Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

Preview Language:   English
02-Apr-2018 00:26:16
Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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The Secretary-General is arriving today in Geneva, where he will speak at the High-Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen on the following day.

He will also hold bilateral meetings on the margins of that event.

He is expected to hold a press stakeout on Tuesday afternoon, prior to his departure back to New York.

Regarding Syria, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that nearly 130,000 people have left Eastern Ghouta following weeks of fighting.

The UN and partners are responding to the mounting humanitarian needs of those displaced with food, shelter, health and other assistance and protection services. However, needs remain immense.

Humanitarian partners also continue to deliver humanitarian assistance through the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) to people in Ain Tarma, Saqba, Harasta and Hamouriah inside Eastern Ghouta.

The UN continues to call for safe, unimpeded and sustained access to all in need, and any evacuation of civilians must be safe, voluntary, and to a place of their choosing. It is imperative that civilians have the right of return as soon as the situation allows.

Regarding the situation in Afrin, the UN continues to be concerned for the safety and protection of civilians impacted by the ongoing hostilities and reported restrictions of movement.

An estimated 137,000 people have been displaced to Tal Refaat and to the surrounding villages where fighting has recently intensified posing a serious protection risk for civilians in the area.

Over the weekend, a statement was issued on the day marking the conclusion of the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).

The Secretary-General congratulated the people and Government of Liberia for their determination to turn the page on crisis and conflict.

As UN Peacekeeping departs Liberia, the Secretary-General appreciated the essential contributions of all partners in the Liberian peace process over the years, particularly the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), whose green helmets laid the foundation for UN peacekeepers in Liberia.

The Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Yassine Gaba, today strongly condemned the deadly attack which took place near Belle Village in the outskirts of Borno State’s capital, Maiduguri, yesterday. Dozens of civilians were reportedly killed and many more were injured. Mr. Gaba said innocent civilians continue to suffer daily from direct and indiscriminate attacks in the north-east of Nigeria. He called on all parties to the conflict to end this violence and to respect human life and dignity.

In recent weeks, there have been continued attacks on civilians in the three most conflict-affected states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, in the north-east of Nigeria. Since the beginning of the year, at least 120 civilian women, children and men have reportedly been killed, and over 210 people have sustained serious injuries in over 22 attacks allegedly by non-state armed groups directly targeting civilians.

Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Ursula Mueller is travelling today to Myanmar, where she will be for a week.

The purpose of her mission is to observe first-hand the humanitarian impact of the crisis in Rakhine State and the conflict in Kachin and Shan states, and to discuss ways to improve the response.

The mission will include meetings in Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw, as well as field visits. During her stay in Myanmar, the Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator is expected to meet with people affected by the humanitarian crises, senior Government officials, and humanitarian partners.

Following this, on Sunday, Ms. Mueller will travel to Indonesia to attend the ASEAN-UN Annual Regional Meeting.


The World Food Programme (WFP) today airlifted life-saving, nutrient-dense biscuits from its Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) in Dubai to Papua New Guinea.

The plane carried enough food to feed approximately 60,000 earthquake-affected people.

More than 270,000 people continue to require humanitarian assistance following the devastating 7.5 magnitude earthquake which struck the country in February.

The earthquake was followed by a series of severe aftershocks throughout March, causing widespread panic among communities.

Papua New Guinea already faced severe food insecurity and alarming malnutrition levels before the earthquake.

In Afghanistan, the United Nations has welcomed the progress made by the Independent Election Commission in setting an October 2018 date to hold the parliamentary and district council elections.

The head of the UN Mission in the country, Tadamichi Yamamoto, said this is a “positive and important development in the work of the Commission that will allow progress from the formal planning stages to implementation.”

He added that the participation of all Afghans is critical and reiterated the UN’s commitment to support and strengthen the electoral process in the country.

Today is World Autism Awareness Day. The theme this year is "Empowering Women and Girls with Autism."

In his message for the Day, the Secretary-General said we must stand up for the rights of people with autism and speak out against discrimination. He added that the UN’s work for gender equality and women’s empowerment must reach all the world’s women and girls including those with disabilities, and ensure that they have the freedom to make their own choices and participate in the creation of policies that concern them.

And this morning in the ECOSOC Chamber, there was an event to mark the Day with experts and advocates, looking at the challenges that women and girls with autism face today. If you missed it, you can watch it on webtv.un.org

France and Nicaragua have paid their regular budget dues in full for 2018. The Honour Roll now totals 73.
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