HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STÉPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
FRIDAY, 19 JANUARY 2018
SECRETARY-GENERAL NAMES RENATA DWAN HEAD OF U.N. INSTITUTE FOR DISARMAMENT RESEARCH
- The Secretary-General is announcing the appointment of Renata Dwan of Ireland as Director of the UN Institute for Disarmament Research, known as UNIDIR. The Secretary-General is grateful to Jarmo Sareva of Finland for his dedication and commitment in leading the Institute since 2015.
- Ms. Dwan has a wealth of experience in peace and security issues within the United Nations, most recently as Chief of Policy and Best Practices in the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support.
SECRETARY-GENERAL HIGHLIGHTS NEED FOR REGIONAL COOPERATION IN AFGHANISTAN AND CENTRAL ASIA
- This morning, the Secretary-General spoke to Security Council members on the topic of building regional partnerships in Afghanistan and Central Asia. He said that countries in this region have made significant progress on sustainable development in recent decades, but stressed that they need each other if they are to achieve their full potential. The Secretary-General said he was encouraged by the increased multilateral cooperation that he witnessed during his visit to the region last June, particularly regarding efforts to better manage water resources, energy, and increase trade.
- However, he noted that security challenges remain, particularly in Afghanistan, and emphasized that the country’s fight against violent extremism, terrorism and transnational organized crime has implications for the entire region, and the world, but responding to these threats cannot be the responsibility of the Afghan Government alone, and reiterated the UN’s readiness to assist in promoting greater cooperation in the region.
SYRIA: U.N. ADVISERS VOICE CONCERN OVER IMPACT OF HOSTILITIES IN EASTERN GHOUTA AND IDLIB
- The United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, and the Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect, Ivan Simonovic, have expressed concern at the devastating impact of escalating hostilities in Eastern Ghouta and Idlib in Syria on civilians.
- The two Special Advisers said that all the parties to the Syrian conflict, as well as the international community, have a responsibility to protect civilians from atrocity crimes. They urged all stakeholders, including the Security Council, to condemn this violence, and urged the parties to the conflict to ensure that basic principles of humanitarian law are protected, in particular with regards to proportionality and distinction.
U.N. REITERATES CALL FOR ALL PORTS TO BE OPEN IN YEMEN
- In response to questions about the humanitarian situation in Yemen, the Spokesman said that we are in dialogue with the Coalition on the importance of keeping all ports open for all cargo. All ports in Yemen should remain open in order to facilitate the rapid entry and distribution of humanitarian and commercial imports across the country.
- Keeping the ports open is particularly important, as recent analysis by humanitarian partners indicates growing humanitarian needs among the population.
- In late 2016, partners estimated there were some 7 million Yemenis one step away from famine, but now, there are an estimated 8.4 million people at risk of starvation.
WRAPPING UP SOUTH SUDAN VISIT, HEAD OF U.N.I.C.E.F. SPOTLIGHTS ‘DEVASTATING’ IMPACT OF CONFLICT ON CHILDREN
- The Executive Director of UNICEF, Henrietta H. Fore, just concluded a two-day visit to South Sudan. She said that she saw first-hand how four years of conflict have left children sick, hungry and on the brink of death and that the impact of the relentless violence has been devastating.
- Last year, working with partners, UNICEF vaccinated nearly 1.8 million children against measles, treated more than 180,000 children against severe acute malnutrition, and helped 300,000 children access education.
- But Ms. Fore said this is far from enough as the fighting shows no sign of abating and the humanitarian needs are massive. She warned that an entire generation of young people are denied the opportunities they desperately need to contribute to building their society.
U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICE VOICES CONCERN OVER RISK OF UNREST IN HONDURAS
- The UN Human Rights Office today said it is concerned about the risk of heightened unrest in Honduras, as tensions continue following the disputed presidential election in November. Some 22 people have been killed during post-electoral protests, mostly civilians.
- The UN Office called all political parties, media and civil society representatives to refrain from any statements that may be interpreted as an incitement to violence. It also urged the Government to avoid using the military police and armed forces to police demonstrations, and added that there should be full public accountability for any use of lethal force, which should be strictly restricted to the protection of life, in accordance with international human rights law.
U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY CONCERNED OVER PLIGHT OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN FLEEING CAMEROON FOR NIGERIA
- The UN Refugee Agency said today that with the number of people fleeing English-speaking areas of Cameroon for Nigeria growing, they are increasingly concerned at the plight of women and children among them.
- Women and children represent about 80 per cent of the approximately 10,000 refugees registered so far in eastern Nigeria’s Cross River state. Thousands more are among the population of unregistered Cameroonians in neighbouring states.
- UNHCR has received numerous reports that children have to work or beg to survive or to help their families. Many children are unable to attend school, as they lack the time and funds for education.
U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS WING WELCOMES ETHIOPIA’S DECISION TO RELEASE 115 DETAINEES
- The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights today welcomed Ethiopia’s decision to release 115 federal detainees on 17 January, including several leading political figures. The ruling Coalition has also indicated that cases against some 400 other detainees held at the regional level are being discontinued.
- The Human Rights Office said these are positive developments and urged the Government to continue to take steps to release individuals detained for expressing their political views.
LATVIA AND SWITZERLAND PAY FULL U.N. DUES
- Latvia and Switzerland have paid their regular budget dues in full, bringing the number of Member States that have done so to 11.