Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

Preview Language:   English
23-Jul-2019 00:22:31
Briefing by Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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The Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, Rosemary DiCarlo, told the Security Council this morning that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues to be locked in a dangerous paralysis that is fueling extremism and exacerbating tensions in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory. She warned that there is a growing risk of more unilateral actions and the loss of hope that peace can be achieved through negotiations.

Ms. DiCarlo noted the demolition of housing in Sur Bahir by Israeli authorities yesterday, resulting in the displacement of 24 Palestinians, including 14 children, while the livelihoods of some 300 people were affected. As Deputy Special Coordinator Jamie McGoldrick stated yesterday, Israel’s policy of destroying Palestinian property is not compatible with its obligations under international humanitarian law and contributes to the [risk] of forcible transfer facing many Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

Ms. DiCarlo briefed the Security Council on Gaza, saying that the UN continues to work closely with Egypt to mediate and de-escalate tensions there. While our joint efforts are beginning to bear fruit, she said that she remains deeply concerned by the humanitarian, economic and political situation there. The shortage of medicines, equipment and personnel continue to impede the ability of health providers to meet the needs of patients, including those severely injured during the weekly protests at the perimeter fence.

In a statement issued yesterday afternoon, the Secretary-General said that he was deeply saddened this morning to learn of the passing of Mr. Yukiya Amano, Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Through his stewardship of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Director-General Amano worked tirelessly to ensure that nuclear energy is used only for peaceful purposes in leading IAEA in such an exemplary fashion, he advanced human well-being through efforts spanning medicine, agriculture and other vital areas.

Mr. Amano confronted serious global challenges, including those related to the proliferation of nuclear weapons, with equanimity and determination. Our world, the Secretary-General said, is so much better for it.

The Under-Secretary General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, is travelling today to Cyprus.

He will be there until 26 July to meet with the leaders of the two communities on the island, as well as civil society and community representatives.

Mr. Lacroix will meet with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Cyprus, Elizabeth Spehar, and personnel of the UN peacekeeping mission. He will also visit key locations where the UN mission is deployed along the buffer zone.

Following discussions with European States in Paris, yesterday, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, and the Director General of the International Organization for Migration, António Vitorino, welcomed the consensus on the need for action on Libya and the Mediterranean.

Violence in Tripoli in the past few weeks has made the situation more desperate than ever, and the need for action is critical, they said.

The heads of UNHCR and IOM stressed the importance of ending the arbitrary detention of refugees and migrants in Libya. They added that no one should be returned to detention centres in Libya after being intercepted or rescued at sea.

Mr. Grandi and Mr. Vitorino also acknowledged the renewed commitment from States to prevent loss of life on the Mediterranean Sea. They called for a European Union State search and rescue operation, adding that the status quo, where search and rescue operations are often left to NGOs or commercial vessels, cannot continue.

Finally, they urged States to work with their agencies to get the most vulnerable refugees in Libya out of danger; and welcomed the expressions of support in this regard that they heard in Paris.

The Deputy Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis, Mark Cutts, expressed concern on the mounting civilian casualties in the Idlib area, after one of the deadliest attacks on civilian areas in the past three months took place yesterday. In the attack, at least 66 civilians were killed and over 100 women, children and men were wounded in scores of airstrikes and shelling incidents in multiple locations across the northwest.

The worst attack was an airstrike on a popular public market in Ma’arat al-Nu’man, which left at least 39 dead, including eight women and five children. Many more were injured, some seriously, and the casualty count is expected to rise further in the coming days.

Since the end of April, the UN has documented over 400 civilian deaths in total.

The UN reminds all parties to the conflict, and those who have influence over them, of their obligation to protect civilians and the principles of distinction and proportionality enshrined in International Humanitarian Law. The UN calls for the September 2018 Memorandum of Understanding on Idlib to be upheld.

The UN also calls for attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure to come to an end and for areas to be made accessible for humanitarian assistance.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that the crisis in north-east Nigeria, now in its tenth year, is showing no signs of abating.

More than 7 million people are in need of life-saving assistance, including nearly 3 million people who are food insecure.

Some 1.8 million people are internally displaced, and this number is rising due to the continued violent clashes between non-state armed groups and Nigerian security forces.

Despite the insecurity, the United Nations and humanitarian organizations have reached more than 2 million people with aid.

The 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan for Nigeria seeks $848 million to help 6.2 million people, but it is only 33 per cent funded.

Beyond Nigeria, the Boko Haram insurgency is also affecting Cameroon, Chad and Niger, with nearly 10 million people in need of humanitarian assistance across the Lake Chad region.

This year, the humanitarian community is seeking $1.3 billion for the Lake Chad region, but the appeal is only 20 per cent funded so far.

The World Food Programme (WFP) is working with the Government of Bangladesh to help more than 275,000 people affected by flooding in the country’s northwest.

An innovative project, which uses weather forecasts to trigger early actions such as cash transfers, is being used for the first time.

Some 5,000 households, or 25,000 of the most vulnerable people, have received money through mobile transfers as part of the project.

The Government of Bangladesh says that more than 2 million people have been affected in nearly one third of Bangladesh’s 64 districts. WFP is closely monitoring the situation and stands ready to assist further.

The UN Global Compact today announced that 28 companies with a combined market cap of $1.3 trillion dollars have committed to step up their climate action ahead of the Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit in September.

These companies collectively represent over one million employees from 17 sectors and more than 16 countries and include Unilever, Levi Strauss & Co, Vodafone and Hewlett Packard, among others.

The companies have committed themselves to more ambitious climate targets aligned with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and reaching net-zero emissions by no later than 2050.

For further details please see SOURCE below.
Office of the Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General
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