HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
MONDAY, 13 AUGUST 2018
U.N. REPORTS HEAVY TOLL ON CIVILIANS OVER THE WEEKEND IN NORTHWESTERN SYRIA
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that ongoing hostilities in northwestern Syria have exacted a heavy toll on the civilian population. At least 134 people, including many children, were reportedly killed over the weekend in Idleb, Hama and Aleppo Governorates.
- Yesterday, at least 59 civilians were reportedly killed, 17 of them children, when a weapons and ammunition depot exploded in a residential building near Sarmada town in northern rural Idleb Governorate.
- Meanwhile, UNICEF reports that in the past 36 hours, 28 children were reported killed in Idleb and western Aleppo in northern Syria. Three UNICEF-supported health facilities were attacked. Two of them - providing aid to women and children - are now out of service.
- Education authorities reportedly suspended all school activities in Khan Shaykun, Maarrat An Numan and Kafr Nobol in Idleb for three days due to hostilities.
- We remind all parties to the conflict of their obligation to protect all civilians and civilian objects, including schools and health facilities; and to allow safe, sustained and unimpeded humanitarian access to all in need in compliance with international humanitarian law.
AFGHANISTAN: U.N. MISSION WELCOMES PROGRESS TOWARD PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS
- The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) today welcomed the recent progress made toward Afghanistan’s parliamentary polls, including candidate vetting and other preparations required for printing ballots on schedule, as testament to Afghanistan’s successful ownership of the electoral process.
- The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto, said that while preparations for the October 20 elections are on track, all parties must perform their respective roles to ensure the necessary timelines and conditions are met.
- He added that the UN remains committed to working with Afghan institutions as they implement reforms to enhance transparency and build trust in Afghanistan’s democratic processes, including by promoting the participation of women as voters and as candidates.
U.N. RELIEF AGENCY CALLS TO PROTECT LIVES OF CIVILIANS AFTER HEAVY FIGHTING IN GHAZNI, AFGHANISTAN
- In Afghanistan, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that heavy fighting in Ghazni city in the past three days, has resulted in more than 100 civilian casualties.
- Communications networks and electricity supply are currently down in the city resulting in water shortages, and food is also reportedly running low.
- The UN has called on all parties to the conflict to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect the lives and rights of civilians and to protect civilian infrastructure, and has reiterated its readiness to respond once the security situation allows.
NEW U.N. REPORT DETAILS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS DURING 2016-2017 ELECTORAL PROCESS IN SOMALIA
- A new UN report has urged Somalia to build on the significant gains made in its peace process in the last five years and take steps to ensure future elections are not marred by the human rights violations and abuses committed during the 2016-2017 electoral process.
- The report, which was released by the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR), details human rights violations and abuses by State security forces, including the police and intelligence agencies, and non-State actors, among them Al Shabaab, before, during and after parliamentary and presidential elections held in late 2016 and early 2017. It also documents violent attacks on people during that time and says that to date, only two of the 44 documented killings have been investigated and prosecuted.
- Michael Keating, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia and head of UNSOM said that “Looking ahead to elections due in 2020-2021, we are urging the Government to establish a system of representation that is inclusive of all citizens, based on the one person, one vote principle.”
ERITREA MAKES FULL PAYMENT TO U.N. REGULAR BUDGET
- Today, Eritrea joins the ranks of the Honour Roll. Its full payment to the regular budget takes the tally of Member States to 118.