HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
FRIDAY, 17 FEBRUARY 2017
SECRETARY-GENERAL ATTENDS G20 AND MUNICH SECURITY CONFERENCE
- Earlier today, in Bonn, Germany, the Secretary-General took part in a G20 working session entitled 'Making Peace in a Complex World.'
- He travelled to Munich, where, shortly, he is scheduled to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and they are expected to address the press together. Tomorrow, he will attend the Munich Security Conference.
- The Secretary-General will be back in the office here in New York on Tuesday.
IRAQ: U.N. OFFICIALS CONDEMN TERRORIST ATTACK IN BAGHDAD
- The Spokesman said that we condemn the terrorist attack in the south of Baghdad on 16 February for which ISIL, also known as Da’esh, has claimed responsibility. This week has seen a series of such atrocious crimes in the Iraqi capital. We express our sincere condolences to the families of the victims, as well as to the Government and people of Iraq.
- We convey our solidarity to the people of Iraq in resisting attempts to spread fear, intimidation and hatred. The United Nations will continue to stand by the Government and people of Iraq in their efforts to fight terrorism and violent extremism, notably by building trust and mutual understanding through peaceful and inclusive dialogue.
- The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Ján Kubiš, also strongly condemned the car bomb attack that took place yesterday at the Bayaa district of Baghdad.
SPOKESMAN SPEAKS OUT AGAINST TERRORIST ATTACK IN PAKISTAN
- In a statement issued yesterday, we condemned the terrorist attack on worshippers at a Sufi shrine in Sehwan, in Sindh, Pakistan. Da’esh has claimed responsibility for the attack.
- We extend our condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government and people of Pakistan, and wish a speedy recovery to the injured. We call for the perpetrators of this attack to be brought to justices swiftly.
SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES THE GAMBIA’S DECISION TO REMAIN PARTY TO INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT’S ROME STATUTE
- On 10 February, the Permanent Mission of the Republic of The Gambia to the United Nations delivered to the Secretary-General notification of the country’s rescission of its withdrawal from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
- The Gambia had formally notified the Secretary-General of its withdrawal from the Rome Statute on 10 November 2016 — a decision which the Secretary-General deeply regretted.
- Over the past two decades, the world has made decisive strides towards building a truly global system of international criminal justice, of which the ICC is its centrepiece.
- The Gambia, like so many other African States, played a major role in the negotiations leading to the adoption of the Rome Statute and was among its first signatories.
- The Secretary-General welcomes that The Gambia will remain a State Party to the International Criminal Court’s founding instrument, and remains confident that States Parties will continue to further strengthen the Court through a constructive dialogue.
U.N. MISSION IN AFGHANISTAN CONDEMNS KILLING OF CHILDREN IN PAKTIKA PROVINCE
- The UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has condemned yesterday’s killing of 12 civilians, including eight children returning home from school, after their vehicle detonated a pressure-plate improvised explosive device on a main public road in Paktika province. The blast also injured four other passengers, including three children.
- “Children are once again the main victims of these indiscriminate and illegal weapons,” said Pernille Kardel, the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan.
- More than 2,100 civilians have been killed and 2,500 others injured by pressure-plate IEDs in Afghanistan since 2009.
U.N. ENVOY SPEAKS OUT AGAINST ATTACKS ON CIVILIANS IN YEMEN
- Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the Special Envoy for Yemen, yesterday put out a statement responding to the killing of six women and a girl and wounding of dozens of people as a result of an alleged airstrike, which hit a funeral in the Arhab district of Sana’a Governorate Wednesday afternoon. He said that attacks on civilians are unjustifiable, regardless of the circumstances. Women and children in particular have been subjected to unspeakable suffering in this brutal conflict. This should stop immediately, he said.
- The Special Envoy calls on all parties to adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian law and respect the sanctity of civilian life.
- He also urges all parties to ensure the unhindered movement of commercial and humanitarian supplies, without which millions of Yemenis are at risk of death and famine.
U.N. RELIEF WING VOICES ALARM AT BOKO HARAM ATTACKS ON VULNERABLE PEOPLE IN NIGERIA
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is alarmed by the reported terrorist attacks on vulnerable displaced people in two locations in Maiduguri in north-eastern Nigeria that took place earlier today.
- While the number of dead and injured among civilians is not yet clear, Boko Haram reportedly launched a major attack using guns and explosives targeting the Custom House site that hosts more than 9,000 internally displaced people and the Muna Garage Park area where displaced people have gathered to return to their homes. These are not the first attacks affecting the most vulnerable people in the area.
- OCHA reminds all parties to the conflict in Nigeria to ensure the safety and security of all civilian populations as required under International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law.
SOUTH SUDAN: SENIOR U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICIAL DENOUNCES ‘PATTERN OF SYSTEMATIC HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS’
- At the end of a four-day visit to South Sudan, the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Andrew Gilmour, called for those committing atrocity crimes in the country to be held accountable. He said he witnessed shocking devastation when he visited Malakal, as well as a clear pattern of systematic human rights violations and abuses suffered by the population. Mr. Gilmour said numerous women talked about rape and gang rape.
- In his meetings with the authorities in Juba, he raised concerns about the unspeakable human rights situation throughout the country. He urged the authorities to combat the worrying rise of hate speech and to do more to protect human rights defenders. He also emphasized the severe restrictions on access that the UN peacekeeping mission (UNMISS) faces when trying to protect civilians, provide humanitarian assistance and monitor the human rights situation. He stressed his concern that elements of the SPLA had engaged in what could well amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.
U.N. MISSION IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC STRENGTHENS PRESENCE IN BAMBARI TO PROTECT POPULATION
- The UN Peacekeeping Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) said today that it has reinforced its presence in Bambari with the arrival of additional forces, including a quick reaction unit and special forces. This allows the Mission to better protect the town and its population. The UN Mission is currently the only legitimate authority mandated by the Government to control Bambari.
- The Mission stressed that the UPC (Mouvement pour l’Unité et la Paix en Centrafrique) and the FPRC (Front Populaire pour la Renaissance de Centrafrique) represent a threat for civilian populations and that UN peacekeepers will respond in case of violence. However, discussions are ongoing and a UN civilian-military delegation will soon meet with the leader of one of the armed groups. The UN Mission stresses that Bambari must be free of armed groups in the coming days.
- And the UN Mission today also welcomed the nomination of Toussaint Muntazini Mukimapa as Special Prosecutor to the CAR’s Special Criminal Court.
U.N. MISSION HANDS OVER HUMAN REMAINS TO GOVERNMENT OF LIBERIA
- The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) handed over the partial skeletal remains of 27 people to the Government of Liberia, today.
- The remains had been kept by UNMIL at the request of the Government of Liberia since they were recovered from 7 different locations in 2004 during a joint operation conducted by the UN Police and Liberia National Police.
- An investigation found that the remains may be related to possible extrajudicial killings carried out in Liberia by armed groups in or before 2003.
AMID DROUGHT, SOMALIA NEEDS MASSIVE INCREASE OF ASSISTANCE TO AVOID CATASTROPHE – U.N. AGENCIES
- As a devastating drought grips Somalia, UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP) are warning that only a massive and immediate increase of humanitarian assistance can help the country avoid falling into another catastrophe.
- Drought conditions have now spread throughout Somalia, threatening an already fragile population battered by decades of conflict. Almost half of the country’s population - some 6.2 million people - are either severely food insecure or in need of livelihood support. It is expected that 944,000 children will be acutely malnourished this year.
- UNICEF and WFP together still require more than US$450 million to provide urgent assistance required in the coming months.
1 MILLION CHILDREN NEED ASSISTANCE IN UKRAINE IN ‘INVISIBLE EMERGENCY’ – UNICEF
- As the conflict in eastern Ukraine enters its fourth year, about 1 million children are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance - nearly double the number this time last year - according to UNICEF.
- The increase – an additional 420,000 girls and boys – is due to the continued fighting and the steady deterioration of life in eastern Ukraine. Some 1.7 million people have been internally displaced as a result of the conflict, and many families have lost their incomes, social benefits and access to healthcare, while the price of living has sharply risen.
- Giovanna Barberis, the UNICEF Representative in Ukraine warns that this is an invisible emergency – a crisis most of the world has forgotten.
REPUBLIC OF KOREA AND SOLOMON ISLANDS PAY FULL U.N. DUES
- The Republic of Korea and the Solomon Islands have paid their regular budget dues in full, bringing the total number of UN Member States that have done so to 41.