HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
WEDNESDAY, 26 JULY 2017
SECRETARY-GENERAL SPEAKS OUT AGAINST KILLING OF BLUE HELMETS IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
- In a statement, the Secretary-GeneralTravel condemns the killing of two peacekeepers of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) on 25 July in Bangassou. This incident brings to nine the number of peacekeepers killed in service in the Bangassou since the beginning of the year.
- The Secretary-General offers his condolences and sympathy to the bereaved families and to the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco. He urges the Central African authorities to swiftly investigate this and all previous killings without delay and bring the perpetrators to justice.
- The Secretary-General is deeply concerned at the fighting in the south-east of the Central African Republic, heightened inter-ethnic tensions and efforts by spoilers to derail the stabilization process in the country. If allowed to continue, the prevailing situation risks undermining the hard-won gains achieved towards lasting peace.
- The Secretary-General calls on all parties to cease violence and to take action to avoid a further deterioration of the fragile security situation in the country.
U.N. BURUNDI ENVOY CALLS FOR INCLUSIVE DIALOGUE BETWEEN GOVERNMENT, OPPOSITION
- Special Envoy Michel Kafando briefed the Security Council this morning on the situation in Burundi, including his recent visit to the country and to Tanzania.
- He said that the authorities in Burundi and the opposition have diverging views on the political situation in the country, in a difficult socio-economic context. The security situation improved since the beginning of the year, he added.
- Mr. Kafando said it was imperative for the Government to agree to an inclusive dialogue with the opposition. He called for a collective action by African leaders, in solidarity with the United Nations, to support such a dialogue.
- All our efforts must be directed to support regional ones, especially those of former President Mkapa and the Government of Tanzania’s, he stressed.
U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF NAMES EXPERTS TO LOOK INTO SITUATION IN D.R. CONGO’S KASAI REGIONS
- The High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein announced today the appointment of Bacre Ndiaye from Senegal, Luc Côté from Canada and Fatimata M’Baye from Mauritania as international experts on the situation in the Kasai regions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- The establishment of the international team of experts was mandated by a UN Human Rights Council resolution adopted last month.
- High Commissioner Zeid will present an oral update on the situation in the Kasais to the Human Rights Council in March 2018, and a comprehensive report on the team’s findings will be presented in June.
WRAPPING UP VISIT TO YEMEN, HEADS OF U.N. AGENCIES STRESS URGENT NEED FOR PEACEFUL SOLUTION TO CONFLICT
- The heads of the UNICEF, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have wrapped up a joint mission to Yemen, where they saw firsthand the scale of the humanitarian crisis there.
- They said that Yemen is facing the world’s worst cholera outbreak in the midst of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with vital infrastructure having been damaged or destroyed.
- In the last three months, there have been 400,000 suspected cholera cases and nearly 1,900 associated deaths, while the country is on the brink of famine, with more than 60 per cent of the population not knowing where their next meal will come from.
- Nearly 2 million Yemeni children are acutely malnourished, making them more susceptible to cholera.
- The officials said they visited a hospital where they met with children who could barely gather the strength to breathe.
- In their meetings with Yemeni leaders in both Aden and Sana’a, they called on them to give humanitarian workers access to areas affected by fighting and urged them – more than anything – to find a peaceful political solution to the conflict.
- The UN officials called on the international community to redouble its support for the people of Yemen. If we fail to do so, they stressed, the catastrophe we have seen unfolding before our eyes will not only continue to claim lives but will scar future generations and the country for years to come.
IN IRAQ, TOP U.N. RELIEF OFFICIAL HAILS HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE IN MOSUL
- Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Ursula Mueller wrapped up a three-day visit to Iraq, where she met with senior officials and ministers from the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government, as well as with members of the international and humanitarian communities, and Yazidi community representatives.
- She also visited people who have been uprooted from their homes.
- In Mosul, Ms. Mueller saw first-hand the complete devastation of districts in the old city, noting that no doubt countless tragedies remain untold among the rubble.
- She commended the achievements of the humanitarian operation in Iraq as well as the impressive national response, spotlighting the exceptional level of cooperation between national counterparts, UN agencies and front-line NGOs.
U.N. OFFICIALS VISIT PALESTINIAN REFUGEE CAMP
- Yesterday, the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Sigrid Kaag, and the Director of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Lebanon, Claudio Cordone, visited the Palestine refugee camp of Ein El Hilweh. They met with representatives and residents of the camp, including women and youth groups, and visited UNRWA installations and other areas in the Camp.
- Ms. Kaag and Mr. Cordone underlined the need for calm and stability, allowing residents to go about their daily lives without fear of violence. They welcomed the measures taken by the Palestinian joint security forces and the cooperation with the Lebanese military and security agencies to improve the security situation in the camp.
- More than 57,000 Palestine refugees are registered by UNRWA as living in Ein El Hilweh.
BEST HOPE FOR CYPRUS SOLUTION LIES IN U.N.-BACKED PROCESS, ENVOY SAYS
- The Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide, said that he has held a wide range of meetings following the Crans-Montana conference earlier this month.
- Last week in New York, he briefed the Security Council and met with the Secretary-General, the guarantor powers and other diplomats, while this week, he held talks with the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders.
- Mr. Eide said that following the Conference on Cyprus, the two sides are in a period of reflection.
- He noted that he remains convinced that the best chance for a mutually-agreed solution in Cyprus is through the established United Nations parameters.
NEW U.N. GUIDELINES ASSIST COLLECTION OF FOREST INFORMATION
- The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has developed new guidelines aimed at helping countries develop strong National Forest Monitoring Systems.
- To fulfil their pledges under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and Agenda 2030, countries are expected to collect more detailed forestry data, which enables them to adopt evidence-based policies and practices.
- This not only includes information on the size and growth or decline of their forests, but also key aspects of sustainable forest management, such as the role of forests in the conservation of biodiversity and forests' contribution to livelihoods and poverty reduction.
- In 2010, only 45 countries worldwide were able to assess changes in forest area and characteristics through consecutive systematic national forest inventories, suggesting a serious gap in information.