Home » General » Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

This morning, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, Carlos Ruiz Massieu, briefed Security Council members.

He said that the peace process has had mixed results. On the one hand, efforts by the Government to advance the reintegration of former FARC-EP members have begun showing concrete results. On the other hand, security in conflict-affected areas remains of grave concern, and he emphasized the need for timely investigations into recent killings.

Mr. Ruiz Massieu also stressed that the great majority of former FARC-EP members remain strongly committed to the peace process and added that the support of the Government, local communities, and the international community has been instrumental in making this possible. He called for an increase in the number of productive projects for former combatants and for increased technical assistance and access to markets in order to ensure their sustainability.

In addition, he noted that the UN remains gravely concerned about the situation of social leaders and human rights defenders and said the work of the National Commission on Security Guarantees is essential to stop the threats and killings of this group of citizens.

Yesterday afternoon, the Security Council held an open meeting on the theme, “Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace: Strengthening Partnerships for Successful Nationally-owned Transitions.”

Speaking at the meeting, the Secretary-General said that, while UN special political missions and peacekeeping operations are some of our most effective tools to promote and maintain international peace and security, they are temporary.

He said that we are strengthening our focus on moments of transition, when our missions are reconfigured or leave a country.

The Secretary-General said that the UN’s role in transition processes must be comprehensive and coherent. It must work in an integrated way to address the interlinked and often stubborn drivers of conflict: poverty, exclusion, inequality, discrimination and violations of human rights, exacerbated by climate change and the movement of people.

His full remarks are online.

The UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) reacted today to the attack that took place near Kabul University.

The deliberate targeting of educational facilities during armed conflict is a war crime, the mission said in a social media post.

Initial findings indicate that Kabul University was the intentional target of today’s attack. The blast killed 8 civilians and injured 33 more.

We issued a statement earlier on the Secretary-General’s sadness at the loss of life caused by the arson attack and fire in Kyoto, Japan. He extends his condolences to the families of the victims and to the people and the Government of Japan. He wishes those injured a swift recovery.

In this tragic moment, the United Nations stands in full solidarity with the Government and people of Japan.

In a press release today, Najat Rochdi, the Humanitarian Adviser to the Special Envoy for Syria, said that an alarming intensification of daily violence is continuing in northwestern Syria. At least 350 civilians are reported to have been killed in recent hostilities in the Idlib de-escalation area, she said, while some 3 million civilians lack protection and face a deteriorating humanitarian situation.

She added that attacks on civilian infrastructure, including health facilities, continue, with reports of 45 incidents impacting 35 health facilities already confirmed this year. Ms. Rochdi echoed the Secretary-General in his condemnation of such attacks, which recently included one of the largest hospitals in Maarat al Numan, whose coordinates had been shared with parties to the conflict through the UN de-confliction mechanism.

Yesterday, after he briefed the Security Council on Syria, the Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, said that medical facilities and medical workers enjoy special protections under International Humanitarian Law. Civilians and civilian infrastructure require the protections afforded to them under International Humanitarian Law. His press release on this is online.

A survey conducted by the UN Refugee Agency has found that many Venezuelans who have left their country continue to face risks during their journey because of their age and gender.

The survey, which was conducted in several Latin American and Caribbean countries, also found that many Venezuelans were finding difficulties finding work and accommodation due to lack of funds and documents, as well as discrimination because of their nationality.

Of the 7,846 people interviewed, only 15 per cent said they had applied for asylum, while the majority said they were not aware of procedures and entitlements.

UNHCR said it has already started referring people interviewed to counselling and other services to help them in their journey.

The full survey is available online.

Our humanitarian colleagues tell us that monsoon rains have led to flooding and landslides across parts of Bangladesh, with at least 30 people reportedly having been killed and more than 2 million people affected.

The Government is responding by providing food, shelter and emergency cash assistance. The UN and our humanitarian partners are supporting the government-led efforts in the areas of water and health and are on standby to assist as needed in other areas.

For its part, the World Food Programme (WFP) is coordinating with government departments and local authorities. WFP cautions that Bangladesh, a country with more than 161 million people and more than 700 rivers, is extremely prone to flooding every monsoon season. The situation is exacerbated by climate change, which is melting glaciers in the Himalayas, whose rivers flow into Bangladesh and also contribute to flooding.

From Geneva, our colleagues at the World Food Programme (WFP) said today that a recent UN-backed assessment has found that of the 14.5 million people in Zimbabwe, more than 3.5 million of them who are in rural areas, are currently food insecure.

It is estimated that this number will climb to nearly 5 million people, or half of all rural households, by the end of the year.

Given the scale of the situation, WFP plans to bolster its assistance to help more than 2 million people by the peak of the lean season from January to April of next year. Until then, teams will continue providing immediate food aid to the most vulnerable people, while also working with communities to build resilience to the impacts of climate change and future shocks.

WFP requires $173 million to meet these needs over the coming 9 months.

Turning to Mozambique, where cyclones Idai and Kenneth, as well as irregular rainfall patterns in other parts of the country, have had a huge impact on this year’s agricultural production: the World Food Programme (WFP) said today we should expect a difficult lean season – that is the period of time before the following harvests are expected.

Between October of this year and March 2020, over 1.9 million people are projected to struggle to meet their minimum food needs without humanitarian intervention.

WFP plans to assist over 560,000 per month from July through October of this year with recovery-oriented assistance to both cyclone- and drought-affected areas.

As needs increase during the lean season, WFP wants to scale up its assistance to 1.25 million people per month. The agency is calling for additional resources to reach more families during these critical 6 months.

Our thanks today go to Myanmar, which has paid its 2019 regular budget dues in full. This takes the total number of fully paid-up Member States to 109.

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

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