HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STÉPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
THURSDAY, 26 JULY 2018
U.N. ENVOY TELLS SECURITY COUNCIL OF PROGRESS MADE IN D.R. CONGO POLL PREPARATIONS
- The Security Council heard a briefing this morning by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Leila Zerrougui.
- Ms. Zerrougui stressed that significant progress in the preparation for the elections was made, with all major political parties being able to successfully enrol candidates for provincial legislative elections.
- However, she said she remained concerned by the poor implementation of confidence-building measures. Violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms continue to impact negatively on the democratic space, she added.
- While the country is focused on the important elections ahead, the security environment continues to be volatile, and indeed is deteriorating in some parts of the country, especially the East and the Kasais.
- Ms. Zerrougui noted with concern that personnel of the UN Mission (MONUSCO) is increasingly targeted, and that in the months ahead, the UN Mission will operate in an increasingly tense environment, faced with high expectations but fewer resources.
- She explained that she mentioned this not to make a plea for more resources but because it is important that we collectively understand that, while MONUSCO’s resources continue to shrink, its mandate remains the same and expectations only continue to grow.
- This morning, the Security Council also unanimously voted to extend the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) until 31 January 2019.
U.N. ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL ELECTS 2019 PRESIDENT
- Her Excellency Ambassador Ronda King of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was elected today as the President of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for 2018-2019. The new President stated that it will be a defining year, which could help set a new course for the work of the Council and the High-level Political Forum.
U.N. MISSION MONITORING PEACE TALKS IN SOUTH SUDAN
- In response to questions regarding the initialing of governance arrangements in South Sudan, the Spokesman said that the initialing of the Agreement on Outstanding Issues of Governance by some of the parties participating in the negotiations in Khartoum is a step forward in the peace process for South Sudan. However, other parties still have outstanding concerns that are yet to be resolved. The UN Mission in South Sudan will continue to monitor the ongoing discussions as all parties work towards a genuinely inclusive and enduring peace agreement.
SECRETARY-GENERAL SPEAKS OUT AGAINST TERRORIST ATTACKS IN SYRIA’S SWEIDA
- In a statement issued yesterday evening, the Secretary-General strongly condemned the terrorist attacks in Sweida city, Syria. He is appalled by the utter disregard for human life displayed by Da’esh. The Secretary-General expresses his condolences to the families of the victims of the incidents and wishes those injured a speedy recovery. Those responsible for the attacks must be held accountable.
- Meanwhile, today, a Syrian Arab Red Crescent/United Nations humanitarian convoy to eastern Ghouta delivered humanitarian aid provided by France, and undertook a health needs assessment. The assistance, delivered by the Red Crescent in partnership with the United Nations, included medical items and non-food items.
- The United Nations continues to call on all parties to allow safe, sustained and unimpeded access to all people in need, in line with international humanitarian law.
PAKISTAN: SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS SUICIDE ATTACK AT POLLING STATION
- In a statement yesterday, the Secretary-General condemned the suicide attack at a polling station in Quetta claimed by Da’esh.
- He extends his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government and people of Pakistan. The United Nations stands in solidarity with and supports the efforts of the Government of Pakistan in the fight against terrorism.
THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE AFFECTED BY DAM COLLAPSE IN LAO PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC, CAMBODIA – U.N. RELIEF WING
- The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that the recovery and response following the collapse of a dam in the south of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic continues.
- Some 13,000 people have been affected across eight villages and 4,000 people are in need of humanitarian assistance.
- In addition to the dam break, more than 16,000 people have been affected by flooding other parts of the country.
- The dam collapse has also affected northern Cambodia, where some 3,000 people have now been evacuated.
EL SALVADOR: U.N. TO TAKE ACTION IN RESPONSE TO SEVERE DROUGHT
- The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that the UN Country Team in El Salvador will meet tomorrow to develop a plan of action following the declaration by the Government of a red alert emergency due to the severe drought affecting about more than 77,000 corn farmers.
- Lack of rain led to losses of over 90,000 metric tons of corn, one of the main staple foods.
- The eastern part of the country has reported 33 consecutive days without rain, and record temperatures reaching 41 degrees Celsius.
PEOPLE LIVING WITH H.I.V. CONTINUE TO FACE JOB DISCRIMINATION, NEW U.N. REPORT FINDS
- A new study launched by the International Labour Organization shows that despite progress being made in treatment that enables people living with HIV to work, they continue to face discrimination when seeking employment and as they try to keep their jobs and progress in their careers.
The report shows that a large proportion of people living with HIV are unemployed, ranging from 7 per cent of those surveyed in Uganda to 61 per cent in Honduras. Young people living with HIV especially have a much higher unemployment rate.
- Another key finding is that many people continue to lose their jobs in part or fully as a result of their HIV status.
- Many people are hesitant to disclose their HIV status to employers or even co-workers and HIV-related discrimination remains a major cause for not receiving job promotions.
MEXICO LATEST MEMBER STATE TO PAY U.N. DUES IN FULL
- Mexico has paid its regular budget dues in full, bring the total number of Member States on the Honour Roll to 112.