Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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02-Oct-2019 00:16:32
Noon Briefing by the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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Our colleagues in the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Mali said today they are dismayed by the toll of the simultaneous terrorist attacks on a Malian G5 Sahel unit position in Boulkessi and the Malian Armed Forces (FAMa) in Mondoro, that took place on 30 September and 1st of October 2019 in central Mali.

The Mission condemns with the utmost energy these attacks, following a General Assembly, where security in Mali and the Sahel was given an important place on the agenda of several high-level meetings attended by Heads of State of the region. The Mission – and all of us, extend our deepest condolences to the Government of Mali and the grieving families. The Mission wishes a speedy recovery to all those injured.

The Security Council held an open meeting this morning on the theme of “Peace and Security in Africa: Mobilizing the Youth towards Silencing the Guns by 2020.”

Addressing Council members, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Africa, Bience Gawanas, noted that nearly 20 per cent of Africa’s 1.2 billion people are between the ages of 15 and 24.

She stressed that, if the right investments are made, and their social and political and economic engagement recognized and nurtured, societies may repay peace dividend.

Ms. Gawanas pointed out that, across Africa, youth are demanding urgent action and are making their voices heard. Young people are at the centre of pro-democracy movements, effectively mobilizing, organizing, leading and clamoring for inclusive and accountable governance, youth participation and economic opportunities for all.

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, expressed grave concern today over the violence that accompanied some of the demonstrations in Baghdad and other governorates. She called for calm and deeply regretted the casualties among both the protesters and security forces.

The Special Representative said that every individual has the right to speak freely, in keeping with the law. She urges the authorities to exercise restraint in their handling of the protests to ensure the safety of peaceful protesters while upholding law and order and protecting the people, public and private property.

There is an update from Haiti today on the humanitarian situation. Security incidents and roadblocks have disrupted the UN and NGOs’ humanitarian programmes.

Our colleagues report that the health sector is probably the most impacted, with hospitals facing significant challenges to operate.

Fuel shortages, lack of safe water and other essentials are also affecting orphanages, civil protection units and other emergency services, which are also functioning with limited capacity.

Many schools have been closed for the past 2 weeks, leaving an estimated 2 million children and young people without any access to education.

In the beginning of the year, 2.6 million Haitians were food insecure. Should the current situation continue, our humanitarian colleagues warn that thousands of people already facing the consequences of severe food insecurity could be further impacted, with food assistance unable to reach them.

UN agencies and their partners are seeking to resume response efforts as soon as possible.

The High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, just concluded a four-day visit to Mexico, where he met with refugees and asylum seekers in the northern and southern parts of the country. Mr. Grandi listened to their stories about the violence, abuse and persecution they suffered at the hands of criminal gangs, which forced them to flee their countries.

The Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros, just wrapped up a visit to the Bahamas, where he was assessing the health impacts of Hurricane Dorian.

During his visit, he went to Abaco and Grand Bahama islands where most households and infrastructure, including healthcare facilities, were completely destroyed.

The health sector in Abaco and Grand Bahama suffered a substantial blow, with equipment and medical supplies destroyed, electrical and water supplies interrupted. In Grand Bahama three health clinics have been destroyed, two in Abaco are now gone.

WHO has deployed 20 staff members and coordinated the mobilization of five emergency medical teams for the response. The agency has also mobilized $1 million from the Contingency Fund for the hurricane response. Dr. Tedros reiterated WHO’s commitment to support the government and the people of the Bahamas for the recovery of the health system.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet will be conducting an official visit to Malaysia on 4 and 5 October, marking this the first ever visit by a UN human rights chief to the country.

During the visit, she will meet with the Prime Minister and other high-level Government officials, as well as the national human rights institution, civil society, the National Bar Association and the UN and diplomatic community.

She also plans to visit an alternative learning centre for Rohingya refugees.

The World Food Programme (WFP) announced today the launch of Stop the Waste, a global campaign to raise awareness about huge amounts of edible food that is discarded daily.

As part of the campaign, WFP has enlisted top restaurateurs and celebrity chefs from around the globe to join the movement by making their own pledge to #StopTheWaste

While there is enough food in the world to feed everyone, one third of the 4 billion metric tons of food produced each year is lost or wasted, costing the global economy nearly US$1 trillion annually.

At the same time, war and unrest are forcing more people to flee their homes than at any time since the Second World War, making it difficult for millions of people to grow their own food or buy it at an affordable prices.

Lastly, another note from UNHCR. The Agency announced the Nansen Refugee Award winner. He’s a lawyer whose work has supported the efforts of the Kyrgyz Republic to become the first country in the world to end statelessness.

Through his organization, Ferghana Valley Lawyers Without Borders, Azizbek Ashurov has helped over 10,000 people gain the Kyrgyz nationality after they became stateless following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. That includes some 2,000 children.

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