Noon briefing by Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General.
– State of Palestine
– Under Secretary-General for Peace Operations in Ethiopia
– Mental Health Day
The Secretary-General arrived in Copenhagen, Denmark, early this morning and he met with the Danish Parliament’s Foreign Policy Committee.
The Secretary-General held a town hall meeting with some 1,000 UN staff members at UN City, which is an environmentally sustainable facility.
He then opened the UN Refugee Agency/World Bank Joint Data Center on Forced Displacement, which aims to allow for decisions affecting refugees, internally displaced people, asylum-seekers and others to be made in a more timely and evidence-based manner. At the event, the Secretary-General said that many decisions that are taken in the world are based on wrong information. He expressed his hope that this new centre will help the most vulnerable people in the world.
Together with the Danish Minister for Development Cooperation, he visited the UNICEF warehouse, which is the world’s largest humanitarian warehouse, from which 161,000 kits were shipped last year.
The Secretary-General had a meeting with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, followed by remarks to the press.
He will deliver a keynote address tomorrow at a plenary session of the C40 World Mayors Summit on climate change. Ahead of that speech, he gave a press conference and a transcript will be available.
The UN Refugee Agency warned that civilians are now in harm’s way, with tens of thousands of people on the move to escape the fighting and seek safety.
The situation of those caught in the fighting is worsened by colder weather that is setting in across the region. UNHCR stresses the urgency to have unfettered humanitarian access to reach those newly displaced and assist them.
Henrietta Fore, UNICEF’s Executive Director urged all parties to protect children and the civilian infrastructure on which they depend, in accordance with international human rights and humanitarian law. She added that the use of explosive weapons in populated areas causes unacceptable harm to children.
Echoing UNHCR’s call for access, UNICEF added that a military escalation in the region would have dramatic consequences on the ability of humanitarians to provide assistance and protection to thousands of boys and girls.
Virginia Gamba, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, called for restraint in the conduct of hostilities. She added that the killing and maiming of children, attacks on schools and hospitals, as well as the recruitment and use of children are among the most severe children’s rights violations in Syria, and the utmost must be done to prevent them.
Mark Lowcock, the Emergency Relief Coordinator, has begun a two-day visit in Turkey.
Mr. Lowcock’s visit was planned prior to the announcement that military operations would begin this week and is focused on cross-border aid operations from Turkey into Syria.
Of course, Mr. Lowcock has been closely following the developments in northeast Syria. He is very concerned about the impact that military operations may have on civilians in the affected areas.
The Emergency Relief Coordinator today had constructive discussions, including at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Ankara, and will go to Gaziantep tomorrow where he will meet with humanitarian partners involved in cross-border aid into Syria. He is also scheduled to visit a centre supporting education, women’s empowerment and psychosocial support for Syrians.
We expect to have more details to share tomorrow.