HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC
 
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
 
TUESDAY, 14 JANUARY 2020

 
YEMEN
The Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, is in Washington DC today as well as tomorrow for meetings with US officials. He will then proceed to New York, where he is going to brief the Security Council on Thursday on the situation in Yemen.
The Special Envoy is coming to the US from Riyadh, where he met with Yemeni President Mansour Hadi. He was previously in Muscat, Oman where he met with the head of the Ansar Allah delegation to the political process, Mohamed Abdul Salam.
 
PHILIPPINES
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs as well as the International Organization for Migration have teams on the ground near the erupting Taal volcano, some 70 kilometres south of Manila.
More than 350 volcanic earthquakes have been recorded near Taal today with more than 38,000 people having been relocated so far to over 200 evacuation centres. The UN is concerned about warnings issued by the authorities that the current volcanic activity could last days, months or even years.
UN teams are visiting evacuation centres and supporting authorities by reviewing their needs. The Government has officially requested the United Nations’ support in procuring face masks.
 
LIBYA
The International Organization for Migration is reporting a sudden increase in the number of migrants leaving Libya.
More than 1,000 people have left the country by sea since January 1st.
Over 950 of them, including 136 women and 85 children, were returned to Libyan shores and taken to detention centres, mostly in Tripoli.
The migrants who spoke to IOM staff said the escalation in hostilities in and around the capital, and the deteriorating humanitarian situation were the main reasons they had attempted to leave. 
IOM says the increase in departures is especially alarming given the limited search and rescue capacity in the Mediterranean. They also called, once again, for the dismantling of the detention system, and the orderly release of migrants.
Alternative solutions that safeguard lives must be found, said IOM, to alleviate the suffering of thousands of men, women, and children who are held in inhumane conditions.  
 
SUDAN
The Refugee Response Plan for Sudan was launched today in Khartoum.
The UN Refugee Agency and more than 30 other partners will take part in the plan, which calls for $477 million to help more than 900,000 refugees and nearly a quarter million of their Sudanese hosts.
The call for funding comes at a time when Sudan is undergoing a historical political transition and severe economic crisis, and the country requires international solidarity to achieve peace and stability.
Sudan has long hosted refugees and asylum-seekers, but also struggles with internal displacement, with UNHCR helping some 1.9 million people uprooted in the country.
 
DARFUR
The head of the joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur visited a camp for internally displaced people in El Geneina following the recent deadly intercommunal clashes.
The Joint Special Representative Jeremiah Mamabolo expressed his deep regret at the damage to the camp, which is now deserted.
He said that the clashes are a stark reminder to the involved communities that violent means of resolving dispute can only lead to a lose-lose situation. He encouraged the leaders and members of local communities to always engage in meaningful dialogue to resolve their differences.
 
COLOMBIA
The UN Human Rights Office today said it is deeply troubled by the number of human rights defenders killed in the country last year. The Human Rights Office’s records show that 107 activists were killed last year in Colombia, and 13 additional cases are still in the process of verification.
In 2018, there were 115 killings, and the UN Human Rights Office says this trend is set to continue with at least 10 human rights defenders already reportedly killed during the first 13 days of this year.
The UN renewed its call on the Government to make a strenuous effort to prevent attacks on people defending fundamental rights and to investigate each and every case and to prosecute those responsible for these violations.
 
LUXEMBOURG
Luxembourg and the United Nations have announced a new agreement in support the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali.
The Department of Operational Support says Luxembourg peacekeepers deployed in Mali will now provide a secure satellite link between the Mission Sector locations in Mali, for an initial period that will run through the end of February 2022. 
Atul Khare, Under-Secretary-General for Operational Support welcomed the agreement and said it showcases the benefits of collaborative engagement between the UN and Member States.
 
CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY
This Saturday, the UN Chamber Music Society of the United Nations Staff Recreation Council will perform a concert to support the ongoing relief and recovery efforts in Australia in the face of the bushfires. All funds raised will be directed to the Australian Red Cross.
The concert will take place on Saturday, 18 January, from 6 pm to 7:00 pm at the All Saints Episcopal Church on East 60th Street.