Conservation and Human Rights of the Indigenous Peoples - Press Conference (25 April 2019)
Press Conference by: Anne Nuorgam, Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues; Mordecai Ogada, Co-author of ‘The Big Conservation Lie: The Untold Story of Wildlife Conservation in Kenya'; and Rukka Sombolinggi, Secretary General of AMAN, Indonesia's major indigenous peoples' organization.
Press Conference by Mr. S. Michael Lynk, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967. Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
The Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, announced that Najat Rochdi has joined his team as Senior Humanitarian Advisor, replacing former advisor Jan Egeland. Ms. Rochdi will chair the International Syria Support Group's Humanitarian Task Force on behalf of Mr. Pedersen and help facilitate crucial humanitarian access and protection of civilians in Syria through supporting humanitarian negotiations in coordination with the UN country team and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Ms. Rochdi, a native of Morocco, is the team leader of the peer-to-peer Programme of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee, based in Geneva.
The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, announced today that the UN Human Rights Office in Burundi was closed down last Thursday at the insistence of the Government.
She said that the office, established in 1995, had worked for many years with the Government on peacebuilding, security sector reform, justice sector reform and to help build institutional and civil society capacity on a whole host of human rights issues.
Since 2016, the Government - in reaction to a report by the UN Independent Investigation in Burundi established by the UN Human Rights Council - suspended all cooperation with the Office in Burundi.
Ms. Bachelet said her office would continue to explore other ways to work to shed light on human rights concerns and support the advocacy, promotion and protection of human rights in Burundi.
For his part, the Secretary-General was deeply disappointed by the decision to close down the Human Rights Office. The Secretary-General also very much believes that the Government of Burundi should engage with the High Commissioner's office regarding the human rights situation in the country.
The Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Ursula Mueller, called for urgent assistance for thousands of vulnerable people in Burkina Faso who are facing an unprecedented humanitarian emergency due to armed violence and insecurity. This was at the end of her four-day mission to the country.
Ms. Mueller said more had to be done to meet the growing needs of affected people.
Yesterday, the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) allocated $4 million to boost relief response in the country.
Ms. Mueller said the funds would make an immediate difference for displaced people - most of whom are women and children - and would help to quickly deliver assistance to communities hosting the displaced, as well as to people who are still living in conflict-affected areas.
Violence in Burkina Faso has displaced over 100,000 people, more than half of them in the first two months of this year. Some 150,000 children are deprived of education, and around 120,000 people have no access to medical care in the violence-affected regions. Around 670,000 people are at risk of food insecurity. Press conference by Ms. Catherine Pollard, Under-Secretary-General for Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance and Mr. Chandramouli Ramanathan, Controller, Assistant Secretary-General for Programme Planning, Finance and Budget in the Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance. They will brief reporters on the financial situation of the UN. Press conference by H.E. Mr. Jorge Arreaza, Minister of the People's Power for Foreign Affairs of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, on the situation in Venezuela.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Venezuela, Jorge Arreaza, today (25 Apr) said, it was "time to launch a campaign" to denounce "the devastating effects of the unilateral, illegal, and arbitrary blockade that the government of the United States has imposed on Venezuela."
Speaking to reporters in New York, Arreaza said, "the Security Council did not make any decision to sanction Venezuela, or have they? None. So, how can the United States say they sanction, and actually sanction our country with an unjust blockade without following the procedures established in this Charter, which we should all respect. Because the United States is a member of the United Nations or are they not?"
The Venezuelan Foreign Minister explained the difficulties the government is having in complying with their obligations because of the sanctions.
He said, "do you know the cost of paying the salaries of our staff at the United Nations, or in Canada, or in Europe? We owe them five of six months of salary. Is it that we don't have the money? Yes, we do. But it is blocked. And a correspondent bank kept the money. From one day to the next they take your money and they do not return it."
Regarding the arrival of a Russian military plane in Caracas, Arreaza said, "they arrived on a plane specifically to train our people on how to use their equipment, their helicopters, their weapon systems, with more precision. And they are in Venezuela, but, my god, that is not a contingent as they say."
He said Venezuela has "a great alliance with Russia," but noted that "these days the United States is conducting military exercises with Venezuela's neighbouring countries. And they did so recently in the Colombian Caribbean, they did it in the Amazon."
Arreaza asked "how many bases does the United States have in Latin America? How many bases do they have in Colombia? How many bases do they have around the world? How many clandestine torture centres does the CIA have around the world? How many countries do they control based on the presence of US military bases? How can they even question that Venezuela could have military relations with another country?"