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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.

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UN Updates: June16, 2016

Haiti: In a statement issued today, the Secretary-General expressed deep concerns over the continuing political uncertainty in Haiti. The conflict further delays the electoral process which affect stability in Haiti, as well as international support to the country. The SG called on the National Assembly to urgently take a decision and determine a viable arrangement for provisional governance that can ensure the completion of the electoral process and a return to full constitutional order without further delays. 

Bahrain: Today, the SG expressed concern about recent actions of the Bahraini authorities seemingly aimed at restricting the country’s political opposition. These include the dissolution of Al Wefaq, the largest opposition political grouping; the re-arrest of human rights defender Nabil Rajab, founder of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights; and the lengthening of the sentence of Sheikh Ali Salman, of Al Wefaq.

The SG is also dismayed about reports that suggest that human rights defenders and activists in Bahrain have been intimidated and even stripped of their citizenship for peacefully carrying out activities to promote human rights, as well as for legitimately exercising their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association.

The SG is convinced that the effective implementation of the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, the Universal Periodic Review and the national human rights institution would allow for an improvement of the human rights situation in the country. 

Russia: Today, the SG spoke at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia. He said that our shared challenge is to translate the promises of recent landmark agreements, including Agenda 2030 and the Paris agreement on Climate Change, into tangible gains for people. The SG also said that Russia has tremendous scientific potential to develop technologies for mitigating the adverse effects of climate change and urged the country to continue to diversify its economy away from the energy sector and to reduce reliance on fossil fuel exports.  

The SG is concerned about the escalating pressures being faced by civil society, near and far. When civil society can play its full role, all of society benefits, he stressed. He added that Russian civil society can play an active role in both the design of reforms and their implementation. 

Guinea: The SG met with Alpha Condé, the President of the Republic of Guinea and encouraged the Government of Guinea to accelerate progress towards the consolidation of peace and stability in the country. The SG stressed the readiness of the United Nations to accompany national stakeholders in the implementation of the agreement of 20 August 2015. 

Syria: The SG met Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and exchanged views on the situation in Syria. The SG emphasized that the coming weeks were crucial in advancing a political process through intra-Syrian talks on the basis of his Special Envoy's “Mediator's summary”, particularly in view of the shared sense of urgency given the August deadline set by the ISSG co-chairs. Both agreed it was important to ensure a conducive environment for these talks by urgently addressing the situation on the ground.

President Putin awarded the Order of Friendship to the SG.

OCHA: An inter-agency humanitarian convoy is delivering humanitarian assistance to about 37,500 residents in the besieged neighborhood of Al Waer in Homs, Syria, OCHA reported. A second convoy is planned in the coming days, pending Government approval. The two convoys will provide food and health supplies for about 75,000 people.

Also today, a UN and Syrian Arab Red Crescent convoy delivered food and  supplies health for 50,000 people in Afrin city, Kafr Janneh, Rajou, Yakhour, all in Aleppo Governorate.

Since the beginning of 2016, more than 844,000 people in the besieged areas have received a range of humanitarian assistance through UN inter-agency convoys.

OCHA also warned that since 12 June, more than 1,300 Central Africans have arrived in two villages on the border between the Central African Republic, Cameroon and Chad. A joint assessment by UN agencies and local authorities have identified that priority humanitarian needs include food, shelter, basic household items, health care, psychosocial support and protection.

Da’esh: Da’esh is committing genocide against Yazidis, according to a report issued today by the independent international Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic. The report determined that Da’esh’s abuse of Yazidis amounts to crimes against humanity and war crimes.  Paulo Pinheiro, Chair of the Commission, said that genocide has occurred and is ongoing. 

The report says that Da’esh sought – and continues to seek – to destroy the Yazidis in multiple ways, including through killings; sexual slavery, enslavement, torture and inhuman and degrading treatment and forcible transfer; forced conversion of adults and the transfer of Yazidi children from their own families, among other steps. Thousands of women and girls, some as young as nine, have been sold in slave markets, or souk sabaya.

The Commission urged international recognition of the genocide, and stated that more must be done to assure the protection of this religious minority in the Middle East, and the funding of care, including psycho-social and financial support, for victims of this genocide.

Central African Republic: In reference to the ongoing investigations being conducted by the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) on the allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse in the Kemo prefecture, in the Central African Republic (CAR), being done jointly with Burundi and Gabon, OIOS reports that 90 out of the 106 complainants have been interviewed by the joint teams. Witnesses are also being interviewed in order to corroborate the testimonies.

These allegations date back to 2014 and 2015 and there is a lack of medical, judicial, and other physical evidence, which means that the work of the investigators relies primarily on the testimonies of victims and witnesses.

MINUSCA: The UN Mission in the Central African Republic, (MINUSCA), reported that an unspecified number of ex-Seleka members attacked Ngaoundaye in Ouham-Pende prefecture yesterday, resulting in looting, displacement of civilian population and the burning of houses. In response, MINUSCA peacekeepers have been deployed to the town, including to the local church, where 100 to 200 civilians have sought refuge.

 In Bangui, tensions are subsiding following recent protests triggered by the killing of a taxi driver over the weekend. The Mission continues to conduct patrols in sensitive areas of the capital.

Yemen: Jamie McGoldrick, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, told reporters today in Sana’a that the scale and intensity of the humanitarian situation in Yemen is bleak and by many measures it is continuing to get worse. The economy is on the verge of total collapse, he said. More than 13 million Yemenis are in need of immediate life-saving humanitarian assistance. Nearly 3 million people have fled their homes since the conflict escalated, most of whom – about 2.8 million – are displaced within Yemen.

The UN has directly assisted 3.6 million people in Yemen so far this year, through the end of April, including with food and health assistance. But some areas are difficult to reach for security reasons, and the parties to the conflict need to grant unfettered humanitarian access.

WHO: The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, Dr Ala Alwan, arrived in Baghdad today to review first hand WHO’s response to the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Fallujah city, where more than 42,000 Iraqis have been displaced since last month.

UNHCR: Today, the UNHCR launched a celebrity-fuelled campaign that asks people of all over the world to sign a petition to ask their governments to act on behalf of the world’s forcibly displaced. Some 60 celebrities, including Cate Blanchet, Helen Mirren, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Baaba Maal, Benedict Cumberbatch, and the SG appear in a video on YouTube, asking people to sign a petition that will be presented here in, UN HQ, in September during the high level meeting on refugees and migrants. 

The petition specifically asks all governments to make sure that every refugee child has an education, every refugee family has somewhere safe to live and that every refugee can work or learn skills.

Mali: The SG’s Special Representative for Mali, Mahamat Saleh Annadif, briefed the Security Council this morning. He warned that the peace progress risks capsizing with the slow implementation of the peace agreement. Annadif underscored the need to strengthen the capacity of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) so that it can rise to its ability to protect civilians and its staff. 

FAO: Today, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAP) launched a new publication calling on governments, development partners, civil society and the private sector to support the efforts of forest and farm producer organizations. The publication stresses that such organizations – which represent the interest of smallholder famers are critical in helping the world meet its growing demand for food, as well as to achieve the SDGs.

Nigeria: OCHA reported that in Nigeria, at least eight people have died on arrival or on their way to Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State due to complications arising from long-term hunger. Between June 13 and 15 over 1,500 people arrived in Maiduguri from the Bama camp. The camp is hosting an estimated 28,000 people, 15,000 of whom are children.

Burundi: The UN Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) has just transferred close to $1 million to the Office of UN Special Adviser Jamal Benomar to support the peaceful resolution of conflict in Burundi.

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