HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
WEDNESDAY, 9 OCTOBER 2019
The Secretary-General strongly condemns the attack that took place today on a synagogue in Halle, Germany, in which at least two people were reportedly killed. He regards this as yet another tragic demonstration of anti-Semitism - perpetrated on the holy day of Yom Kippur - which needs to be fought with the utmost determination.
The Secretary-General sends his deep condolences to the families of the victims, the Government and people of Germany. He wishes a swift recovery to those who were wounded in the attack.
In this context, the Secretary-General recalls the United Nations Plan of Action to Safeguard Religious Sites and calls for all governments to support that plan. Houses of worship around the world must be safe havens for reflection and peace, not sites of bloodshed and terror.
The Secretary-General is traveling to Copenhagen, Denmark, this evening.
Building on the momentum generated by last month’s Climate Action Summit, he will take part in the C40 World Mayors Summit to show his support for the tremendous efforts undertaken by cities, more than 100 of which committed to net zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the UN Summit in September.
The Secretary-General will deliver the keynote address at the C40 plenary session on Friday on the theme, “The future we want is inclusive – and climate action must lift everyone up.”
Tomorrow, the Secretary-General will participate in a working lunch with the Foreign Policy Committee of the Danish Parliament and will hold a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
This morning at the Security Council, the head of the UN Peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), Leila Zerrougui, highlighted positive dynamics that could lead the country towards stability and durable peace.
She pointed out regional diplomatic initiatives and the formation of a new Government, with an ambitious program to improve governance and promote economic development.
However, the Special Representative added, seizing these opportunities is not without risks, and must also translate into relief for the many Congolese who live in a state of insecurity, economic exclusion and dependency on humanitarian aid.
Among the current challenges that need to be addressed is the recent escalation of inter-communal and armed group violence that has led to significant population displacements in Ituri, North and South Kivu.
Ms. Zerrougui said the expression of support by the country’s partners to find common security responses to the situation in the East is timely and encouraging.
Regarding Ebola, the Special Representative said she is encouraged by the reduction of new cases in the past month. But, the battle is far from won, she warned.
The Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya, Yacoub El Hillo has condemned continued attacks on civilians in Libya and called for respect of international humanitarian law and the protection of civilians.
Attacks against medical facilities and health workers have been a growing phenomenon in the Libya conflict. So far this year, there have been 57 attacks on healthcare facilities, resulting in the death of 13 healthcare workers and injury of 47 others.
The Humanitarian Coordinator has urged international parties with influence in Libya to ensure respect for international humanitarian law and to do everything possible to protect civilians, especially children. The people of Libya deserve to live in peace and have a better future.
A special report by the UN Human Rights Office and the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) examines the impact on civilians of United States’ airstrikes on alleged drug-processing facilities on the 5th of May 2019 in Afghanistan’s Bakwa District, and verifies 39 casualties following that operation. Those casualties included 14 children and one woman, from multiple airstrikes on more than 60 sites that the United States Forces-Afghanistan identified as drug-production facilities. Moreover, the UN is working to verify credible reports of at least 37 additional civilian casualties, the majority of whom were women and children.
The report concludes that drug facilities and associated workers may not be lawfully made the target of attack and should be protected.
A new study led by the World Health Organization shows that more than one-third of women in four lower-income countries experienced mistreatment during childbirth in health facilities.
The study was carried out in Ghana, Guinea, Myanmar and Nigeria, and it found that 42 per cent of women who participated experienced physical or verbal abuse, stigma or discrimination. In addition, 14 per cent experienced physical abuse. There were also high rates of non-consensual caesarean sections, episiotomies and vaginal examinations.
Younger, less-educated women were found to be the most at risk of mistreatment.
In the study, WHO provides guidelines to hold health systems accountable and give training to healthcare providers to ensure that women are treated with compassion and dignity.
UNICEF will now be able to receive, hold and disburse donations of cryptocurrencies ether and bitcoin, through its newly-established UNICEF Cryptocurrency Fund. In a first for United Nations organizations, UNICEF will use cryptocurrencies to fund open source technology benefitting children and young people around the world.
In answer to a question we’ve been asked about a potential tripartite meeting on the issue of Cyprus to be hosted by the Secretary-General, no date or location has been confirmed.
Mozambique has paid its regular budget dues in full. This takes us to 130 Member States who have paid in full.