Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

Preview Language:   English
18-Oct-2019 00:31:31
Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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I have a statement on the attack that took place in Afghanistan today.

The Secretary-General strongly condemns today’s attack inside a mosque during Friday prayers in Nangarhar province, eastern Afghanistan, which resulted in scores of civilians killed and dozens more injured, including children. Those responsible for this attack must be held to account.

The Secretary-General extends his deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured. He reiterates the solidarity of the United Nations with the people and Government of Afghanistan.

On Saturday, the Secretary-General will be in Washington, D.C. to attend the annual meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

He will participate in the Small States Forum, the meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee and a meeting of the Finance Ministers Coalition on Climate Finance. The Secretary-General will be in Washington just for a few hours and be back Saturday evening in New York.

Turning to Syria, following the announcement of a 120-hour ceasefire on 17 October, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says the situation is reportedly calm in most areas, with the exception of Ras al-Ain, where shelling and gunfire continued to be reported earlier today.

Yesterday alone, 16,250 people reportedly were displaced from communities in northern Aleppo towards Manbij. Displaced families are staying with relatives or in informal settlements.

Despite challenges, humanitarian partners continue to assist people in need where access is possible. Focus has been on support to those newly displaced – both in collective shelters and in host communities – as well as in the camps.

More than 60,000 people have been supported in the last 48 hours. Distribution of winter items in camps has begun, with distributions completed at the Mahmoudli and al Roj camps. Further distributions are planned in the coming days.

Stocks of food and medicine are in place to meet many of the immediate needs. The necessary pipelines for bringing aid into the area and referral pathways to move those in need to adequate care facilities have also been established.

The World Health Organization’s Emergency Committee met earlier today in Geneva to determine whether the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is still a health emergency of international concern.

This decision is scheduled to be announced shortly.

Now, in the DRC itself, in the past 3 weeks, have brought some encouraging progress. There has been a decrease in the number of new confirmed cases taking place in fewer areas. While this is good news, the new cases are occurring in zones with challenges linked to access and insecurity. WHO also warns that the risk of resurgence remains very high.

The UN Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH) started its operations 2 days ago.

We issued a statement yesterday afternoon, in which the Secretary-General reaffirmed the continuous commitment of the United Nations to support the Haitian people on their path to peace and development, through a new partnership.

The Secretary-General is concerned by the current political crisis and its adverse impact on the security situation and the lives of Haitians. He urges all Haitian stakeholders to engage in genuine dialogue and prevent a further escalation in violence that threatens to reverse stability gains. He calls on the Haitian National Police, which has assumed full responsibility for the security and protection of the Haitian people, to discharge their duties with due regard for all people and their human rights.

While continuing to uphold all ongoing efforts for the elimination of cholera, which has seen significant progress, and the resolution of pending cases of sexual exploitation and abuse, the Secretary-General reiterates the unyielding commitment of the UN to Haiti’s stability and prosperity.

The Under-Secretary-General for Operational Support, Atul Khare, wrapped up a three-day visit to Tokyo yesterday, in Japan.

In Japan, he met with Defense Minister Taro Kono and other senior government officials to thank Japan for its contributions to the UN’s peacekeeping capacity building. Mr. Khare briefed those officials on the UN’s financial situation and management reform and also discussed possible cooperation in telemedicine for UN peacekeeping operations.

Mr. Khare is currently in Bhutan for consultations with senior government and military officials.

From 21-23 October, he will be in Beijing to participate in the 9th Beijing Xiangshan Forum and to meet with senior Chinese government and military officials.

The UN Human Rights Office on Ecuador says that a small team would visit Ecuador from 20 October to 8 November to look into allegations of human rights violations and abuses committed in the country in the context of the recent protests.

The mission will be conducted at the invitation of the Government. The team is expected to meet with Government officials, indigenous leaders, civil society and journalists to collect first-hand information on the circumstances of the violence that spread across the country from 3 October onwards.

Our humanitarian colleagues tell us that, in South Sudan, that flooding in large areas of the country could impact between 600,000 and 800,000 people.

High levels of water are restricting access, limiting the ability to help those affected and to assess their needs.

Safe drinking water, anti-malaria medicines and shelter materials are expected to be among the items that are needed.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), its partners and local authorities are rushing emergency support to the area. UNHCR has prepositioned emergency shelter kids and other materials for more than 5,000 families to rebuild homes, but more support is needed.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) took delivery of a shipment of low enriched uranium (LEU) at a purpose-built facility in Kazakhstan yesterday, officially establishing the IAEA LEU Bank. That Bank is aimed at providing assurance to countries about the availability of nuclear fuel.

Owned by the IAEA and hosted by Kazakhstan, the Bank is one of the Agency’s most ambitious and challenging projects since it was founded in 1957. More information is available online.

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