HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
MONDAY, 15 AUGUST 2016
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS SCHOOL ATTACK IN YEMEN
- The Secretary-General condemns the attack, reported to have been an airstrike, on a school in the Sa'ada governorate of northern Yemen on 13 August. The attack killed at least 10 children and injured many more.
- The Secretary-General notes with dismay that civilians, including children, continue to bear the brunt of increased fighting and military operations in Yemen. He calls for a swift investigation of this tragic event and urges the parties to take all necessary measures to prevent further violations of international humanitarian law and human rights and do everything in their power to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure.
- The Secretary-General reiterates that there is no military solution to the crisis in Yemen. He calls upon the parties to renew -- without delay and in good faith -- their engagement with his Special Envoy for Yemen in pursuit of a negotiated solution.
TWO MILLION PEOPLE IN NEED OF ASSISTANCE IN ALEPPO: U.N
- The United Nations remains deeply concerned over the plight of up to 2 million people in need of assistance across Aleppo city and for those in the surrounding countryside.
- The humanitarian situation in Aleppo is dire, including in the east of the city where between 250,000 to 275,000 people remain trapped following the July closure of the Castello Road, the last remaining access route in and out of the area. And the situation is also bad in Government controlled areas in the west, where between 1.2 AND 1.5 million people live, as well as in the surrounding suburbs and neighbouring countryside which have continued to suffer from attacks.
- Hostilities persisted over the weekend, including airstrikes and barrel bomb attacks on three medical facilities in Aleppo governorate. Airstrikes reportedly struck a paediatric hospital in Big Orem, and Al-Huda hospital in Hor on 13 and 14 of August. In eastern Aleppo city, several rockets reportedly struck the area in the vicinity of Al-Quds hospital in Al-Sukari neighbourhood on 14 August.
- In the absence of a ceasefire, the UN continues to call for a weekly 48-hour humanitarian pause in the fighting to provide assistance to those cut off from aid across the city to receive food, water, and other life-saving assistance.
U.N. IRAQ ENVOY CONDEMNS KILLING OF JOURNALIST IN KURDISTAN REGION
- The Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations for Iraq, Gyorgy Busztin, strongly condemned the brutal killing of a journalist, Widad Hussein Ali, in Dohuk City in Kurdistan Region of Iraq, and called on the Government of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq to implement urgent measures to guarantee the safety of all journalists and media professionals.
- Mr. Busztin said that he was deeply disturbed by the killing of this journalist. Such an act appears to be part of a growing pattern of threats, intimidation and violence being directed against journalists and other media professionals in carrying out their duties in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
- He called upon the Government of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq to ensure that this crime is urgently and thoroughly investigated and that the perpetrators are held accountable according to law.
- Also on Iraq, our humanitarian colleagues inform us that military operations have reportedly intensified in Ninewa and Salah Al-Din governorates. Approximately 900 displaced people have arrived in Haj Ali, south of Al Qayyarah in Ninewa, where they are being sheltered in a school and have received some assistance from a local NGO, according to humanitarian sources. Access for humanitarian partners is extremely difficult due to the ongoing military operations in the zone.
U.N. DETAINS ARMED CONVOY IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
- The UN Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) reports that on 13 August, MINUSCA forces stopped a convoy of approximately 35 heavily armed men in seven vehicles 50 km south of Sibut.
- The convoy had exchanged fire with national security forces at several checkpoints, resulting in a number of deaths and injuries.
- After MINUSCA’s demand that all weapons and munitions be surrendered was rejected, a stand-off ensued for several hours. Members of the convoy fled into the surrounding bush but MINUSCA captured and detained ten armed men, who were taken to the Mission’s military base in Sibut. MINUSCA recovered a significant quantity of weapons and munitions.
- MINUSCA has remained in contact with the Government throughout this episode and sought to deploy a joint team of governmental authorities, with MINUSCA support, to handle the situation in accordance with the rule of law.
- The UN Mission reiterates its appeal to all armed groups and militias to adhere to the disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and repatriation (DDRR) process initiated by President Touadéra and encourages all Central Africans to prioritise dialogue.
U.N. CONDEMNS KILLINGS IN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
- The Special Representative of the Secretary-General Democratic Republic of the Congo, Maman Sambo Sidikou, yesterday condemned the killing of civilians that took place in the village of Rwangoma in the area of Beni during the night of 13 August. 36 people reportedly lost their lives in the attack believed to have been carried out by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).
- Mr. Sidikou presented his condolences to the families of the victims and the Congolese people and reiterated the support of the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) to the Congolese Armed Forces and the Congolese National Police to protect civilian populations in Beni.
- In response to the news of the attack, MONUSCO has reinforced its military deployment in Beni town and the affected areas, increased its police patrolling, and deployed teams to gather further information. MONUSCO is also closely coordinating with local authorities, the police and the army in the Beni area and undertaking deployments to prevent further attacks against civilians.
- The UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region, Said Djinnit, also said that this attack would “not deter from the collective determination to neutralize all negative forces that continue to cause sorrow and atrocities in eastern DRC”. He stressed the urgency to implement the commitments of the Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) Framework.
SWITZERLAND AGAIN TOPS INNOVATION LIST: U.N.
- Switzerland once again leads the world in innovation, according to the global innovation index released today
- The index, compiled by the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organization, (WIPO), and partners, ranks the innovation performance of 128 countries and economies, based on 82 indicators.
- This year’s edition explored the impact of innovation-oriented policies on economic growth and development.
- Switzerland was number one last year too.
- Joining the top 25 for the first time this year, is China.