World Day Against Child Labour & other topics – Daily Briefing (12 June 2020)

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

– Seafarers
– Central Africa
– Mali
– Sudan
– Libya
– Sahel
– Zimbabwe
– Syria
– Yemen
– World Day Against Child Labour
– Verified Initiative
– Financial Contributions

The Secretary-General is concerned about the growing humanitarian and safety crisis facing seafarers around the world. As a result of COVID-related travel restrictions, hundreds of thousands of the world’s two million seafarers have been stranded at sea for months. Unable to get off ships, the maximum sea time stipulated in international conventions is being ignored, with some seafarers marooned at sea for 15 months. 
Shipping transports more than 80 per cent of the world’s trade, including vital medical supplies, food and other basic goods that are critical for the pandemic response and recovery. This ongoing crisis will have a direct consequence on the shipping industry. The world could not function without the efforts of seafarers yet their contributions go largely unheralded; they deserve far greater support at any time but especially now. 
The Secretary-General calls on all countries to formally designate seafarers and other marine personnel as “key workers” to ensure crew changeovers can safely take place. 
United Nations agencies, including the International Labour Organization and the International Maritime Organization, have worked with the International Chamber of Shipping and the International Transport Workers Federation to develop protocols for crew changeovers, taking into account of course of full public health concerns. The Secretary-General calls on all governments to urgently implement these protocols, allowing stranded seafarers to repatriate and others to join. 

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Central Africa, François Louncény Fall, told the Security Council that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the lives of citizens, as well as the functioning of States and regional institutions in Central Africa. The resulting economic crisis disproportionately affects the subregion of Central Africa, where many countries are oil producers. As governments are forced to choose between the urgent public health priorities, they risk lacking the resources needed for the smooth functioning of national institutions and the financing of crucial reforms. Mr. Lounceny-Fall highlighted the efforts of regional Governments and organizations to counter the virus. But, he added, the persistence of armed conflict in some parts of Central Africa undermines our efforts to respond to challenges posed by the pandemic. The Special Representative condemned deliberate attacks on civilians, and the destruction of private property and public infrastructure, including hospitals. 

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