HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
WEDNESDAY, 8 FEBRUARY 2017
SECRETARY-GENERAL MARKS 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE CHILDREN AND ARMED CONFLICT MANDATE
- Today marks the 20th Anniversary of the children and armed conflict mandate and Maria Luiza Viotti, Chef de Cabinet, delivered a message from the Secretary-General this morning, saying that this mandate has helped make a tangible difference to the lives of boys and girls in many countries.
- Thanks to the efforts of Governments, the UN and civil society partners, more than 115,000 children have been released from the ranks of State forces and armed groups.
- However, the persistence and multiplication of conflicts continues to place children at grave risk, and the only way we can truly protect children is by preventing conflict.
- We also need to urgently prioritize support to children who have been affected by armed conflict, and education, particularly in emergency settings, must be a key element of our response.
LIBYA: SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE NOTES IMPORTANT GAINS IN COUNTRY OVER LAST YEAR
- The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya, Martin Kobler, briefed the Security Council this morning. More than a year after the signing of the Libyan Political Agreement, Mr. Kobler said that while there was not nearly enough progress, some important gains were made.
- However, he added that Libyans are not in a position to address the root causes of divisions. 2017 must therefore be a year of decisions on a range of issues, he said, including possible limited amendments to the Libyan Political Agreement; how to form a strong army and police force; and how best to utilize the revenues from oil and gas exports.
- Mr. Kobler said he was hopeful that with bold decisions and actions we would witness a political breakthrough that can place Libya on the path of peace, prosperity and stability.
U.N. MISSION IN SOMALIA CLOSELY FOLLOWS COUNTRY’S PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS
- Presidential elections are taking place in Somalia today. up-to-date information on the voting results can be found on the website of the UN Mission in Somalia (UNSOM).
U.N. MISSION IN CÔTE D’IVOIRE REPORTS MORE TENSION IN ADIAKÉ
- Our colleagues from the UN Mission in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) report that sporadic arms fire by disgruntled soldiers of the Ivorian Special Forces seeking bonus payments resumed in Adiaké today after a night of calm. The soldiers’ concerns were reported to the Defence Ministry and the Government indicated that discussions are ongoing.
- The situation in the western town of Olodio and the northern border town of Tengrela is reported calm after unrest yesterday. The UN Mission continues to monitor the situation closely.
YEMEN: $2.1 BILLION HUMANITARIAN APPEAL LAUNCHED BY U.N. AND PARTNERS
- The United Nations and humanitarian partners today launched an international appeal for $2.1 billion to provide life-saving assistance to 12 million people in Yemen in 2017. This is the largest consolidated humanitarian appeal for Yemen ever launched.
- Launching the plan in Geneva, Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien said that, without international support, Yemenis may face the threat of famine in the course of 2017. He urged urge donors to sustain and increase their support.
- At present, some 18.8 million people – more than two thirds of the population – are in need of humanitarian assistance. An estimated 10.3 million people are acutely affected and need some form of immediate humanitarian assistance to save and sustain their lives. Nearly 3.3 million people – including 2.1 million children – are acutely malnourished while 2 million people remain internally displaced.
- Last year, UN agencies and partners assisted more than 5.6 million people with direct humanitarian aid.
SYRIA: U.N. HUMANITARIAN WORKERS DEEPLY CONCERNED BY SITUATION IN MADAYA
- U.N. humanitarian colleagues are deeply concerned about the situation in the besieged Syrian town of Madaya, where some 40,000 men, women and children remain subjected to violence, extreme cold, and lack of access to the basic essentials of life. We have received unverified reports that a least two people in Madaya have died in recent days, one due to kidney failure and another who was shot by a sniper.
- The UN is ready to provide humanitarian assistance to the besieged areas of Madaya, Zabadani, Foah, and Kafraya as soon as access is granted by the parties. The last UN inter-agency convoy to the Four Towns was on 28 November 2016.
- We call on the parties to facilitate access immediately, and also to allow people in urgent need of medical evacuation to receive the medical care they so desperately need.
- We also continue to call for sustained, unhindered and unconditional access to all people in other besieged and hard-to-reach areas across Syria.
IRAQ: CONDITIONS DETERIORATING IN MOSUL, ACCORDING TO U.N. HUMANITARIAN WORKERS
- Humanitarian workers remain deeply concerned for the estimated 750,000 to 800,000 civilians in west Mosul in Iraq, which remains entirely under Da’esh control.
- Conditions for civilians in west Mosul are deteriorating, with remote assessments overseen by the UN indicating shortages of food, petroleum for heating and cooking, medical supplies, and the unavailability of dried milk for infants.
- West Mosul has been cut off from its previous supply routes, including the highway from Mosul into Syria, since late November, and has now been encircled by the military for 77 days.
AFGHANISTAN: U.N. CONDEMNS KILLINGS OF SIX ICRC STAFF MEMBERS
- The UN Deputy Special Representative and Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan, Mark Bowden has issued a statement following the killing of six staff members of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Jawzjan province, Afghanistan.
- On behalf of the UN humanitarian agencies, he extended his sincere condolences to colleagues at the ICRC and the families of those killed, adding he shares their grief over this tragic event.
- Mr. Bowden condemned the killings, noting that those killed were travelling in a clearly marked ICRC vehicle.
- He said: “This event demonstrates the ongoing and urgent need for all parties to respect their obligations under International Humanitarian Law to protect the lives and rights of civilians and providing aid workers with a safe environment to work in”.
SPECIAL ADVISER ON PREVENTION OF GENOCIDE EXPRESSES GRAVE CONCERN OVER VIOLENCE IN SOUTH SUDAN
- You will have seen yesterday that the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, has expressed grave concern at the continued level of violence in several areas of South Sudan.
- Mr. Dieng said that the risk that mass atrocities will be committed remains ever-present. He also noted that the peace process has yet to be accompanied by a complete cessation of hostilities, undermining the likelihood that the National Dialogue proposed by the Government will be seen as credible.