Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

Preview Language:   English
12-Mar-2018 00:18:07
Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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This morning, the Secretary-General briefed the Security Council on Syria, on a week that marks the end of seven years of conflict there. He highlighted a stark fact on this grimmest of anniversaries: In 2017, more children were killed in Syria than during any other year since the war began.

The Secretary-General told the Council that, despite the passage of Resolution 2401, there has been no cessation of hostilities. Violence continues in eastern Ghouta and beyond — including in Afrin, parts of Idlib and into Damascus and its suburbs. Humanitarian aid continues to face blockages, with the humanitarian and human rights situation becoming more desperate by the day.

On Thursday, the Secretary-General said, this conflict will enter its eighth year – but he refuses to lose hope to see Syria rising from the ashes.

This morning in the General Assembly Hall, the Secretary-General spoke at the opening of the 62nd session of the Commission of the Status of Women.

He praised women across the world who are telling their stories and provoking important and necessary conversations. “In villages and cities; in boardrooms and bedrooms; in the streets and in the corridors of power, women and girls are calling out abusive behaviour and discriminatory attitudes,” he said.

The Secretary-General stressed that centuries of patriarchy and discrimination have left a damaging legacy, and added that changing the unequal power dynamics that underpin discrimination and violence is not only the greatest human rights challenge of our time, but it is also in everyone’s interest. Discrimination against women damages communities, organizations, companies, economies and societies, he said, which is why all men should support women’s rights and gender equality.

Calling himself “a proud feminist” the Secretary-General said that when women are already taking action, it’s crucial to listen to them and support them.

The Deputy Secretary-General will also deliver remarks in the ministerial segment of the CSW, during the session on “Ending violence against all women and girls” at 2.55 pm in the ECOSOC Chamber.

The Acting Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Pernille Kardel, met today with President Michel Aoun, and she emphasised that the conference later this week in Rome will be an opportunity for Lebanon, and the Lebanese government, to state its desire to see the security institutions extend State authority throughout the country.

She congratulated the Lebanese Government for its preparations ahead of the 6 May elections, saying that it is encouraging to see an historic number of women candidates for the elections.

Ján Kubiš, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, today stressed the need for the Iraqi Government to take active steps to support and protect minority communities and to ensure the return of minorities who suffered from Da’esh persecution to their homes. He urged the religious, political and civic leaders as well as the general public to stand up for their fellow vulnerable citizens.

Mr. Kubiš called for the support and protection of minorities, including Yezidi, Christians, Shabak, Sabean Mandaeans, and others. He said that Iraq needs all its components, all its ethnic and religious groups, to rebuild in the post-Da’esh period and prosper in the future as a stable and united country.

The Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, concluded a three-day visit to Sri Lanka yesterday.

Mr. Feltman met with President Sirisena, as well as other political and Government leaders. He commended the Parliament’s recent adoption of the Bill for Protection against Enforced Disappearances.

Regarding the recent communal violence, Mr. Feltman condemned the breakdown in law and order and the attacks against Muslims and their property.

The Director of Operations and Advocacy in the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, John Ging, concluded a three-day visit to Afghanistan where he visited families displaced by conflict in informal settlements and families which recently returned from Pakistan after living there for years.

He also met with United Nations colleagues, humanitarian NGOs and Humanitarian Donor Group partners, as well as the Chief Executive of Afghanistan, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah. Mr. Ging stressed the challenges of reaching 2.8 million Afghans, who have acute needs, in 2018.

He said that humanitarian assistance continues to be a priority to ensure the survival of the most vulnerable, adding that we should not abandon the people of Afghanistan.

In the Central African Republic, the first training of 500 national police and gendarmes started today in Bangui. This is the first training of its kind and the UN Mission in the Central African Republic supported the recruitment process, the rehabilitation of the police academy and the preparation of the training.

This is the culmination of a process that lasted over a year to recruit candidates from all 16 prefectures to reconstitute the national police and gendarmerie into a national security force that is representative of the entire country.

The UN Environment Programme today announced the winners of the #CleanSeas Innovation. The competition was held among university students and recognized creative ideas in tackling marine litter.

The winners include a group of students who designed biodegradable plastic cups and plates made out of egg whites, a recycling scheme in Cameroon that turns plastic bottles into fishing canoes, and a project that uses remote sensing to detect marine litter along the Chilean coast.

Slovakia has paid its regular budget dues in full, bringing the total number of Member States that have done so to 66.
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