Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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12-May-2017 00:19:56
Briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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The Secretary-General is on his way to China, where over the weekend, he will speak at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

He wrapped up his work at the London Somalia Conference yesterday with a press briefing, calling the conference “an unmitigated success”.

The Secretary-General has made clear his intention to extend Stephen O’Brien of the United Kingdom in his capacity as Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and Emergency Relief Coordinator until the end of August 2017. This extension will enable him to conclude a number of initiatives and reforms he has been leading at OCHA.

The Secretary-General is grateful to Mr. O’Brien for his excellent work, dedication and commitment to the United Nations and global humanitarian action.

After the end of August, Mr. O’Brien will be succeeded by Mark Lowcock of the United Kingdom.

On the margins of the London Conference on Somalia, the Secretary-General discussed the situation in South Sudan with a number of international stakeholders. In this respect, on 10 and 11 May 2017, he met with the Chairperson of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat.

In the course of these consultations, the Secretary-General reiterated the United Nations’ deep concern at the prevailing security and humanitarian situation in South Sudan, highlighting the untold suffering being inflicted on the civilian population. He underlined the imperative of renewed regional and international efforts to bring to an end the unfolding tragedy in that country, in particular through the immediate cessation of hostilities, unfettered humanitarian access to the millions of people in need of assistance, freedom of movement for the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the promotion of a credible and truly inclusive process involving all the opposition forces in line with the principles enshrined in the August 2015 Agreement for the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan.

The Secretary-General is encouraged by the commitment of all his interlocutors to further enhance their efforts towards ending the violence tearing South Sudan apart, bearing also in mind the need to prevent further negative repercussions on regional security and stability. The United Nations looks forward to working closely with the IGAD and the AU in the period ahead to identify practical steps that would help arrest the current downward trend towards greater fragmentation of South Sudan, escalating violence and deepening hardship and sustainably put the country back on the track of peace and reconciliation.

The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, is expected to land in Bangui shortly, after which he will participate in a memorial ceremony to honor the five peacekeepers killed during the attack in Bangassou earlier this week. The memorial will also be attended by senior officials of the Central African Republic, including the president of the National Assembly, the Prime Minister and members of his cabinet. Mr. Lacroix will later head to the UN Mission’s level II hospital to visit the peacekeepers wounded in the attack.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reports that some 20,563 refugees have now arrived in Angola, fleeing insecurity and violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Kasai region since early April. A steady stream of refugees continue to cross into Dundo in Lunda Norte Province and more than 3,000 have arrived in the last few days. The recent arrivals included people with severe wounds and burn injuries, who have been transferred to a local hospital to receive urgent medical attention.

Refugee reception centres in Angola are already over-crowded and struggling to accommodate daily arrivals. UNHCR is assisting the Angolan authorities to identify a suitable site for the relocation of refugees. The agency also continues to provide food and relief items to new arrivals.

UNHCR opened a new camp, Hasansham U2, in northern Iraq this week to shelter an increasing number of Iraqi families fleeing the fighting in western Mosul. The camp is located around 60 kilometres west of Mosul along the highway to Erbil. As of today, the new site shelters nearly 500 children, women and men.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human rights has urged the Government of El Salvador to take urgent measures to ensure the protection of LGBTI activists and individuals who are under threat.

At least seven transgender people have been murdered in El Salvador since the beginning of 2017, and according to a recent survey, over half of trans women have received death threats.

OHCHR has called on the Government to conduct prompt, thorough and effective investigations into these hate crimes and has said it will continue to monitor the situation closely.

In Japan, the International Labour Organization (ILO) today announced a partnership with the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee to advance decent work through socially responsible practices during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The agreement seeks to promote socially responsible labour practices within all delivery partners of the Games, taking guidance from the ILO, and will include seminars and symposiums on corporate responsibility practices.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has revised its funding requirements to provide continued support this year to displaced Somalis, and is now seeking $488 million. This update includes an additional requirement of $91 million for Somali refugees in Ethiopia, Kenya, Yemen and those displaced inside Somalia.

The UNHCR appeal aims to cover needs of some 250,000 of the most vulnerable among the newly displaced – including those forced to leave Somalia due to drought and continued insecurity.

Slovakia has paid its regular budget dues, becoming the 97th Member State to have done so.
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