Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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11-Oct-2019 00:11:31
Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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The Secretary-General wrapped up his visit to Copenhagen, Denmark, today.

He delivered a keynote address at a plenary session of the C40 World Mayors Summit, saying that cities – home to more than half of the world’s population – are where the climate battle will largely be won or lost. The Secretary-General expressed his appreciation for the role played by mayors in the fight against climate change, calling them the world’s first responders to the climate emergency.

Before he departed Copenhagen, he issued a first-person statement on the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

“I have said often that the winds of hope are blowing ever stronger across Africa,” he said, adding that the Prime Minister is one of the main reasons why.

“His vision helped Ethiopia and Eritrea achieve a historic rapprochement, and I was honored to witness the signing of the peace agreement last year.

Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock issued a statement following the completion of his planned visit to the border region between Turkey and Syria.

Mark Lowcock noted that he repeatedly expressed his concern about the impact on civilians of military operations in Idlib since last April. Mr. Lowcock said his visit has coincided with the start of the Turkish military operation across the border in north-eastern Syria, and he expressed his concern at reports of civilian casualties on both sides of the border and of the large number of people moving inside Syria in the hope of avoiding the fighting. He reiterated what the Secretary-General has said: that we urge all parties to exercise restraint, to act in line with their obligations under the Charter and international humanitarian law, to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria, and in particular to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure.

Mr. Lowcock added that he has discussed the situation with the Government of Turkey, who assured him that they attach maximum importance to the protection of civilians and the avoidance of harm to them.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says an estimated hundred thousand people have now left their home in the area.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said today that it has begun to receive reports of civilian casualties during the first two days of the Turkish operation.

The Human Rights Office said that military operations must be conducted in accordance with international humanitarian law, in particular the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution.

It added that civilians and civilian infrastructure are to be protected from attack and from the effects of the hostilities. When displacement occurs, displaced civilians must be provided with assistance and protection until they are able to return to their homes or relocate elsewhere, voluntarily, in safety and dignity.

Today is the International Day of the Girl Child. Unscripted and Unstoppable is the theme of this year’s Day.

In his message to mark the Day, the Secretary-General pointed out that in the past 25 years, we have seen more girls completing school, fewer getting married or becoming mothers, and more gaining the skills they need to excel in the workplace.

However, he added, many are still held back by harmful gender norms that influence everything they do. Two hundred million girls and women are subjected to female genital mutilation. Three of four victims of human trafficking are women and girls. Conflicts trap millions in violence, uncertainty and despair.

The Secretary-General called on everyone, everywhere, to uphold the equal rights, voices and influence of girls in our families, communities and nations.

This afternoon, the Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed will deliver remarks at the Girls Speak Out event, scheduled to take place in the ECOSOC Chamber.

She will reiterate the UN’s commitment to advocate for girls’ rights, and support governments to provide girls with a safe childhood, access to quality education and skills, and an environment where they can make informed decisions about their own lives.

The UN Refugee Agency, in what the agency described as a historic moment, says more than 85 Governments, civil society, international and regional organizations have made 300 new pledges during a high-level meeting to end statelessness.

There are about 3.9 million known stateless people, although UNCHR says the true global figure is estimated to be much higher.

At the end of the meeting, Filippo Grandi, the Head of UNHCR said that this week has shown there is an unprecedented level of political will and commitment to resolve this issue and prevent it from arising in the first place.

The UN Migration Agency (IOM) today launched a $10 million appeal to support recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian which hit Abaco and Grand Bahama a month ago.

These funds will support operations of shelters, provision of non-food items, tracking of missing persons and protection of those who are still vulnerable.

IOM is already supporting The Bahamas with debris removal in Abaco. The agency said it is removing over 100 cubic meters of debris daily in coordination with the government.

The Government has also formally requested IOM to support and relocate Bahamian citizens stranded in the US after their evacuation following Hurricane Dorian.

Sri Lanka is the latest country to pay budget dues in full bringing the Honour Roll up to 131.

In answer to questions, the Spokesman said the UN has been following the developments regarding negotiations over the Great Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia very closely. We hope that the parties will reach a mutually agreeable solution. The UN stands ready to assist in any it can, in agreement with the parties.

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Office of the Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General
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