Sunday, 5/4/2020 | 4:38 UTC+0
Libyan Newswire

Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

The Secretary-General is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life and significant damage caused by the El Fuego volcano, which erupted yesterday in Guatemala.

He extends his sincere condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government and people of Guatemala. He wishes a speedy recovery to those injured.

The United Nations stands in solidarity with Guatemala and is ready to support the national rescue and relief efforts.

This morning, the Secretary-General spoke at the interactive civil society hearing on tuberculosis, where he stressed that to end TB, we must address the social drivers of the disease, namely poverty, inequality and increasing rates of migration.

He also emphasized the need to strengthen health systems, ensure universal health coverage and address anti-microbial resistance.

In Gebze, Turkey, the Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed today attended the inauguration of the Technology Bank, which seeks to improve the use of scientific and technological solutions in the world’s poorest countries.

“The creation of the Technology Bank shows the global community’s commitment to ensure that all countries can deploy the most advanced tools to achieve all of the Sustainable Development Goals,” Ms. Mohammed said in a tweet.

The inauguration of the technology bank also means that target 17.8. of the SDGs has been reached. The target aimed to “fully operationalize the Technology Bank and Science, Technology and Innovation capacity building mechanism for Least Developed Countries by 2017.

The UN peacekeeping Mission in the Central African Republic reports that a Tanzanian peacekeeper was killed and seven others wounded yesterday in the village of Dilapoko in Mambere-Kadei Prefecture, when a UN Force patrol countered an ambush by presumed armed Siriri fighters.

Of the seven wounded peacekeepers, one is in critical condition and is receiving medical attention at the mission’s military hospital in Bangui along with three wounded, whose condition is considered serious. The remaining three wounded peacekeepers are being treated in Berberati.

The UN Mission in Afghanistan condemned the attack today that killed and injured religious scholars gathered in Kabul to promote peace in Afghanistan. Such attacks must not deter our collective resolve for a peaceful future for all Afghans, the mission said.

A study released today by UNICEF found that nearly half of children in Afghanistan between 7 and 17 years old are missing out on school. That’s 3.7 million children.

The study says that girls account for 60 per cent of the out-of-school population, and in the worse-affected provinces, up to 85 per cent of girls are not going to school.

Children are being driven away from the classroom by the ongoing conflict, discrimination against girls, displacement and child marriage, the study notes.

The Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, is currently in Sana’a to discuss plans for the resumption of talks to end the conflict. He intends to present his framework for negotiations at the next Security Council briefing on 18 June.

In parallel, the Special Envoy is discussing with the parties the steps they could take to de-escalate tensions, including on Hodeidah.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said today it is concerned by reports that clashes have now reached Derna city, in eastern Libya.

Clashes and shelling had already forced people from outlying areas into Derna city, with up to 1,300 households reportedly displaced as of 30 May. On 30 May, the formal entry and exit point located at Karsa, west of Derna, restored restricted opening hours, reportedly allowing some families to leave the city. However, the Libyan National Army reportedly continues to impose a ban on the entry of essential goods, including food items and fuel.

Access to food has become a challenge in most areas of Derna, with widespread shortages of vegetables, fruit, milk, flour and other staples reported. While electricity was restored on 31 May after repairs to the city’s main power plant, water remains largely cut off.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is deeply concerned over reported civilian casualties in northern Syria as a result of indiscriminate attacks by armed opposition groups.

At least 24 civilians have been killed and scores more injured in indiscriminate attacks reported in the past weeks in the Idleb and Hama governorates. This includes a spate of car bombs in Dana town in Idleb and Idleb City in the last week of May that reportedly killed seven people and left over 50 injured.

Today, four people were reportedly killed and others were injured when mortars reportedly hit the Al-Neil Street neighbourhood in Aleppo city.

The UN continues to condemn attacks on civilians, civilian infrastructure and the ongoing violence in populated areas that has led to further civilian suffering. We call on all parties to the conflict to protect civilians and facilitate humanitarian access, as required under international humanitarian law.

United Nations officials and agencies expressed their outrage over the weekend following the killing on Friday in Gaza of Razan An Najjar, a 21-year-old woman volunteering as a first responder, while carrying out her humanitarian duties with the Palestinian Medical Relief Society. Three other people in her team were also injured.

Humanitarian Coordinator Jamie McGoldrick said that healthcare workers must be allowed to perform their duties without fear of death or injury. He said that the killing of a clearly-identified medical staffer by security forces during a demonstration was particularly reprehensible.

In response to questions about the recent protests in Jordan, the Spokesman said that the United Nations supports Jordanians’ right to peaceful protest and echoes His Majesty King Abdullah II’s calls for a peaceful and inclusive national dialogue regarding the country’s economic reform agenda.

The United Nations, through its country office in Amman, is ready to support the newly appointed Prime Minister Omar al-Razzaz’s Government in this context, including supporting the inclusion of women, youth, and civil society organizations in a national dialogue process. The UN reiterates its support for Jordan’s ongoing efforts to implement economic and social reforms, and appreciates its strategic role as a pillar of stability in a volatile region and safe haven to millions of refugees.

In a statement over the weekend, the Secretary-General said he was following with concern developments in Mali and the violent clashes sparked by the holding of demonstrations by opposition parties in Bamako.

The Secretary-General called for calm and restraint by all parties, and urged political actors and civil society to favour dialogue to maintain an environment conducive to the holding of credible and transparent elections.

In Portugal, the World Health Organization and the country’s Prime Minister, António Costa, today launched a global action plan on physical activity. The plan shows how countries can reduce physical inactivity in adults and adolescents by 15 per cent by the year 2030.

Worldwide, one in five adults, and four out of five adolescents (11-17 years), do not do enough physical activity. However, regular physical activity is key to preventing and treating noncommunicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and breast and colon cancer.

To support national efforts to implement the plan, WHO is launching the campaign: Let’s Be Active: Everyone, Everywhere, Everyday. Launched at the Portuguese Football Association’s iconic Cidade do Futebol (City of Football), the campaigns aims to encourage governments and city authorities to make it easier for people to be more physically active, and healthier.

Yesterday the UN celebrated World Bicycle Day for the first time. Bicycling is a way to foster sustainable development as it promotes mental and physical health, prevents disease, and cuts carbon emissions.

The Be the Change Week, organized by the Department of Public Information, started today at Headquarters. This initiative is a 5-day sustainability challenge for UN staff to live more in line with the SDGs. Each day, participants will be presented with tips on leading a healthy lifestyle and there will also be events here including the Green Fair tomorrow and the shoreline clean-up on World Oceans Day.

Ahead of World Environment Day tomorrow, the Secretary-General is participating in the #BeatPlasticPollution challenge in which users pledge to replace single-use plastics with reusable alternatives. On twitter, the Secretary-General pledged to abolish the use of plastic bottles in his office.

Today is the International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression. The purpose of the day is to acknowledge the pain suffered by children throughout the world who are the victims of physical, mental and emotional abuse.

This day also affirms the UN’s commitment to protect the rights of children, in accordance to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.