Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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07-Aug-2019 00:18:30
Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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Martin Griffiths, the Special Envoy for Yemen, said that he is alarmed by the military escalations in Aden today, including reports of clashes in the vicinity of the Presidential Palace. He is also deeply concerned by the recent rhetoric encouraging violence against Yemeni institutions.

Mr. Griffiths said that escalations of violence will contribute to instability and suffering in Aden and will deepen Yemen’s political and social divisions.

The Special Envoy calls on all parties involved to abandon violence and engage in dialogue to resolve differences. He also urges all those with influence to de-escalate the situation and ensure the protection of civilians.

Rosemary DiCarlo, the Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, briefed the Security Council this morning on detained and missing persons in Syria. She said that, given the continued lack of access to places of detention and to detainees in Syria, the United Nations has no official statistics on those detained, abducted or missing. But she added that reports suggest that more than 100,000 people have so far been detained, abducted, disappeared or went missing, largely, but not only, by the Syrian Government.

Ms. DiCarlo said that the deaths in detention have continued to occur, many allegedly as a result of torture, neglect or inhumane conditions. For the families of detainees, their tragedy is compounded by the difficulty of obtaining death certificates or their remains.

She added that the Special Envoy, Geir Pedersen, has prioritized the case of detainees, abductees and the missing. Meaningful action on this file would build confidence and move the political process forward, she said.

Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, today noted that the Israeli authorities have approved over the past two days the advancement of some 2,400 housing units in settlements in Area C of the occupied West Bank.

He said the expansion of settlements has no legal effect and constitutes a flagrant violation of international law. By advancing the effective annexation of the West Bank, he added, it undermines the chances for establishing a Palestinian state based on relevant UN resolutions, as part of a negotiated two-state solution.

It must cease immediately and completely, the Special Coordinator said.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said it is outraged by today’s Taliban attack in Kabul which has caused scores of civilian casualties.

According to reports, 14 people died and 145 were injured.

The Mission says that such indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks in heavily populated civilian areas must stop.

The UN also expresses deep concern at the Taliban’s stated threat to target civilians participating in the 28 September presidential election process.

The UN urges the Taliban to respect and protect civilians and not to threaten them or carry out violence should they engage in their constitutional rights to participate in elections.

Our humanitarian colleagues, the Government of Zimbabwe and aid organizations today launched a revised Humanitarian Response Plan seeking $331 million to help 3.7 million people through the end of next April in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe is facing many humanitarian challenges stemming from climate change and economic shocks. Food insecurity has worsened following the droughts of 2018 and 2019 and continuing macroeconomic challenges.

Some 5.5 million people in rural areas and 2.2 million people in urban areas of Zimbabwe are believed to be food insecure.

For its part, the World Food Programme (WFP) is stepping up its assistance by providing food aid and also building the capacity of chronically hungry communities to withstand climate shocks.

In the Philippines, our humanitarian colleagues tell us that, yesterday, the Government declared a national dengue epidemic.

There have now been more than 146,000 reported cases of dengue fever and 622 confirmed fatalities since the beginning of this year. Children between the ages of 5 and 9 have been the most affected.

The Government is leading the response, assisted by the Philippines Red Cross and the World Health Organization.

The United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation has been opened for signature in Singapore, and we are informed that 46 States signed it today.

The Convention, which is known as the Singapore Convention on Mediation, was negotiated within the framework of the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) and adopted by the General Assembly. The Convention focuses on increasing the enforceability of settlement agreements that arise out of mediation.

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