Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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26-Oct-2017 00:19:42
Briefing by Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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Earlier today, the Secretary-General met with Central African Republic President Faustin Archange Touadéra and members of his Cabinet. The President and others briefed the Secretary-General on the national reconstruction and consolidation plan.

Speaking to the press afterwards, the Secretary-General saluted the Government’s efforts to consolidate peace in the country and pledged the UN’s support to the extension of national institutions. He also pleaded with the international community not to abandon the Central African Republic. Everyone needs to be mobilized to help the country build the future its citizens deserve, he said.

Later in the morning, at the UN Mission headquarters, the Secretary-General met with Ambassadors from the African Union and the Economic Community of Central African States.

He then had a separate meeting with local religious leaders and civil society leaders. He told them how much the Central African Republic needs a strong and vibrant civil society. He also reiterated his zero-tolerance for any sexual abuse or exploitation by UN personnel. The Secretary-General outlined his new approach, including a closer partnership with troop-contributing countries. He also introduced to them Jane Connors, the new Victims’ Rights Advocate, who is accompanying him.

The Secretary-General then met with representatives of political parties. He told them that the current situation in the country can only be solved with a political solution, which cannot be imposed from the outside.

The Secretary-General then received a briefing from the European Union on its training mission of the armed forces of the Central African Republic.

He also held a meeting with over 100 members of the UN military and police contingents at M’poko airport. In his discussion, the Secretary-General told them of his pride of being their colleague and for the work they are doing for the people of the Central African Republic. He also stressed that the UN’s conduct in the country had to be exemplary and that as we protect vulnerable populations, we also need to protect their human rights.

Last night, the Secretary-General met with victims of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN personnel. In a tweet, he said he was deeply moved by this meeting. “All they seek is justice, and I am determined to fight impunity,” he said.

Staffan de Mistura, the Special Envoy for Syria, briefed the Security Council by video teleconference this morning on the situation in that country.

He stated his intention to resume the negotiations in Geneva on 28 November. He called for an intensified engagement among key players to support the Geneva process and stressed the need for the parties to come to Geneva ready to negotiate.

Mr. de Mistura emphasized that after the developments in Raqqa and Deir Ezzour, it is time to move ahead on the political track and he said any initiative should be judged on the basis of how it can contribute to the Geneva process.

Today, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent delivered humanitarian assistance provided by the UN to the hard-to-reach towns of Yalda, Babila and Beit Sahem in Rural Damascus.

The aid consisted of food, nutrition, health, hygiene and other emergency supplies for 35,000 people in need.

The UN continues to call for safe, unimpeded and sustained access for close to 3 million people in hard-to-reach and besieged areas, including the facilitation of medical evacuations in line with international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock today visited the port of Hodaidah in Yemen, where most food items and fuel are imported to the country.

Mr. Lowcock visited malnourished children at a hospital in Hodaidah. In all of Yemen, there are some 1.8 million malnourished people, including nearly 500,000 children under the age of 5 who are suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

He also met with internally displaced people in the Abs District of Hajjah Governorate, home to nearly 100,000 displaced people. In the entire country, more than 2 million people have been displaced.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that civilians continue to flee their homes in northern Iraq, with at least 166,000 people currently being displaced, the majority from Kirkuk.

Aid workers are helping people in need where they have access, providing food, water, blankets and other supplies. Mobile teams are providing health care.

Also in Iraq, OCHA estimates that 50,000 people have been affected by military efforts to re-take the Da’esh-held districts of Ru’ua and Ka’im in western Anbar which began today.

Aid agencies are ready to help people fleeing the area.

The UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Sigrid Kaag, has concluded today her assignment in Lebanon effectively today, in order to join the Cabinet of the Government of the Netherlands. Ms. Kaag will serve as Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation.

Upon her departure, Ms. Kaag said that Lebanon is a model of coexistence and diversity for the region and she hopes it will continue the path towards sustainable peace, stability, security and development.

The Deputy UN Special Coordinator, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Philippe Lazzarini, will serve as Officer-In-Charge of the Office of the UN Special Coordinator until further notice.

Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Miroslav Jenča visited Afghanistan from 24 to 25 October. He met with Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani, among other senior officials.

Assistant Secretary-General Jenča assured the Government that the UN is ready to assist, if requested, in any renewed efforts to support an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process. Preparations for the second meeting for the Kabul process on peace and security is set to take place in January 2018.

The UN Human Rights Office and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights have launched in Montevideo, Uruguay, a new and deeper cooperation plan to address the protection of human rights defenders.

In 2016, three out of every four recorded murders of human rights defenders worldwide took place in the Americas, and 41 per cent of these killings were of people standing up against extractive or development projects, or defending the right to land and natural resources of indigenous peoples.

The joint action plan includes a study of the measures countries in the region have in place and the production of a manual of best practices to protect human rights defenders.

The intergovernmental process to adopt a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration continued today in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

In her remarks to the regional forum, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for International Migration, Louise Arbour, said we must recognize that, today, most States are at once countries of origin, transit and destination. She used the example of Africa, where 52 per cent of migrants from African countries moved to other African countries, with most of this migration occurring between neighbouring countries.

She also emphasized the importance of an increased variety and scope of legal pathways for non-refugee migrants to access labour markets, which will help achieve the New York Declaration on Migrants and Refugees and the Sustainable Development Goals.
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