HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC

SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES

FRIDAY, 5 MARCH 2021

 

MYANMAR 
The Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, spoke virtually at this morning’s Security Council’s closed session on Myanmar. 
She told Council members that their unity is needed more than ever on Myanmar.   
The Envoy said that the people of Myanmar, including committed civil servants, are the real heroes and protectors of the nation’s democratic progress.   
But, she warned, the hope they have placed in the United Nations and its membership is waning.  
The Envoy stressed that we must be robust and timely in pushing for a stop to the violence and the restoration of Myanmar’s democratic institutions. We must denounce the actions by the military, which continue to severely undermine the principles of the United Nations and ignores our clear signals to uphold those principles. 
The UN Envoy noted that, since her briefing to the General Assembly a week ago, the military brutally unleashed its worst crackdown yet since the February 1st coup, killing a total of around 50 innocent and peaceful protestors while seriously injuring scores more.  
“It is critical that this Council is resolute and coherent in putting the security forces on notice and standing with the people of Myanmar firmly, in support of the clear November election results,” she added. 
There is an urgency for collective action.  How much more can we allow the Myanmar military to get away with, Ms. Schraner Burgener told Council Members. 
We must be clear: previous and current crimes will not go unpunished. Perpetrators of the past, and ongoing, serious violations of human rights will be held accountable through international mechanisms, she said. 

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC 
Yesterday in the Central African Republic, the UN Mission met with the commanders of several armed groups affiliated with the CPC, the Coalition des Patriotes pour le Changement. The meeting took place in Nana Bakassa, in the Ouham Prefecture.   
The Mission urged them to vacate a school and the Catholic Church buildings they have been occupying since December. This is in the context of recent elections-related violence. The UN Mission also sensitized the combatants on International Humanitarian Law and human rights actions.  
Meanwhile, in Barama Village, in Mbomou Prefecture, the UN Mission and the sub-Prefect launched a cash-for-work initiative, beginning with the selection of project recipients as part for the Community Violence Reduction programme.  
The Mission also continued their multifaced support of the preparations for the legislative elections of March 14th, including with the deployment of electoral materials to the regions, the training of polling agents [and] the provision of security.   

SUDAN 
Atul Khare, the Under-Secretary-General for Operational Support, is still in Sudan.  
In Darfur, he met with the local leaders of Central and North Darfur as well as other community leaders. He is seeking their support for a safe and orderly withdrawal of the UN Joint Peacekeeping mission there. Mr. Khare also discussed their priorities and plans for the civilian use of team sites as well as assets handed over by the Mission to the local government.  
During his visit, Mr. Khare symbolically decommissioned the UNAMID Zalingei Headquarters. He also paid tribute to the fallen UN and AU peacekeepers. It was agreed that there would be a gradual takeover of the Mission’s assets by Zalingei University.  
Mr. Khare also went to Sortony and El Fasher where, among other activities, he handed over a micro-dose mammogram machine to UNFPA.  

TOGO  
And the Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, will be in Togo from March 7th to the 9th.  He will visit at the invitation of the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, as well as the Malian authorities.  There, he will participate in the 2nd meeting of the Transition Support Group in Mali (GST-Mali) that will be held in Lomé, on the 8th of March. The meeting will focus on progress made in the implementation of the Transition Roadmap and the mobilization and coordination of international support to this end.    
Mr. Lacroix will use the opportunity to meet with Togolese officials to update them on peacekeeping issues.  He is expected to express his gratitude for the service and sacrifices of Togolese peacekeepers, particularly in Mali where one peacekeeper was killed and 27 others wounded in a complex attack on February 10th. 

SENEGAL 
The Head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Mohamed Ibn Chambas, deplores the acts of violence that have taken place over the past two days in several localities.  These resulted in the death of one person and many were injured.    
He calls on all actors to exercise restraint and urges the authorities to take the necessary measures to ease tensions and ensure the constitutional right to peaceful protest.   
Finally, Mr. Chambas also called on security forces to ensure the safety of demonstrators and property in a professional and lawful manner. 

COTE D’IVOIRE
In response to questions on the upcoming elections in Côte d’Ivoire, the Spokesman said the Secretary-General welcomes the meaningful political dialogue efforts which have paved the way for inclusive legislative elections on March 6th. He takes note that the electoral campaign took place in a calm environment. He encourages Ivorians to cast their votes in a peaceful manner. He further encourages them to build on the peaceful environment to strengthen national reconciliation efforts.  
We continue to support the electoral process with the provision of technical assistance to the Independent Electoral Commission, including capacity building, strategic communication and logistics support. 

MOZAMBIQUE 
UNFPA today launched a humanitarian appeal for $12 million to urgently provide life-saving sexual and reproductive health and protection services to 330,000 women, girls, and youth. They have been impacted by the humanitarian crisis in Cabo Delgado and the COVID-19 pandemic.  

IRAQ 
The Special Representative for Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, was present at the reception for Pope Francis this morning and will attend a Mass this weekend. The UN Mission in Iraq considers the Pope’s visit to be historic and of great importance for the country.  
Karim Khan, the Head of the UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL (UNITAD), also welcomed the Pope’s visit and the message it carries to all communities in Iraq who have suffered at the hands of Da’esh and other groups.
Meanwhile, UNESCO, said the Pope's forthcoming visit to the city of Mosul carries an important message of support and hope for people who had suffered through a violent and oppressive occupation by violent extremists.  
 
COVID-19/VACCINES 
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs today launched an online dashboard to track deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines in countries in humanitarian crisis.    
This will show the speed at which vaccines are rolled out in the 27 countries with Humanitarian Response Plans.  
It’s called the COVID-19 Data Explorer and it gives an overview of the impact of COVID and how many vaccine doses are allocated and delivered – either through COVAX or other means.
So far, 13 crisis countries have received over 12 million vaccine doses, but fewer than half a million doses are estimated to have been administered.  

MOLDOVA/ COVAX 
Moldova is the first European country to receive COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX.  
A first batch of 14,400 doses for medical and front-line personnel as well as people at high risk, arrived yesterday with UN support.   
The President of Moldova received the vaccines at an event attended by Resident Coordinator Simon Springett.  
The UN in Moldova continues to help authorities respond to the pandemic by helping to prepare the health system and providing technical support.  
 
TAJIKISTAN/COVID-19  
In Tajikistan, the UN team, led by the Resident Coordinator Sezin Sinanoglu, has been supporting the Government’s response to COVID-19, focusing on services to the most vulnerable.  
WHO is working with the authorities to contact-trace and test, while UNICEF provided medical and personal protective equipment and supplies to intensive care units.
The UN team also ensured maternal and reproductive health services continue to be provided, with the UN Population Fund to set up a telehealth system for more than 19,000 women.  
A national risk communication and community engagement campaign jointly run by UN agencies under the Spotlight Initiative has reached more than 2 million, focusing on COVID-19 infection prevention and control as well as on preventing violence against women. 
 
GUEST TODAY 
Vincent Martin, the UN Resident Coordinator in Guinea, was the guest at the noon briefing. He briefed reporters on the situation in Guinea, particularly on the challenges of the resurgence of Ebola during a COVID-19 pandemic.   

FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTION 
Tuvalu is 66th country to have paid its budget dues in full.