Press Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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23-Mar-2021 00:29:45
Briefing by Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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This morning, the Secretary-General spoke, in a video message, to the 2021 Ministerial on Climate Action, convened by China, Canada and the European Union.

A statement we issued yesterday afternoon said that the Secretary-General is profoundly concerned about the rise of violence against Asians and people of Asian descent during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This morning, Deborah Lyons, the Special Representative for Afghanistan, briefed the Security Council by VTC on the situation in that country. Ms. Lyons said that she was very sorry to report that in the first two months of 2021, we have witnessed the continued trend of rising civilian casualties. Particularly worrying is the array of attacks deliberately targeting civilians.

In a statement we issued yesterday afternoon, the Secretary-General strongly condemned the recent wave of attacks in northwest Syria, which have killed and injured dozens of civilians.

The Deputy Secretary-General took part at the first meeting of a new platform in Asia and the Pacific that brings together UN staff working to promote development in the region.

Najat Rochdi, the Officer in Charge of the Office of the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL), today called on Lebanon’s political leaders to focus most urgently on the formation of an empowered government. She said that was a critical step to address the country’s multiple and serious crises and implement required reforms. “This step must be taken and can no longer be delayed,” she said.

And we have an update on COVID-19 in Yemen: The World Health Organization reported yesterday the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in one day in the country since the start of the pandemic. Some 140 cases were confirmed, bringing the total caseload to 3,422.

On Myanmar, our country team says it is deeply concerned about the continued use of force against children. This includes live ammunition.

On Bangladesh, the International Organization for Migration and the UN Refugee Agency expressed their sadness at the loss of life and immense suffering caused by yesterday’s massive fire in the Kutupalong Balukali refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar.

The Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Libya, Ján Kubiš, arrived yesterday in Tripoli to continue his engagements with the new interim Government of National Unity, among others.

In a joint statement issued yesterday, senior UN and officials from non-governmental organizations called on all State and non-State parties to the conflict in Tigray region to ensure their forces respect and protect civilian populations, particularly women and children, from all human rights abuses.

According to authorities, the death toll for Sunday’s attacks in the Tahoua region of Niger has now risen to 137 – all of them civilians.

In Brazil, authorities have received more than a million doses of the COVAX-backed COVID-19 vaccine.

A report issued today by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Programme warns that without urgent and scaled-up assistance, acute hunger is set to soar in over 20 countries in the coming months.

Today is World Meteorological Day. This year’s theme is “the ocean, our climate and weather.

The Maldives have paid their regular budget dues in full. There are now 75 fully paid-up Member States.

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