Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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13-Nov-2019 00:23:55
Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, said today he is very concerned about the ongoing and serious escalation between Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Israel, following the targeted killing of one of the group’s leaders inside Gaza yesterday.

He said that the indiscriminate launching of rockets and mortars against population centres is absolutely unacceptable and must stop immediately. There can be no justification for any attacks against civilians.

The Special Coordinator said the continuing escalation is very dangerous and is yet another attempt to undermine the efforts to improve the dire socio-economic conditions in Gaza and prevent another devastating conflict. The UN is working urgently to de-escalate the situation.

Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, spoke to the Iraqi Council of Representatives, and she told parliamentarians that many Iraqis are asking for a brighter future for the country to reach its full potential and for the benefit of all Iraqi citizens.

She added that the Iraqi people have paid an unthinkable price to get their voices heard. Since the start of the protests on the first of October, she said, at least 319 people have been killed and around 15,000 injured. She reiterated the importance of guaranteeing fundamental rights - above all the right to life, but also the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.

Ms. Hennis-Plasschaert reminded the delegates that, with full respect for Iraq’s sovereignty, the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) has proposed a number of concrete steps as a way forward to confidence-building and reform.

She emphasised that now is the time to act; otherwise any momentum will be lost - at a time when many, many Iraqis are demanding concrete results.

The UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Ján Kubiš, said today that he was disturbed by the tragic loss of life in Khalde last night, in Lebanon. He urged for a thorough and rapid investigation in the incident.

Mr. Kubiš appreciated the stance taken by Walid Jumblatt, who helped to calm down the situation while requesting justice.

The Special Coordinator appeals to the security forces to continue protecting peaceful protesters and refrain from using force.

In Nigeria, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that more than 100,000 people have reportedly been affected across seven areas in the country since late last month, due to the worst flooding in seven years.

Some 19,000 people have been displaced by the floods.

The Government is leading the response, with the UN and its partners scaling up assistance to provide reproductive kits and farming supplies, among other aid.

The flooding compounds an already dire humanitarian situation in Adamawa state, which is one of the worst-affected by the 10-year conflict in north-east Nigeria.

The 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan for Nigeria is calling for $848 million to help 6.2 million people and is so far only 59 per cent funded.

The lean season has begun in Southern Africa, and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that nearly 12 million people are severely food insecure.

Parts of Zambia, Zimbabwe and Angola are projected to face emergency levels of food insecurity, with acute malnutrition having risen in multiple countries.

Many people are unable to access clean water, and girls and women are reportedly forced to resort to negative coping strategies, including early marriage and transactional sex.

Southern Africa is experiencing the effects of the climate crisis, with warming at about twice the global rate. Below-average rains are being recorded in many areas and cyclones are expected in others, which could lead to a second consecutive poor harvest.

In Bogota, Colombia, today, the UN Refugee Agency along with the International Organization for Migration will launch a $1.35 billion regional plan to respond to the increasing humanitarian needs of Venezuelan refugees and migrants in Latin America and the Caribbean and the communities hosting them.

As of early this month, there were approximately 4.6 million refugees and migrants from Venezuela around the world. Nearly 80 per cent of them are in Latin American and the Caribbean countries - with no prospect for return in the short to medium term. If the current trends continue, 6.5 million Venezuelans could be outside the country by the end of 2020.

The regional plan includes actions in nine key sectors: health; education; food security; integration; protection; nutrition; shelter; relief items and humanitarian transport; as well as water, sanitation and hygiene. In addition to the emergency response, the plan puts a strong focus on ensuring the social and economic inclusion of refugees and migrants.

The plan is set to launch at 4:00 p.m., in Bogota.

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced the start of a pilot programme to prequalify human insulin to increase treatment for diabetes in low- and middle-income countries.

The decision announced ahead of World Diabetes Day, which is observed tomorrow, is part of a series of steps that WHO will take to address the growing diabetes burden in all regions.

About 65 million people with type 2 diabetes need insulin, but only half of them can access it, largely due to high prices. All people with type 1 diabetes need insulin to survive.

WHO prequalification of insulin is expected to boost access by increasing the flow of quality-assured products on the international market, providing countries with greater choice and patients with lower prices.

Mexico has paid its regular budget dues in full for 2019, bringing the total number of Member States who have paid in full to 135.

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Office of the Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General
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