Tuesday, 7/4/2020 | 3:47 UTC+0
Libyan Newswire

Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

The Secretary-General participated this morning in a wreath-laying ceremony in honour of the women and men who lost their lives while serving United Nations Peacekeeping.

Since UN Peacekeeping opened its first mission 70 years ago, more than 3,700 military, police and civilian peacekeepers have lost their lives. The Secretary-General noted that last year saw the highest number of fatalities in our operations as a result of malicious acts.

But the past year has also demonstrated the value of our peacekeeping missions, he said, stressing that the closure of two of them in Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia, is a landmark on the road to peace and stability in a region that was once in chaos.

The Secretary-General added that when the right strategies, resources and political support are in place, United Nations peacekeeping saves and improves lives for millions of people.

Recalling his visit to Mali earlier this week, he reiterated his commitment to improving security for all United Nations personnel, and particularly our military on the front lines.

The Secretary-General also presented the Dag Hammarskjöld medal to the 128 men and women who lost their lives while serving under the UN flag this year. Tanzania and Chad had the most victims, and the deadliest Missions were in Mali, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic.

The Secretary-General also paid tribute to Michael Sharp and Zaida Catalan, members of the Group of Experts for the Sanctions Committee, who were killed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Secretary-General spoke yesterday afternoon at the General Assembly’s adoption of the resolution on the reform of the UN development system, saying that the resolution being adopted ushers in the most ambitious and comprehensive transformation of the UN development system in decades. He said it sets the foundations to reposition sustainable development at the heart of the United Nations and gives practical meaning to our collective promise to advance the Sustainable Development Goals for everyone, everywhere, leaving no one behind.

Under the new system, the Secretary-General said, national ownership and a strong focus on accountability and results will guide the system every step of the way. He added that UN teams on the ground will now be better able to tailor their presence, capacities, skillsets and overall response to the Member States’ priorities.

The Secretary-General appealed to the Member States for their immediate support so that we can hit the ground running on 1 January 2019.

This weekend, the Deputy Secretary-General will depart New York for Istanbul, Turkey, to attend the inauguration of the Technology Bank for Least Developed Countries, which will take place on Monday in Gebze.

From there, she will proceed to Brussels to attend the European Development Days and have bilateral meetings with senior European Union and other officials on 5 and 6 June. On 6 June, she will travel to Geneva to attend the meeting of the Board of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The Deputy Secretary-General will return to New York next Thursday.

Today, the Humanitarian Coordinator, for the occupied Palestinian territory, Jamie McGoldrick, and the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Director of Operations in the West Bank, Scott Anderson, joined others in the international community in calling on the Government of Israel to cease its plans to carry out the mass demolition and transfer of the Palestinian Bedouin community of Khan al Ahmar–Abu al Helu, located on the outskirts of East Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank.

Mr. McGoldrick said that Israel’s obligations as an occupying power to protect the residents of Khan al Ahmar are clear.

Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo is embarking this Sunday on her first mission since taking up her duties last month.

From 5 to 8 June, Ms. DiCarlo will visit Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to meet with the leadership of the African Union, as well as Somalia, where she will visit the UN mission in the country, and Nairobi, Kenya. During each leg of her trip she will meet government authorities and UN representatives.

The UN Mission in Libya today called on parties to the Derna conflict to exercise maximum restraint and ensure that they take all precautions to protect civilians.

The escalation of fighting in Derna has reached unprecedented levels during the past week, with fighting further encroaching into densely populated areas. Since 16 May, at least 17 civilians, including two children, were killed and another 22, including seven children, were injured in the conduct of hostilities. The number of civilian casualties was the highest in the past two days, with seven killed and another seven injured on 30 May in an explosion as they were attempting to leave the city.

The mission also said today that during the month of May, they documented 101 civilian casualties – including 47 deaths and 54 injuries – during the conduct of hostilities across Libya. The death toll is the highest recorded in 2018. The majority of civilian casualties were caused by shelling, followed by vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices, unidentified explosives, and airstrikes.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is appalled at the ongoing violence in Nicaragua, where this week at least 16 people are reported to have been killed and more than 100 injured amid anti-Government protests.

They also express concern at the reported arrest and detention by the army of six human rights defenders, including two adolescents, and called on the authorities to ensure their prompt release.

They are also extremely concerned at continuing reports of death threats, acts of violence and intimidation against journalists, students, and members of the Catholic Church, among others.

The Office of the High Commissioner reiterates its request made on 7 May to the Nicaraguan authorities to be granted immediate access to the country.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights today called on the Ukrainian authorities to act urgently to protect minority groups, including Roma communities and LGBTI activists, in the wake of a number of serious acts of violence and harassment against them in recent weeks.

The human rights office urges the Government to pay closer attention to the actions of extreme right-wing groups throughout the country. In a number of cases, it says they have claimed responsibility for the recent attacks and intimidation. OHCHR adds that the lack of accountability for attacks against minorities and evictions of Roma in previous years has fuelled an atmosphere of impunity. The human rights office urges the Government to demonstrate zero tolerance by publicly condemning such acts, investigating all attacks against minorities, bringing perpetrators to account and guaranteeing the right to non-discrimination and equality.

A new report from the World Health Organization (WHO) Independent High-level Commission on Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) calls for urgent action to address chronic diseases and mental health disorders.

It demands high-level political commitment and the immediate scaling up of actions to address the world’s leading causes of death and ill health.

Collectively, cancer, diabetes, lung and heart diseases kill 41 million people annually, accounting for 71% of all deaths globally, 15 million of which occur between the ages of 30 and 70 years.

The report focuses attention on growing, but often neglected, challenges like mental disorders and obesity.

Chaired by Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee yesterday reiterated the Principals’ zero-tolerance policy towards sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment and abuse and the need to take concrete steps to strengthen collective systems, processes and capacities to make this a reality.

Among other steps, the Committee agreed to implement a shared approach to improve a referencing system to stop transgressors from moving through the humanitarian system and to strengthen investigations capacity, including through the establishment of a $1 million fund, financed and managed by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, to provide rapid grants to Inter-Agency Standing Committee entities to support investigations when required.

The Committee also committed to take further actions to address the root causes of the problem and eradicate the culture of impunity. The Committee Principals agreed to take stock of progress when they meet again in November 2018.