In recent days, the United Nations, including the Secretary-General, has been involved in multiple initiatives to avoid an escalation of the situation in the Buffer Strip in the Guerguerat area and to warn against violations of the ceasefire and of the serious consequences of any changes to the status quo.
The Secretary-General regrets that these efforts have proved unsuccessful and expresses his grave concern regarding the possible consequences of the latest developments.
The Secretary-General remains committed to doing his utmost to avoid the collapse of the ceasefire that has been in place since 6 September 1991 and he is determined to do everything possible to remove all obstacles to the resumption of the political process.
The UN Mission, MINURSO, is committed to continuing implementing its mandate and the Secretary-General calls on the parties to provide full freedom of movement for MINURSO in accordance with its mandate.
The Deputy Secretary-General is in Mali for a second day. This morning, she travelled to Mopti, in central Mali, where she visited the project called “Femmes engagees”, which provides training and promotes women’s economic empowerment. She had discussions with some of the women who benefited from the project that is supported by the United Nations. She also toured the project site including stands of some of the products emerging from women entrepreneurs.
Later in the day, in Bamako, she visited the UN Medical Care Camp, outfitted as a COVID-19 clinic. She also met with UN Staff and had exchanges with a group of partners, including women and young people.
In a few minutes, she is scheduled to meet with the Vice-President of Mali on the unfolding inclusive transition and development process.
Tomorrow, she will travel to Sierra Leone.
The UN Acting Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Pramila Patten, and the Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect, Karen Smith, have expressed deep concern over reports of escalating ethnic tensions in Ethiopia and recent military clashes in the Tigray region, in which many civilians have allegedly been killed.
The two have received reports of incidents of ethnically and religiously motivated hate speech, incitement to violence and serious human rights violations - including arbitrary arrests, killings, displacement of populations and the destruction of property in various parts of the country. They strongly condemned reports of targeted attacks against civilians based on their ethnicity or religion.
The two senior officials noted that stigmatization of certain ethnic groups, including the Tigray, Amhara, Somali as well as the Oromo, among others, has significantly contributed to ethnic intolerance in the country.
The United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect stands ready and offers its support to the Ethiopian authorities and relevant stakeholders to counter and address hate speech and prevent incitement to violence in the country.
Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, also expressed her increasing alarm at the rapidly deteriorating situation in the Ethiopian region of Tigray. She warned that if Tigray regional forces and Ethiopian Government forces continue down the path they are on, there is a risk this situation will spiral totally out of control.
She said that, while the details of the alleged mass killings reported by Amnesty International in Mai-Kadra in south-west Tigray have not yet been fully verified, there should be a full inquiry.
The UN Refugee Agency expressed its concern about the worsening security situation, which we’ve been flagging.
According to UN estimates, violence by armed groups in the Cabo Delgado province has uprooted at least 355,000 people since 2017.
Humanitarian agencies, including UNHCR, have provided food, water, and hygiene services but more needs to be done urgently due to new arrivals in the Pemba area. Access to some areas remains limited due to violence and insecurity, they added.
The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, also expressed herself on the situation, calling on all actors to take urgent measures to protect civilians in the Cabo Delgado province saying the situation is desperate, both for those trapped in conflict-affected areas - with barely any means of surviving - and for those displaced across the province and beyond.
In support of those Governments’ response efforts, the UN along with its partners are seeking US$95 million to help nearly 675,000 people in need after the series of tropical cyclones that have hit the region since early October.
32.5 million people have been impacted and more than 2.7 million people in the Philippines, Viet Nam, and Cambodia are in urgent need of assistance. They need water, sanitation, access to health care, as well as shelter, food, education, and support to help rebuild their lives and livelihoods.
The Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta launched today the UN COVID-19 health facility at the Nairobi Hospital, which has been built in record time, taking only four months. The 100-bed facility is a model of public-private partnership where the UN joined with the Government and the Nairobi Hospital to respond to the pandemic and treat humanitarian workers and others.
The Secretary-General said that Nairobi holds a special place for the UN as it provides operation services for over 150 countries, making it a destination of choice for the emergency medical treatment for all humanitarian workers across Africa.
A new report released today by the UN Environment Programme and its partners says that conserving 30 per cent of land in strategic locations could safeguard 500 gigatonnes of carbon stored in vegetation and soils – that’s half the world’s vulnerable terrestrial carbon stocks – and reduce the risk of extinction of nine out of 10 threatened terrestrial species.
On Tuesday, the Sanitation and Hygiene Fund, a new financial mechanism to drive billions of dollars into the sanitation sector, will be launched.
The Deputy Secretary-General will speak at the event and will point to the need to dramatically scale up investments to reach everyone with sanitation. The event will be moderated by broadcaster Zeinab Badawi.
SENIOR PERSONNEL APPOINTMENT
Today the Secretary-General is appointing Ms. Khalida Bouzar of Algeria as the next Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the Regional Bureau for Arab States in the United Nations Development Programme.
She succeeds Mourad Wahba, who is currently serving as the Associate Administrator ad interim at UNDP, and Sarah Poole of the United States, who is currently serving as Officer-in-Charge of the Regional Bureau for Arab States. Ms. Bouzar has been at the International Fund for Agricultural Development since 2012.
This week, peacekeepers in Lebanon provided personal protective equipment and medical supplies to social development centres in South-East Lebanon that will benefit 17 villages.
Meanwhile in Kosovo, the Mission there, along with UNICEF and local NGOs, organized a competition entitled “UNited Youth vs. COVID-19”. The event aimed to foster youth-led solutions to many pandemic-related challenges through inter-cultural and inter-ethnic dialogue and cooperation, combating stereotypes, improving economic empowerment and inclusion of youth with disability.
NOON BRIEFING GUEST MONDAY
On Monday, the guest will be the President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Mr. Munir Akram, who is also the Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations.