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United Nations Daily News Update August 13 2014

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United Nations Daily News Update August 13 2014

United Nations Daily News Update August 13 2014

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  • 1. For updates and e-mail alerts, visit UN NEWS CENTRE at www.un.org/news A Yazidi family receives WFP food assistance in Erbil, Iraq. Photo: WFP/Chloe Cornish For information media - not an official record UN Daily News Issue DH/6714 Wednesday, 13 August 2014 In the headlines: • ‘Barbaric’ sexual violence perpetrated by Islamic State militants in Iraq – UN • On landmark Somalia visit, Security Council pledges support toward political reforms • Ebola: UN health agency says more than 1 million people affected by outbreak • Security Council encouraged by appointment of Iraqi Prime Minister-elect • Climate change adaptation can help promote sub- Saharan African livelihoods – UN report • Ban appoints Irish national as new deputy envoy for Guinea-Bissau ‘Barbaric’ sexual violence perpetrated by Islamic State militants in Iraq – UN 13 August - Two senior United Nations officials today condemned in the strongest terms the “barbaric acts” of sexual violence and “savage rapes” the armed group Islamic State (IS) has perpetrated on minorities in areas under its control. In a joint statement from Baghdad, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence (SRSG) in Conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov urged the immediate protection of civilians. "We are gravely concerned by continued reports of acts of violence, including sexual violence against women and teenage girls and boys belonging to Iraqi minorities,” Ms. Bangura and Mr. Mladenov said. “Atrocious accounts of abduction and detention of Yazidi, Christian, as well as Turkomen and Shabak women, girls and boys, and reports of savage rapes, are reaching us in an alarming manner," Ms. Bangura and Mr. Mladenov stated, pointing out that some 1,500 Yazidi and Christian persons may have been forced into sexual slavery. The officials condemned, in the strongest terms, the explicit targeting of women and children and the barbaric acts IS has perpetrated on minorities. Acts of sexual violence are grave human rights violations that can be considered as war crimes and crimes against humanity, they warned. Mr. Mladenov called on regional Governments and the wider international community for the immediate release of the women and girls held in captivity and to support the Government of Iraq’s efforts to protect its citizens. He pledged that his Office would closely monitor the situation to ensure accountability and advocate for support to the survivors of the “barbaric acts.” Meanwhile, on the humanitarian front, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) today said it is supporting delivery of urgently needed services to tens of thousands of people still trapped on Sinjar Mountain. “The humanitarian situation of the civilian population on Sinjar Mountain is alarming due to the narrow corridors for
  • 2. UN Daily News - 2 - 13 August 2014 transporting essentials such as medicines, food and water, especially with the soaring temperatures which are reaching up to 111 degrees Fahrenheit (44 degrees Celsius),” said Dr Jaffar Hussain, WHO’s Representative to Iraq. So far, WHO has deployed two mobile medical teams to Sinjar Mountain to provide essential services and distribute high-protein biscuits to people still stranded there. The two teams will be stationed there until the evacuation of all displaced people from the mountain. In the last several days, more than 60,000 have crossed the Feshkhabour border-point through Syria to enter back into Iraq at Dohuk. The threat of disease outbreaks in crowded shelters there is very present, Mr. Hussain warned. Plus, people suffering from noncommunicable diseases, like diabetes and cancer, need urgent care. Mothers still need to deliver babies, he added. Currently, ten mobile medical teams are in Dohuk to provide essential healthcare. All hospitals are on high alert and require space prepared to receive patients among the new families arriving. WHO has also recruited 50 nurses to support local teams. At the Iraqi-Syrian border point of Feshkhabour, 16 ambulances, two medical doctors and 10 paramedics are providing care. WHO, in conjunction with the Iraqi Ministry of Health and UNICEF, is undertaking a five-day polio vaccination campaign across the country, with the aim of immunizing 4 million children under the age of 5 years. WHO is also making contingency plans for the delivery of medical supplies into Iraq after several airlines cancelled or reduced flights into the country. Strategies being considered involve local procurement of medicines, and the use of the Mersin port in Turkey and Um Qasr Port in Basra, Iraq. On landmark Somalia visit, Security Council pledges support toward political reforms 13 August - Members of the United Nations Security Council arrived in Mogadishu this morning on a landmark visit to Somalia to review progress made by the Federal Government and to demonstrate their continued support for the country’s efforts to ensure a sustainable peace. Speaking at Mogadishu International Airport, Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant of the United Kingdom, which holds a rotating presidency of the Council for August said, “We are pleased to have this opportunity to visit Somalia. Our visit underlines the commitment of the international community to Somalia’s progress toward peace and stability.” The visit, led by Ambassador Grant and Ambassador Usman Sarki of Nigeria, comes at an Members of a UN Security Council delegation arriving in Mogadishu, Somalia. UN Photo/Tobin Jones important time for Somalia as the country prepares to launch the next phase of military operations against Al-Shabaab, addresses a worsening humanitarian situation and pushes forward with political reforms to agree a federal system of governance. “Members of the Council expressed their expectation that the Federal Government of Somalia will urgently establish a national independent electoral commission, lead a process to revise the constitution and hold a referendum on it by the end of 2015, and hold elections in 2016," said Ambassador Grant. "The members of the Security Council stand ready to support the people and government of Somalia to deliver this vision. The members of the Security Council also underlined the importance of women being represented at all levels of the political process in Somalia,” he added. During the visit, the Council members met with President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, senior members of the Government and the Federal Parliament, and the leaders of the Interim Jubba Administration and Galmudug, Ahmed Islaan Madobe and Abdi Hassan Awale Qeybdid. In that regard, the Council welcomed recent political agreements to form interim regional administrations, including the UN News Centre • www.un.org/news
  • 3. UN Daily News - 3 - 13 August 2014 establishment of the Interim Jubba Administration and agreements on the Interim South West State Administration and on the Central Regions. In addition, Council members met with senior leadership of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) as well as members of Somalia’s civil society. The UN Security Council delegation includes representatives from Argentina, Australia, Chad, Chile, China, France, Jordan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Nigeria, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Rwanda, UK and USA. Last week, a UN independent expert appealed to the international community to avert a humanitarian disaster and devastating famine in Somalia. Mr. Bahame Tom Nyanduga, an expert on human rights in Somalia, warned that food shortage situation there was deteriorating rapidly. As it stands now, some 203,000 children under the age of five are acutely malnourished while about 2.9 million people need urgent life-saving support a situation. Mr. Nyanduga explained that the ongoing conflict, lower than usual rains, hikes in food prices, and limited access to deliver assistance, were pushing Somalia closer to a worrisome malnutrition situation. Ebola: UN health agency says more than 1 million people affected by outbreak 13 August - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today convened a United Nations system-wide coordination meeting in response to the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which is now affecting more than 1 million people in the so-called “hot zone of disease transmission” on the borders of the three countries most impacted by the disease. According to the latest update issued today by the World Health Organization (WHO), between 10 and 11 August, 128 new cases of Ebola virus disease, as well as 56 deaths, were reported from Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, bringing the total number of cases to 1,975 and deaths to 1,069. Ebola in West Africa poses a great threat to development. Photo: UNDP WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan gave a bleak assessment on the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa during a briefing yesterday to UN Member States in Geneva, saying the outbreak has placed every city with an international airport at risk of an imported case, and “no one is talking about an early end to the outbreak.” “Decisions to seal off the hot zone of disease transmission, that is, the area where the borders of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone intersect, are critical for stopping the reinfection of areas via the cross-border movement of people,” Dr. Chan said. “More than one million people are affected, and these people need daily material support, including food,” she said. “The isolation of this zone has made it even more difficult for agencies, like MSF [Médecins Sans Frontières], to bring in staff and supplies.” At UN Headquarters today, the Secretary-General chaired a UN system-wide coordination on Ebola and stressed the need for the entire UN system to support the WHO’s efforts in combatting the outbreak. On Tuesday, Mr. Ban appointed Dr. David Nabarro as Senior United Nations System Coordinator for Ebola, in support of the work done by Dr. Margaret Chan and her team to counter the outbreak, which the agency has designated a “public health emergency of international concern.” Dr. Nabarro, who joined the meeting with the Secretary-General today from Geneva with the WHO Director-General, will be responsible for ensuring that the UN system makes an effective and coordinated contribution to the global effort to control the outbreak of Ebola. Also Tuesday, a 12-member ethics panel convened by WHO announced that it is ethical to treat Ebola patients with experimental drugs to counter the largest, most severe and most complex outbreak of Ebola virus disease in history. UN News Centre • www.un.org/news
  • 4. UN Daily News - 4 - 13 August 2014 On the operational side, WHO says it is finalizing its strategic operations response plan and expects to share this with countries and partners in the coming days. Mapping is also underway to develop an operational picture in order to coordinate and move people and materials to areas of greatest need. The UN health agency says that standard measures, like early detection and isolation of cases, contact tracing and monitoring, and rigorous procedures for infection control, have stopped previous Ebola outbreaks including those in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as Gabon, and can do so again. Six months into the outbreak, fear is proving to be the most difficult barrier to overcome. Fear causes contacts of cases to escape from the surveillance system, families to hide symptomatic loved ones, and patients to flee treatment centres. The Ebola virus is highly contagious, but is not airborne. Transmission requires close contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person, as can occur during health-care procedures, home care, or traditional burial practices, which involve the close contact of family members and friends with bodies. The incubation period ranges from 2 to 21 days, but patients become contagious only after the onset of symptoms. As symptoms worsen, the ability to transmit the virus increases. As a result, patients are usually most likely to infect others at a severe stage of the disease, when they are visibly, and physically, too ill to travel. Security Council encouraged by appointment of Iraqi Prime Minister-elect 13 August - As Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi continues to form a new Government, the United Nations Security Council today urged all political parties and their supporters to remain calm and respect the country’s Constitution. The 15-member Council said it was “encouraged” by President Fuad Masum’s decision to nominate the new Prime Minister-designate. In a statement, the Council called the nomination “an important step” toward the formation of an inclusive Government representative of all segments of the Iraqi population. Wide view of the Security Council. UN Photo/JC McIlwaine (file photo) The Government, according to the Council, would also contribute to finding a viable and sustainable solution to the country’s current challenges. Among those challenges, the terrorist threat posed by the armed group Islamic State (IS) and its armed supporters. Earlier today, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura, and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, condemned in the strongest terms the “barbaric acts” of sexual violence and “savage rapes” attributed to IS. The group has also been accused of grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law and may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, and potentially genocide, by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Advisors on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, and on the Responsibility to Protect, Jennifer Welsh. Given these challenges, the Members of the Security Council urged Mr. Abadi to work swiftly to form an inclusive Government as quickly as possible and within the constitutional time-frame. According to Article 76 of the Iraqi Constitution, the new Prime Minister-elect has 30 days from the date of designation to name members of his Council of Ministers. At that time, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki will be legally obligated to step down. UN News Centre • www.un.org/news
  • 5. UN Daily News - 5 - 13 August 2014 Climate change adaptation can help promote sub-Saharan African livelihoods – UN report 13 August - Investing in ways to adapt to climate change will promote the livelihood of 65 per cent of Africans, the United Nations environmental agency reported, warning also that failing to address the phenomenon could reverse decades of development progress on the continent. Africa’s population is set to double to 2 billion by 2050, the majority of whom will continue to depend on agriculture to make a living, according to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). “With 94 per cent of agriculture dependent on rainfall, the future impacts of climate change – including increased droughts, flooding, and seal-level rise – may reduce crop yields in some parts of Africa by 15 - 20 per cent,” UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said. “Such a scenario, if unaddressed, could have grave implications for Africa’s most vulnerable states,” he added. In a new graphical report, Keeping Track of Adaptation Actions in Africa (KTAA) - Targeted Fiscal Stimulus Actions Making a Difference, UNEP details the implications of climate change, and provides examples of adaptation projects that range from forest ecosystem management to aquatics and agriculture. The report describes sustainable examples of how countries in sub-Saharan Africa enhanced environmental and ecosystem resilience through the use of native plants and natural infrastructure, land plans and rainwater harvesting, among other examples. The projects are integrated into national development policies which can strengthen and enhance the resilience communities against the impacts of climate change, while also contributing to the realization of the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), according to the report authors. “By integrating climate change adaptation strategies in national development policies Governments can provide transitional pathways to green growth and protect and improve the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of Africans,” Mr. Steiner noted. The projects also highlight the urgency to act now in adapting to challenges, especially in developing countries where capabilities to respond to the magnitude of the problem are limited. This year’s Africa Environment Day, marked annually on 3 March, focused on combating desertification on the continent and enhancing its agriculture and food security. The continent has lost 65 per cent of its agricultural land since 1950 due to land degradation, according to figures cited by UNEP. Up to 12 per cent of its agricultural gross domestic product (GDP) is lost due to deteriorating conditions and 135 million people are at risk of having to move from their land by 2020 due to desertification. UN News Centre • www.un.org/news New UN report says investment in climate change adaptation can help promote the ivelihoods of 65 per cent of Africans. Photo: UNEP
  • 6. UN Daily News - 6 - 13 August 2014 Ban appoints Irish national as new deputy envoy for Guinea- Bissau 13 August - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced the appointment of Maria do Valle Ribeiro of Ireland as his Deputy Special Representative for Guinea-Bissau. Ms. do Valle Ribeiro will also serve as UN Resident Coordinator and UN Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative in the West African country. The new deputy envoy possesses more than 25 years of development and humanitarian experience in progressively senior leadership positions with the United Nations and Maria do Valle Ribeiro. Photo: UNDP international non-governmental organizations in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, according to a UN spokesperson. Most recently, Ms. do Valle Ribeiro was the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Angola. Prior to that appointment, she served in that capacity in Mauritania. She held various senior positions with UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) starting in 2002. Ms. do Valle Ribeiro worked for non-governmental organizations, Save the Children from 1992 to 1999, and for Concern from 1984 to 1990. Ms. do Valle Ribeiro will succeed Gana Fofang of Cameroon, who held the deputy post since February 2011. In today’s appointment, Mr. Ban’s spokesperson extended the UN chief’s gratitude for Mr. Fofang’s commitment and dedicated service during his tenure in Guinea-Bissau. The UN Daily News is prepared at UN Headquarters in New York by the News Services Section of the News and Media Division, Department of Public Information (DPI)

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