Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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ENGLISH 23-Aug-2017 00:21:15
Briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
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The Secretary-General has appointed Jane Connors of Australia as the first Victims’ Rights Advocate for the United Nations.

In his report on “Special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and abuse: a new approach”, the Secretary-General pledged that the UN will put the rights and dignity of victims at the forefront of its efforts to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation and abuse.

As Victims’ Rights Advocate, Ms. Connors will support an integrated, strategic response to victim assistance in coordination with United Nations system actors with responsibility for assisting victims.

She will work with government institutions, civil society, and national and legal and human rights organizations to build networks of support and to help ensure that the full effect of local laws, including remedies for victims, are brought to bear.

Ms. Connors brings to the position a long and multi-faceted career in human rights advocacy as well as human rights and humanitarian assistance in the academic, UN, and civil society spheres. She is currently International Advocacy Director Law and Policy for Amnesty International in Geneva.

The UN Mission in the Central African Republic reports that clashes took place today between fighters from the anti-Balaka and from the Front Populaire pour la Renaissance de la Centrafrique in Ngoubi, close to Bria in Haute-Kotto Prefecture.

Meanwhile, the nearly 6,000 civilians who sought refuge at the UN Mission’s base in Bria over the weekend have returned to an internally displaced people site in the town, which is being protected by peacekeepers.

Blue helmets are also protecting the Bria church, where civilians are seeking shelter. The Mission is engaging both sides in an attempt to mediate, while peacekeepers are continuing their patrols on the Ippy and Aigbando axes.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is also very concerned about the humanitarian situation in Zémio. They say it is likely to worsen with the arrival of heavily-armed Fulani people in the town on 21 August and reports of anti-Balaka fighters from Bangassou heading towards Zémio.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that the encirclement of Derna, in north-eastern Libya, has been eased temporarily, following advocacy efforts from humanitarian workers.

Civilians are currently able to leave Derna more freely, to stock up on basic necessities, pursue studies outside of Derna, receive treatment for medical emergencies, and to go on pilgrimage to Mecca. Essential supplies, including medicine, spare parts and materials for Derna’s desalination plant, as well as cooking gas, have been allowed into Derna over the past few days.

Nevertheless, although restrictions lightened, there are still complaints over bans on the entry of trucks carrying fuel, cooking gas and other goods. There are also complaints over intimidation and one case of detention at a checkpoint.

The World Food Programme (WFP) is delivering emergency supplies to more than 200,000 people in northwest Bangladesh after massive floods inundated more than half of the country.

WFP says that many survivors have lost everything – their homes, their possessions and their crops – and is worried about the impact of the floods on longer-term food security.

Nearly 7 million people have been affected by the floods and more than 580,000 hectares of crop land have been destroyed.

The Food and Agriculture Organization today issued a report on small-scale fisheries, which offers more than 30 case studies ranging from Greenland to Zanzibar and addressing diverse issues including gender and sustainable resource use.

Two-thirds of the caught fish that humans eat are taken by small-scale fishers, with technologies and practices that are usually well adapted to the ecological and social circumstances within which they operate.

Yet small-scale fisheries often struggle to compete due to regulatory frameworks that tend to ignore them or that are tailored to the concerns of large commercial fleets.

In response to questions regarding reports that the President of Guatemala, Jimmy Morales, is planning to ask the Secretary-General for the removal of Commissioner Ivan Velasquez as Head of the International Commission against Impunity, the Spokesman said that we have never received any complaint about the role of Commissioner Velasquez from the Government of Guatemala or from the country’s justice sector institutions.

On the contrary, the UN recently hosted a donor meeting at Headquarters with the participation of the Foreign Minister of Guatemala, the President of the Supreme Court, the Attorney General, as well as the Minister of Interior. They all praised the Commission's work.

The Secretary-General heartily commends the work of Commissioner Velasquez and looks forward to continuing to supporting him carry out his functions at the helm of the Commission.

UNICEF’s Representative in the Philippines, Lotta Sylwander, has expressed her deep concern about the impact of the war on drugs on children in the country.

Ms. Sylwander said the death of a 17-year-old during a drug raid in Caloocan City was disturbing, calling for a fair and transparent investigation.

She said that UNICEF shares the grief of all families of children who have been killed, as well as of children who have lost parents, caregivers and relatives during anti-drug operations.
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