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UN Daily News
Monday, 3 November 2014
Issue DH/6771
In the headlines:
• UNICEF to double staff in Ebola-affected countries;
• At UN conference, top officials urge greater
• Syria: UN envoy proposes new plan to ‘freeze’
• UN Ebola mission chief reports mixed picture in
• In Darfur, UN mission voices concern of possible
• ‘Leaders must act,’ urges Ban, as new UN report
UN health chief deplores lagging vaccine research
conflict, promote political solution
security raid on camps for displaced
development assistance for landlocked countries
Sierra Leone, as victims outpace beds in Port Loko
warns climate change may soon be ‘irreversible’
UN chief hails Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst’s
‘powerful message’
• 'Stand up for justice', UN urges on first Day to End
• In Iraq, UNESCO chief says education, culture key
• Citing progress in Guinea, UN Ebola response chief
• Ban strongly condemns terrorist attack at India-
• China 'key' to shaping future of global
•
to country’s future peace and stability
Pakistan border
Impunity for Crimes against Journalists
says disease 'still very much a crisis'
humanitarian action – top UN relief official
More stories inside
UNICEF to double staff in Ebola-affected countries; UN health
chief deplores lagging vaccine research
3 November - As the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) announced today that it
plans to boost its staff in countries on the frontlines of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa,
the head of the UN World Health Organization attributed the lack of research into cures and
vaccines for Ebola to the fact that the disease has historically been confined to poor African
nations.
“A profit-driven industry does not invest in products for markets that cannot pay,” Dr.
Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General said in Cotonou, Benin, in her address to the
Regional Committee for Africa.
Ebola treatment centre outside an Ebola
virus disease (EVD) case management
centre run by Médecins Sans Frontières
in the town of Guéckédou, Guinea. Photo:
UNICEF/Suzanne Beukes
At UN Headquarters, Dr. Peter Salama, Global Ebola Emergency Coordinator for UNICEF,
told reporters that the agency will be doubling its staff from 300 to 600 in the three mostaffected countries – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone ¬– where children account for one-fifth of all Ebola cases.
Dr. Salama also said an estimated 5 million children are affected and some 4,000 children have become orphaned from the
current epidemic.
He described as “terrifying” the epidemic as seen from the eyes of the millions of children in the three most affected
countries where “death is all around them.”
“Schools are closed, children are confined to their homes and discouraged to play with other children,” he said.
For information media not an official record
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In addition to those orphaned, the UNICEF doctor said “many more are sent away for their own protection” and are
confined to “quarantine centres not knowing whether their parents are alive or dead.”
UNICEF, he said, is reaching out to Ebola survivors who are often willing to work on the frontlines of the disease response
at the community level in local care centres with community health workers.
The Head of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), Anthony Banbury, meanwhile, travelled to Sierra
Leone today after visiting Guinea over the weekend. In both countries, he visited Ebola treatment centres in remote areas to
see first-hand how the Mission can fill the gaps in the response.
In Sierra Leone, he met with Ebola survivors in Kenema and visited a Logistics Base, run by the World Food Programme in
the Port Loko district. He also visited the newly-opened Command and Control Centre, which is in charge of coordinating
burials and ambulance pick-ups.
Mr. Banbury will also travel to Liberia before he briefs the Security Council next Monday.
In Cotonou, the WHO Director-General said that in the midst of the Ebola outbreak ravaging parts of West Africa in the
most severe acute public health emergency seen in modern times, “two WHO arguments that have fallen on deaf ears for
decades are now out there with consequences that all the world can see, every day, on prime-time TV news,” Dr Chan said.
“The first argument concerns the urgent need to strengthen long-neglected health systems,” she said.
“Without fundamental public health infrastructures in place, no country is stable. No society is secure,” she said. “No
resilience exists to withstand the shocks that our 21st century societies are delivering with ever-greater frequency and force,
whether from a changing climate or a runaway killer virus.”
The second argument, the WHO Director-General said, is that despite the fact that Ebola emerged nearly four decades ago:
“Why are clinicians still empty-handed, with no vaccines and no cure?”
“Because Ebola has historically been confined to poor African nations,” she said. “The R&D [research and development]
incentive is virtually non-existent. A profit-driven industry does not invest in products for markets that cannot pay. WHO
has been trying to make this issue visible for ages. Now people can see for themselves.”
WHO also reported today that Senegal’s recent stamping out of Ebola was achieved not only through its rapid infectious
disease control work, but also by using a novel SMS-driven platform originally designed to help people manage diabetes.
As part of a massive public awareness effort, Senegal’s Ministry of Health sent 4 million text messages to the general public
warning of the dangers of Ebola and how to prevent it such as: wash your hands with soap and water regularly; avoid all
contact with people who are sick with or have died from Ebola; and do not touch or eat the meat of dead or sick animals
(monkey, rat, warthog, porcupine, pork).
Syria: UN envoy proposes new plan to ‘freeze’ conflict, promote
political solution
3 November - The war in Syria must be “frozen locally” on the ground so that the growing
threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) may be fully confronted, a
United Nations envoy said today, suggesting that a peace introduced in increments would
also provide all stakeholders with a better understanding of how to bring the three-year
conflict to a definitive conclusion.
Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de
Mistura. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré
In an interview with UN Radio, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de
Mistura, described “a feeling of despair and of tiredness” in the Middle Eastern country
from which he recently returned, adding that the strongest message he received from people
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on the ground was an appeal to “stop this carnage” and “give us some light.”
“That was the strongest message I got and that’s why I’ve been so keen in trying to find some entry points to make that
difference: not through a conference, not through a seminar, but through something tangible for them,” Mr. de Mistura said.
The conflict in Syria, which began in March 2011, has led to well over 150,000 deaths, and more than 680,000 people have
been injured. At least 10.8 million people are in need of assistance inside Syria, including at least 6.5 million who are
internally displaced.
The violence has also spawned a refugee crisis flooding neighbouring countries with some 2.5 million people.
Asked about his “new plan” for Syria and the region at large, Mr. de Mistura said the besieged city of Aleppo provides the
best example of where the conflict could be frozen locally, as fighting between opposition and Government forces had
ground to a stalemate amid the steady advance of ISIL militants.
“If we can freeze that and show that at least Aleppo can become an area where we can provide some better life for citizens,
then the focus can be, as it should be, on [ISIL],” he continued.
The “new plan,” first presented to the Security Council last Thursday, would initially seek to freeze the fighting and create
an environment whereby humanitarian aid could reach the beleaguered population in Aleppo. Additionally, it would also
provide visible proof that the on-the-ground narrative can be shifted from a military one to a political one.
“If that can be replicated,” Mr. de Mistura said, “then we may have a formula to cool off, if nothing else, the environment in
Syria and lead to a political process, as everybody claims should be the case, rather than simply saying it but nothing
happening.”
The Special Envoy added that he would soon be returning to Damascus for further consultations with Syrian President
Bashar al-Assad where the specifics for bringing the plan to fruition would be discussed.
“As you know, the devil is in the details. And the details in this matter count because it means lives saved and locations
identified,” he explained.
“That’s why I’ve been proposing Aleppo because it has many ingredients; it is a place which is iconic; it is threatened by the
war between the two sides, the Government and the opposition; and it’s now also threatened by [ISIL].”
In Darfur, UN mission voices concern of possible security raid
on camps for displaced
3 November - The United Nations mission in Darfur expressed concern today over the
Government of Sudan’s alleged intentions to conduct a security search operation in a camp
for internally displaced people (IDP), cautioning that such an act might increase tensions
among the camp’s civilian population.
A section of the Kalma camp for
internally displaced people (IDP), near
Nyala, in South Darfur. Photo:
UNAMID/Albert González Farran
In a press release, the African Union-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur, known by the
acronym UNAMID, noted that Government forces were possibly planning a raid in Kalma
camp near Nyala, in South Darfur, adding that the Mission was taking “preventive
measures to mitigate the impact of such an operation on the civilian population of the camp
and to reduce the tension there.”
“The Mission has engaged the local authorities in South Darfur, in accordance with its protection of civilians’ mandate, and
demanded that if there were a need for such selective searches, these should be conducted in coordination with the camp
leaders and the Mission and that should be carried out respecting human rights and observing international humanitarian
law,” UNAMID declared in its press release.
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According to UNAMID, Mission personnel have been meeting regularly with IDP leaders, including women and youth, in
order to explain the measures being undertaken to reduce the impact such raids may have on the civilian population.
In addition, the Mission noted, UNAMID had strengthened the presence of peacekeepers in the Mission’s Patrol Site in
Kalma and increased the number of patrols which are conducted around the clock at the camp.
At the same time, UNAMID has also reminded the camp population that “harbouring, aiding or abetting offenders who
possess weapons contravenes international humanitarian law and that such weaponry should not be stored, handled or
trafficked in IDP camps.”
The press release explained that the Mission remained engaged “with all relevant stakeholders” while adding that
Government authorities had denied any such plans for a raid at the Kalma camp “at the current time.”
UN chief hails Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst’s ‘powerful
message’
3 November - As part of a visit to mark the thirty-fifth anniversary of the Vienna
International Centre today, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was among those treated to a
performance by Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst, calling her win earlier this year an
“electrifying moment of human rights education.”
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right)
meets with Conchita Wurst, Austrian
singer and winner of the Eurovision Song
Contest 2014. UN Photo/Amanda Voisard
“She confounds people’s preconceived ideas of gender and sexuality – and she appeals to
them to accept her as she is,” Mr. Ban said of the drag performer, who won the Eurovision
Song Contest for Austria in May, marking the country’s first win since 1966.
“That is a powerful message,” he noted, adding that he is “delighted she is using her talent
and the Eurovision platform to take this message to a global audience.”
“She is an incredible singer and entertainer,” Mr. Ban said. “But what made her win so meaningful was the way she turned
her victory in the Song Contest into an electrifying moment of human rights education.”
Conchita is a bearded drag persona created by the Austrian singer and Thomas Neuwirth.
Mr. Ban praised Conchita’s promotion of respect for diversity,” which he said was a “core value” of the United Nations
Charter.
“Discrimination has no place in the United Nations, nor in the world of the 21st century,” he said.
“As United Nations Secretary-General, I am proud to champion the cause of equality for all members of our human family
no matter who they are or whom they love,” he stressed.
At the event, the Secretary-General also welcomed Hilda-Olivia Sarkissian, the first staff member in Vienna to receive full
marital recognition for her family under the new policy, following the extension of benefits to same-sex partners of UN staff
members earlier this year.
“I will continue to fight against transphobia and homophobia,” Mr. Ban declared. “I will stand strong for equality. I hope all
of you join our global Free & Equal campaign,” he added, referring to a campaign launched in July by the UN High
Commissioner for Human Rights that promotes greater respect for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
(LGBT) persons worldwide.
The Vienna International Centre was inaugurated in 1979, initially as a permanent residence for the International Atomic
Energy Agency (IAEA) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). Today, the Centre
comprises about 4,500 offices and 9 conference rooms, and accommodates some 3,600 international civil servants from
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about 100 countries.
In Iraq, UNESCO chief says education, culture key to country’s
future peace and stability
3 November - The future of Iraq hinges on the education of its youth and the preservation
of its cultural heritage, the head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization (UNESCO) affirmed during an official trip to the war-torn Middle Eastern
country.
“Education is a human rights imperative for you and for all Iraq – it is also a development
imperative and a security imperative,” Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, said
yesterday during a visit to the Baharka Camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs), near
the city of Erbil, in the country’s Kurdistan region.
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova
(second right) visiting the Baharka Camp
for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP),
located near Erbil, Iraq. Photo: UN Iraq
“Education is a hidden crisis and I have come to stand with you, to support you, to reject
the terrible human rights violations you have suffered.”
Since January, some 1.8 million people – half of them children – have been displaced in Iraq, and hundreds of thousands
more have been forced to find shelter in unfinished buildings, public spaces and informal settlements. In total, there are 5.2
million Iraqis in need of assistance amid rising instability across the country.
According to UNESCO, as the IDP crisis continues to stretch Iraq’s resources, Iraqi children are increasingly deprived of
access to education, potentially jeopardizing their futures. Many Iraqi youths, for instance, were unable to attend the public
examinations held in June 2014.
During her visit to Baharka, Ms. Bokova marked the beginning of construction on the camp’s second UNESCO school,
slated for completion in December 2014, and one of four UNESCO-backed schools to be built in three IDP camps
throughout the country.
She noted that education would provide displaced youth with “a sense of normalcy, stability and hope for the future” and
“minimize the risk of vulnerability resulting from violence, abuse or ideological manipulation.”
“We cannot let you and an entire generation of young Iraqis to be deprived of their right to education, because this would
throw a shadow over the future of the country as a whole,” the Director-General continued, adding that education was
essential to the future stability of Iraq as well as the prospects and rights of Iraqi men and women.
“We must ensure that you learn so you have the chance to become everything you wish,” she added.
Meanwhile, in a ceremony later in the day at the Erbil Citadel, a site recently inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List,
the Director-General paid tribute to Iraq’s millennial cultural legacy, handing over the certificate of inscription to Prime
Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Nechirvan Barzani.
“Saving the past of Iraq is essential to saving the future of this country and to our collective history,” Ms. Bokova told those
gathered. “That is what this inscription means.”
At the same time, she denounced the ongoing attacks against the country’s cultural heritage, warning that Iraq was
experiencing “cultural cleaning, cultural eradication and cultural looting.”
Most recently, the Imam Dur shrine in the governorate of Salah-e-Din in Iraq was destroyed by radical elements as part of a
widening and unprecedented campaign against Iraq’s cultural, religious, and historical monuments.
“The terrorists are attacking culture because they want to attack the soul of the Iraqi people, to weaken the ground for future
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reconciliation,” she continued.
“We must stand up against forces that seek to divide Iraq because they attack the humanity we all share.”
Ban strongly condemns terrorist attack at India-Pakistan
border
3 November - Strongly condemning the terrorist attack that took place yesterday on the
Pakistani side of the Wagah border with India, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Kimoon Today urged the authorities in Pakistan to bring those responsible to justice.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson in New York, Mr. Ban condemned “in the
strongest terms” the terrorist attack, which, according to news reports, killed more than 50
people and wounded perhaps 100 others.
Peacekeepers from the UN Military
Observer Group in India and Pakistan
(UNMOGIP) speak with the local
population near Bhimbar UN Field
Station, Pakistan. UN Photo/Evan
Schneider (file)
Through the statement, the Secretary-General expressed his condolences to the families of
those killed in the attack and to the people and Government of Pakistan, and wished those
wounded a quick recovery.
“Such terrorist acts are not justifiable under any circumstances,” he declared through the
statement, urging the Pakistani authorities to bring those responsible to justice.
At UN conference, top officials urge greater development
assistance for landlocked countries
3 November - The international community must aid the world’s landlocked developing
countries (LLDC) in pursuing their goals for greater economic development to transition
from being landlocked to “landlinked,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon advised today,
noting that only through comprehensive improvements in trade would such nations be best
prepared to tackle the post-2015 agenda.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (front,
left) accompanied by Heinz Fischer,
President of Austria and Yury Fedotov,
Director-General, UN Office in Vienna,
arriving for the Second UN Conference
on landlocked developing countries
(LLDC), in Vienna, Austria. Photo: UNIS
Vienna
Speaking at the opening of the Second UN Conference on LLDCs, taking place from 3 to 5
November, in Vienna, Austria, the Secretary-General told more than 1,000 delegates that
the world’s new plans to address global challenges “must take account” of conditions in
LLDCs.
“We need greater regional integration. This will strengthen trade ties. It will increase
economic groupings,” declared Mr. Ban. “Regional integration can transform countries
from being landlocked to ‘landlinked.’
There are 32 countries classified as landlocked developing, 16 of which are located in Africa, 10 in Asia, 4 in Europe and 2
in Latin America. Lack of territorial access to the sea, remoteness and isolation from world markets and high transit costs
continue to impose serious constraints on their overall socio-economic development.
Eleven years since an action plan for the LLDCs was adopted in Almaty, Kazakhstan, exports have increased and tangible
in-roads have been made in improving their share of global trade. But such gains have not been enough to boost the
prospects of these countries, many of which are still on the bottom rung of the development ladder.
Notwithstanding a sharp drop in the number of children dying from preventable diseases and an uptick in the number of
young girls in school, nine of the 15 countries with the lowest Human Development scores are landlocked.
In his address to the Conference, UN General Assembly President, Sam Kutesa, told delegates they had gathered to “take
stock” of the progress made since LLDC states adopted the Programme of Action in Almaty eleven years ago.
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“We should feel heartened by the notable progress that has been made in several key areas,” the Assembly President said,
highlighting issues such as the harmonization of transport and transit policies and procedures with transit countries, the
development of transport infrastructure, and the expansion of trade.
Nevertheless, he warned “deep-rooted and multifaceted structural challenges” still remain plagued the LLDCs, hindering the
economic development of landlocked states.
“Export volumes, compared to imports, are still low, and are predominantly raw materials and commodity based. Critical
physical infrastructure, such as roads, railways and energy is either lacking or inadequate.”
Citing the Secretary-General’s “sobering assessment” of the state of LLDC’s, Mr. Kutesa also observed that those countries
were unable to meet their development objective on their own. In 2012, he stated, the trade volume of LLDCs had been only
61 per cent that of coastal countries while import and export costs were twice as expensive as those of their non-LLDC
neighbours.
“With such statistics, it may be an understatement to say that LLDCs are swimming against the tide,” he added.
Mr. Kutesa, a Ugandan national, pointed out that he too was from a landlocked developing country and thus understood the
direct importance of infrastructure development, transit and trade facilitation, and policy framework, in order to reduce
prohibitive transit costs and enable LLDCs to fully participate in global trade.
“Emphasis must be given to deepening regional cooperation and promoting inter and intra-regional trade. Above all, there
must be renewed political will to address transit limitations and other challenges,” he continued, stressing the need for
LLDCs in receiving “sustained and unwavering cooperation from transit countries; financial and technical support from
bilateral and multilateral partners; and firm commitments from the international community.”
The President of the General Assembly appealed to the gathered delegates to adopt a new Programme of Action at the end
of the Vienna conference in an effort to boost the LLDCs competitiveness, stimulate their productive capacities, diversify
their exports and “ensure a better future for their 450 million citizens.”
At the same time, in his remarks to the Conference, Gyan Chandra Acharya, the UN High Representative for the Least
Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, called for greater synergy
between the LLDC development agenda and the ongoing discussion around the next generation of development goals.
“We have all agreed that the post-2015 development agenda would be transformative, inclusive and should ensure a life of
dignity for all. LLDCs issues therefore rightly deserve due consideration in the formulation in the formulation of the next
global agenda,” he stated.
“Let there be a call for actions that match the magnitude of the challenges of being landlocked.”
Later in the day at a high-level roundtable, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reiterated the importance of altering the
structural outlook of the LLDCs, adding that such transformations made “the difference.”
“With structural transformation, LLDCs can export goods that are low bulk – so they take up less precious transport space or
cost – with higher value,” Mr. Ban explained. “That makes good sense all around. It reduces transaction costs – and with the
right approach, local production can also benefit the environment.”
In addition, he pointed out, structural transformation also moves goods and workers out of the informal economy and into
the markets, creating better jobs, spreading knowledge and promoting competitiveness.
“The UN is here to help LLDCs,” Mr. Ban told the gathering. “We can provide technical assistance, and help design public
policies and enable all countries to exchange ideas. We are ready to work with LLDCs as well as donors, development
finance institutions, businesses and other partners to achieve structural transformation.”
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“The LLDCs can count on the United Nations to transform their geographical disadvantages into platforms for great
innovation and progress,” added Mr. Ban.
UN Ebola mission chief reports mixed picture in Sierra Leone,
as victims outpace beds in Port Loko
2 November - Witnessing yet again the challenging dynamics of the Ebola outbreak
unfolding in West Africa, the United Nations envoy coordinating the global response
visited Sierra Leone today, where he reported efforts to halt the virus in former hotspot
Kenema are starting to pay off, while some 200 kilometres away, Port Loko is now “getting
slammed”.
Continuing his tour through the front lines of the crisis, Anthony Banbury, head of the UN
Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), stopped in Kenema, Sierra Leone's
third largest city, where he said the strategy to defeat the disease is having some success.
“The first place I heard about Ebola was in Kenema and all the terrible things happening
there – health care workers getting sick, large numbers of people getting the disease,” yet
today, he was pleased to see that Kenema is making progress.
Anthony Banbury, head of the UN
Mission for Ebola Emergency Response
(UNMEER), views an International
Federation of Red Cross and Red
Crescent Societies (IFRC) Ebola
Treatment Centre in Kenema, Sierra
Leone. (November 2014) UNMEER
Photo/Ari Gaitanis
“Once again, all the elements of a successful strategy to defeat Ebola [are] in place and having an effect – the safe burials,
the case management and treatment facilities, the community mobilization – what we have seen in Kenema is a big drop in
the case loads.”
Mr. Banbury said that there is an excellent International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
treatment facility in Kenema where a large number of beds were empty “because we're really seeing the caseload drop.”
That facility is receiving patients from outside Kenema, from as afar away as Freetown, he added.
“So it's again the same lesson that we saw in Guéckédou in Guinea – the strategy is working, we just need to expand it
wherever we can,” he said referring to his visit yesterday to neighbouring Guinea, which, along with Liberia, is also among
the countries most-affected by the current Ebola outbreak.
The need to expand the strategy became starkly clear during Mr. Banbury's next stop, in Port Loko, “which is getting hit
really hard now, it's just getting slammed.” He said that there are more cases coming in every day. The capacity of the
holding centres is absolutely full, with no beds to spare.
“There's a holding centre there with a capacity of 64, they have over 100 patients in it now. That's dangerous to the health
care staff. And we just need to get more resources into Port Loko now,” he said.
“One of the big problems: we don't have partners to run the care centres. We need [non-governmental organizations] NGOs
and others to come in and run these facilities. We're putting in place the logistics capabilities, we're building the care centres,
we're getting the equipment, everything we need to go in them,” he explained, but underscored that patients are there in far
too great numbers.
A troubling consequence of the shortage of sickbeds and treatment facilities, said Mr. Banbury, is that in some communities,
the locals are starting to use put patients into schools.
“There's no testing of the patients there, so we don't know who actually has Ebola and who doesn't – it's a risk to the patients
who don't have it, it's a risk to the local community, the people who are trying to care for them.”
“We need proper facilities, including community care facilities, in order to get this disease under control, so a big, big
concern now is we don't have enough partners on the ground,” he declared.
Turning to a more positive aspect of the trip, Mr. Banbury said that meeting survivors of Ebola in Kenema was “one of the
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happiest moments that I've had since I started this job more than a month ago”. He said it appeared that most of the people
were in their 30s and 40s, “and it's just so inspiring…knowing that people can survive getting this disease, especially if they
get early treatment.”
“They're disease-free, they have zero Ebola left in them, they're of no risk whatsoever to their families and communities. It's
an aspiration now that we have to get more people surviving from this disease by being treated in good facilities early on in
the disease.”
However, he said that today had also been one of his most somber, as it had included a visit to a graveyard outside the
Kenema Eboal Treatment Unit, were there were a large number of graves, each marked with a name and an age.
“There were empty graves, pre-dug, that were going to be filled by someone who was probably in that facility as we were
there. It just really made me…think about [the importance of] the work that UNMEER and all the actors are doing. It's all
about that. It's trying to make sure those graves don't get filled.”
‘Leaders must act,’ urges Ban, as new UN report warns climate
change may soon be ‘irreversible’
2 November - Citing “clear and growing” human influence on the climate system, a United
Nations report issued today has warned that if left unchecked, climate change will increase
the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.
Participants at press conference to launch
Synthesis Report of the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change (IPCC), including (centre) UN
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and
IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri.
Copenhagen, Denmark (2 November
2014) UN Photo/Amanda Voisard
Echoing that dire warning, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that if the world
maintains its “business as usual” attitude about climate change, the opportunity to keep
temperature rise below the internationally target of 2 degrees Celsius, “will slip away
within the next decade.”
“With this latest report, science has spoken yet again and with much more clarity. Time is
not on our side…leaders must act,” declared the UN chief, in Copenhagen, Denmark on an
official visit that included a press conference to launch the final installment of the Fifth
Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
According to a press release from the panel, the so-called “Synthesis Report” confirms that climate change is being
registered around the world and warming of the climate system is unequivocal. Since the 1950s many of the observed
changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia.
“Our assessment finds that the atmosphere and oceans have warmed, the amount of snow and ice has diminished, sea level
has risen and the concentration of carbon dioxide has increased to a level unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years,”
said Thomas Stocker, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group I, which participated in the compilation of the final report along
with two other expert working groups.
Calling the report the “most comprehensive assessment of climate change” ever carried out, the Secretary-General urged
worldwide action in light of its stark findings, saying that “even if emissions stopped tomorrow, we will be living with
climate change for some time to come.”
He went on to say that the report found that the world is largely very ill-prepared for the risks of a changing climate,
especially the poor and most vulnerable who have contributed least to this problem.
“I have seen for myself those rapidly melting glaciers, most recently in Greenland together with the Prime Minister of
Denmark,” he said emphasizing that though he is not a scientist, he has traveled the world over, “to see the impact for
myself and…add to the voices of scientists in a political way, as a common man.”
Yet, the “good news is that if we act now, we have the means to build a more sustainable world,” he said, explaining that
quick and decisive action that draws on many readily available tools and technologies can put the world on the right track.
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Renewable energy sources are increasingly economically competitive. Energy efficiency has long proven its value. It was a
myth that climate action would be costly, he said, stressing that in fact, inaction “will cost much, much more,” he added.
R. K. Pachauri, Chair of the IPCC, underscored that the means to limit climate change are at had. “The solutions are many
and allow for continued economic and human development. All we need is the will to change, which we trust will be
motivated by knowledge and an understanding of the science of climate change.”
Speaking later at the Copenhagen Energy Security Dialogues, the Secretary-General commended the global vision of
European Union leaders who had taken decisive action to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent from by 2030.
“This is one of the major achievements immediately after the Climate Change Summit which I convened,” in late
September, said the UN chief, adding that while he has made the issue one of the Organization's top priorities, he wanted to
broaden the scope of measures aimed at tackling it.
Indeed as climate change “is not just a matter for environmentalists and/or scientists. It is a major development challenge
that can also lead to serious security threats”, Mr. Ban said, noting that mobilizing for climate change is also mobilizing for
sustainable development.
As such, the United Nations would focus on three linked priorities for next year: accelerating continued efforts to meet the
targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); shaping a “bold and ambitious” post-2015 development agenda by
the end of next year; and agreeing a meaningful climate change agreement by next December next year in Paris.
“A transformative approach to energy can drive all these priorities to a successful realization,” of those aims, said the
Secretary-General, noting that the Sustainable Energy for All initiative he had launched in 2011is mobilizing governments,
businesses, finance and civil society to transform the world's energy systems.
“The United Nations is bringing the world together on energy because energy is central to our future well-being as a human
family,” he said.
'Stand up for justice', UN urges on first Day to End Impunity for
Crimes against Journalists
2 November - Protecting the safety of journalists and ensuring that crimes committed
against them don't go unpunished is ever-more important in today's changing times in order
to build transparent societies and keep citizens around the world informed, the United
Nations said today marking the first-ever International Day to End Impunity for Crimes
against Journalists.
A crowd of journalists in Maluku transit
camp, on the outskirts of Kinshasa, the
capital of the Democratic Republic of the
Congo, where citizens of that country,
deported from Brazzaville, Republic of
the Congo, have gathered. (23 May 2014).
UN Photo/Sylvain Liechti
“No journalist anywhere should have to risk their life to report the news,” SecretaryGeneral Ban Ki-moon said in his message on the inaugural Day.
“A free and open press is part of the bedrock of democracy and development,” he added.
The date of 2 November was proclaimed in a resolution on the safety of journalists adopted
by the UN General Assembly this past year, with the UN Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated to lead its implementation.
The date marks the assassination of two journalists – Gislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon – in Mali in 2013.
In the past 10 years, more than 700 journalists have been killed for doing their job, the Secretary-General said, noting that in
just the past year, some 17 Iraqi journalists have been executed, while elsewhere many more have suffered from
intimidation, death threats and violence. Moreover, nine out of 10 cases go unpunished, which he said only serves to
embolden criminals.
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“People are scared to speak out about corruption, political repression or other violations of human rights. This must stop,”
Mr. Ban stressed, declaring: “By ending impunity, wee deepen freedom of expression and bolster dialogue…Together let us
stand up for journalists. Let us stand up for justice.”
Echoing the Secretary-General's remarks, Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, underscored in another statement
that the vast majority of journalists are covering local stories and living in a climate of impunity. Such circumstances allow
perpetrators to continue attacks without restraint, further crippling the free flow of information, and depriving society of
sources of significant information.
The threat, she said, is grave: on average, one journalist is killed per week. “On this first International Day to End Impunity
for Crimes against Journalists, I appeal to all governments to ensure a swift and thorough investigation every time a
journalist is killed, and to all partners for stronger cooperation to enhance the safety of journalists,” she declared.
“Freedom of expression is a basic human right that is essential for human dignity, for the rule of law and for good
governance,” Ms. Bokova underscored.
In his message on the Day, UN General Assembly President Sam Kutesa called on Member States to take “all necessary
measures” to promote a safe working environment for journalists and to prosecute crimes against them.
“For a safer world for journalists is a better world for all of us,” he said.
Several events are being held on 3 and 4 November to mark the International Day. These include a high-level panel
discussion on 3 November in the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) chamber at UN Headquarters in New York
hosted by UNESCO and co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions to the United Nations of Argentina, Austria, Costa Rica,
France, Greece and Tunisia.
A seminar and inter-regional dialogue will be held in Strasbourg, France, on 3 November, organised by UNESCO, the
Council of Europe, Centre for Freedom of the Media, and European Lawyers Union.
On 4 November, the third UN Inter-agency Meeting on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity will be held, also
in Strasbourg.
As part of national activities to commemorate the International Day, a forum is scheduled to take place on 3 November in
Accra, Ghana, and a regional seminar will be held in Tunis, Tunisia, from 3-4 November.
In addition, Ms. Bokova will introduce the fourth Report on the Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity to
UNESCO's Intergovernmental Council of the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC),
which will take place from 20-21 November at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.
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Citing progress in Guinea, UN Ebola response chief says disease
'still very much a crisis'
1 November - Visiting Guéckédou, Guinea, where the unprecedented outbreak of Ebola in
West Africa is believed to have started, the United Nations envoy coordinating the massive
global crisis response said that while there are now “basically zero” cases in the town, the
challenge will be to replicate the strategy to defeat the disease throughout the country and
the wider region.
Anthony Banbury, Head of the UN
Mission for Ebola Emergency Response
(UNMEER), arrives for a visit to Guinea,
one of the countries most affected by the
Ebola outbreak in West Africa. 31
October 2014 UNMEER Photo/Ari
Gaitanis
In the middle of his third trip to Guinea this month, Anthony Banbury, head of the UN
Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), told reporters that he had visited
Guéckédou, in an area in the southern part of the country, close to the Sierra Leone and
Liberia borders, at the heart of where the crisis originally began.
“The first case of Ebola, in December 2013, was just down the road from here, so I was
very interested and coming and seeing the situation on the ground for myself,” he said,
noting that “happily, the number of cases in Guéckédou has gone down a lot.”
Indeed, he said, the transmissions are declining and the number of cases in the town is almost basically zero. While there are
still cases outside the town, “there's been good progress made over these past months.”
Asked if the strategy to halt the spread of the virus in the area was sound, the UNMEER chief said he did not believe there
were any major gaps in Guéckédou. “All the elements of the proper response plan are in place,” he continued, explaining
that in the area there is an Ebola treatment unit; there are safe burials; there is contact identification and tracing; as well s
community mobilization – “and we see the results of it”.
This was reminiscent of what UNMEER had seen in Foya in neighbouring Liberia, where all those elements were in place,
and what had been an area with very high infection rates – and significantly accelerated infection rates – now was seeing
significantly decreasing infection rates.
“So we know the strategy we have works – the challenge now to is to spread it everywhere…the disease is,” said Mr.
Banbury, noting that there are other places close to Guéckédou where the situation was quite different and the virus was still
spreading.
“We're going to go look at Macenta today…where there are significantly accelerating cases and we need to [put] more of an
effort there into getting all the elements of the response together,” he said.
As for his meeting earlier in the day with Guéckédou's prefect, mayor, other local officials, partners and representatives of
non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Mr. Banbury said that while the prefect was very pleased with the progress that
had been achieved in reducing the number of cases, he emphasized that the Ebola outbreak is impacting every segment of
society, every facet of life.
“People weren't going to the market anymore, people were afraid to come from outside of Guéckédou to sell at the market
because they thought that Guéckédou was a centre of Ebola. So clearly the disease has had a dramatic impact on society
here,” said Mr. Banbury, adding however, that “the good news is the numbers are really coming down in Guéckédou.”
Yet, there is more work to be done, he continued, noting that unfortunately, in neighbouring districts – Macenta, N'Zérékoré,
Kaoune – “there are very significant numbers, increases in cases.”
Commenting on his stop yesterday in the Guinean capital, Conakry, where he met President Alpha Condé, Mr. Banbury said
he had been pleased to learn of the adoption by the President and the Government of a national plan to defeat Ebola – that
was very much based on the plan that came out of the planning conference held two weeks ago in Accra, Ghana, where
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UNMEER is headquartered, with the key UN officials and leaders of the most-affected countries, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra
Leone.
Now, he continued, the Guinea's national coordination structure is co-chaired by Dr. Sakoba Keita, National Coordinator for
the Fight against Ebola and Dr. Marcel Rudasingwa, the Ebola Crisis Manager for UNMEER, “so things are really looking
in good shape here. The disease is till very much a crisis, but the elements to defeat are being put in place – I'm very pleased
to see it.”
Mr. Banbury went on to say that his first stop after Conakry this morning was in Kissidougou, where the UN World Food
Programme (WFP) is in the process of building a Forward Logistics Base (FLB).
Praising WFP for working so fast to put in place “this critical logistics capability”, he said the Base would have storage
facilities, as well as a helicopter landing pad, “including jet A-1 for the planes and helicopters to give good reach for the
helicopters to move around and deliver supplies, as well as a number of 4X4 trucks”.
Asked about his takeaway from field missions, Mr. Banbury said “you learn so much more than you can in a meeting room
in the capital.” Indeed, while official meetings provided vital opportunities to hear the concerns of Heads of State and
partners had to say, “you learn much more here on the ground, whether it's talking to a local official, an NGO worker, a UN
worker, some kid on the street – this is where you can really get the sense of what's happening.”
According to UN World Health Organization (WHO) statistics on the Ebola outbreak, 13,567 cases and 4,951 deaths have
been reported in the six affected countries of Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Spain, and the United States, along with
two previously affected countries, Nigeria and Senegal. The cases reported are fewer than those last reported due mainly to
suspected cases in Guinea being discarded, WHO said.
China 'key' to shaping future of global humanitarian action –
top UN relief official
1 November - United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie
Amos, concluding a two-day mission to China today said the world can learn a great deal
from the Asian country's experience in building disaster management and response
capacity.
A wrap-up press release from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
(OCHA), which Ms. Amos heads, noted that every year China suffers from serious floods,
droughts, typhoons and earthquakes, so there has been substantial investment in developing
its disaster management capabilities including forecast technology and emergency
planning.
Under-Secretary-General for
Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos. UN
Photo/Rick Bajornas
China has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in managing natural disasters, and is one of a small group of countries that is
able to deploy a 'heavy' international search and rescue team with the operational capability to handle difficult and complex
technical search and rescue operations.
“I thank China for their contributions to humanitarian crises in the region and around the world and look forward to our
continued collaboration,” said Ms. Amos, who is also UN Emergency Relief Coordinator.
“We have a very close relationship with China and I have had very useful discussions with Government, the diplomatic
community, humanitarian and private sector partners on how together, we can address the humanitarian challenges the
international community continues to face,” said added.
During her visit, Valerie Amos met Vice-Premier Wang Yang, Minister of Commerce, Gao Hucheng, Vice-Minister of Civil
Affairs, Jiang Li, China Earthquake Administration Vice-Administrator, Xiu Jigang, and other senior officials, to discuss
ways of strengthening the partnership between the UN and China on disaster management.
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Discussing growing humanitarian needs across the world and the humanitarian challenges facing the international
community people with students, representatives of civil society, philanthropic organizations and the private sector at an
event at the Communications University of China, Ms. Amos said, that as global demands increase, humanitarian
organizations are becoming more diverse and that new actors and sectors are getting involved in preparedness and recovery.
“Here in China, a robust philanthropic movement is emerging, and foundations are increasingly influential players in both
domestic and international disaster response work. We need to work together to make sure that everyone's voices are heard,”
she said, noting that this is why Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon is convening the first ever World Humanitarian Summit in
Istanbul, in 2016, to “to set an agenda for future humanitarian action."
DR Congo: UN mission welcomes Government request to boost
presence in east
1 November - The head of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic
Republic of the Congo (DRC) has welcomed the Government's request for more “blue
helmets” to backstop Congolese troops fighting to protect civilians from armed rebels that
have carried out a spate of attacks in and around the eastern town of Beni over the past
month.
An armored personnel carrier on patrol
near Beni, where the UN Organization
Stabilization Mission in the Democratic
Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) is
supporting the Congolese National Forces
(FARDC) in an operation against the
Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebel
militia. March 2014. UN Photo/Sylvain
Liechti
“I welcome the request made by President [Joseph] Kabila yesterday morning in Beni
asking MONUSCO to strengthen its presence in the region,” said Martin Kobler in a press
release, referring to the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the country by the French
acronym by which it is known – MONUSCO.
These reinforcements, underscored Mr. Kobler, would assist Congolese forces (FARDC) to
engage the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) a Ugandan-based rebel group “more
vigorously.”
In addition to the reinforcement of its Intervention Brigade, MONUSCO has already provided support and information to
the FARDC regiments currently engaged in fighting against the ADF resources, said the press release.
It further notes that since the recent attacks against civilians in Beni, MONUSCO has increased joint operations with the
FARDC, including conducting night patrols.
The UN Mission and its FARDC counterparts had scaled up their readiness and joint activities in the long-restive eastern
region of the vast country, as suspected ADF rebels had carried out a series of attacks in Beni town and other villages in and
around North Kivu Province.
Since early October, Mr. Kobler has been sounding the alarm on behalf of the civilians in the region who have born the
brunt of the violence, including two days ago, when dozens were reportedly killed and injured in an ADF attack in Bango
and Kampi ya Chuyi, two villages in the area near Beni.
Briefing the UN Security Council in New York last week on the latest developments, Mr. Kobler underlined the need for a
“proactive, not reactive” response in countering the country's rebel groups and boosting protection for civilians.
He noted that despite initial hopes that “the seeds of peace” would spread throughout the DRC's eastern regions, recent
outbursts of violence in villages in and around the city of Beni had reminded the world “just how fragile those hopes can
be,” referring to a series of attacks committed by ADF rebels between 2 October and 17 October during which they “brutally
massacred” over 80 civilians, mostly women and children, with machetes.
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UN rights expert urges ratification of treaty against torture,
ahead of 30th anniversary
3 November - As the thirtieth anniversary of the adoption of an international legal
framework to prevent torture and other types of inhumane treatment or punishment
approaches, a United Nations rights expert urged the committee charged with monitoring its
implementation to use the momentum garnered in the celebrations to accelerate efforts to
move towards universal ratification of the treaty.
Torture victims undergo rehabilitation at
the African Centre for the Prevention and
Resolution of Conflicts, in Senegal. The
centre is funded by the UN Voluntary
Fund for Victims of Torture. Credit:
OHCHR
Speaking today at the opening in Geneva of the fifty-third session of the Committee against
Torture, Ibrahim Salama, Director of the Human Rights Treaties Division of the UN Office
of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), stressed that events this week to
celebrate the anniversary of the adoption of The Convention against Torture and Other
Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, should be seen as opportunities to
address the achievements and challenges in the promotion of universal ratification and in
the implementation of the Convention’s provisions by State parties.
“This session of the Committee comes at a time of reflection and a time of change: a time of reflection as we take stock of
achievements and challenges in the 30 years since the Convention against torture was adopted; and a time of change as we
move headlong into the implementation of the treaty body strengthening outcome,” he said.
The Committee against Torture is a UN body of 10 independent experts that monitors the Convention’s implementation by
its State parties.
The Convention, which was adopted on 10 December 1984 and entered into force on 26 June 1987, provides that “no
exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other
public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”
It also obliges States that have ratified the Convention to refrain from deporting or returning people to countries where they
would face the risk of torture, and requires ratifying States to extradite or prosecute perpetrators of torture.
As the Committee prepared to adopt its agenda for the current session, Mr. Salama said that the session also came at a time
of change as the Committee moved ahead into the implementation of General Assembly resolution 68/268 from 9 April
2014 on the strengthening of the treaty bodies system, which had made numerous suggestions on the system’s
harmonization and accessibility.
Commending the Committee for its “pioneering” work on the simplified reporting procedure, which he said had been
accepted by at least other five treaty bodies, Mr. Salama stressed that a harmonized approach to the issue of reprisals should
prove more effective in counteracting the “damaging effect” of reprisals on the free collaboration of civil society with the
treaty bodies. In that sense, he welcomed the decision of the Chairs of the treaty bodies to prepare a joint policy on reprisals.
Taking advantage of the momentum created by UN General Assembly resolution 68/268, Mr. Salama said that OHCHR
looked forward to further improving the quality and efficiency of the treaty bodies system and its delivery.
Also speaking at the opening of the Committee’s session, Chairperson Claudio Grossman underscored that the Convention’s
anniversary represented an opportunity to renew the commitment to the full implementation of its provisions, as the world
was still not free from torture.
Mr. Grossman also stressed that the simplified reporting procedure had been accepted by 86 countries, and underscored the
need to evaluate its efficiency.
Further, he said that reprisals against individuals cooperating with treaty bodies are unacceptable, and that the Committee
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had zero tolerance to attempts of repression against those cooperating with it.
For his part, Mr. Salama reiterated that the Secretary-General had been tasked by the General Assembly to report back every
two years on the progress achieved by the treaty bodies in achieving greater efficiency and effectiveness in their work.
“Our major aim that I trust you all share, is to demonstrate results,” he declared to the Committee.
“Taking advantage of the momentum created by the General Assembly resolution, we look forward to further improving the
quality and efficiency of the treaty body system and its delivery,” Mr. Salama added.
On 4 November, two panel discussions will be held in Geneva to mark the anniversary of the Convention.
During its fifty-third session, the Committee will consider the reports of Australia, Burundi, Croatia, Kazakhstan, Sweden,
Ukraine, United States and Venezuela. The session will conclude on 28 November.
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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