Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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22-Jan-2018 00:24:05
Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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The Secretary-General is disturbed by reports of the killing on Sunday of at least six people during protests calling for the full implementation of the 31 December 2016 political agreement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Reports also suggest that 63 people were injured. He calls on the Congolese authorities to conduct credible investigations into these incidents and o hold those responsible accountable.

The Secretary-General urges the Congolese security forces to exercise restraint and to uphold the Congolese people’s right to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly. He also calls upon all concerned to ensure full respect for places of worship.

The Secretary-General, once again, calls on Congolese political actors to work towards the full implementation of the 31 December political agreement, which remains the only viable path to the holding of elections, the peaceful transfer of power and the consolidation of stability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, has informed the Secretary-General that he does not intend to continue in his position beyond the end of his current contract, ending in February 2018.

The Special Envoy takes this opportunity to express his sincere thanks to the Secretary-General for his strong and determined support to reach a political solution to the conflict that has engulfed the country.

In this moment, his thoughts go first to the Yemeni people who are worn out by this conflict and are enduring one of the most devastating humanitarian crisis in the world.

The Special Envoy remains committed to pursue through diplomacy an end to the violence and a political solution that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Yemeni people, until a successor is named.

The Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Miroslav Jenča is on a three-day visit to Iraq. Mr. Jenča met yesterday, 21 January, with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Vice-President Osama al-Nujaifi, Speaker of Parliament Salim al-Jubouri as well as the recently appointed electoral board of commissioners. They discussed how the UN can best contribute to Iraq, particularly on the national and provincial council elections scheduled for 12 May 2018, among other topics.

Today, Mr. Jenča is visiting Mosul. He has witnessed firsthand the resilience of the city’s people and their determination to rise from and rebuilding their lives after more than three years of suffering under the Da’esh terrorist regime.

Tomorrow he will meet Vice President Nouri al-Maliki, Foreign Affairs Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, cleric and party leader Ammar al-Hakim, and women and minority leaders.

Yesterday a statement was issued in which the Secretary-General condemned the attack that took place in Afghanistan, at the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul.

The Secretary-General extended his deepest condolences to the families of the victims and expressed his solidarity with the Government and people of Afghanistan.

The Special Representative and Head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Mohammed Ibn Chambas, represented the Secretary-General at the inauguration of George Weah as President of Liberia in the first peaceful handover of power in the country since 1944.

The Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Bintou Keita, and the Head of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), Farid Zarif, were also present at the ceremony in Monrovia.

The UN congratulates the government and people of Liberia on this historic milestone in the country’s democracy, and wishes President Weah success in fulfilling his vision for Liberia.

The UN has been honoured to walk this historic path with the people of Liberia.

This morning here at Headquarters, the Deputy Secretary-General spoke at the Fourth Annual Symposium on the Role of Religion and Faith-Based Organizations in International Affairs on the topic of migration.

She highlighted the work of faith-based organizations around the world, who are often on the frontlines of crisis, providing food, shelter, education, and medical and psychological support to migrants and refugees, and stressed that their contributions are essential to put in place processes that will make migration safe for all.

The Deputy Secretary-General also noted that the world is undergoing a crisis of solidarity, with political prejudice, intolerance and xenophobia against refugees and migrants becoming pervasive in all regions, and emphasized that faith-based organizations can help tell the positive story of migration and to ensure a responsible and proportionate response from media and policy makers to migration challenges.

On Saturday, the Secretary-General spoke at the Holocaust Remembrance ceremony at the Park East Synagogue in which he spoke on antisemitism and the continued threat caused by right-wing extremists.

The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix will brief the C-34 Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations this afternoon on the report on peacekeeping fatalities and injuries due to violent acts. He will inform Committee members of the content of the report and the Secretariat’s action plan to respond to the report’s findings and recommendations. This follows similar briefings to troop- and police-contributing countries and the Security Council last Thursday. We expect the report and a summary of the action plan to be released to Member States and the media today.

At 2 p.m. today in the Visitors Lobby, the Secretary-General will speak at the “Peace is…. Acceptance” event, where he will talk about the need to pursue peace through many different pathways, including mediation, prevention and art and culture. An Afghan refugee performer, Sonita Alizadeh, is scheduled to sign at the event.

The UN refugee Agency and its partner CARE, today released a study which highlights the 10 most under-reported humanitarian crises of 2017.

At the top of the list the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. UNHCR said that while the country has made headlines for its nuclear programme, its humanitarian situation has received the least media attention globally. Other crises that rarely made the headlines were Eritrea, Burundi, Sudan, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, the Lake Chad Basin region (Niger, Cameroon, Chad), Viet Nam and Peru.

In his address to the Executive Board of the World Health Organization, its Director-General Dr Tedros [Adhanom Ghebreyesus] said he was deeply saddened by the shocking news that two polio workers, a mother and daughter, had been shot dead in Pakistan.
It is an outrage that a mother and her 16-year-old daughter could be murdered while trying to protect the health of children, he said, recalling that in the first three quarters of last year, 44 health workers were killed while doing their jobs, trying to save and protect the lives of others.
This will not derail us from eradicating polio, or from the services we give to save lives, he said.

Today, Canada and Luxembourg have both paid their regular budget dues in full. The total on the Honour Roll has reached 13.
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