HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
THURSDAY, 23 FEBRUARY 2017
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO ADDRESS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL IN GENEVA
- The Secretary-General will be in Geneva on Monday, where he will speak at the opening session of the Human Rights Council in his first address to the body since taking office. The Secretary-General will also visit the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross, where he will meet its President, Peter Maurer.
- The Secretary-General will return to New York on Monday evening.
U.N. ENVOY TO WELCOME ATTENDEES OF RESUMED INTRA-SYRIAN TALKS
- This afternoon, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Staffan de Mistura, the Special Envoy for Syria, will welcome those who have accepted his invitation to be in Geneva in the context of the resumption of intra-Syrian talks.
- He will address the Syrian invitees in the presence of members of the United Nations Security Council and the International Syria Support Group (ISSG).
- Mr. de Mistura spoke to the press in Geneva yesterday and said that he is not expecting a breakthrough from this round of negotiations, but instead expects a beginning of a series of rounds that should enable more in-depth discussions on the substantive issues that are required for a political solution in Syria.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: TOP AID OFFICIAL CALLS FOR CLASHING PARTIES TO PROTECT CIVILIANS
- The Acting Humanitarian Coordinator in the Central African Republic, Aboubacry Tall, yesterday called on parties to the conflict in the Ouaka and Haute-Kotto provinces to respect international humanitarian law. He also urged them to honor their commitment to protect civilians and to fulfil their human rights obligations.
- Bambari, the capital of Ouaka province, currently has 45,000 displaced persons out of a population of 160,000. Since the end of November 2016, about 20,000 new internally displaced persons have been registered.
- The affiliation of armed individuals to some communities has caused stigmatization, impacting negatively on their freedom of movement. Mr. Tall said it is unacceptable for civilians to pay the price for rivalries between armed groups because of their religious beliefs or political affiliation. He also urged armed groups not to obstruct the free movement of civilians and humanitarian actors.
U.N. STRESSES NEED TO REINVOGORATE ‘BREAD BASKET’ OF SOUTH SUDAN
- The Head of the UN Mission in South Sudan, David Shearer, today stressed the need to improve security to reinvigorate what has been called the bread basket of South Sudan. Mr. Shearer was making his first field trip to the town of Yambio in the Western Equatoria region, an agricultural region which has typically provided a wide range of food products for the rest of the country.
- Production has slowed because farmers are no longer able to plant crops due to ongoing insecurity and displacement. Mr. Shearer said that security was also essential on the road network to allow trade and the distribution of agricultural products.
U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY OPENS NEW SITE IN UGANDA TO HOST THOUSANDS OF REFUGEES FROM SOUTH SUDAN
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has opened a new settlement area in northern Uganda to host thousands of refugees arriving from South Sudan.
- The new Imvepi settlement was opened after another settlement opened in December 2016 quickly reached its capacity. The new settlement is expected to be able to accommodate up to 110,000 new arrivals in the weeks and months ahead.
- South Sudan is now Africa’s largest refugee crisis and the world’s third largest behind Syria and Afghanistan.
NEW U.N. CAMPAIGN TARGETS PLASTIC WASTE IN WORLD’S OCEANS
- The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) today launched a global campaign on a key source of ocean litter: plastic.
- More than 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into the world’s oceans a year – equal to unloading a garbage truck of plastic every minute.
- The new campaign, called #CleanSeas, urges governments to pass plastic reduction policies; calls on industry to minimize plastic packaging and redesign products; and appeals to consumers to change their throwaway habits before irreversible damage is done to our seas.
NUMBER OF U.N. STATES HAVING PAID FULL DUES REACHES 46
- With a full payment to the regular budget from Sri Lanka yesterday and Belgium and Uzbekistan today, the total number of Member States having paid their dues has reached 46.