HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STÉPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
FRIDAY, 11 AUGUST 2017
U.N. ADVOCACY LEADS TO RELEASE OF NINE CHILD SOLDIERS IN MALI
- The UN Peacekeeping Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) says that, further to advocacy by the Mission and by UN partners on the ground, nine child combatants were handed over to MINUSMA in Kidal this morning. The mission is organising their transportation to Gao and making arrangements for their care by child protection actors pending reunification with their families.
U.N. PEACEKEEPING WING VOICES CONCERN OVER CLASHES IN SOUTH SUDAN’S PAGOK
- The UN Peacekeeping Department says that the situation in Pagak is extremely worrying, with reports of fighting between the Sudan People's Liberation Army and the opposition.
- The UN Mission in the country calls for an end to the hostilities and for all sides to uphold their responsibility to protect civilians from violence. The Mission reiterates that peace in South Sudan will only be achieved through a political solution, not through military means.
IN SAUDI ARABIA, U.N. ENVOY DISCUSSES HODEIDAH PORT, REOPENING OF SANA’A AIPORT WITH YEMENI, REGIONAL LEADERS
- The Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, returned to Amman yesterday after a three-day visit to Riyadh.
- While in the Saudi capital, he met with Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi and Vice-President Ali Mohsen, as well as with the Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Abdelatif Al-Zayyani, and other prominent political and diplomatic figures.
- The talks focused on a proposal for Hodeidah port as a first step towards a comprehensive peace process, in addition to the resumption of salary payments and the reopening of Sana'a International Airport.
- The Envoy has reiterated his call for the urgent and immediate need to reopen the airport as soon as possible, saying it would be crucial to alleviate the suffering of Yemenis.
IRAQ: CIVILIANS REMAIN TRAPPED IN MOSUL’S OLD CITY, PREPARATIONS UNDERWAY TO HELP THOSE FLEEING TELAFAR
- The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that there have been reported sporadic clashes in Mosul’s Old City, which remains inaccessible to aid workers and where some civilians are thought to remain trapped in their homes.
- Since the end of the military operations in Mosul last month, some 4,500 trauma patients have been taken through so-called humanitarian pathways to receive care at field clinics and hospitals.
- In the towns of Telafar and Ba’aj, west of Mosul, humanitarian preparations continue ahead of anticipated military operations.
- Temporary housing is being prepared, stocks are being prepositioned and medical preparations are under way to handle any casualties.
- Since the end of April, nearly 50,000 people have fled these towns and surrounding areas.
U.N. OFFICE DEEPLY CONCERNED BY DETERIORATING HUMANITARIAN, HUMAN RIGHTS CONDITIONS IN GAZA
- The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is deeply concerned about the steady deterioration in the humanitarian conditions and the protection of human rights in Gaza.
- At the height of summer, with soaring temperatures, electricity provision has not risen above six hours per day since the beginning of the current crisis in April, and has often been under four hours. The Human Rights Office warns that this has a grave impact on the provision of essential health, water and sanitation services. Power outages threaten the life and well-being of vulnerable groups, particularly those needing urgent medical care.
- The Office says that Israel, the State of Palestine and the authorities in Gaza are not meeting their obligations to promote and protect the rights of the residents of Gaza. It urges those authorities to uphold the human rights of the population in Gaza. And the Human Rights Office also calls on the international community to respond to the UN’s urgent appeal for humanitarian aid, to honour pledges made to support reconstruction and development of Gaza, and to work with the parties to bring a resolution to the current crisis.
NEW U.N. REPORT SPOTLIGHTS TRAUMA EXPERIENCEDBY MIGRANTS IN WEST AFRICA
- The UN Migration Agency (IOM) has released a report profiling migrants passing through its transit centres in West Africa, which revealed that there is widespread misinformation about what awaits migrants on their journeys and in countries of temporary residence, particularly in Libya.
- More than 60 per cent of migrants who resided in Libya or Algeria reported that they have been subject to abusive treatment, physical violence, and/or threats. Sixty-eight per cent of migrants said that after experiencing these harsh conditions, they had no intention of continuing their journey.
- The report also highlights the lack of economic opportunities in West and Central Africa, which is cited by migrants as the main reason for leaving their homes.
AS UKRAINE CONFLICT ENTERS FOURTH YEAR, 1.6 MILLION PEOPLE UPROOTED – U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY
- With the conflict in Ukraine entering its fourth year, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said today that nearly1.6 million Ukrainians are internally displaced and struggle to find safety, adequate housing and access to employment.
- UNCHR is also concerned for the safety and security of nearly 800,000 people living near the Line of Contact in Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine.
- The agency is also concerned about the difficulties for civilian movement crossing the dividing line in the east, resulting in limited access to basic services such as drinking water and medical care.
YOUNG PEOPLE GATHER AT U.N. HEADQUARTERS TO CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL DAY
- The Summer Youth Assembly kicked off in New York today to mark International Youth Day, which is tomorrow.
- In Iraq, the new UN Youth Envoy, Jayathma Wickramanayake, is holding dialogues with youth as well as meeting with UN officials.
- This year, the Day is dedicated to celebrating young people’s contributions to conflict prevention and transformation as well as inclusion, social justice, and sustainable peace.
SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS NEW HEAD OF U.N. COUNTER-TERRORISM BODY
- Today, the Secretary-General is confirming the appointment of Michèle Coninsx of Belgium as Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) at the Assistant Secretary-General level, following the concurrence of the Security Council.
- She succeeds Jean-Paul Laborde of France to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for his commitment and dedicated service to the Organization.
- Ms. Coninsx currently serves as President of Eurojust, the Judicial Cooperation Unit of the European Union. She is also the Chair of Eurojust’s Counter Terrorism Team and of the Task Force on the Future of Eurojust.