Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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06-Jan-2017 00:41:45
Briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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The Secretary-General, in consultation with members of the Executive Committee, has asked Ms. Jane Holl Lute, the Special Coordinator for improving the Organisation's response to sexual exploitation and abuse, to convene a high-level task force to develop as a matter of urgency, a clear, game-changing strategy to achieve visible and measurable further improvement in the Organisation’s approach to preventing and responding to sexual exploitation and abuse.

The Task Force will use the upcoming Report of the Secretary-General on Special Measures for Protection from Sexual Exploitation to present the elements of the strategy and the Chair is, therefore, charged to consult widely and as appropriate with all stakeholders among Member States, across the UN system, and with other relevant organizations.

The Secretary-General met yesterday with H.E. Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey.

The Secretary-General expressed his condolences to the Government and people of Turkey for the victims of the recent terrorist attacks in Turkey, including the one in Izmir yesterday and in Istanbul on New Year's Eve.

The Secretary-General and the Foreign Minister discussed the situation in Syria. The Secretary-General expressed his gratitude for Turkey's hosting of 2.8 million Syrian refugees. He also expressed his appreciation for Turkey’s support to the ceasefire and its commitment to a political solution to the crisis in Syria.

The Secretary-General and the Foreign Minister also discussed the Cyprus issue and the preparations for the Conference on Cyprus, which will be convened from 12 January in Geneva. The Secretary-General emphasized the historic opportunity for a breakthrough at the Conference. He underlined the need for mutually acceptable solutions that address the concerns of both communities and expressed hope that all parties would demonstrate the necessary creativity in seeking innovative solutions. He expressed his appreciation for Turkey’s commitment to and support for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue.

UNICEF is worried about the possibility of an increase of diarrheal diseases among children in Damascus due to the water shortages and the poor quality and the price of water sold by private distributors. Fighting in and around Wadi Barada on the outskirts of Damascus, where the two primary water sources were located, have resulted in damages to the water network.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Iraq reports that more than 133,000 people have been displaced as a result of ongoing Mosul operations, which began on 17 October 2016. Of these, some 87 per cent have sought shelter in camps for internally displaced people and emergency sites around the Mosul area.

To date, available camp space is still keeping pace with the rate of displacements.

The UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) today deplored the death of another peacekeeper. UN peacekeepers on patrol were returning from the town of Koui in the Ouham-Pende Prefecture when they were attacked by some 50 assailants and one peacekeeper from Bangladesh was fatally shot.

The UN Mission condemns this attack as well as aggressions and provocations against peacekeepers.

We express our sincere condolences to the people and the Government of Bangladesh. The Secretary-General will be writing a letter to the Government of Bangladesh to express his own condolences.

The UN Mission in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) reports that gunfire erupted overnight in Bouake, reportedly by disgruntled soldiers of the army of Côte d’Ivoire claiming overdue payments. The armed forces protestors blocked the Bouake north and south corridors, which are the main roads leading in-and-out of the town.

In Daloa, in the west of the country, soldiers erected barricades along the road between Daloa and Eissia, and were firing shots in the air to stop vehicular movement. The Mission reports that daily activities in Daloa town ceased and schools were closed. There were, however, no report of casualties and the situation remains calm but unpredictable.

Earlier today, helicopters belonging to the UN Mission conducted air reconnaissance in Bouake Town for show of force. Peacekeepers from the Mission's Quick Reaction Force have been deployed to Bouake in support of national authorities to protect civilians should the situation deteriorate. The Mission continues to closely monitor the situation.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says today they are increasingly concerned with the cycle of violence affecting civilians since August 2016 in the provinces of Kasaï, Kasaï Central and Kasaï Oriental in the center of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

A joint mission travelled to Tshikapa, Kasai province, in mid-December, and determined that some 150,000 people have been impacted by the violence.

Funding is urgently required with only 15,000 people having received direct cash assistance to date, through UNICEF-supported activities.

Just yesterday, on January 5th, OCHA received reports of new violence.

UNHCR is reiterating its call to speed up the transfer of asylum-seekers from the Aegean islands to the Greek mainland. Despite recent efforts, conditions at many sites on the islands remain very poor, and with temperatures continuing to drop, the situation of asylum-seekers could worsen.

Of particular concern are the conditions on the island of Samos, where around 700 people remain in unheated tents, including young children and other vulnerable people.

While UNHCR and its partners have provided hundreds of thermal blankets, sleeping bags and winter-protection kits, the agency says there is an urgent need to quickly move people to the mainland.

Syrian refugees in Lebanon remain highly vulnerable, according to a new study.

Household surveys conducted by UNHCR, UNICEF and WFP revealed that the economic plight of Syrian refugees in Lebanon has not improved over the last year, and in some cases, has deteriorated.

About one-third of families were moderately to severely food insecure, while more than 70 per cent of households were living below the poverty line. Most families have exhausted their limited resources, and remained extremely vulnerable and dependent on aid from the international community.
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