Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

Preview Language:   English
03-Apr-2019 00:19:25
Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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The Secretary-General, António Guterres, landed a short while ago in Tripoli, in Libya, where he will show his support for the political process during this critical phase in the country. Speaking to reporters after his encounter in Cairo with Egyptian President Sisi, the Secretary-General said, “Our objective is simple, to avoid any major confrontation and to create conditions to stabilize the situation in Libya.”

He added that it is essential to unify the country’s institutions and said that [he] hopes that the conversations that took place between Prime Minister Sarraj and General Haftar in Abu Dhabi will be an important step towards this unity. He hoped that this progress can be consolidated by the National Conference that will take place later this month.

You will have seen that we just tweeted out about this arrival saying that he is totally committed to supporting the Libyan-led political process.

As for his discussions with the President Sisi earlier today before leaving Cairo, the Secretary-General said their talks covered the three pillars of the UN: peace and security, sustainable development and human rights.

The Secretary-General takes note of the resignation of the Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

The Secretary-General salutes the mature and calm nature in which the Algerian people have been expressing their desire for change. He looks forward to a peaceful and democratic transition process that reflects the wishes of the Algerian people.

The Secretary-General reiterates the United Nations’ continued commitment to supporting Algeria in its process of democratic transition.

The Secretary-General takes note of the announcement made today by the Supreme Court of the results of the 24 March 2019 presidential and gubernatorial elections in Comoros. He expresses his deep concern over the reports of violence and fatalities as well as arrests of political opponents and restrictions on media. He underscores the imperative of upholding the rule of law and the respect of fundamental rights.

The Secretary-General urges the Comorian authorities and other national stakeholders to refrain from any action likely to heighten the current tensions.

The Secretary-General echoes the call made by the African Union on 29 March, supported by the European Union and by the Indian Ocean Commission, for an inclusive dialogue, under the leadership of the AU. He reiterates the UN’s readiness to support such efforts to promote national cohesion, peace, stability and development in the Union of the Comoros.

Back here, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, told the Security Council this morning that the end of peacekeeping in Haiti was within reach.

He said that the UN supported the Haitian leaders’ wish to end the mandate of the UN mission in the country -otherwise known as MINUJUSTH- and that the end of that mission should come in October and for Haitian authorities to completely take over the security of the country.

Mr. Lacroix also said that the Secretary-General’s recommendation to continue to assist Haiti through a small strategic advisory office was based on the assessments of the most urgent needs [and represents] the ideal format to address these needs.

If this recommendation is adopted, M. Lacroix told the Security Council that the UN mission would work, in the next six months, to assist the priorities put forward by the leaders and people of Haiti – while preparing for a smooth transition to a post-peacekeeping UN presence.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights. Michelle Bachelet, also addressed the Security Council, saying that as Haiti stands at the crossroads between peacekeeping and development, we must recognize the progress accomplished. We must continue building on the progress accomplished or risk losing it, she said. Ms. Bachelet encouraged the Council to provide the people of Haiti with the necessary support to strengthen the institutions, fight impunity, and promote and protect human rights as a foundation to stability and development.

The Executive Director of UNICEF, Henrietta Fore, wrapped up today a visit to Honduras, where she said a child under the age of 18 dies from violence every day.

For a country not engaged in active warfare, she said, this figure is staggering.

Ms. Fore noted that the combination of violence, poverty and lack of education opportunities is causing thousands of children and families to flee their homes, adding that, without access to protection and safe migration pathways, most are forced onto dangerous routes where they are at risk from violence, exploitation and abuse.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF put out a report on water today which says that one-in-four health facilities around the world lacks basic water services that impacts over 2 billion people worldwide. And that is the first comprehensive global report on these services.

The report found that just 55 percent of healthcare facilities in the Least Developed Countries had basic water services, and that, each year, 17 million women in these countries give birth in health centres with inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene.

The report comes ahead of the annual World Health Assembly, due to be held in Geneva in May, where governments are expected to debate a resolution on water services in healthcare facilities.

The UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute -otherwise known as UNICRI- examined key challenges and opportunities of artificial intelligence and robotics for preventing crime, combatting terrorism and enhancing security. An that’s during a discussion that took place here at UN Headquarters. Interpol and the missions of Georgia, the Netherlands and the UAE also participated in the meeting.

The importance of not putting practice before policy was underlined, as well as the fundamental importance of protecting human rights and building collaboration as we move forward to talk about standards and guidelines. A report has been produced and is available through UNICRI.

Today we are marking the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. At 1.15pm, the Deputy Secretary-General will discuss the link between sport, peace and development at a celebration co-sponsored by the Principality of Monaco and the State of Qatar.

The Deputy Secretary-General is to say that in time of divisions and distrust, sport helps bring people together and communities together. And she will point to the proven role that sport plays in delivering the Sustainable Development Goals. The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda identified sport as an enabler of sustainable development – by promoting tolerance and respect, empowerment of women, youth, health, education and social inclusion.

Today’s event is part of a series of discussions highlighting sporting initiatives to help implement and promote the Sustainable Development Goals. The discussion is moderated by Sport Anchor for Fox 5 San Diego, Tabitha Lipkin, and the discussions include high-level representatives from the NBA -the National Basketball Association-, ESPN and the International Paralympic Committee, among others.
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