HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
TUESDAY, 28 FEBRUARY 2017
 
SECURITY COUNCIL FAILS TO PASS RESOLUTION ON USE OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS IN SYRIA

  • The Security Council just failed to pass a resolution concerning the use of chemical weapons in Syria. The draft resolution had nine votes in favour, three against and three abstentions, and did not pass because of the negative votes of permanent members.
  • Earlier, Council members held a session to wrap up their work during the past month under Ukraine’s Council Presidency. The United Kingdom will assume the rotating Presidency of the Council for March.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL SWORN IN, SAYS SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT BEST WAY TO ACHIEVE UNIVERSAL PEACE
  • The Secretary-General swore in Amina Mohammed, his new Deputy Secretary-General this morning. In welcoming in Ms. Mohammed, the Secretary-General said that he was extremely happy and proud that she had accepted to serve with him. 
  • She spoke to the press this morning, saying that she will focus primarily on helping the Secretary-General to reposition sustainable development at the heart of the United Nations. As he has stated, sustainable development is an end in itself; but it is also the best way to achieve universal peace.
  • Earlier, she addressed a session of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), saying that achieving the Sustainable Development Goals is not an option.  It is an imperative for a safe and secure future of prosperity, opportunity and human rights for all.
YEMEN: U.N. RELIEF CHIEF BLOCKED FROM VISITING TAIZZ CITY
  • The Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien, is continuing his visit to Yemen. Although he had received assurance of safe passage by all parties for all stages of the mission into Taizz city in Yemen, his convoy was denied passage at the final checkpoint before crossing the frontline coming from Ibb to Taizz city. After being denied access, the convoy returned to safer ground to continue negotiating access with the authorities controlling the final checkpoint, to no avail.
  • Mr. O’Brien was extremely disappointed that humanitarian efforts to reach people in need were once again thwarted by parties to a conflict, especially at a time when millions of Yemenis are severely food insecure and face the risk of famine. He remains focused on his mission to advocate for the people affected in Yemen, to marshal the resources necessary to provide life-saving assistance and protection, and to remind parties to the conflict of their responsibility to respect humanitarian and international humanitarian law, including the provision of timely, full and unimpeded humanitarian access.
  • The UN Human Rights Office said today that it has received numerous reports of the recruitment of children in Yemen for use in the armed conflict, mostly by the Popular Committees affiliated with the Houthis.
IRAQ: NUMBER OF DISPLACED PEOPLE SPIKE AS MILITARY OPERATION MOVES THROUGH WESTERN MOSUL
  • The number of civilians displaced from western Mosul has risen sharply, as the military operation has entered more densely populated areas of the western part of the city. Some 16,500 people have been displaced from western Mosul since the operations on the west began on 19 February -- an increase of 12,700 people over the past two days.  This number is expected to increase significantly, as reports of large numbers of civilians on the move today are being verified.
  • Families displaced from western Mosul are moving primarily south to Hammam al Alil, where security screening is undertaken, then further south to displacement camps and emergency sites. Emergency assistance is being provided to families as they reach camps and emergency sites, and emergency packages of food, water, hygiene items and blankets are provided to families as they reach the Hamam al Alil screening site.
  • As space in displacement camps fills up, humanitarian partners and national authorities are racing to prepare for new arrivals. Currently, space is available to receive another 85,000 people, and work is ongoing to expand shelter capacities. Overall, almost 177,000 people are currently displaced from Mosul and its surroundings.
A WEEK AFTER DECLARATION OF FAMINE, TOP AID OFFICIAL CALLS FOR UNHINDERED ACCESS ACROSS SOUTH SUDAN
  • A week after famine was declared in parts of South Sudan, the Humanitarian Coordinator in the country, Eugene Owusu, has appealed to all parties to ensure immediate, safe and unhindered access across the country. He said that the famine that was declared last week represents only the most extreme tip of the iceberg of needs. Mr. Owusu’s call follows a series of recent events which have hampered humanitarian operations and placed civilians at risk.
  • This past weekend, 28 humanitarian workers were forced to relocate from Mayendit County -- one of the two counties hit by famine -- due to insecurity. In Central Equatoria, aid workers were denied access last week to key locations outside of Lainya town, where tens of thousands of people in need have not been reached with aid in months. In Jonglei, clashes have reached new locations in recent days, causing civilians to flee. During the chaos, humanitarian compounds were looted by armed actors and community members.
THAILAND: U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS WING ‘DISAPPOINTED’ AS PARLIAMENT FAILS TO ADOPT DRAFT ANTI-TORTURE LAW
  • The UN Human Rights Office today said it was disappointed by the decision of Thailand’s military-appointed parliament not to enact a draft law criminalizing torture and disappearances, calling on the Government to reintroduce legislation to criminalize such deplorable acts.
  • The UN Human Rights Office said that, given the continued allegations of torture and disappearances in Thailand, it is deeply worrying that such actions may be carried out without any legal redress.
NEW UNICEF REPORT HIGHLIGHTS ‘EXTREME RISKS’ FOR MIGRANT CHILDREN EN ROUTE FROM NORTH AFRICA TO EUROPE
  • Refugee and migrant children and women are routinely suffering sexual violence, exploitation, abuse and detention along the Central Mediterranean migration route, according to a new report issued by UNICEF.
  • The report, ‘A Deadly Journey for Children: The Central Mediterranean Migrant Route’, provides an in-depth look at the extreme risks facing refugee and migrant children as they make the journey from sub-Saharan Africa into Libya and across the sea to Italy.
  • Three quarters of the refugee and migrant children interviewed said they had experienced violence, harassment or aggression at the hands of adults during their journey; while nearly half of the women and children interviewed reported experiencing sexual abuse during migration.