HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC
SPOKESPERSON FOR ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
TUESDAY, 24 JANUARY 2017
PEACEKEEPER KILLED IN ATTACK ON U.N. MISSION IN MALI
- The UN Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) reports that its camp in Aguelhok, in Kidal region, came under mortar attack on Monday. One UN peacekeeper from Chad was killed and two others were wounded.
- The interim Head of the Mission, Koen Davidse, condemned the attack and presented his condolences to the family of the victim. He stressed that attacks against the UN Mission would not weaken its determination to implement its mandate.
- The UN expresses its sincere condolences to the people and the Government of Chad. The Secretary-General will be writing a letter to the Government of Chad to express his own condolences.
SOUTH SUDAN: U.N. MISSION RECEIVES REPORTS OF FIGHTING, CIVILIAN CASUALTIES
- The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has received reports of fighting between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and opposition in Kajo-Keji in Central Equatoria on Sunday. It is also following up on reports of civilians killed and displaced near the border areas.
- The UN Mission has received reports of clashes in Obbo Payam in Magwi County in Eastern Equatoria over the weekend and is seeking to verify reports of civilian casualties.
- The Peacekeeping Mission reiterates the need for an immediate cessation of hostilities and an inclusive political process.
- Meanwhile, it continues to protect some 224,000 civilians in its sites across the country, with less than half being protected in protection of civilian sites in Bentiu in Unity State.
PRIORITY IS PREVENTION, SECRETARY-GENERAL STRESSES IN REMARKS AT SUSTAINABLE PEACE EVENT
- The Secretary-General spoke this morning at a high-level General Assembly dialogue on building sustainable peace for all.
- He stressed the clear link between failing economies and the potential fragility of societies, institutions and even states, resulting in the eruption of devastating conflicts.
- The Secretary-General said that we need a global response that addresses the root causes of conflict, and integrates peace, sustainable development and human rights in a holistic way, from conception to execution.
- Our priority, he said, is prevention - prevention of conflict, of the worst effects of natural disasters, and of other manmade threats to the cohesion and wellbeing of societies.
- The Secretary-General underlined that the best means of prevention, and of sustaining peace, is inclusive and sustainable development, noting that implementing all the Sustainable Development Goals will make an enormous contribution to sustaining peace.
SPECIAL ENVOY TO SYRIA: U.N. READY TO ASSIST PARTIES TO TRILATERAL MECHANISM
- Speaking in Astana, Kazakhstan, the Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, commended Russia, Turkey and Iran for their decision to establish a trilateral mechanism to observe and ensure full compliance with the ceasefire in Syria.
- He said that the UN stands ready to assist the parties to the trilateral mechanism and to ensure that it helps strengthen the quality of the ceasefire. He added that both Syrian parties told him that their immediate priority was and remains to strengthen the ceasefire, and even now, efforts are continuing to address Wadi Barada and other issues
- Mr. de Mistura trusted that the emphasis that the Astana Meeting has put on the ceasefire will help create a supportive environment for engagement between the Syrian parties. He said it is important to jumpstart the convening of the formal political negotiating process under UN auspices in Geneva next month.
- Meanwhile in Helsinki, United Nations agencies and NGO partners today appealed for $4.63 billion in new funding to continue vital work in addressing the growing needs of refugees from Syria and communities hosting them in neighbouring countries. The plan aims to assist over 4.7 million refugees from Syria and 4.4 million people hosting them in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. That funding is in addition to the $3.4 billion that the UN estimates will be required to address the humanitarian needs of 13.5 million people in Syria this year.
IRAQ: 100 DAYS AFTER START OF MILITARY OPERATIONS TO RETAKE MOSUL, DEEP CONCERN OVER HUMANITARIAN SITUATION
- One hundred days after military operations to retake Mosul started, humanitarian partners are expressing deep concern about the plight of the estimated 750,000 civilians who are currently living in the western sections of the city where fighting is expected to start in coming weeks.
- To date, 180,000 people have fled the eastern sections of the city, while more than 550,000 civilians have stayed in their homes. Humanitarian partners have been working as quickly as possible to provide direct lifesaving assistance. Nearly 600,000 people have received food, 745,000 people have benefitted from water and sanitation support and 370,000 have sought medical care.
- Eighty-five per cent of the people displaced from Mosul are staying in 13 displacement camps and emergency sites constructed by the Government and its partners. Ten of these camps are already full, and four of them are being extended. Seven more are under construction.
- In recent weeks, the Human Rights Office has received a large number of reports of civilians killed by Da’esh shelling or improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in parts of Mosul that were recaptured by the Government of Iraq. Airstrikes in Mosul also reportedly continue to cause civilian casualties, although it is difficult to verify how many civilians have been killed or injured, particularly since information indicates that Da’esh continues to base itself in civilian houses and infrastructure and exploiting civilians as human shields.
- And yesterday, UNICEF conducted a mission to three east Mosul city neighbourhoods to follow up on support required by 30 primary schools, which were opened by the Directorate of Education on 22 January. UNICEF was able to deliver basic school supplies.
U.N. SPECIAL ENVOY FOR YEMEN WRAPS UP VISIT TO SANA’A
- The Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed has concluded his visit to Sana'a, where he met with representatives from Ansar Allah and General People's Congress.
- The meetings focused on the full and comprehensive political settlement of the crisis, the restoration of the Cessation of Hostilities, the security plan required for the peace agreement and the need to lift the restrictions on the access of civilian commercial aircraft to and from Sana'a airport.
- The Special Envoy will be in New York on Thursday to brief the Security Council on his ongoing efforts to resume peace negotiations.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME VISITING NIGERIA
- The Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), Ertharin Cousin, is travelling to Nigeria today for talks with government officials and to visit the Northeast, where WFP is assisting more than a million people whose lives were wrecked by Boko Haram violence.
- Ms. Cousin will take part in a news conference in Abuja on Friday upon her return from the Northeast and she will also be available for one-on-one interviews with the media.
U.N. HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEEPLY TROUBLED BY VERDICT AGAINST POLITICAL ACTIVIST IN KYRGYZSTAN
- The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has called the decision by a court in Kyrgyzstan to uphold a life sentence against political activist and journalist Azimjan Askarov “deeply troubling”.
- The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, says the decision highlights serious shortcomings in the country’s judicial system.
- The court upheld the original verdict against Askarov, finding him guilty on a variety of charges, including accessory to murder and incitement of inter-ethnic hatred following violence in southern Kyrgyzstan in June 2010.
DISARMAMENT AN INTEGRAL ELEMENT OF PEACEFUL, PROSPEROUS WORLD: SECRETARY-GENERAL
- In a video message to the opening of this year’s session of the Conference on Disarmament today, the Secretary-General said that disarmament is an integral element of a peaceful and prosperous world. It is one of the pillars on which the United Nations was built.
- He spotlighted the important role that disarmament can play in ending existing conflicts and preventing the outbreak of new strife.
- The Secretary-General told the Conference that the world looks to it, as the sole multilateral disarmament negotiating body, to provide rationality and diplomatic solutions, to promote security through peaceful action, and to create the instruments we need to develop confidence, trust and international stability.