HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
TUESDAY, 3 JULY 2018
 
UP TO 330,000 PEOPLE FORCED TO FLEE SYRIA’S DARA’A – U.N. RELIEF WING

  • The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that intense air and ground-based strikes have reportedly continued in multiple areas in Syria’s Dara’a Governorate, resulting in the death and injury of civilians and the largest displacement in the area since the conflict began. 
  • OCHA says that an estimated 270,000 to 330,000 people have been displaced, including some 60,000 at the Nasib/Jaber border crossing.  Estimates are subject to change as numbers continue be verified and frontlines shift.
  • The situation of internally displaced people at the Jordanian border is precarious, aggravated by dusty desert winds and high temperatures of up to 45 degrees Celsius. Local sources report that at least twelve children, two women, and one elderly man died in areas close to the Jordanian border due to scorpion bites, dehydration and diseases transmitted through contaminated water.
  • We continue to call on all parties and those with influence over them to facilitate safe, sustained and unimpeded humanitarian access to all in need in line with obligations under international humanitarian law.
  • The UN Human Rights Office urges all parties to the conflict to protect civilians in southwestern Syria, and to protect those attempting to flee.
  • It calls on the international community, in particular countries of the region with the financial ability to host large numbers of refugees, to take in fleeing civilians from Syria. The Human Rights Office recognises that Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey have long hosted a large number of refugees, particularly from Syria, since the beginning of the Syrian conflict. It has been heartening to see many people in these countries doing what they can to call on their governments to keep the border open, and to gather food and water for Syrian refugees.
  • The Human Rights Office calls on the Jordanian Government to keep its border open and for other countries in the region to step up and receive the fleeing civilians.
U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICE VOICES CONCERN OVER POTENTIAL ISRAELI DEMOLITION OF PALESTINIAN BEDOUIN COMMUNITY
  • The UN Human Rights Office said that it is deeply concerned at reports that the Palestinian Bedouin community of Khan al Ahmar-Abu al Helu is set to be demolished by the Israeli authorities in the coming days. 
  • The community is home to 181 people, more than half of them children, and is one of the 46 Bedouin communities in the central West Bank that the UN views as being at high risk of forcible transfer due to an environment generated by Israeli practices and policies that coerces people and communities to move.  
AFGHANISTAN: SECRETARY-GENERAL SPEAKS OUT AGAINST SUICIDE ATTACK IN JALALABAD
  • In a statement issued yesterday, the Secretary-General condemned the 1 July suicide attack in Jalalabad City, Nangarhar Province, that killed at least 19 civilians and wounded 20 others, including children. The majority of victims belong to Afghanistan’s small Sikh and Hindu communities. The Secretary-General extended his deepest condolences to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured.
  • Any attack deliberately targeting civilians is unjustifiable and in clear violation of international law. The Secretary-General urged all parties to uphold their obligation to protect civilians, including minority communities, and cease targeting civilians and civilian facilities.
  • The United Nations stands with the people and Government of Afghanistan as they strive for peace and reconciliation for their country.
U.N. RELIEF CHIEF BEGINS HAITI VISIT
  • Today, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock arrived in Haiti for a two-day mission.
  • He is scheduled to meet with Government officials, humanitarian partners, and people in need of humanitarian assistance and protection.
NEW DEPUTY CHIEF OF U.N. LIBYA MISSION APPOINTED
  • The Secretary-General yesterday appointed Stephanie T. Williams of the United States of America as his Deputy Special Representative for Political Affairs in Libya, with United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).
  • Ms. Williams was formerly Chargé d’Affaires, ad interim at the United States Embassy in Tripoli.  She brings more than 24 years of experience in Government and International Affairs, including as Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Missions in Iraq, Jordan and Bahrain.
SECRETARY-GENERAL SELECTS NEW HEAD OF U.N. MILITARY OBSERVER GROUP IN INDIA AND PAKISTAN
  • Today, the Secretary-General has announced the appointment of Major General José Eladio Alcaín of Uruguay as Head of Mission and Chief Military Observer for the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP).
  • Major General Alcaín will succeed Major General Per Gustaf Lodin of Sweden, who will complete his two-year assignment in July 2018. The Secretary-General is grateful to Major General Lodin for his contribution to UN peacekeeping efforts.
  • Major General Alcaín has had a distinguished career with the Uruguayan Army since 1977.  Most recently, since 2015 he has held the position of Director of the National Health Service of the Armed Forces.
U.N. FOOD STANDARDS BODY MEETS IN ROME
  • This week in Rome, the UN food standards body Codex Alimentarius Commission is meeting to adopt food safety and quality standards. The Codex Alimentarius is a joint initiative of the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization and it is tasked with protecting consumer health and ensuring fair practices in the food trade.
  • The decisions taken this week are being published each day on the FAO website and they concern things like the amount of food additives and use of pesticides, as well as processing of various types of products.
U.N.’S NEW YORK HEADQUARTERS CLOSED ON 4 JULY
  • UN Headquarters will be closed on 4 July, a US holiday.