HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STÉPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
FRIDAY, 6 OCTOBER 2017
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONGRATULATES ANTI-NUCLEAR WEAPONS ACTIVISTS FOR WINNING 2017 NOBEL PEACE PRIZE
- This morning, the Secretary-General tweeted out his congratulations to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) on winning the Nobel Peace Prize for 2017. Now more than ever, the Secretary-General said, we need a world without nuclear weapons.
- Representatives from ICAN will brief the press at UN Headquarters on Monday, 9 October.
SECRETARY-GENERAL ‘APPALLED’ BY 8,000 CHILD DEATHS, INJURIES IN CONFLICTS IN 2016
- In a statement issued yesterday afternoon, the Secretary-General said that he is appalled that more than 8,000 children were killed and maimed in conflict situations in 2016. These unacceptable attacks on children, as well as the continued widespread recruitment and use of children, attacks on schools and hospitals, and sexual violence against children, are detailed in his Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict.
- The goal of the report is not only to raise awareness of the violations of the rights of children but also to promote measures that can diminish the tragic plight of children in conflict. The Secretary-General is encouraged that several governments and non-state actors are now working with the United Nations towards that objective. He hopes that more will follow
- The new Developments & Concerns section included in the report reflects this enhanced UN engagement, which should lead to reducing the suffering of children victims of armed conflict and increase their protection. These changes are also reflected in the annexes to the report, which separate those parties who have put in place measures to improve protection of children during the reporting period and those who have not implemented adequate measures.
- The Secretary-General once more urges parties to conflict to abide by their responsibility to protect children, in accordance with their obligation under international humanitarian and human rights law. He calls on all parties to conflict to engage with the United Nations to improve the protection of children in line with the relevant Security Council resolutions.
ORIGINS, SOLUTIONS TO ROHINGYA REFUGEE CRISIS LIE IN MYANMAR – U.N. RELIEF CHIEF
- The Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, spoke to the press in Geneva today, having recently wrapped up a visit to Bangladesh with UNICEF Executive Director Tony Lake.
- Mr. Lowcock stressed today that the origins of the crisis in Bangladesh are in Myanmar and that its solutions ultimately have to be in Myanmar.
- He reiterated the Secretary-General’s calls for an end to military operation; unfettered full humanitarian access; and the safe, dignified and voluntary return of Rohingya refugees – both those who have fled Myanmar in recent weeks and those who fled to Bangladesh before 25 August.
- The Emergency Relief Coordinator said that this is a refugee crisis and reiterated his gratitude to the Government, institutions and people of Bangladesh for their generosity to the refugees.
- He also emphasized the need for more funding, pointing to the revised humanitarian appeal for $434 million and voicing hope that the 23 October pledging conference in Geneva would generate pledges towards that appeal.
- The UN Refugee Agency is focusing on protecting refugees and providing them with shelter and water and sanitation. It is also working towards relieving overcrowding in the two existing camps of Kutupalong and Nyapara. For its part, the World Health Organization aims to put the additional funding towards stepping up health services, including by bolstering the prevention of communicable diseases.
- The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that the number of Rohingya refugees who have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh since 25 August stands at 515,000.
SYRIA: U.N. REITERATES CONCERN OVER SAFETY OF MORE THAN ONE MILLION PEOPLE IN DEIR EZZOUR
- The UN continues to be deeply concerned for the safety and protection of over a million people across Syria’s Deir Ezzour Governorate. On Wednesday, fighting around Sawa village and surrounding areas led to hundreds of families reportedly fleeing to northern Deir Ezzour or to the eastern countryside. Many of the displaced have moved to locations difficult for humanitarian workers to reach, due to the presence of Da’esh or ongoing fighting.
- The last UN interagency humanitarian delivery to Deir Ezzour city was on 27 September, which delivered assistance for 75,000 people in need.
- Since the last delivery, fighting in the western countryside south of Deir Ezzour city has reportedly resulted in the highway in the area being cut off, and it continues to be inaccessible for commercial and humanitarian movement.
CAMEROON: U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICE CALLS FOR INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATIONS INTO 1 OCTOBER VIOLENCE
- The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights today echoed the concern of the Secretary-General about the violence in South-West and North-West Cameroon on 1 October. The Office calls on the Government of Cameroon to establish prompt, effective, impartial and independent investigations to ensure accountability.
- They also urge the authorities to ensure that the security forces exercise restraint and take measures to prevent the use of force when policing demonstrations. The High Commissioner’s Office reiterates that people should be allowed to exercise their right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, including through having uninterrupted access to the internet. Our colleagues also call on all people to pursue peaceful means to make themselves heard.
- The Office of the High Commissioner urges the Government and Anglophone groups to engage in a meaningful political dialogue so that the grievances of the Anglophone population can be fully addressed.
U.N. AGENCY URGES COUNTRIES TO SIGN ONTO PACT AGAINST ILLEGAL FISHING
- The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today urged more countries to join the treaty against illegal fishing, the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA), aimed at ridding the world of a multibillion-dollar scourge that damages human nutrition and environmental sustainability.
- The call was made by FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva at the OurOcean Conference hosted this year by the European Union in Malta.
- So far, 50 countries are party to the agreement. FAO is doubling down on its commitment to implement the Agreement, and has committed hefty budgetary resources of its own to support poorer countries develop the technical, scientific and legal capacity required.
- Mr. Graziano da Silva also announced FAO pledges of $41.9 million in funding initiatives for programs aimed at the fisheries sector, including improving fisheries management and livelihoods around the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.
SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS NORWEGIAN AS HEAD OF U.N. PEACEKEEPING MISSION IN MIDDLE EAST
- The Secretary-General has appointed Major General Kristin Lund of Norway as the Head of Mission and Chief of Staff of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO).
- Major General Lund succeeds Major General Arthur David Gawn of New Zealand, who will complete his assignment on 19 October 2017. The Secretary-General is grateful to Major General Gawn for his two years of dedicated leadership.
- Since joining the Norwegian Army in 1979, Major General Lund has had a distinguished military career, with wide-ranging command and staff experience at both national and international levels, including as the Deputy Commander of the Norwegian Army Forces Command.