The UN at Work
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UN Updates: July 1, 2015
*Keywords: SG=Secretary-General, DSG=Deputy Secretary-General
Srebrenica: Today the SG spoke at a high-level event to remember and honor the victims of the genocide at Srebrenica. He stated that the murder of Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica will forever weigh on the collective conscience of the international community. The SG stated that the UN founded to prevent such crimes from recurring, failed in its responsibilities to protect the lives of innocent civilians. Noting that the UN Secretariat, the Security Council and Member States share the blame, he stated that today the international community is failing too many people in desperate need in places such as Syria and South Sudan.
Yemen: Over 21.1 million people, about 80% of Yemen's population, now need some form of humanitarian assistance with 11.7 million targeted for assistance under the Revised Humanitarian Response Plan. Today, Stephen O'Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, convened a meeting to discuss the activation of an Inter-Agency Standing Committee system-wide level 3 emergency response for Yemen. All agencies agreed to declare the level 3 for a period of six months, with plans of an interim review in September. About 13 million people face a food security crisis and 9.4 million people lack access to clean water, raising the risk of outbreaks of waterborne diseases including cholera. Dengue fever and malaria in the south and areas bordering Saudi Arabia are being reported. The Yemeni health system is facing imminent collapse, at least 160 health facilities have closed due to insecurity and lack of fuel.
WFP: The WFP must implement severe cuts in food assistance for Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan because of a substantial lack of funding. In Jordan, WFP has warned that if it does not receive immediate funding by August, it will have to suspend all assistance to urban Syrian refugees, leaving about 440,000 people with no food. WFP’s regional refugee operation is 81% underfunded and requires immediate assistance of $139 million to continue aiding refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey and Iraq. The limited resources have already forced WFP to reduce its aid to almost 1.6 million Syrian refugees in five countries.
ME Quartet: Envoys of the Middle East Quartet met in Cairo as the first step in their regular and direct outreach to Arab states from June 29-30. Discussions focused on ways to advance the two-state solution, and on how to create the conditions for the return to meaningful negotiations. The members underlined the pivotal role Egypt plays in achieving sustainable Israeli-Palestinian peace and reiterated the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative.
West Bank: The SG condemned the latest shooting attacks in the West Bank, while noting with concern the high number of violent incidents over the past two weeks. The SG also calls on all sides to exercise restraint, remain calm and bring the perpetrators of the violence to justice.
Iraq: UNAMI released casualty figures today regarding attacks in Iraq in June. 1,466 Iraqis were killed and another 1,687 were wounded during the violence and armed conflict in June- civilians make up 665 of those killed and more than 1,000 of those who were wounded.
Boko Haram: Today Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the UN Human Rights Commissioner, updated HRC in Geneva on Boko Haram. Hussein stated that interviews with former captives and survivors of Boko Haram attacks in Nigeria indicate a pattern of vicious and indiscriminate attacks that stretches back over months and sometimes years.
UNHCR: The UNHCR’s findings report that the large majority of the 137,000 people crossing the Mediterranean Sea into Europe are fleeing from war, conflict or persecution, making the Mediterranean crisis primarily a refugee crisis. The UNCHR report also states that one third of people arriving in Italy and Greece were from Syria, while the second and third most common countries of origin are Afghanistan and Eritrea. There was an 83% increase in refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean from January to June.
WHO: The WHO reported that Cuba has become the first country to receive validation from WHO that it has eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis. WHO’s Director General, Dr. Margaret Chan, stated that the feat was one of the greatest public health achievements and a victory against HIV and STIs. Since the treatment for prevention of mother-to-child-transmission is not 100% effective, “elimination” of transmission is defined as a reduction of transmission to a level so low that it no longer is a threat as a public health problem.