HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
TUESDAY, 26 SEPTEMBER 2016
ON INTERNATIONAL DAY, U.N. CHIEF STRESSES NEED TO ACHIEVE A WORLD FREE OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS
- Today is the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.
- In his remarks to the high-level plenary meeting to mark the Day, the Secretary-General said that in recent months, the dangers posed by nuclear weapons have been forcefully driven home, and added that ensuring that we achieve a nuclear free world is more urgent than ever.
- “It is true that we live in challenging circumstances,” he said, “but this can be no excuse for walking away from our shared responsibility to seek a more peaceful international society.”
- He once again condemned the series of nuclear and missile tests conducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea & welcomed the Security Council’s firm action on the situation as well as its desire for a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution. He added that there’s a need for inclusive dialogue, renewed international cooperation and, practical measures for irreversible, verifiable and universal nuclear disarmament.
NUMBER OF ROHINGYA REFUGEES TOPS 480,000 – U.N.
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that the number of Rohingya refugees who have fled Myanmar to Bangladesh since late August has topped 480,000. This brings the total number of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh to more than 700,000 people.
- The UN and its partners continue to provide assistance to these refugees. As part of its contribution to the response led by the Bangladeshi authorities, a Boeing 777 cargo jet chartered by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) carrying 100 metric tons of urgently-needed shelter supplies landed in Dhaka early this morning. Two more aid flights are being scheduled.
- Despite the efforts being made on the ground, the massive influx of people seeking safety is outpacing the capacity to respond. Many of those who recently arrived are deeply traumatized.
- At the request of authorities in Bangladesh, UNHCR and its partners have scaled up protection and life-saving support to the new arrivals in Kutupalong and Nayapara camps. UNHCR is also distributing emergency shelter kits, kitchen sets, jerry cans, sleeping mats, solar lamps, and other supplies.
- During his visit to Bangladesh over the weekend, High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi discussed the importance of working with Bangladeshi authorities. He emphasized that, for now, the immediate focus has to remain on fast, efficient and substantial increase of support to those who are so desperately in need.
- For its part, the World Food Programme (WFP) has enrolled 460,000 people to receive 25 kilograms of rice every two weeks for the next six months. More than 200,000 people have received an emergency supply of high-energy biscuits.
- WFP is especially concerned about the health of women and children arriving hungry and malnourished, and has provided nearly 60,000 of them with fortified food to date.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has helped to set up a Control Room for the Bangladeshi Health Ministry’s operations in Cox’s Bazar. This Control Room will monitor the health situation, provide early warning alerts and coordinate the work of health workers on the ground.
NEW U.N. MISSION BEGINS ACTIVITIES IN COLOMBIA
- Today, the UN Verification Mission in Colombia started its activities in support of the peace process between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People's Army (FARC-EP). Its mandate is to verify the implementation by the parties of both reintegration and security guarantees.
- The Verification Mission succeeds the UN Mission in Colombia, which completed its mandate yesterday, following the successful tripartite monitoring and verification of the cease-fire and the cessation of hostilities. That Mission also had a specific role in overseeing the laying-down-of-arms process of the FARC-EP.
- The previous mission, in a statement, provided a full list of all the weapons, ammunition explosives and mines that they collected. This represents a total of 8,994 arms, 1,765,862 rounds of ammunition, 38,255 kg of explosives, 11,015 grenades, 3,528 antipersonnel mines, 46,288 electric detonation caps, 4,370 mortar rounds, and 51.911 metres of detonating cord and fuses.
- Following the laying down of arms, the FARC-EP has transformed from a guerrilla organization into a new political party. The reintegration phase of former FARC members is now underway.
SECRETARY-GENERAL’S SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR SOUTH SUDAN BRIEFS SECURITY COUNCIL
- The Security Council met on South Sudan this morning. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General, David Shearer, briefed Council members on the situation in the country, and will brief the press at 2 p.m.
U.N. WARNS SITUATION IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC IS DETERIORATING
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today that the situation in the western part of the Central African Republic has deteriorated again since the beginning of this month. Armed groups have taken over several localities, including the cities of Bocaranga and Niem, and the ensuing confrontations have caused a large number of displacements. The vast majority of the inhabitants of Bocaranga and Niem took refuge in the bush where they cannot access humanitarian assistance.
- The Humanitarian Coordinator in the Central African Republic, Najat Rochdi, warned that the operational capacities of the humanitarian community are already under intense pressure in a context marked by underfunding of aid. The simultaneous emergence of new outbreaks of tension in several regions will undoubtedly exacerbate the already fragile situation of thousands of displaced people and the communities that are barely recovering from repeated crises, she added.
U.N. OFFICIAL CODEMNS ATTACK THAT KILLED ISRAELI POLICEMAN AND SECURITY GUARDS
- Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, condemned the shooting attack today by a Palestinian in the Har Adar settlement, in which one Israeli policeman and two security guards were killed, and another was seriously wounded. His thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of all victims and he hopes for a full and speedy recovery of the wounded.
- Mr. Mladenov said that it is deplorable that Hamas and others continue to glorify such attacks, which undermine the possibility of a peaceful future for both Palestinians and Israelis. He urges all to condemn violence and stand up to terror.
U.N. MIGRATION AGENCY CALLS ON EUROPEAN COUNTRIES TO KEEP UP REFUGEE RELOCATION EFFORTS
- In Brussels, the Director General of the UN Migration Agency William Lacy Swing called on European countries to continue the European Union emergency relocation programme without interruption. The programme was set two years ago to relocate some 106,000 asylum seekers that arrived in Greece and Italy and while today is its final day of registration, countries have until the end of the year to carry out relocations.
- According to the IOM, Germany, France , The Netherlands, Sweden and Finland have welcomed the highest number of relocated asylum seekers. In contrast, Hungary and Poland have not participated despite their legal obligation, while Austria and the Czech Republic have received less than 1 per cent of their quota.
- Mr. Lacy Swing also expressed concern that only 14 EU countries have welcome unaccompanied children, who should have been prioritized throughout the programme. He added that the IOM is ready to assist countries to complete their relocation pledges.
U.N. CALLS FOR BROADER CATTLE VACCINATION IN EASTERN EUROPE AND THE BALKANS
- The Food and Agriculture Organization called today for broader cattle vaccination to keep lumpy skin disease at bay in Eastern Europe and the Balkans.
- Lumpy skin disease is a cattle pox virus transmitted by biting insects that can be deadly for cattle but does not affect humans.
- The disease used to be confined to Africa only. In 2013, it emerged in Turkey and then quickly spread through nine countries in Eastern Europe and the Balkans.
- At the height of the disease’s spread in Europe, countries hit by lumpy skin disease registered up to 200 outbreaks, which have led to significant economic losses – due to drops in milk production and reduced quality of skins – and the death of up to around 15 percent of the affected herds.
PRESIDENT OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO BRIEF PRESS AT 4 P.M.
- The President of the General Assembly will hold a press conference at 4pm. He will have an announcement to make.
- He will also share his observations from the General Debate, outline what was achieved and lay out his expectations for the rest of the session.
SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS PAYS BUDGET DUES IN FULL
- Today Saint Kitts and Nevis have become the 133rd Member State to join the honour roll having paid its regular budget dues in full.