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UN Updates: January 26, 2015

*Keywords: SG=Secretary-General, DSG=Deputy Secretary-General

Sexual violence:  The SG held an internal high-level meeting today on sexual exploitation and abuse by UN personnel.  The meeting was intended to endorse recommendations in the Report of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and Department of Field Support Working Group on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse. The SG presented an approach to deal with such cases based on three key elements: prevention, enforcement, and remediation.  The outcome will be presented to the GA in a forthcoming report by the SG.

Global Health: Director-General of the WHO Dr. Margaret Chan presented her report to the organization’s Executive Board yesterday, in which she said that the health challenges we will face in the post-2015 era are considerable.  Reducing several major health threats requires behavioral change and action from multiple non-health sectors.  With the rise in chronic non-communicable diseases, the sharp divide between health problems in wealthy and developing countries is dissolving.  Dr. Chan also flagged the current plague outbreak in Madagascar, warning that fleas that can transmit disease from rats to humans have developed resistance to first-line insecticide, allowing plague to establish a foothold in the nation’s capital.

Ebola: Dr. Margaret Chan also addressed the board on Ebola, saying that the tragedy has taught the world, including WHO, many lessons about how to prevent similar events in the future. The SG’s Special Envoy, Dr. David Nabarro, said that as we enter 2015, the evidence is clear that the strategy to end the outbreak is working, but that sustained commitment is necessary to reach zero cases.  The Kingdom of Bahrain has contributed US$1 million to the Secretary-General’s UN Ebola Trust Fund. Bahrain is the first Gulf country to contribute to this Fund, bringing the total of contributions to US$140 million. 

Japan:  The SG and the SC strongly condemn the horrific crimes committed against the Japanese hostages, including the beheading of Haruna Yukawa.  The SG has condemned all crimes committed by extremist groups in both Syria and Iraq, and he called on anyone who is holding hostages in any country to release them unconditionally.  He will be writing to Japan’s Prime Minister to extend his condolences.

Yemen: The SG’s Special Adviser on Yemen, Jamal Benomar, continues to convene and chair daily meetings in Sana’a of 16 political parties to try and build consensus on an agreement for the way forward.  This morning, he met with the Houthi leadership, the President of the Islah party, and senior leaders of the General People’s Congress.  Benomar also remains in touch with Gulf Cooperation Council countries and Security Council members.

Ukraine: OCHA said that renewed fighting in the east of Ukraine and indiscriminate shelling has resulted in civilian casualties and triggered additional displacement and destruction of infrastructure. As of 21 January, over 900,000 have been registered as internally displaced. The SG strongly condemned the rocket attack that took place Saturday in Mariupol.  He also denounced the unilateral withdrawal from the ceasefire by rebel leadership, particularly their provocative statements about claiming further territory.

DRC: Head of MINUSCO, Martin Kedler, congratulated the DRC Parliament on reaching a compromise on the revision of the electoral law.  He also applauded the political stakeholders for demonstrating their common resolve to preserve social peace and a better representation of women that the new law guarantees.

Libya: A new round of Libyan political dialogue started today in Geneva to discuss ways to end the political and security crisis in the country.  Parties included political stakeholders as well as representatives from women’s groups and the civil society.  Special Representative Bernardino Leon said that the atmosphere and discussions remain positive, and he encourages all parties to approach the talks in a spirit of openness and reconciliation.

CAR: MINUSCA condemned the abduction of the country’s Youth and Sport Minister, Armel Sayo, and called for his immediate release.  The mission is using all means it can under its mandate to assist the national authorities in this matter.

Darfur: UNAMID today facilitated the launch of the Darfur Internal Dialogue and Consultations process today at El Fasher University in North Darfur.  The event brought together the Sudanese Government, Darfur Regional Authority officials and member of the Darfur Internal Dialogue and Consultations Implementation Committee, as well as civil society representatives and internally displaced people. 

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