HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC

SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES

MONDAY, 6 FEBRUARY 2017
 

AFGHANISTAN: RECORD NUMBER OF CIVILIAN DEATHS IN 2016, U.N. CALLS FOR URGENT ACTION TO PROTECT CIVILIANS

  • A new report issued today by our colleague at the UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has detailed the highest number of civilian casualties ever recorded in a single year in the country, including record figures for children killed and injured in 2016.
  • The alarmingly high figures have prompted the UN to call on all warring parties to take urgent steps to keep people safe.
  • The report details more than 11,400 conflict-related civilian casualties, the highest figure since the UN began systematically documenting casualty figures in 2009.
  • “All parties to the conflict must take immediate concrete measures to protect the ordinary Afghan men, women and children whose lives are being shattered,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan. 
  SYRIA: U.N. GRAVELY CONCERNED THAT 1.8 MILLION IN ALEPPO WITHOUT WATER
  • The United Nations is gravely concerned that since 14 January, an estimated 1.8 million people in Aleppo city and rural eastern Aleppo in Syria have been cut off from their main source of water, which is under Da’esh control.  The UN continues to respond to the water crisis by supplying fuel to operate 100 deep wells, and is supporting emergency water trucking, reaching nearly 1 million people in need of water assistance.
  • Meanwhile, a UN/International Committee of the Red Cross/Syrian Arab Red Crescent inter-agency convoy delivered food, nutrition, health and other emergency items yesterday for 84,000 people in need in hard-to-reach Talbiseh in rural Homs. That area was last reached by a convoy on 19 September 2016.  This convoy is the first cross-line land delivery in February and only the second in 2017.
  • The United Nations continues to call for unconditional, unimpeded and sustained access to all 4.72 million people in hard-to-reach locations across the country, including 643,780 in besieged locations.
  • And Stephen O'Brien, the Emergency Relief Coordinator, completed a two-day visit to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan today, which is the third-largest host of Syrian refugees in the region.  During his visit, Mr. O'Brien met with senior Jordanian officials, including General Mahmoud Frihat, head of the Jordanian Armed Forces, and Prime Minister Hani Mulki.  On Sunday, he visited the Azraq refugee camp.
COORDINATOR FOR MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS CONCERNED BY VOTE ON “REGULARISATION BILL”
  • The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, said in a statement today that he is concerned by the scheduled vote on the so-called “Regularisation Bill” that would enable the continued use of privately-owned Palestinian land for Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
  • If adopted into law, he said, it will have far reaching legal consequences for Israel and greatly diminish the prospects for Arab-Israeli peace. The bill has been deemed unconstitutional by the Attorney General of Israel and is in contravention of international law. He urged Israeli legislators to reconsider this move.
 FASTER ACTION NEEDED TO STOP FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION: UNFPA, UNICEF
  • In a message, marking the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, the Secretary-General stressed that the practice denies women and girls their dignity, endangers their health, and causes needless pain and suffering, with consequences that endure for a lifetime.
  • In a joint statement, UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin and UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said that in 2017, we must demand faster action against that practice and call on governments to enact and enforce laws and policies that protect the rights of girls and women.
  • Worldwide, almost 200 million girls and women have undergone some form of female genital mutilation and cutting.
  • Countries with the highest prevalence among girls and women aged 15 to 49 are Somalia, Guinea and Djibouti.
  • Girls aged 14 and younger represent 44 million of those who have been cut, with the highest prevalence among this age in The Gambia, Mauritania and Indonesia.