HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
MONDAY, 23 OCTOBER 2017
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO SPEND U.N. DAY WITH PEACEKEEPERS IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
- The Secretary-General will be leaving for the Central African Republic this afternoon. He will arrive in Bangui tomorrow, on United Nations Day. During his visit, he will meet with Government officials, civil society, political parties, and the diplomatic corps. He will also address the National Assembly.
- He will leave Bangui on Friday, 27 October.
AT PLEDGING CONFERENCE, U.N. APPEALS FOR $434 MILLION TO TACKLE ROHINGYA REFUGEE CRISIS
- There was a high-level pledging conference in Geneva to mobilize resources for the Rohingya refugee crisis response plan, which requires $434 million.
- The conference was co-chaired by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the UN Migration Agency and the UN Refugee Agency. It was co-hosted by the European Union and Kuwait.
- The Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, said in remarks at the conference that we are facing a massive refugee crisis demanding a comprehensive refugee response.
- He also stressed that this is not an isolated crisis, but rather it is the latest round in a decades-long cycle of persecution, violence and displacement, with serious violations continuing in Rakhine. He said that aid workers continue to face severe access restrictions, crippling their ability to assess needs and to provide assistance.
- At the end of the conference, Mr. Lowcock said he was very encouraged by the roughly $340 million in pledges made.
- The number of Rohingya refugees who have fled Myanmar to Bangladesh has reached 603,000, bringing the total number of Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar to well over 800,000.
DR CONGO: U.N. OFFICIAL URGES GOVERNMENT TO RELEASE MEMBERS OF OPPOSITION PARTY
- The Head of the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), Maman Sidikou, has urged the Congolese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release members of two opposition parties arrested yesterday in Lubumbashi.
- The UN Mission is deeply concerned by ongoing acts of intimidation against opposition members. Two incidents involving the use of firearms have also recently been reported in Kinshasa.
- The Mission further deplores the restrictions on freedom of movement which have been imposed on Kyungu wa Kamwanza, the national president of the opposition political party Union nationale des fédéralistes du Congo (UNAFEC), who has been under de facto house arrest for several months.
KENYA: U.N. CHIEF CALLS ON ALL STAKEHOLDERS TO COOPERATE WITH ELECTORAL COMISSION
- Yesterday, a statement was issued from the Secretary-General and from the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, concerning the forthcoming presidential election in Kenya.
- In that statement, the Secretary-General and the AU Commissioner Chairperson called on all stakeholders to cooperate with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), as the constitutionally-mandated body to conduct the election.
- They urged all political parties and their supporters to create conditions for a peaceful election and refrain from any act of violence and stressed the need for the Kenyan security services to exercise restraint, use minimal force in performing their duties and respect the freedom and political liberties of all Kenyans.
HALF A MILLION SOUTH SUDANESE AT RISK OF BECOMING REFUGEES NEXT YEAR – U.N. AGENCY
- The UN Refugee Agency has warned that with no imminent resolution to the crisis in South Sudan, and based on the current arrival trends, around half a million South Sudanese could become refugees in the coming year in neighbouring countries. More than two million people have already fled the country, and an additional two million are internally displaced. The majority of displaced people are women and children.
- Despite the scale of the crisis, the South Sudan Regional Refugee Response Plan remains severely underfunded. Requesting $1.4 billion to support over 2 million refugees in 2017, the appeal is only 25 per cent funded.
U.N. RELIEF CHIEF TO VISIT YEMEN TO ASSESS SITUATION, STRENGTHEN HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE
- The Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, will begin a five-day visit to Yemen tomorrow to see first-hand the traumatic impact the conflict has had on the country’s people and to seek ways to strengthen the collective response to their urgent humanitarian needs.
- He will meet key officials in Aden and Sana’a to discuss how to strength the aid operation and expand the humanitarian space to save and protect civilian lives.
- Mr. Lowcock will also meet Yemenis in Sana’a, Aden and Hudaydah to hear how their lives have been disrupted by the devastating conflict.
- Yemen faces a triple tragedy combining the threat of famine, the world’s worst cholera outbreak and a brutal manmade conflict. An estimated 17 million Yemenis, who make up 60 per cent of the country’s population, are food insecure. The total of suspected cholera cases has exceeded 860,000, with over 2,100 associated deaths.
U.N. CONCERNED BY INCREASE IN NUMBER OF DISPLACED PEOPLE IN IRAQ
- According to the UN Migration Agency, some 136,000 people remain displaced in northern Iraq following recent military operations.
- Aid workers continue to help those in need, visiting camps and villages to provide health care and distributing emergency supplies – including water, blankets, hygiene items and household kits – to the displaced people.
- In a statement over the weekend, the Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq, Lise Grande, said that the situation remains volatile, and many people are returning to their homes only to flee for a second or third time when hostilities erupt again.
- She said that she is extremely concerned by reports of violence, looting and destruction, stressing that everything has to be done by authorities on all sides to ensure the safety of families caught up in recent events.
- The UN is also very concerned about the increase in the number of displaced persons and appeals to the Federal Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government to take coordinated steps to prevent and avoid further clashes, escalation and breakdown of law and order. The UN calls on the parties to jointly manage the situation and resolve all outstanding issues through dialogue in a manner that is consistent with the Constitution of Iraq.
U.N. FOOD AGENCY HELPING TO PROTECT LIVESTOCK IN IRAQ
- The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is helping to protect livestock owned by hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq’s Mosul area, which was recently retaken from Da’esh.
- The new campaign includes vaccinating 1 million sheep, goats, cattle and buffalo, as well as providing feed for animals.
- Ninewa Governorate, of which Mosul is the capital, has been profoundly affected by Da’esh, with more than one million people still uprooted. Many families fled their homes with their livestock, most of which has not been vaccinated since Da’esh took over the area in 2014.
WITHOUT URGENT ACTION, IT WILL TAKE 100 YEARS TO END CHILD MARRIAGE IN WEST AND CENTRAL AFRICA – U.N.I.C.E.F.
- UNICEF said today that at current rates of reduction, it will take over 100 years to end child marriage in West and Central Africa.
- The new projections, released during a high-level meeting on ending child marriage in Dakar this week, aim to bring the spotlight on the region of the world where girls face the highest risk of marrying in childhood.
- While the prevalence of child marriage in West and Central Africa has declined over the past two decades, progress has been uneven, and still four in 10 women are married before the age of 18 and, of these, one in three before the age of 15.
- West and Central Africa includes six of the 10 countries with the highest prevalence of child marriage in the world: Niger; Central African Republic; Chad; Mali; Burkina Faso and Guinea.