Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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05-Dec-2016 00:33:19
Briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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In order to deliver urgent relief, protection and support to nearly 93 million of the most vulnerable and marginalized people in 2017, we launched earlier today an appeal for $22.2 billion in funding – the highest consolidated humanitarian appeal ever launched. Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien, who launched the appeal in Geneva, said that the scale of humanitarian crises today is greater than at any time since the United Nations was founded.

On Friday, the UN received a Note Verbale from the Government of Syria indicating that it has approved the December convoy plan for deliveries to hard-to-reach and besieged areas, including eastern Aleppo. This will enable the UN to initiate convoy preparations in coordination with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, including administrative procedures with the authorities.

On 2 December, the UN conducted two inter-agency missions to assess the humanitarian situation in the cotton factory shelter in Jibreen and Hanano in east Aleppo. Hanano is an area of eastern Aleppo which has been retaken by the Government forces.

Neither the UN nor the Syrian Arab Red Crescent has had access to the part of eastern Aleppo controlled by the armed opposition groups. The UN and SARC have only access to government-controlled areas. The UN is continuing negotiations to get access to people in need in the parts of eastern Aleppo controlled by armed opposition groups.

Hostilities continued over the weekend, however there have been no reports of new displacement since 2 December. An estimated 31,500 people from east Aleppo remain displaced within the entire city of Aleppo. The UN and partners are scaling up their humanitarian response in the area, responding to the needs of the newly displaced in all areas we are able to access.

The Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, concluded today a visit to Kuwait, where he met with the Emir of Kuwait, as well as the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs.

The Special Envoy provided a thorough update on the developments that took place since the Yemeni parties left Kuwait in early August. The Emir of Kuwait reiterated his full support to the Special Envoy and to the Yemeni peace process.

The Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) has concluded its investigative process on the allegations ‎of sexual exploitation and abuse against Burundian and Gabonese contingents deployed in Dekoa, Kemo prefecture, in the Central African Republic.

These allegations referred to incidents between 2014 and 2015. OIOS has conducted joint investigations with Burundian and Gabonese national investigative officers. Investigations started in April 2016, a few days after the allegations were brought to the attention of the United Nations and lasted for more than four months. The investigators relied primarily on the testimony of possible victims and witnesses given the lack of medical, forensic or any other physical evidence. This was due to the fact that the majority of the allegations referred to incidents that took place a year or more earlier. Everyone who came forward with claims, both minors and adults, were assisted by national and international partners.

The United Nations has shared the OIOS report with both Member States, including the names of the identified alleged perpetrators and has requested for appropriate judicial actions to ensure criminal accountability.

Responsibility for further investigations lies with Burundi and Gabon. The United Nations has requested from the Burundian and Gabonese authorities that they review the OIOS findings and conduct the interviews of the alleged perpetrators who had all been rotated out from the Central African Republic before the allegations surfaced. The United Nations has asked for a copy of the final national investigation reports to be transmitted urgently.

The alleged perpetrators, if allegations against them are substantiated, and, if warranted, their commanding officers, will not be accepted again for deployment in peacekeeping operations.

The UN Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) has strengthened its prevention measures and reinforced its outreach among communities and peacekeepers across the country, especially in high-risk areas to improve awareness and reporting on sexual exploitation and abuse and other forms of misconduct. The Mission is also regularly monitoring conditions and behaviour of mission’s personnel and has partnered with United Nations agencies and implementing partners in Central African Republic that provide psychosocial, medical and legal assistance to victims of sexual exploitation and abuse.

The United Nations condemns, in the strongest terms, all acts of sexual exploitation and abuse committed by peacekeepers or any other UN personnel and will maintain follow up so that perpetrators of these abhorrent acts are brought to justice.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has presented a paper to the European Union, calling for far-reaching reform of Europe’s global refugee policies, including its asylum system.

UNHCR says more strategic and targeted support needs to be provided to countries of origin and that Europe needs to investment more in the integration of arriving refugees, including housing, employment and language training.

In response to questions, the Secretary-General congratulates Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the President-elect of Uzbekistan, according to preliminary results announced by the Central Election Commission today. The Secretary-General notes the orderly conduct of early presidential elections in Uzbekistan, which took place following the recent death of long-time President Islam Karimov. The Secretary-General encourages all political forces to work together to ensure a stable post-election development of the country.

In a message marking World Soil Day, the Secretary-General calls attention to the pressing issues affecting soils, including climate change, antimicrobial resistance, soil-borne diseases, contamination, nutrition, and human health.

In a message marking International Volunteer Day, the Secretary-General extends his deepest gratitude to the thousands of UN and community volunteers worldwide, whose commitment and passion can act as inspiration to us all.

The UN Hospitality Committee hosted its annual gala on Saturday evening, where it expressed appreciation to the Secretary-General and Mrs. Ban for their tireless leadership of the Organization in the past decade.

This year’s Humanitarian Award recipient was Steven Tyler of the band Aerosmith.

He is a strong advocate of the prevention of violence against women and has established Janie’s Fund, which is raising money to assist girls who have been victimized by abuse and neglect. In its first year, the Fund now has supporters in 38 countries.

In his remarks, the Secretary-General also paid tribute to Ambassador Joseph Verner Reed, who passed away recently. The Secretary-General said that Ambassador Reed was a dear friend and a great fixture in the diplomatic community.
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