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un-building-350-230The United Nations is the one organization with the vision and reach to address the world’s most pressing challenges. When disaster strikes, the world turns to one organization for hope, help, leadership, and coordi­nation: the United Nations. When there is peace to keep between warring factions, the world asks the UN to mobilize peacekeepers, oversee elections, and create stability. In the face of challenges such as climate change, disease or poverty, the United Nations provides the platform for international cooperation.

The UN is an international organization, not a government.  As a result, its effectiveness depends on the participation of 193 sovereign member states and the backing of citizens around the world. The United Nations Association of the United States, a program of the United Nations Foundation, works day in and day out to support the mission of the UN by connecting Americans to the work of the UN and advocating for strong US leadership within the UN. 

 

UN Updates: June 27, 2016

SG Travels: The Secretary-General is in Jerusalem, where he met with President Reuben Rivlin of Israel. Speaking to the press with the President, the SG said that he welcomes today’s announcement of the normalization of relations between Israel and Turkey, calling it an important and hopeful signal for the stability of the region. He added that the Middle East Quartet was soon to publish its report. Once issued, he said that Israeli and Palestinian leaders will need to engage on its recommendations for the resumption of meaningful negotiations. Reflecting on the recent ceremony that he attended in Havana between the Colombian Government and the FARC-EP, the SG said that seeing enemies lay down their arms offered a glimmer of hope in today’s world.

Yesterday, in Kuwait, the SG met with the Amir of Kuwait and expressed his deep appreciation and gratitude for Kuwait’s strong backing of the efforts of his Special Envoy, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, on the ongoing Yemen peace talks in Kuwait.

And the SG also spoke to the Yemeni delegations in Kuwait and urged them to prevent any further deterioration of the situation in Yemen and to show the responsibility and flexibility required to arrive at a comprehensive agreement ending the conflict.  He also urged the release of all prisoners, including political detainees, journalists, civil society activists and others as a goodwill gesture ahead of the Eid holiday.

Iraq: Yesterday the SG called Haider al-Abadi, Prime Minister of Iraq, to say he welcomed the progress made by Iraq’s security forces in retaking areas from ISIL. While noting the work the UN is doing to support the Iraqi government in addressing the humanitarian needs of civilians in Fallujah, he also expressed concerns over reports of serious human rights abuses against civilians displaced from that city. He welcomed the Prime Minister’s decision to establish an investigative committee to look into all alleged abuses. The UN and its partners are helping to look after the needs of some 85,000 displaced persons from Falluja.

In a related matter, today the UNHCR reported that it has finished reconstruction of an irrigation canal near the city, which will help local farmers get back on their feet. The canal was destroyed in recent fighting.

Centre for Oceans Law and Policy: This morning, the Deputy SG, Jan Eliasson, spoke at the 40th Annual Conference of the Centre for Oceans Law and Policy. Stressing that healthy oceans are critical to sustaining life on our planet, the DSG said the decisions we make now on the sustainable use of ocean resources stand to benefit millions of people, for generations to come. He added that our impact on oceans and seas is taking a toll and many marine species today are at serious risk from ocean warming and over-fishing.

Lebanon: The Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Sigrid Kaag, strongly condemned the four suicide bombings that took place this morning in the north-eastern Lebanese border town of El-Qaa, which killed five civilians and injured several others. Kaag commended the courage and commitment of the Lebanese security forces, and called for sustained international support to enhance their capacity in the face of security challenges, including the terrorist threat, in Lebanon and along its borders. 

Damascus: Today, an inter-agency convoy is delivering food, nutrition, health, water and sanitation, and education supplies for some 30,000 people in Rural Damascus. This is the second convoy to Qudsaya this year. Since the beginning of 2016, the UN and its partners have been able to reach almost 57% of people in besieged locations and 12% in hard-to-reach areas through inter-agency operations. Further assistance is also provided to hard-to-reach areas through cross-border activities.

The UNICEF says that yesterday its local partners in Syria informed the agency that 25 children were reportedly killed in air-strikes on al-Quriyah town, in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzour. Three attacks reportedly hit heavily crowded areas, including a mosque, during prayer time. Amid an intensification of violence, attacks on children in Syria are becoming commonplace with callous disregard for the lives of children. 

South Sudan: The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is continuing to provide protection to approximately 10,000 civilians in Wau, following the outbreak of violence. UNMISS military forces have created a security cordon around an area adjacent to the UN base. The peacekeepers are conducting active patrolling to ensure the safety of the displaced civilians within this area. In a statement issued on Saturday, the SG called on all fighting forces to immediately suspend the hostilities, provide access to the UNMISS and cooperate with humanitarian partners to facilitate the delivery of assistance.

Benghazi: The World Health Organization (WHO) has condemned recent attacks on two health facilities in Benghazi, Libya. The agency reiterated that such attacks violate international humanitarian law and present a serious setback for people who need medical assistance and for the humanitarian community. Nearly 60% of public hospitals in conflict areas in Libya have shut down or are inaccessible.

Somalia: The SG’s Special Representative for Somalia, Michael Keating, today condemned in the strongest possible terms yesterday’s attack on the Naso Hablod Hotel, in Southern Mogadishu. The Somali State Minister for Environment Affairs was killed in the attack together with at least 25 people. 

Central African Republic (CAR): The UN Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) condemned the killing of a peacekeeper by unidentified armed men on June 24 in Bangui. His body was found at Bangui General Hospital and an investigation was launched to determine the circumstances of the tragedy. Over the weekend, the Mission also welcomed the release of six Central African policemen who were held hostages by armed men. MINUSCA applauds the perseverance of the negotiating team that contributed to their release without the use of force.

Boko Haram: The UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has allocated $13 million to provide life-saving assistance to people in north-eastern Nigeria who have been affected by Boko Haram violence and who have just become accessible to humanitarian responders. The CERF will enable UN humanitarian agencies and their partners to provide food, health and nutritional to more than 250,000 of the most vulnerable people in the next four months. Since 2015, and including this latest allocation, the CERF has supported life-saving assistance in response to Boko Haram-related violence with more than $70 million in Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria.

Peacekeeping: Today, the Under-SG for Field Support, Atul Khare, is travelling to Italy where he will be meeting with Italian national and local authorities in Rome and Brindisi. He will also meet with members of the UN Global Service Centre and the UN system.On Friday, Khare will proceed to the CAR, where he is expected to meet with Government and local officials as well as UN peacekeeping mission and partners. He will discuss operational support to the mission and follow up on initiatives related to conduct and discipline matters. And Today, the Under-SG for the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous arrived in Argentina and he will go to Mexico on Wednesday. In both countries, he is expected to follow up on pledges to increase contributions to peacekeeping.

UNMIL: Today the SG announced the appointment of Yacoub El Hillo of Sudan as his Deputy Special Representative in the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). He will also serve as the UN Resident Coordinator and Resident Representative of the UN Development Programme (UNDP). El Hillo succeeds Antonio Vigilante of Italy, who concluded his assignment on June 15. El Hillo brings to the position a wealth of experience in the field and at UN Headquarters. Since August 2013, he has served as the UN Resident Coordinator, Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in the Syrian Arab Republic, based in Damascus. 

 

 

 
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