund to more than $1.1 billion.
The UN Human Rights Office condemns the murder of journalist María de Lourdes Maldonado López on Sunday in Tijuana, as we do all attacks against journalists, especially when linked to their journalistic work. Maldonado López is the third journalist murdered in Mexico since the beginning of 2022.
We call on the Mexican authorities to strengthen the protection of journalists and in particular to take further steps to prevent attacks on them, including by tackling threats and slurs by public officials.
Barbados, Belgium, Denmark, Finland and India are the latest Member States to contribute to the Honour Roll, bringing us up to 24.
NOON BRIEFING GUESTS
Mark Cutts, the United Nations Deputy Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria crisis, joined the briefing virtually from Gaziantep, in Turkey. He provided an update on the humanitarian situation on the ground, especially in northern Syria.
Also, Charles North, the acting Chief Executive Officer of the Global Partnership for Education briefed reporters on the impact of the pandemic on education