Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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ENGLISH 11-Jan-2017 00:21:16
Briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
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The Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, briefed the Security Council this morning saying that the 31 December 2016 agreement contributed to defusing tensions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

However, he noted that major efforts would need to be made to ensure all parties adhere and implement this agreement. Major political, financial, technical and logistical support to the DRC will also be needed for the elections to take place in December 2017, Mr. Ladsous warned.

Regarding the security situation in eastern DRC, Mr. Ladsous said that the activities of militia groups are on the rise in many parts of the country.

He also stressed that the spill-over effects of instability in neighbouring countries, notably South Sudan and Burundi, are already felt in the DRC.

Therefore, long-term military engagement combined with efforts by the national authorities on issues linked to the country's longer-term stabilization and the extension of State authority, are required, he concluded.

The UN has condemned yesterday’s terrorist attacks near the Afghan Parliament in Kabul and the residence of the Provincial Governor of Kandahar that killed dozens of people.

The Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Afghanistan and the Governor of Kandahar are reported to be among the injured.

In a statement, the UN expressed its solidarity with the people and Governments of Afghanistan and the UAE; and reiterated that indiscriminate attacks against civilians, including diplomatic envoys, are violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.

The United Nations, directly or through partners, has provided life-saving assistance to the nearly 150,000 people from eastern Aleppo in Syria who have been displaced from or have returned to the area. More than 36,000 of them were evacuated to the western countryside of Aleppo and Idleb governorate and more than 111,000 people to different areas in Aleppo city, including more than 50,000 in formerly besieged neighbourhoods.

The UN and our national and international humanitarian partners continue efforts to scale up our response in Aleppo to do all we can to ensure that the people of Aleppo receive the aid they need.

Meanwhile, the UN remains very concerned about the situation in and around Wadi Barada, including the displacement of some 15,000 people from the area, as well as the water cuts-off in Damascus since 22 December. Some 5.5 million people in and around Damascus city continue to be deprived of running water as a result of the hostilities in Wadi Barada.

The water authorities continue to implement an emergency plan to meet around 30 per cent of the daily needs of Damascus city residents on a rotational basis.

The UN continues to support the water authorities with water-quality testing equipment and chemicals needed to undertake necessary quality tests. In addition, pre-positioned medicines and kits are in place and trainers are being provided on cholera response and waterborne diseases. The UN continues a public campaign to raise awareness on safe water practices and safe water sources to prevent waterborne diseases, which remains the main concern.

In a press release issued yesterday, UNICEF said that one girl is confirmed dead and four others injured in two attacks yesterday morning near a school in the Nihm district outside the Yemeni capital, Sana’a.

UNICEF said that this is the latest example of how attacks on civilian areas continue to kill and injure children in Yemen. Instead of learning, children are witnessing death, war and destruction. Since the escalation of the conflict in March 2015, the United Nations has recorded the deaths of nearly 1,400 children.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has expressed its concern for thousands of migrants, asylum seekers and others enduring freezing winter conditions across Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean.

With temperatures hovering below freezing across the continent, dozens of people, including some migrants have died due to exposure.

The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst, will visit Mexico for the first time next week, to discuss the measures taken in order to ensure that human rights activists perform their important work in a safe and enabling environment.

At the end of his mission, on Tuesday 24 January, Mr. Forst will present his preliminary findings and recommendations in a press conference at 13:00 at the UN Information Center in Mexico City.

The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, is currently on her fifth information-gathering visit to the country.

She began her visit on Monday, and so far has visited Kachin State.

Ms. Lee’s mission is expected to last until the 20th.

Angola, Armenia, Benin, Dominican Republic, Hungary, Liberia, Senegal, South Sudan and Ukraine have already paid their regular UN budget dues in full and 17 other Member States have made partial payments.
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