Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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25-Jul-2018 00:18:05
Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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The Secretary-General is announcing the appointment of Victor Kisob of Cameroon Deputy Executive Director of the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), at the Assistant Secretary-General level.

He succeeds Aisa Kirabo Kacyira of Rwanda, to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for her dedicated service to the Organization.

Mr. Kisob brings to the position more than two decades of service in human resources management; spanning international affairs, policy, strategy, operations, knowledge management and partnerships, coupled with a comprehensive background in the field within the UN system, in Somalia, Israel, Palestine, Zambia and Ethiopia.

The United Nations in Syria condemns the attacks on civilians in different parts of the country, including the terrorist bombing in Sweida city today that resulted in scores of civilian deaths and injuries.

A statement issued by Ali al-Za’tari, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria, reiterated the UN’s call for the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure, sparing them the brunt of violence and conflict, wherever they are.

Today, Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, said he was greatly encouraged by the recommendation of the World Bank’s Board to allocate $90 million, up from $55 million last year, in response to the alarming economic circumstances in the occupied Palestinian territory, in particular in Gaza.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA, also said today that because emergency assistance is critically under-funded in the occupied Palestinian territory, where the US contribution for emergency programming of almost $100 million per year is no longer available, the Agency has been forced to take mitigating measures.

As a result, in the West Bank, UNRWA will discontinue its Cash for Work activities effective 31 July 2018. However, households assessed in the last two years as abject poor, will be transitioned to the Social Safety Net Programme (SSNP), a core programme of the Agency, which UNRWA is determined to continue. This will ensure that the most impoverished refugees inside camps continue to receive assistance, and become eligible for other forms of support which are not available under Cash for Work.

The Bedouin community's food assistance programme will continue operating until the end of 2018, with UNRWA and its partner the World Food Programme actively working to secure funds for its continuation in 2019. The Community Mental Health Programme will be discontinued, effective 31 August 2018. UNRWA is currently coordinating options to continue working with select communities alongside UN agencies. Finally, mobile health clinics will be discontinued, effective 31 October 2018. UNRWA is identifying possible partners for continued service to select communities. As a result of all these measures, 154 staff members hired against the now-depleted emergency funds will not have their contracts renewed upon reaching their expiry date.

UNRWA also today issued a statement condemning the killing of children and calling for an independent and transparent investigation into the death of a fourteen-year-old refugee student at UNRWA’s Basic Boys School student at a camp near Bethlehem – which took place on 23 July following a large-scale incursion by the Israeli security forces into the camp.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is concerned with the raging wildfires in Greece, which have resulted in the deaths of at least 80 people and have injured many more.

The Secretary-General expresses its deep condolences to the relatives of the victims and the Greek Government and commends the national response by the Greek authorities.

The United Nations stands ready to support the Government and international efforts in responding to this disaster.

In a statement yesterday, the Secretary-General expressed his sadness at the loss of life and significant damage caused by the collapse of a dam in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that many people are still missing, with up to 13,000 people are believed to have been affected and some 4,000 people estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is in close contact with the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office in the country and is ready to assist if requested.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein expressed deep alarm today at persistent reports of human rights violations and abuses in the English-speaking Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon, as well as in the Extreme North.

He said it was regrettable that the Government of Cameroon had failed to grant the Human Rights Office access to the Northwest and Southwest despite repeated requests.

Zeid said that the heavy-handed security response that the Government appears to have employed since October last year will only make matters worse for the women, children and men caught in the middle.

To prevent the situation from deteriorating further, he urged the Government to launch independent investigations into the reports of human rights violations by State security forces as well as abuses by armed elements.
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