Human Rights Council & other topics – Daily Briefing (24 February 2020)

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Noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

– Human Rights Council
– Secretary-General Visits WHO
– Deputy Secretary-General In Zimbabwe
– Senior Personnel Appointment
– Security Council
– Afghanistan – South Sudan
– Financial Contribution

The Secretary-General spoke at the opening of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, saying that he came there to launch a Call for Action. He added that he has decided to do it now – during the 75th anniversary of the United Nations – because of the centrality of human rights in all of the UN’s work, and because human rights are under assault.
The Secretary-General said that all our societies have benefitted from human rights movements led by women, young people, minorities, indigenous peoples and others. Our Call to Action, he said, singles out seven areas where concerted effort can achieve a quantum leap in the progress or avert the risk of backsliding.

Following his remarks at the Human Rights Council, the Secretary-General visited the World Health Organization’s crisis center, met with the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros, and also spoke to reporters.
He praised WHO colleagues for their courage and dedication, noting he saw first-hand how their work to fight the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo helped save many lives.
On the COVID-19 outbreak, he also commended WHO for its work to contain the epidemic. He appealed for all countries to assume their responsibilities and to do everything to be prepared to contain the disease, reiterating that this is possible.
He appealed for donors to support Who’s funding appeals. If there is truly something stupid to do, it is to not fully fund WHO appeals, the Secretary-General said, because WHO appeals are vital to support Member States to avoid these tragic diseases become truly global nightmares.
And earlier in the day, during his daily updapte, WHO’s Director-General, Dr. Tedros, said he is concerned by the sudden increases of cases in Italy, Iran as well as the Republic of Korea.
However, he added, this does not mean the epidemic has become a pandemic. He reiterated his call for all countries and communities to focus on preparing, and on protecting health workers, people who are most at risk of severe disease, as well as countries that are the most vulnerable.

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