Hosting Afghan Refugees & other topics – Daily Briefing (17 February 2020)

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Briefing by Eri Kaneko, Associate Spokeswoman for the Secretary-General.

Highlights:
– Secretary-General in Pakistan
– Syria
– Yemen
– Yemen Humanitarian
– Iraq
– COVID-19
– South Sudan
– Myanmar
– Dominican Republic
– Financial Contributions

SECRETARY-GENERAL IN PAKISTAN
The Secretary-General spoke today at the International Conference on 40 Years of Hosting Afghan Refugees, which took place in Islamabad, and he called the Afghan refugees’ experience in Pakistan a remarkable story of solidarity and compassion.
The Secretary-General said that he hopes the signals of a possible pathway for peace will lead to a better future for the people of Afghanistan.  At the same time, he said about the refugees, Afghanistan and its people cannot be abandoned.  Now is the time for the international community to act and deliver.  Our ability to succeed, he said, will be a litmus test for the Global Compact on Refugees – its promise of greater responsibility-sharing with countries that have shouldered the burden until now.
The Secretary-General also met with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, and he informed the Prime Minister that he continues to follow the situation in Jammu and Kashmir with concern and appeals for maximum restraint and full respect for human rights. The Secretary-General reiterated his readiness to exercise his good offices if both sides agree.
In a press conference with Pakistan’s foreign minister yesterday, the Secretary-General said that his visit aims to recognize Pakistan’s outstanding generosity and solidarity over many decades and to highlight its place in confronting some of the biggest global challenges our world faces today.  He added that he was grateful for the work of the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), and that he was happy that he inaugurated the new premises of their headquarters.
The Secretary-General also spoke out yesterday on development and climate change, expressing his dismay that after the success of the Paris conference in 2015, our momentum has stalled. He said that our planet is burning but too many decision makers continue to fiddle.  The only answer is decisive climate action – by governments, businesses and investors, mayors and governors, and citizens everywhere.  All of his speeches and press encounters are online.

SYRIA
Mark Lowcock, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, said in a statement today that the crisis there has reached a horrifyingly new level, stressing that the only option is a ceasefire.
He says that, since December 1st, 900,000 people – the vast majority of them women and children – have been displaced.
Mr. Lowcock said that these people are traumatized and forced to sleep outside in freezing temperatures because camps are full.
He stressed that the violence in northwest Syria is indiscriminate, with health facilities, schools, residential areas, mosques and markets having been hit.
The Under-Secretary-General said there are now reports that settlements for displaced people are being hit, resulting in deaths, injuries and further displacement.
A huge relief operation, across the border from Turkey is underway, but it is overwhelmed.
Mr. Lowcock underscored that the biggest humanitarian horror story of the 21st century will only be avoided if Security Council members and those with influence overcome individual interests and put a collective stake in humanity first.

Full Highlights: https://www.un.org/sg/en/content/noon-briefing-highlight?date%5Bvalue%5D%5Bdate%5D=17%20February%202020

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