Elimination of Violence against Women & other topics - Daily Briefing (25 November 2020)
Noon briefing by Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
- Elimination of Violence against Women
- Burkina Faso
- Central African Republic
- Personnel Announcement
- Financial Contributions
ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
This morning, the Secretary-General spoke at a virtual event to mark the Day and said that the COVID-19 crisis has further exposed violence against women and girls as a global emergency requiring urgent action.
He reiterated his appeal to the international community to work to end this shadow pandemic once and for all, adding that the world needs to hear the voices and experiences of women and girls and take their needs into account, especially survivors and those who face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination. In his message for the Day, the Secretary-General also called for prioritizing women's leadership in finding solutions and engaging men in the struggle.
In a statement issued last night, the Secretary-General is deeply concerned over the unfolding situation in the Tigray region and its surrounding area.
Amid reports of a potential military offensive into the regional capital of Mekelle, he urges the leaders of Ethiopia to do everything possible to protect civilians, uphold human rights and ensure humanitarian access for the provision of much-needed assistance.
The Secretary-General also calls for the free and safe movement of people searching for safety and assistance, regardless of their ethnic identity, across both national and international borders.
The Secretary-General reiterates the full support of the United Nations to the initiative of the Chairperson of the African Union, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, to facilitate peaceful solutions. He urges all parties to seize this opportunity to de-escalate tensions.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that it continues to receive reports of people fleeing Mekelle in search of safety.
OCHA said violence and insecurity are also increasing in other regions of Ethiopia after the relocation of security forces to Tigray, with several reports of clashes and attacks in other places.
More than 95,000 people are estimated to be newly displaced in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region, following clashes reported last week. Food, water and shelter are urgently needed in that region, as most of the displaced people are in open spaces.
Nearly 42,000 people have now crossed the border to Sudan.
The UN and partners have finalized our refugee response plan and it calls for $147 million to help a projected 100,000 refugees between November and June of next year.
The Sudan Humanitarian Fund has allocated an initial $425,000 for the most immediate needs, such as health, water, sanitation and hygiene, in the Um Raquba Camp in east Sudan.
Noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
- Secretary-General/Resident Coordinators
- Security Council/Democratic Republic Of The Congo
- Central African Republic
- Central Emergency Response Fund
- Afghanistan/Violence Against Women And Girls
- International Civil Aviation Day
- U.N. Population Fund/Humanitarian Appeal
This morning, the Secretary-General spoke at the start of a five-day meeting with the 129 UN Resident Coordinators who are leading the UN's response and recovery efforts on the COVID-19 pandemic around the world.
This is the third global gathering of Resident Coordinators and, of course, the first one to be fully online due to the pandemic.
The Secretary-General said he counts on them to fully mobilize their partners and UN country teams to support Governments in ensuring equitable access to the COVID-19 tests, treatments, and - very soon, hopefully - vaccines, which are a global good and must be available to all, everywhere.
Mr. Guterres noted that the pandemic has revealed profound fragilities, with inequalities growing, the climate emergency worsening and hatred spreading.
He said that recovering better from the pandemic and bolstering action for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development must be two sides of the same coin.
During the coming days, the Resident Coordinators will discuss how to set the set the stage for a more sustainable recovery, including how to protect jobs and bolster social protection and basic services.
SECURITY COUNCIL/DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
Here, in the Security Council, addressing the Council by videoconference, Leila Zerrougui, the head of the UN Peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, began by highlighting political tensions in the country, which led to yesterday's announcement by President Felix Tshisekedi that the coalition uniting Cap for Change (CACH) and the Front Commun pour le Congo (FCC) had ended.
The DRC cannot afford a serious institutional crisis, Ms. Zerrougui told Council members. It needs stable and functioning institutions that get back to work as quickly as possible and focus on national economic recovery, as well as stabilization in the eastern part of the country, ahead of the general elections scheduled for 2023.
The Special Representative said that the Security Council can play an important role to encourage a negotiated resolution between the two forces that favours lasting solutions, prioritizing the interests of the Congolese people over short-term political objectives that risk further increasing tensions.
AFGHANISTAN/VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS
A report released today by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the UN Human Rights Office warns that Afghan women and girls are being failed by the country's justice system, with their access to justice for crimes of violence remaining tenuous. UNAMA found that only half of the reported crimes reached a primary court, with perpetrators convicted in around 40 per cent of all documented cases. Other issues raised in the report include the problematic handling of rape cases and ongoing detention of women for "running away".
Throughout the global campaign for 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence, from 25 November to 10 December, the United Nations in Afghanistan is calling for an increased effort to prevent and redress violence against women and girls. This is particularly important in the context of the outbreak of COVID-19, with the ongoing monitoring by UNAMA suggesting that violence against women and girls has increased, as difficulties for victims in reporting crimes and accessing safety and justice have also increased. Noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
I just want to start off with a sad note that obviously the Secretary-General was very saddened to hear of the passing of Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini of the Kingdom of Eswatini.
He extends his deepest condolences to the people and the Government of the country.
I have a trip announcement for you: The Secretary-General will travel on Wednesday to Berlin, where he will address the German Parliament on Friday morning.
While in Berlin, he will also meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
He will be discussing various issues with them, including the pandemic, climate crisis and international cooperation.
I have a statement by the Secretary-General to share with you on Yemen and the anniversary with the Stockholm Agreement:
Today marks the second anniversary of the Stockholm Agreement, a diplomatic breakthrough that offered a glimmer of hope that an end to the devastating conflict in Yemen was at hand. Unfortunately, far more needs to be done to achieve that common goal - and the profound suffering of the Yemeni people has persisted.
The Stockholm Agreement helped to avert a catastrophic military escalation at the time, thereby safeguarding the continued although limited functioning of the Red Sea ports and the entry of commercial goods and key humanitarian assistance, on which millions of Yemenis depend to survive. The preservation of this lifeline is even more vital now as pockets of famine-like conditions have returned in Yemen and millions are facing severe, growing food insecurity, in particular against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Secretary-General calls on all Member States to step up their financial support for the United Nations relief operations, and to help address the severe economic crisis of the country.
He calls on the parties to fulfil the commitments they assumed in Stockholm, including through full and unconditional participation in the Redeployment Coordination Committee and its related joint mechanisms, and the implementation of the terms of the ceasefire on the ground.
It is crucial to avoid any action that would exacerbate the dire situation in Yemen. The Secretary-General urges the parties to engage with his Special Envoy, Martin Griffiths, and that engagement [be] in good faith. Only through dialogue will the Yemeni parties be able to agree on a nationwide ceasefire, economic and humanitarian confidence-building measures to alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people, as well as the resumption of an inclusive political process to reach a comprehensive negotiated settlement to end the conflict.
We will be sharing that statement with you electronically as we speak.
Also, I just wanted to flag that the Head of the UN Mission in support the Hudaydah Agreement (UNMHA) and Chair of the Redeployment Coordination Committee, Lieutenant General Abhijit Guha, is also calling for full implementation of the Agreement to end the suffering of the people of Yemen.
Both General Guha and the Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, as well as Martin Griffiths, briefed the Security Council this morning on Yemen, in a closed meeting. Daily Press Briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the United Nations Secretary-General.
- Central African Republic Peacekeeping
- Central African Republic
- Ukraine/Delivery of Aid
- International Day of Epidemic Preparedness
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC PEACEKEEPING
The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) confirmed that the Security Council has approved on 23 December the Secretary-General's proposal for the temporary redeployment, for a two-month period, of two infantry companies and two military utility helicopters from the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to assist the MINUSCA. This is to reinforce the operational capabilities of the Peacekeeping Mission in the CAR during the electoral context.
On the security front, the peacekeepers are continuing to actively engage in mitigating growing threats from armed groups throughout the country. The Mission is also continuing to provide support to the preparations of the presidential and legislative elections.
The Mission also reported that the deployment of sensitive elections materials to all prefectures was completed yesterday, while voter card distribution continued all over the country. The Mission reported that 85% of voter card distribution centres were open and had high turnout, despite the security challenges.
Yesterday, the Peacekeeping Mission also contributed $500,000 to the fund managed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to further help financing the elections.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
The Humanitarian Coordinator in the country, Denise Brown, today issued a statement expressing her concerns for the escalation of violence in several parts of the country ahead of the elections on Sunday.
Ms. Brown condemned the acts of violence that have led to increased insecurity and more than 55,000 people leaving their homes. She calls on armed groups to comply with the International Humanitarian Law and immediately stop all attacks against humanitarian personnel and to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure.
Two inter-agency assessment missions are in Tigray province, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that one of the teams is now in Mekelle waiting to proceed to Adigrat. The other team however had not, by yesterday, proceeded to Shire as planned due to additional permissions requested by the authorities.
The Ethiopian Ministry of Peace is expected to facilitate the clearance as soon as possible. Health, nutrition, food, water, sanitation and hygiene and non-food items are the priority needs. Daily Press Briefing by the Spokesperson of the Secretary-General, Stephane Dujarric.
- Middle East peace Process
- Western Sahara and more...
SENIOR PERSONNEL APPOINTMENTS
Today, the Secretary-General is announcing the appointment of Georgette Gagnon of Canada as his new Assistant Secretary-General, Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya.
Ms. Gagnon succeeds Yacoub El Hillo of Sudan, who will complete his assignment on 5 January 2021. The Secretary-General is grateful for his distinguished service in support of the UN mandate in the country, and his work with the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).
Ms. Gagnon brings to the position over twenty-five years of experience leading and implementing strategic initiatives on human rights, humanitarian action and development and coordinating multi-disciplinary teams in conflict and post-conflict situations.
Also, being appointed today is Ramiz Alakbarov of Azerbaijan as his new Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan with the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). He will also serve as the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in the country.
Mr. Alakbarov succeeds Toby Lanzer of the United Kingdom, to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for his dedicated service.
Mr. Alakbarov also brings 25 years of experience in executive leadership, strategic planning and policy making, development programming and management, as well as humanitarian response, including as the Director of the Policy and Strategy Division in New York and the Country Representative in Haiti for the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).
SECURITY COUNCIL/MIDDLE EAST
This morning, the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, briefed members of the Security Council. He said told them that the latest humanitarian needs assessment found that almost 2.5 million Palestinians - that's 47 per cent of the population of the Occupied Palestinian Territory - need aid.
Mr. Mladenov said he remains deeply troubled by continued Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
Over the past year, Israeli authorities advanced controversial settlement plans that had been frozen for years. He added that the total number of units advanced this year are on par with 2019 numbers, despite an eight-month hiatus.
Also, Mr. Mladenov said that violence and attacks against civilians have continued in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. He said that he's appalled that children continue to be victims - with a particularly troubling series of incidents over the past month in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. He urged security forces to exercise maximum restraint and use lethal force only when strictly unavoidable to protect life.
SECURITY COUNCIL/WESTERN SAHARA
This afternoon the Security Council will also hold a closed meeting on Western Sahara. They will be briefed by Bintou Keita, the Assistant Secretary-General for Africa, and Colin Stewart, the Special Representative and head of the UN Mission for the Referendum on Western Sahara (MINURSO).
On Ethiopia, our humanitarian colleagues confirmed that two inter-agency assessment teams are expected to enter Tigray today following official approval from the Federal Government last Saturday.
One team is destined to visit Shire and another will go to Mekelle. The aim of the missions, which are expected to last one week, is to assess the humanitarian needs.
In the meantime, the Humanitarian Response Plan for Northern Ethiopia has been updated. We now seek $116.5 million until the end of January 2021. The goal is to address the immediate needs of an estimated 2.3 million people, including 1.3 million people impacted by the recent conflict.
The plan is currently 46 per cent funded with an outstanding gap of $63.4 million.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) said that political and security tensions increased over the weekend in the midst of the electoral campaign for the presidential and legislative elections on 27 December.
A coalition of armed groups simultaneously attacked four prefectures in the western and southern part of the country. These groups also attempted to reach the capital, Bangui. UN Peacekeepers responded proactively and exchanged fire with armed groups in several areas. No damage was reported.
On Sunday, the Mission and members of the G5+ consisting of main international partners in the Central African Republic, issued a communiqué condemning the incidents and calling on stakeholders to stop the violence and expressed their support for the holding of the elections as scheduled.