Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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07-Dec-2018 00:15:15
Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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The Secretary-General will be traveling to Marrakech, Morocco over the weekend where he will attend the Intergovernmental Conference to adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration on 10 and 11 December.

On 10 December, the Secretary-General will also take part in a high-level event to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights along with several former High Commissioners for Human Rights. And that will also be taking place in Morocco.

The Assistant-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Bintou Keita, and Assistant-Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, will arrive in Mali later today for a five-day joint visit, which also includes representatives from UNDP and the Department of Field Support.

The Assistant Secretaries-General are in the country to take stock of progress being made in the implementation of the peace agreement and to support the integration of the UN peacekeeping mission on the ground (MINUSMA) with the Country Team and its partners.

They are expected to meet with Government officials, including the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the National Assembly, members of the opposition, signatory groups and civil society, among others.

They will also meet with peacekeepers to thank them for their sacrifices and dedication in implementing the mission’s mandate to bring peace and security to Mali. While in Mali, Ms. Keita will also participate in a high-level conference on support to the African Union.

This morning, the Secretary-General spoke at the Annual High-Level Pledging Conference for the Central Emergency Response Fund otherwise known as CERF, and said that, if there is anything that works well at the UN, it’s the CERF.

He said that the Central Emergency Response Fund has been at the forefront of the United Nations’ humanitarian response for the past 13 years. During that time, it has provided over $5.5 billion in life-saving humanitarian assistance to over 100 countries and territories, thanks to the support of 126 Member States and Observers.

Today, unfortunately, despite our efforts to reduce needs and prevent crises, the Secretary-General said, the CERF must contend with a far greater scale of suffering than at its inception in 2005.

He called on the Member States to stand by their General Assembly commitment to raise $1 billion for the Fund. A strong UN needs a strong, reliable CERF, he said.

He also spoke at the 70th anniversary of the Genocide Convention. This was an event in which he said that seventy years after the Genocide Convention was adopted, people are still being killed, raped, their homes torched, their lands confiscated, just because of who they are.

The Secretary-General said that in Iraq, the violent extremists of Daesh brutally targeted the Yazidi people for murder, sexual slavery and trafficking, so courageously described by Nadia Murad, a survivor and Nobel laureate.

And he added that he is extremely concerned about the plight of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, who have been systematically killed, tortured, raped and burnt alive, victims of what has rightly been called ethnic cleansing.

Elsewhere around the world, the Secretary-General added, racism, hate speech, violent misogyny, antisemitism, Islamophobia and all forms of xenophobia are on the rise.

He added that it is incumbent on all of us, individually and collectively, to reject every single attempt to target people because of their nationality, ethnicity, religion or race, or any other form of identity.

Our colleagues at UNHCR tell us that nearly 1,500 civilian casualties in Yemen were reported in the period between August and October of this year. This means an average of 123 civilian deaths and injuries every week during this period.

Given the very heavy human cost, UNHCR urges parties to the conflict in Yemen to improve the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure.

Homes and hospitals continue to be sites of violence. Twenty-three per cent of all deaths and injuries during this period were reported in houses.

A new report released today by the World Health Organization says road traffic deaths continue to rise, with an annual 1.35 million fatalities. The WHO Global status report on road safety highlights that road traffic injuries are now the leading killer of children and young people aged 5-29 years.
The report notes that despite an increase in the overall number of deaths, the rates of death relative to the size of the world population have stabilized in recent years. This suggests that existing road safety efforts in some middle- and high-income countries have mitigated the situation. However, low-income countries have not reduced overall deaths, in large part because these measures are lacking.

Today is Civil Aviation Day.

This year’s theme is ‘Working Together to Ensure No Country is Left Behind’ which highlights the International Civil Aviation Organization’s efforts to assist countries in implementing its Standards and Recommended Practices.

The main goal of this work is to help ensure all States have access to the significant socio-economic benefits of safe and reliable air transport and can address safety, security and emissions-related issues.
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