HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
TUESDAY, 25 JULY 2017
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS ATTACKS AGAINST DISPLACED PERSONS CAMPS IN NIGERIA
- In a statement issued today, the Secretary-General strongly condemned the suicide attacks on 24 July in the two camps for internally displaced persons near Maiduguri, Borno State, in Nigeria. These terrorist acts targeted people who had already fled their homes as a result of Boko Haram violence.
- The Secretary-General extends his condolences to the people and Government of Nigeria for the loss of life. He wishes a quick recovery to those injured and calls for those responsible for this heinous act to be swiftly brought to justice. He reiterates the United Nations’ support to the Government of Nigeria in its fight against terrorism and violent extremism in full observance of international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law.
U.N. MIDDLE EAST ENVOY URGES RESTRAINT AMID JERUSALEM HOLY SITES TENSION, WELCOMES DECISION TO REMOVE METAL DETECTORS
- Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, told the Security Council that developments over the past 11 days at the holy sites of the Old City in Jerusalem have demonstrated the grave risk of dangerous escalation that exists - a risk of turning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into a religious one and dragging both sides into the vortex of violence with the rest of the region.
- He welcomed last night’s decision by the Israeli security cabinet to remove the metal detectors, while ensuring the security of visitors and worshippers to the holy sites. He hopes that the cabinet decision will lead to a calming of the current tensions and will enable a return of worshippers to the Holy Esplanade. It is expected that President Abbas will convene the Palestinian leadership later tonight to discuss these developments.
- Mr. Mladenov said that all parties must refrain from provocative actions, show restraint, and bring a conclusive end to this crisis in the next few days. In these efforts, constant discussion with the Islamic religious authorities in Jerusalem and the Palestinian leadership can greatly contribute to maintaining calm in East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied West Bank.
U.N. RELIEF WING VOICES CONCERN OVER PROTECTION OF 400,000 PEOPLE AMID AIRSTRIKES IN SYRIA’S EASTERN GHOUTA
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is deeply concerned by reports of deadly airstrikes on the town of Arbin in Syria’s besieged eastern Ghouta yesterday. The UN has also received unverified reports of airstrikes on Duma city and Zamalka town in eastern Ghouta. These reports come despite the 22 July announcement of a ceasefire for eastern Ghouta.
- The UN is concerned for the protection and well-being of the 400,000 people in eastern Ghouta, with reports of people in desperate need of medicine, heath supplies, food, nutrition and other life-saving assistance.
- OCHA also cites reports of increased fighting in several locations in Idleb Governorate, including the area around the Bab Al-Hawa border crossing, which hosts a large number of settlements and camps for displaced people.
- The clashes continue to undermine the delivery of much needed life-saving assistance through the Bab Al-Hawa border crossing between Turkey and Syria, which has remained closed since 19 July, with no UN cross-border shipments having taken place since then.
- Thousands of civilians also remain trapped in Ar-Raqqa city as fighting continues in the area, with more than 202,000 people having been displaced since April.
- Over the weekend, a UN/Syrian Arab Red Crescent convoy delivered much needed life-saving assistance for 33,500 people in the hard-to-reach Dar Al-Kabira area in rural Homs. Solar lamps, plastic sheets and some health supplies were not allowed to be loaded or reduced in quantity. The area was last reached on 20 April.
PEACEKEEPING CHIEF VISITS SUDAN, ABYEI
- The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, is in Abyei today, where he met with local communities and UN personnel.
- He earlier visited North Darfur, where he met with the Governor in El Fasher. The two discussed continued support to vulnerable populations, especially internally displaced persons. They also exchanged on plans for capacity building in the area of rule of law, as well as on cooperation in the reconfiguration of the African Union - United Nations Mission in Darfur, UNAMID, and the implementation of the mission’s new mandate.
- Mr. Lacroix also visited Golo, in Central Darfur, and engaged with local communities in the area where the Mission will establish a new team site for the protection of civilians and facilitate humanitarian assistance. Mr. Lacroix was also in Kharthoum, where he met with Government officials and discussed the situation in Darfur, Abyei and the wider region.
- He will continue his trip by visiting South Sudan in the coming days.
IN D.R. CONGO, DEPUTY U.N. CHIEF SPOTLIGHTS NEED TO PREVENT SEXUAL VIOLENCE
- The Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, is in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where she had a press encounter following her meeting with the country’s Vice-Prime Minister, Léonard She Okitundu.
- On the issue of sexual violence, she said the DRC had made some progress but stressed that not only do we have to solve the problems of today; we have to prevent them from ever happening again.
- This visit is being carried out in conjunction with the African Union to raise awareness of the importance of women’s participation in peace and security processes, and of ensuring that women’s voices are heard in all aspects of society.
SENIOR U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICIAL VISITS HONDURAS
- Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Andrew Gilmour, is in Honduras until 27 July.
- He is expected to meet with Government officials, the National Human Rights Institution, human rights defenders, civil society representatives, the UN Country Team and the international community in Honduras.
- He will pay particular attention to the protection of human rights defenders and indigenous peoples, as well as to the fight against impunity.
- This will be the second visit to Honduras by a senior official from the Office of the High Commissioner since the agreement with the Government to open a UN Human Rights Office in the country in May 2015.