HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
THURSDAY, 2 MARCH 2017
U.N. RELIEF CHIEF WRAPS UP VISIT TO YEMEN, CALLING FOR $1.2 BILLION TO HELP 19 MILLION PEOPLE IN NEED
- Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O'Brien wrapped up his visit to Yemen, where he spent five days, his second in the past 15 months, to see for himself the situation on the ground.
- Speaking to journalists in Sana'a, Mr. O’Brien said nearly 19 million people in Yemen, roughly two-thirds of the population, need humanitarian or protection assistance. He added that seven million people in Yemen do not know where they will find their next meal.
- Mr. O'Brien warned that while the UN and its partners are ready to scale up the response, $1.2 billion of funding is needed. He added that getting the funds is not enough in itself – we also need all the parties to the conflict to immediately facilitate timely, full and unimpeded humanitarian access, at all times.
- Mr. O’Brien will now travel to northern Kenya and Somalia over the coming days, to see for himself the impact of drought and extreme food insecurity.
IN THE GAMBIA, TOP U.N. POLITICAL OFFICIAL VOICES ADMIRATION IN WAKE OF PEACEFUL TRANSITION
- Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeff Feltman, is wrapping up a visit to West Africa today that saw him visit Liberia, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Senegal and The Gambia.
- In The Gambia today, he told the press of the admiration in which the country and its new leadership is being held following the recent peaceful transition. In Banjul, Mr. Feltman met with President Adama Barrow, civil society representatives and the UN country team, among others, to assess the country's urgent needs and discuss the contours of the UN's support for The Gambia, with a focus, obviously, on sustaining peace.
- Meanwhile, the Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Miroslav Jenca, is in Tashkent, where today he confirmed the UN's support for the efforts of Uzbekistan and other countries in Central Asia to achieve mutually acceptable solutions to regional challenges, including trans-boundary water sharing through regional cooperation. Mr. Jenca has met with the President of Uzbekistan, among others, and he concludes his visit tomorrow.
U.N. MISSION SPOTLIGHTS PLIGHT OF MIGRANTS IN DETENTION CENTRES
- In response to questions about what the UN Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) is doing regarding the situation of migrants transiting through Libya, the Spokesman said that the Mission is following the issue, with the focus on migrants in detention centres.
- Last December, the Mission published a report jointly with the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the issue. It showed that the breakdown in the Libyan justice system has led to a state of impunity in which migrants are subject to serious human rights violations and abuse.
- The Mission, together with its UN agencies, regularly visits places of detention where migrants are held and is seeking to find alternatives to detention. In the meantime, the UN is supporting improvements in the conditions of detention in coordination with Libyan authorities.
U.N. MIDDLE EAST ENVOY SPEAKS OUT AGAINST ROCKET FIRING FROM GAZA TOWARDS ISRAEL
- Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, in a statement issued today, condemned the firing yesterday of a rocket from Gaza towards Israel. This is the third such incident in the past 30 days after a period of almost four months of quiet. Such provocations seek only to undermine peace, Mr. Mladenov said.
- He also called on all responsible parties to exercise maximum restraint, avoid escalation and prevent incidents that jeopardize the lives of Palestinians and Israelis.
NEW U.N.-BACKED REPORT URGES GREATER FOCUS ON WOMEN IN DRUG POLICIES
- Gender-sensitive drug policies and programmes, better health-care access for drug-dependent women and more funding to prevent and treat drug abuse among women are needed, according to the Annual Report 2016, which was released today by the Vienna-based International Narcotics Control Board (INCB).
- The report condemns the extrajudicial targeting of people suspected of illicit drug-related activity.
- It calls on States to abolish the death penalty for drug-related offences and encourages them to consider alternatives to imprisonment for minor drug-related offences.
NEW U.N. REPORT FINDS GLOBAL HARVESTS STRONG, BUT WARNS OF DROP IN FOOD ACCESS DUE TO CONFLICTS AND DROUGHT
- The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) released a new Crop Prospects and Food Situation report today.
- It shows that global harvests are strong, with cereal production making large strong gains in the world overall in 2016, a record recovery in Central America, and larger cereal crops in Asia, Europe and North America.
- However, access to food has been dramatically reduced in areas suffering civil conflicts, and drought conditions are worsening across parts of East Africa.
- Thirty-seven countries require external assistance for food, with 28 of them in Africa.
SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS MOROCCAN NATIONAL AS NEW DEPUTY HEAD OF U.N. MISSION IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
- The Secretary-General is announcing the appointment of Najat Rochdi of Morocco as his new Deputy Special Representative for the UN Peacekeeping Mission in the Central African Republic.
- She succeeds Fabrizio Hochschild, who as you know, joined the Secretary-General’s Executive Office. The Secretary-General is grateful for Mr. Hochshild’s service and steadfast commitment to support recovery, peacebuilding and humanitarian efforts in the Central African Republic.
- Ms. Rochdi, has extensive experience in development and humanitarian affairs, and has been serving as the UN Resident Coordinator, Humanitarian Coordinator in Cameroon since 2013.