HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
FRIDAY, 21 JULY 2017
SRI LANKA: SECRETARY-GENERAL HAILS ESTABLISHMENT OF OFFICE OF MISSING PERSONS AS ‘SIGNIFICANT MILESTONE’
- In a statement issued yesterday, the Secretary-General commended the Government of Sri Lanka for establishing the Office of Missing Persons (OMP), a significant milestone for all Sri Lankans still searching for the truth about their missing loved ones.
- The United Nations stands ready to support this process and the Secretary-General looks forward to the OMP becoming operational as soon as possible, starting with the appointment of the independent commissioners.
U.N. RELIEF CHIEF WRAPS UP D.R. CONGO VISIT
- Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien today wrapped up his visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
- With 3.8 million people internally displaced, the DRC is today the African country most affected by internal displacement.
- While the UN and NGOs have traditionally operated in the eastern part of the country, the past 12 months have seen a surge in needs in the central region of Kasai.
- Mr. O’Brien’s visited some of the communities most affected by the massive humanitarian crisis, including in Tshikapa in Kasai Province, where a year of conflict has led to serious human rights abuses and displaced 1.4 million people.
- The complex, multi-layered crisis is affecting half of the country’s 26 provinces, while the appeal for US$813million that was launched earlier this year has so far received less than 25 per cent of funding.
U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS WING CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION INTO AIRSTRIKE THAT KILLED 18 CIVILIANS IN YEMEN’S TAIZZ
- The UN Human Rights Office said today that it is believed that Tuesday’s airstrike by the Arab Coalition Forces on the embattled Mawza district of Yemen’s Taizz governorate destroyed a makeshift house made of straw, killing all three families believed to have been inside it at the time.
- The attack is believed to have killed at least 18 civilians, including ten children and two women. The three families had been recorded as displaced by the UN Human Rights Office in Yemen as a result of previous airstrikes.
- The Office stresses that attacks targeting civilians or civilian objects or indiscriminate or disproportionate attacks are prohibited under international humanitarian law. It also reminds all parties to the conflict, including the Coalition, of their duty to ensure full respect for international humanitarian law and to respect their obligations under international human rights law.
- The Office calls on the relevant authorities to carry out a comprehensive and impartial investigation into this incident.
OVER 368,000 SUSPECTED CHOLERA CASES IN YEMEN – U.N. HEALTH AGENCY
- The World Health Organization (WHO) said today that between 27 April and 19 July, there have been 368,207 suspected cholera cases and 1,828 deaths in Yemen, which is facing the world’s largest outbreak of the disease.
- Every day, 5,000 Yemenis are falling ill with symptoms of acute watery diarrhea or cholera.
- WHO and its partners are working to help treat those affected and to reduce the further spread of cholera, including through scaling up access to clean water and sanitation, setting up treatment centres, training health workers, reinforcing surveillance and working with communities on prevention.
- WHO stresses that the cholera outbreak is far from being under control, with the rainy season having begun and possibly increasing the pace of transmission.
- WHO and its partners have provided more than 800,000 bags of IV fluids, among other supplies and medicines.
U.N. AND CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY MEETING CONCLUDES TODAY
- The 9th General Meeting of the Caribbean Community and Associated Institutions and the United Nations system will close this afternoon.
- The Secretary-General and CARICOM Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque addressed the meeting during yesterday's opening session.
- The Secretary-General expressed appreciation for CARICOM’s contributions to the United Nations on key issues such as climate change.
- This year’s meeting is notable as, among other things, it marks the 25th anniversary of the decision of the General Assembly to grant the Caribbean Community observer status at the United Nations.
U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY WELCOMES REGISTRATION OF UP TO A MILLION UNDOCUMENTED AFGHANS IN PAKISTAN
- In Pakistan, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) today welcomed the launch of a programme to register undocumented Afghans living in the country which are estimated to be around 600,000 to one million people.
- The programme is the result of three years of consultations between the governments of Afghanistan, Pakistan and UNHCR. It will provide undocumented Afghans with citizen cards protecting them from arbitrary arrests, and extend the validity of registration cards to some 1.4 million registered Afghan refugees.
- The programme will be carried out in all of Pakistan’s provinces by 16 August with the support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UNCHR.
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION SOUNDS ALARM OVER HIV DRUG RESISTANCE THREAT
- The World Health Organization (WHO) alerts countries to the increasing trend of resistance to HIV drugs detailed in a report based on national surveys conducted in several countries.
- This growing threat could undermine global progress in treating and preventing HIV infection if early and effective action is not taken.
- The WHO HIV drug resistance report 2017 shows that in 6 of the 11 countries surveyed in Africa, Asia and Latin America, over 10 per cent of people starting antiretroviral therapy had a strain of HIV that was resistant to some of the most widely used HIV medicines.
- Once the threshold of 10 per cent has been reached, WHO recommends those countries urgently review their HIV treatment programmes.