HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
FRIDAY, 22 JUNE 2018
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO MEET WITH U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
- The Secretary-General will travel to Washington, D.C. tomorrow for a bilateral meeting with US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo.
- That meeting will be followed by a luncheon as part of the Inaugural Portuguese American National Conference.
- The Secretary-General will return to New York later that day.
U.N. YEMEN ENVOY IN TALKS WITH PARTIES TO AVOID MILITARY ESCALATION IN HODEIDAH
- Martin Griffiths, the Special Envoy for Yemen, said in a statement that he is continuing his consultations with all parties to avoid further military escalation in Hodeidah, which he fears would have severe political and humanitarian consequences.
- The Special Envoy’s priority now is to avoid a military confrontation in Hodeidah and to swiftly return to political negotiations.
- He said he was encouraged by the constructive engagement of the Ansar Allah leadership in Sana’a and he looks forward to his upcoming meetings with President Hadi and the Government of Yemen. He is confident that an agreement can be reached to avert any escalation of violence in Hodeidah.
- A week after fighting began in the port city of Hodeidah, hundreds of thousands of civilians remain at serious risk, according to the Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, Lise Grande.
- She says that cholera is top of the list of concerns right now. Hodeidah was one of the epicentres of last year’s cholera outbreak, one of the worst in modern history.
- Meanwhile, twenty-five percent of children in Hodeidah are suffering from acute malnutrition. If nutritional support from humanitarian partners is disrupted, the lives of almost 100,000 children will be at risk.
- The United Nations considers Yemen the worst humanitarian crisis in the world and has called on all parties to the conflict to do everything possible to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, including the port of Hodeidah, which is the main entry point for humanitarian assistance into the country.
U.N. ALARMED BY REPORTS OF ATTACKS IN SYRIA’S IDLEB
- The United Nations is alarmed by reports of two consecutive vehicle-borne improvised explosions yesterday in Idleb city in Syria, which killed eight people including a child, and wounded 40 others.
- An estimated 2.5 million people live in Idleb Governorate, nearly half who have been displaced by violence and are in need of humanitarian assistance.
- The United Nations strongly condemns attacks targeting civilians, aid workers and humanitarian infrastructure; and continues to call on all parties, and those with influence over them, to ensure the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure in line with their obligations under international humanitarian law.
SENIOR U.N. PEACEKEEPING OFFICIAL WRAPS UP VISIT TO CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
- The Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Bintou Keita, wrapped up her visit to the Central African Republic today, where she reiterated the United Nations’ full support to the peace process led by the African Union and to the UN Mission’s efforts.
- Ms. Keita expressed support for the national authorities and their efforts to stabilize the country, including through a gradual extension of State authority beyond Bangui. She met with the President, the Prime Minister, the first Vice President of the National Assembly, as well as with civil society, including women groups and religious leaders. She also met with international partners, including the Special Representative of the African Union and the Representative of the Economic Community of Central African States.
- Ms. Keita also visited Bambari where she met with civil society, religious leaders, as well as the armed groups. The visit takes place in a sensitive context after the resurgence of violence in April-May.
NEW HUNGARIAN LEGISLATION THREATENS SAFETY OF REFUGEES, MIGRANTS - U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF
- The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, has condemned the decision by the Hungarian Parliament to pass legislation that criminalizes individuals and groups deemed to be supporting asylum-seekers, refugees and undocumented migrants.
- He recognized the responsibility of the Hungarian State to govern its borders, but added that this legislation threatens the safety and human rights of migrants and refugees, as well as the vital work of NGOs and human rights defenders providing protection and assistance to them.
VENEZUELA: U.N. REPORT SPOTLIGHTS IMPUNITY PROBLEM AMID SERIOUS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS
- The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights published a report today which spotlights the failure of Venezuelan authorities to hold accountable perpetrators of serious human rights violations.
- The report documents credible accounts of extrajudicial killings in the course of purported crime-fighting operations carried out since 2015, known as the Operations for the Liberation of the People (OLPs).
- Impunity also appears to be pervasive in favour of security officers allegedly responsible for the killing of at least 46 people during protests last year.
- Civil society organizations working on human rights issues also continue to face severe legal restrictions, smear campaigns, threats and harassment, as well as accusations of terrorism, treason and other crimes.
- The report also looks at the grave impact of the economic and social crisis in the country on the rights to food and health.
- As the Venezuelan Government has not granted the Human Rights Office access to the country despite repeated requests, and given the scale and scope of violations, High Commissioner Zeid has recommended that the Human Rights Council establish a Commission of Inquiry into the situation in Venezuela.