HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
TUESDAY, 31 JANUARY 2017
 
SECRETARY-GENERAL WRAPS UP VISIT TO ETHIOPIA FOR AFRICAN UNION SUMMIT
  • The Secretary-General is traveling back to New York from Ethiopia where he attended the African Union Summit to enhance the cooperation between the AU and the UN. He worked with the African Union and the sub-regional organization Intergovernmental Government Authority on Development (IGAD) to establish a common initiative to address the dramatic South Sudan situation on a common platform and to support the humanitarian programme against drought in Ethiopia.
SECRETARY-GENERAL: DISCRIMINATION CANNOT UNDERPIN BORDER MANAGEMENT
  • During his mission, on several occasions, the Secretary-General had the opportunity to express his disagreement with the US executive order on refugees, but feeling the need to express a comprehensive position on this, he has the following statement:
  • “On my way back from Ethiopia, the largest refugee-hosting country in Africa that for decades has been keeping its borders open to hundreds of thousands of refugees from its neighbours, many times in dramatic security situations, I want to state the following:
  • Countries have the right, even the obligation, to responsibly manage their borders to avoid infiltration by members of terrorist organizations.
  • This cannot be based on any form of discrimination related to religion, ethnicity or nationality because: that is against the fundamental principles and values on which our societies are based; that triggers widespread anxiety and anger that may facilitate the propaganda of the very terrorist organisations we all want to fight against; and blind measures, not based on solid intelligence, tend to be ineffective as they risk being bypassed by what are today sophisticated global terrorist movements.
  • I am also particularly concerned by the decisions that around the world have been undermining the integrity of the international refugee protection regime. Refugees fleeing conflict and persecution are finding more and more borders closed and increasingly restricted access to the protection they need and are entitled to receive, according to international refugee law.”
SYRIA: U.N. ENVOY BRIEFS SECURITY COUNCIL, REFUGEE CHIEF VISITS HOMS
  • Staffan de Mistura, the Special Envoy for Syria, briefed the Security Council in closed consultations this morning.
  • The High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, was in Homs, Syria, today. He met families at a welfare centre and a shelter for returnees – two projects funded and supported by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
TOP AID OFFICIAL IN YEMEN VOICES CONCERN OVER SAFETY OF CIVILIANS IN TAIZZ
  • Jamie McGoldrick, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, said today that he is extremely concerned about the safety and well-being of civilians in the Dhubab and Al Mokha districts of Taizz Governorate. Information from the field indicates that military operations in the coastal region have forced most residents of Dhubab to flee the area, while in Mokha an estimated 20,000 to30,000 people, almost one third of the population, are trapped in the town and require immediate protection and relief assistance. Repeated airstrikes, shelling and sniper attacks in and around the town of Al Mokha have killed and injured scores of civilians and have ground most services to a halt, including the main market and the water supply system.
  • The Humanitarian Coordinator is equally concerned over reports that roads and bridges connecting the port city of Al Hudaydah with other governorates have been damaged and destroyed by airstrikes in recent days. He deplored such actions, as they risk further isolating Yemeni communities and aggravate the already alarming food security situation.
  • And yesterday, the Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, condemned in the strongest terms the attack on the De-escalation and Coordination Committee building in Dhahran Al-Janoub.  He said that it was especially tragic that this attack took place at a point in time where we are calling for a restoration of the Cessation of Hostilities. The building attacked was supposed to host the committee that will oversee the Cessation of Hostilities and report on violations. He said that the United Nations maintains a regular presence in this building and this incident is not a sign of good faith.
UKRAINE: HUMANITARIAN APPEAL ONLY 1 PER CENT FUNDED AS U.N. CALL FOR END TO FIGHTING
  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today that the 2017 humanitarian appeal for Ukraine, which was launched last month and calls for $214 million, is only 1 per cent funded.
  • The Humanitarian Coordinator and the aid community there today said they are gravely concerned by the drastic deterioration of the security situation in the country’s east and its impact on the humanitarian work.
  • The Humanitarian Coordinator, Neal Walker, said that an immediate cessation of hostilities is needed to prevent further loss of life and to allow for repair teams to restore critical basic services, including water and heat, to people living in temperatures of ten below zero.
CLASHES FORCE U.N. AGENCY TO HALT AID EFFORTS IN SOUTH SUDAN’S UPPER NILE
  • The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says it has been forced to suspend humanitarian activities in Wau Shilluk in South Sudan’s Upper Nile area due to violent clashes over the weekend putting thousands at risk. Due to the increased insecurity, IOM had to indefinitely postpone the registration for humanitarian assistance of nearly 3,000 vulnerable people.
  • Between 16 and 26 January, 20,446 people were registered or verified as previously registered last year. Maintaining accurate registration information informs more accurate response planning and tracking of displacement trends in the volatile Upper Nile region.
U.N. MISSION REPORTS DEADLY CLASHES IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
  • The UN Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) reports that in the Ouham-Pende prefecture some anti-Balaka and 3R (Retour, Réclamations, Réhabilitation) groups clashed over the weekend, which resulted in the killing of a dozen individuals and the burning of several homes in Koui. UN peacekeepers have reinforced their presence in the area to deter further attacks and protect civilians.
  • The UN Mission is also closely following reports of tensions between the Front Populaire pour la Renaissance de Centrafrique (FPRC) and the  Mouvement pour l’Unité et la Paix en Centrafrique (UPC) in Ouaka prefecture and is patrolling the main routes in the area.
U.N. CHILDREN’S FUND CALLS FOR $3.3 BILLION TO HELP NEARLY 50 MILLION CHILDREN IN CONFLICT AREAS
  • The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today launched an appeal for $3.3 billion to help nearly 50 million children around the world who are under direct attack, with their hopes and futures hanging in the balance.
  • Almost one in four of the world’s children lives in a country affected by conflict or disaster.
  • The new appeal seeks to provide children with access to safe water, nutrition, education, health and protection in 48 countries, including Syria, Yemen, Iraq, South Sudan and Nigeria.
  • The largest component of the appeal is earmarked for Syria, with $1.4 billion to go towards supporting Syrian children inside the country and those living as refugees in neighboring countries.
SECRETARY-GENERAL NAMES NEW DEPUTY HEAD OF U.N. AFGHANISTAN MISSION
  • Today, the Secretary-General is announcing the appointment of Toby Lanzer of the United Kingdom as his Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan
  • Mr. Lanzer succeeds Mark Bowden of the United Kingdom, who will complete his assignment at the end of February 2017.  The Secretary-General is grateful for Mr. Bowden’s dedicated service in Afghanistan. 
  • Mr. Lanzer brings significant experience in development, humanitarian affairs and peacekeeping. His most recent positions have included Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel and before that he was Deputy Special Representative in the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).