HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STÉPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
MONDAY, 25 SEPTEMBER 2017
SECRETARY-GENERAL VOICES CONCERN OVER POTENTIALLY DESTABILIZNG EFFECTS OF REFERENCE IN IRAQ’S KURDISTAN REGION
- In a statement, the Secretary-General says he is concerned about the potentially destabilizing effects of today’s referendum in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.
- The Secretary-General respects the sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of Iraq and considers that all outstanding issues between the federal Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government should be resolved through structured dialogue and constructive compromise.
- The Secretary-General expects that United Nations mandated activities across Iraq, including in the Kurdistan region, will be allowed to continue unhindered. He calls upon the relevant authorities for their continued support.
NUMBER OF ROHINGYA REFUGEES FLEEING MYANMAR TO BANGLADESH REACHES 436,000 AS AID AGENCIES SCALE UP SUPPORT - U.N.
- The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that the number of Rohingya refugees who have fled Myanmar and arrived in Bangladesh in the past month has reached 436,000.
- Aid agencies have reached more than 80 per cent of these people with food aid and are scaling up their support. Some 1.5 million liters of water are also being provided daily, and humanitarian partners are also supplying a wide range of supplies, including shelter kits, as well as health care.
- As of this morning, aid agencies have received 43 per cent of the $77 million appealed for in the initial response plan.
- However, the scale of the emergency has surpassed early projections. The response plan is being revised, with funding requirements projected to increase to $200 million to reach 1.2 million people – including newly arrived refugees and those who came earlier, as well as host communities.
- Humanitarian partners continue to be grateful for the role being played by the people and Government of Bangladesh. The Government has deployed the Army to support aid distributions from the Government and private individuals.
MALI: SECRETARY-GENERAL SPEAKS OUT AGAINST DEADLY ATTACK ON BLUE HELMETS
- Following the explosive device attack on a convoy of the UN mission in Mali yesterday, there was a heavy exchange of fire between UN peacekeepers and unknown assailants followed the explosion. Three Bangladeshi peacekeepers were killed in the attack. Three of the wounded peacekeepers are expected to be evacuated from the Gao hospital to Dakar for medical treatment today.
- In a statement issued yesterday, the Secretary-General condemned the attack. He also urged the Government and the signatory armed groups to expedite the implementation of the peace agreement to isolate the terrorist groups and other entities bent on undermining the peace and reconciliation process.
ISRAELI SETTLEMENT ACTIVITY CONTINUING AT HIGH RATE, U.N. MIDDLE EAST ENVOY TELLS SECURITY COUNCIL
- Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, spoke to the Security Council by video this morning and said that Israel's illegal settlement activities have continued at a high rate, a consistent pattern over the course of this year.
- He added that continued violence against civilians and incitement perpetuate mutual fear and suspicion, while impeding any efforts to bridge the gaps between the two sides. He once again urged both Palestinians and Israelis to demonstrate their commitment to rejecting violence, inflammatory rhetoric and provocative actions.
- Mr. Mladenov said that Intra-Palestinian reconciliation remains critical to preventing the continuing militant buildup and restoring hope for the future. He welcomes the recent statement by Hamas announcing the dissolution of the Administrative Committee in Gaza and agreement to allow the Government of National Consensus to assume its responsibilities in Gaza.
SOMALIA: U.N. ENVOY WELCOMES MOVES TO AMEND MEDIA LAW
- The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Michael Keating, today welcomed the recent introduction of legislation that would amend the 2016 media law, and urged lawmakers to give due consideration to the concerns raised by prominent members of Somalia’s news media about the existing law and the proposed amendments.
- Mr. Keating noted that some provisions of the current media law do not appear to comply with international standards of media legislation and regulation and added that a comprehensive review of the law will allow all key stakeholders to present their views.
- “I hope the outcome of such a legislative process will promote a better environment for Somali journalists to practice their profession without fear,” he said.
LIBYA: U.N. AID OFFICIAL CONDEMNS DEADLY CLASHES IN SABRATAH
- The Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya, Maria Do Valle Ribeiro, today condemned the continued fighting in the city of Sabratah that claimed a number of lives, including of civilians. Three civilians were killed and eight others injured, including a woman and an 8-year-old child. These figures include a family whose car was hit by a rocket while fleeing the conflict. Sabratah University Hospital was also hit twice by shells, causing damage to the emergency and surgery unit.
- Ms. Do Valle Ribeiro called upon the parties to immediately cease hostilities, refrain from the use of indiscriminate weapons in residential areas and from further military escalation. She reminds the parties of their responsibility to respect the provisions of international humanitarian law and international human rights law at all times.
SYRIAN SCHOOL SHELTERING DISPLACED PEOPLE HIT BY AIRSTRIKE – U.N. RELIEF WING
- The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that it is aware of reports of a school in Syria, which was used as a shelter for internally displaced people in Khan Al-Sobol in rural Idleb, being hit by an airstrike. Four people were killed and many others injured.
- Increased violence in south and west rural Aleppo has also been reported, and, as a result, some of the local councils in the area have reportedly suspended classes.
- The UN reminds all parties of their obligation to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, in line with International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law.
- Meanwhile, on Saturday, a UN-Syrian Arab Red Crescent-International Committee of the Red Cross inter-agency convoy delivered food, health, nutrition, education items and children's clothes for 25,000 people in the besieged towns of East Harasta, Misraba and Modira in eastern Ghouta, Rural Damascus. The area was last reached by an inter-agency convoy on 19 June 2017.
- Delays in bureaucratic procedures stalled the movement of the entire convoy, limiting the ability of technical staff to conduct assessments and resulting in the offloading of truckloads of humanitarian supplies lasting well into the night.
U.N. MIGRATION AGENCY HELPS PEOPLE FLEEING IRAQ’S HAWIJA
- The UN Migration Agency (IOM) is helping more than 1,000 people who have fled military operations to retake Iraq’s Hawija district.
- IOM has an emergency site in Haj Ali, where new arrivals – who are mostly women, children and older people – are given a tent and other supplies.
- The Agency is also providing emergency medical care to the new arrivals.
***The guest at the noon briefing was Sergio da Silva, UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team leader, who spoke to reporters over the telephone from Dominica.