Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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17-Jun-2019 00:18:40
Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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The Secretary-General strongly condemns the triple suicide attacks on 16 June in Konduga village, Borno State, northeastern Nigeria.

The Secretary-General expresses his sincere condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government and people of Nigeria. He wishes a speedy recovery to those injured. He hopes those responsible for these attacks will be swiftly brought to justice.

The Secretary-General reiterates the solidarity of the United Nations with the Government of Nigeria in its fight against terrorism and violent extremism. He also renews the commitment of the United Nations to continue to support regional counter-terrorism efforts.

Over the weekend a statement was issued in which the Secretary-General condemned the recent attacks in Kenya’s Wajir County. He also spoke out against the killing of at least eight people in a car bomb explosion in Mogadishu in Somalia.

These attacks were claimed by al Shabaab.

The Secretary-General expressed his deepest condolences to the families of those killed and to the Governments and people of Kenya and Somalia.

He also expressed the solidarity of the United Nations with the Governments of Kenya and Somalia in their efforts to fight terrorism and violent extremism.

This morning, the Secretary-General spoke at the meeting to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the entry into force of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

He said that a well-defined body of international law establishing the rights and duties of States in relation to seas and oceans is essential at a time when oceans are under unprecedented pressure.

The Secretary-General encouraged countries who haven’t yet done so to ratify the Convention, and also appealed to all States Parties to approach the task of the Convention’s full implementation with renewed commitment and vigour.

“Let us be the generation that reverses the cycle of continuous decline in our oceans and ensures their conservation and sustainable use, for the benefit of current and future generations,” he said.

The UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, briefed the Security Council by videoconference from Amman this morning and said that in Hudaydah, the parties have in general sustained the reduction in violence across the governorate for six full months since the agreement entered into force last December. This has continued, he said, despite the delays in the implementation of the agreement due to a number of challenges and the frustrations associated with those challenges. He added that the Redeployment Coordination Committee members from both parties have continued to engage constructively with General Michael Lollesgaard on the plans for the first and second phases of the redeployments during the past months.

The Special Envoy expressed concerns about the recent escalation of fighting in Yemen, as well as the recent drone attacks in Abha airport. He said that in the context of wider regional tensions, the risks to the political process have never looked more stark. Mr. Griffiths called for steps to be taken to de-escalate tensions for the benefit of the Yemeni people and the regional security.

Also briefing was Mark Lowcock, the Emergency Relief Coordinator, and he told Security Council Members that events in Yemen in recent years have recurred, like a time loop. The situation on the ground, he noted, has changed only marginally since 2016. But as a result of the fighting, 24 million people need aid, with 10 million people needing food to survive. Also briefing was David Beasley, the Executive Director of the World Food Programme.

The peacekeeping mission on the ground is concerned by reports of violence in the province of Ituri (Djugu territory) that has resulted in the killings of dozens of people. Looting, burning of villages and forced displacements have also been reported.

To support Congolese efforts to address the deteriorating security situation, the UN Mission has reinforced its presence in the area with the deployment of three temporary military bases in the Djugu and Mahagi territories.

The UN mission has also deployed teams in the field to assess the situation and is engaging communities and the authorities to help prevent more attacks and to stabilize the situation.

The Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Gwi-Yeop Son, said today that she is deeply concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation and is alarmed by reports of intercommunal violence in parts of Darfur, including the recent clashes in Deleij in Central Darfur, that left 17 people dead and destroyed 100 homes.

Ms. Son stressed the importance of an unhindered, principled, and timely humanitarian response across Sudan. She called on the authorities to facilitate the timely clearance of the importation and distribution of aid supplies, including in medicine, as well as to ensure that aid workers can enter Sudan and travel internally.

She said that half a million people in Khartoum and Darfur are at risk of being affected if medical supplies are not imported in a timely manner, with another quarter of a million mothers at risk of not being provided maternity services.

The Humanitarian Coordinator also emphasized the need to respect international human rights law, including the protection of health facilities, health professionals, and other aid workers.

And as a reminder, the United Nations and our humanitarian partners provide assistance to 4.4 million people in need across Sudan.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that heavy rains and flooding across eight provinces in the south and centre of the country have affected more than 6 million people in the past week.

As of 16 June, at least 88 people have been killed and 388,000 people have been evacuated.

The UN offers its condolences to the Government and people of China for this loss of life.

UNHCR said it has sent extra teams over the weekend to the border between Peru and Ecuador to support the authorities dealing with an unprecedented number of Venezuelan refugees and migrants entering Peru.

On Friday, over 8,000 Venezuelans crossed the border at the Peruvian city of Tumbes, the largest number ever recorded on a single day. The total number of Venezuelan refugees and migrants in Peru is now estimated at 800,000.

UNHCR said it is providing humanitarian and health assistance on the ground as well as information and legal support to refugees and migrants on both sides of the border. UNHCR also repeated its call on the international community to step up its support to countries like Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, that have received the vast majority of the 4 million refugees and migrants from Venezuela.

Today is the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought. This year’s theme is “Let’s Grow the Future Together.”

In his message, the Secretary-General said desertification, land degradation and drought are major threats affecting millions of people worldwide, particularly women and children. He stressed that protecting and restoring land can reduce forced migration, improve food security and spur economic growth. It can also help address the global climate emergency.

The Day’s main celebration are being hosted in Turkey. This year is also the 25th anniversary of the Convention.

The world’s population is expected to increase by 2 billion in the next 30 years, according to the World Population Prospects 2019: Highlights, a report launched today by UN DESA, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

Nine countries are expected to make up more than half of the projected growth between now and 2050. They are India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, the United Republic of Tanzania, Indonesia, Egypt and the United States of America.

The report also confirms that the world’s population is growing older as a result of higher life expectancy and lower fertility rates. Between 2019 and 2050, populations are expected to decrease by one percent or more in 55 countries or areas.

Tomorrow at 12.30 p.m., there will be a press encounter with the Secretary-General, along with the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, outside the ECOSOC Chamber. They will speak to reporters following the informal briefing on the “United Nations Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech”, that opens at 11a.m.

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