HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
FRIDAY, 24 JANUARY 2020

 

SG TRAVELS
Today, the Secretary-General held a number of bilateral meetings, including with Nechirvan Barazani, the President of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, with whom he discussed the security, political, and humanitarian situation in Iraq and the region.
The Secretary-General also met with Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operations Officer of Facebook. He also met with his incoming Climate Envoy, Mark Carney, as well as with World Economic Forum Chairman Klaus Schwab.
Prior to leaving Davos, the Secretary-General met with a group of young people from the Global Shapers programme for a listening session about the future of multilateralism and the United Nations. This is one of the many conversations that will held as part of the UN75 anniversary.
The Secretary-General is now on his way back to New York. 
On Saturday, he will attend a special service at Park East Synagogue to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
 
APPOINTMENT
Today, the Secretary-General is announcing the appointment of Raouf Mazou of the Republic of the Congo as Assistant High Commissioner for Operations in the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 
Mr. Mazou will succeed George Okoth-Obbo of Uganda who has been appointed as Secretary to the High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement. The Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Refugees are grateful for Mr. Okoth-Obbo’s 36 years of dedicated service to the refugee cause.
Mr. Mazou brings to the position some 28 years of professional experience with UNHCR, and we have lots more on this in my office.
 
MYANMAR
Yesterday afternoon, a statement was issued concerning the order of the International Court of Justice concerning the case The Gambia vs. Myanmar. The Secretary-General welcomes the Order of the International Court of Justice, indicating provisional measures in the case of The Gambia against Myanmar on the alleged breaches of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
The Secretary-General notes the Court’s unanimous decision to order Myanmar, in accordance with its obligations under the Genocide Convention, “to take all measures within its power” in relation  to the members of the Rohingya group in its territory, to prevent the commission of acts within the scope of Article II of the Convention, including killing, causing serious bodily or mental harm, deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about the group’s destruction and imposing measures intended to prevent births. 
He also notes the Court’s instruction to Myanmar to ensure that its military, as well as any irregular armed units directed or supported by it and any organizations and persons subject to its control, do not commit such acts; also, that they do not conspire to commit genocide, do not directly and publicly incite the commission of genocide, do not attempt to commit genocide and are not complicit in genocide.
Further, the Secretary-General notes the Court’s order to Myanmar to ensure the preservation of evidence related to allegations of acts within the scope of the Genocide Convention, as well as to report to the Court on the implementation of all provisional measures on a regular basis.
The Secretary-General strongly supports the use of peaceful means to settle international disputes. He further recalls that, pursuant to the Charter and to the Statute of the Court, decisions of the Court are binding and trusts that Myanmar will duly comply with the Order from the Court.
In accordance with the Statute of the Court, the Secretary-General will promptly transmit the notice of the provisional measures ordered by the Court to the Security Council.
 
CORONAVIRUS
Yesterday evening in Geneva, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was not declaring the novel coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern at this time.
However, he cautioned that, this is an emergency in China and yet could become a global health emergency.
WHO’s risk assessment is that the outbreak is a very high risk in China, as well as regionally and globally.
Dr. Tedros thanked the Government of China for its cooperation and transparency, noting that the outbreak was detected because China had put in place a system to pick up severe lower respiratory infections.
He said that WHO is continuously following the outbreak and is working to prevent human-to-human transmission. It has provided guidance to all countries for the rapid identification, management and containment of the virus.
For the moment, WHO does not recommend any broader restrictions on travel or trade and said that all countries should have in place measures to detect cases of coronavirus, including at health facilities.
 
MALI
The Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix will travel to Mali from this Sunday (26) until the 30th of January.
He will visit Bamako as well as northern and central Mali.
While in Bamako, he will meet with Government officials at the highest level and other stakeholders involved in the Malian peace process.
 
CAMEROON
François Louncény Fall, the Head of the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), and Ahmad Allam-Mi, the Secretary General of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), have just concluded a 5-day visit to Cameroon, ahead of the legislative and municipal elections, scheduled to take place on 9 February. 
They urged all actors involved in the electoral process to foster peaceful conditions and continue working towards the well-being of Cameroonians, adding that it will be a decisive step towards strengthening the country’s stability and democratic gains.
They stressed the need for full respect of civil and political rights, including the right to vote, freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and movement during this crucial period.
 
YEMEN
Martin Griffiths, in a tweet, offered his heartfelt condolences to Yemeni MP Hussein Al-Sawadi, following reports that members of his family, including a child, were killed when a missile hit his residence.
Mr. Griffiths said that targeting MPs and civilian areas is unacceptable and against international law. This military escalation must stop, he said.
 
GUATEMALA
In Guatemala, the UN Migration Agency (IOM) is providing food, medical care, housing, and transportation and facilitated the return of more than 140 migrants who voluntarily decided to go back to their countries of origin after arriving in Guatemala from Honduras, in the latest migrant caravan.
IOM said it has deployed a team at the border crossing, to provide technical assistance to authorities to help identify migrants who may require aid in returning to their communities of origin in Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua.
The caravan, which departed from Honduras ten days ago, was widely reported to have quickly grown to more than 4,000 people by the time it reached the Mexico-Guatemala border. 
 
BOOKSHOP
Today, from 1:00-2:00pm at the UN Bookshop, award-winning author and feminist campaigner Caroline Criado Perez will present her best-selling book called "Invisible Women", which is an exposé on how data collection systems fail to account for gender and consequentially have far-reaching, profound effects on women everywhere.
The event will be moderated by Nahla Valji, the UN’s Senior Gender Advisor, who oversees the Spotlight Initiative, the largest investigation into the pandemic of violence against women across Africa, Asia and Latin America.
 
HONOUR ROLL
Bulgaria and Malaysia have paid their budget dues in full. The Honour Roll total is now 27.
 
EDUCATION
Today is the 2nd International Day of Education.
This morning, the Deputy Secretary-General spoke at the high-level interactive dialogue organized in the Trusteeship Chamber under the theme: ‘Learning for people, planet, prosperity and peace’.
She said that without education, we cannot achieve any of the Sustainable Development Goals and called for more investment and action. At the current rate, she said, by 2030, 420 million of the 1.4 billion school-age children in low- and middle-income countries will not learn the most basic skills in childhood. 825 million will not acquire basic secondary-level skills. 
We have a duty to step up our efforts, so that quality education for all is no longer a goal for tomorrow, but a reality, Ms. Mohamed concluded.