By the Office of the Spokesperson of the Secretary-General.
Elements of the Noon Briefing:
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today that United Nations agencies, with the support of the peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, have launched a major humanitarian emergency operation in Pibor in Jonglei state.
During the last 72 hours, assessments were carried out in several areas and more are scheduled. The requirements already reported are already significant and around 50,000 people are estimated to be in need. A rapid response plan is being finalized.
The World Food Programme (WFP) also says it is concerned about food insecurity. The Programme has already delivered emergency rations in Pibor to feed 1,000 people for 2 weeks and expects to reach 7,000 more people in the coming days. It has also distributed food packages for 2,000 internally displaced people at Boma.
And the High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, will travelling to South Sudan this weekend. He will be in the capital, Juba, on Saturday, and will visit a refugee site in Mabaan on Sunday.
I can also tell you that the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations has been conducting a videoconference call this morning with the UN Mission in South Sudan for an update. The Mission is obviously aware of unconfirmed individual reports on the number of casualties following last week’s events, including the media reports today. At this stage, it’s very difficult to get an accurate picture. The United Nations is not in a position to confirm any such figures. The Mission is in the process of assessing their validity. At this point, it’s also important to examine the scope and nature of human rights violations that may have been perpetrated and to support national authorities in establishing accountability for crimes committed. The Mission remains actively engaged to support the Government of South Sudan to discharge its primary responsibility to protect civilians. The Mission has reinforced its peacekeepers’ presence in key areas of Jonglei and is conducting daily land and air patrols to deter potential violence.
The UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, says that more than 1.2 million children in Libya will return to school tomorrow, ten months after classrooms were evacuated due to the fighting in the country.
With support from UNICEF and other partners, the Government worked around the clock to rehabilitate buildings and clear rubble, landmines and unexploded ordnance from schools.
Nearly 30 million revised textbooks are being printed, 10 million of them are already being distributed by the Ministry of Education throughout the country.
And there is more information on UNICEF’s website.
The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, called on decision-makers in Yemen today to respect the prohibition in international law against amnesties for gross human rights violations.
Ms. Pillay stressed that both international law and UN policy are clear: Amnesties are not permissible if they prevent the prosecution of individuals who may be criminally responsible for international crimes including war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and gross violations of human rights.
She said that based on information the Office has gathered, there is reason to believe that some of these crimes were committed in Yemen during the period for which an amnesty is under consideration.
Her full statement is available online.