Press Conferences

Security Council, Sudan, Global Trends in Forced…

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

Good afternoon. The Secretary-General spoke at this morning’s Security Council meeting on the values of human fraternity in promoting and sustaining peace. He said that every great faith summons the imperatives of human fraternity, mutual respect and understanding.

The Secretary-General warned that hatred is a catalyst for polarization and radicalization and a conduit for atrocity crimes. Around the world, he said, we are witnessing a groundswell of xenophobia, racism and intolerance, violent misogyny, anti-Muslim hatred, virulent antisemitism, and attacks on minority Christian communities.

Mr. [Antônio] Guterres said that we must rein in the hate and that is spreading online, noting that he had launched a policy brief earlier this week to promote information integrity on digital platforms.


Turning to our efforts in Sudan, UN agencies continue to respond to the surging humanitarian needs across the country. In recent days, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and its partners have distributed supplies to about 3,000 people in need who fled to El Obeid in the North Kordofan State.

Over the weekend, the World Food Programme (WFP) distributed nutrition support for 170 children evacuated to Wad Medani from the Maygoma Orphanage in Khartoum last week.

To date, WFP has reached more than 870,000 people with emergency food and nutrition assistance since resuming operations in Sudan six weeks ago.

And just to note that after nearly two months of fighting, the number of people who are internally displaced by the violence has risen to almost 1.7 million men, women and children.

You saw that yesterday we issued a statement in which the Secretary-General expressed his deep concern about the situation in the Darfur area of Sudan.

Appalled by reports of large-scale violence and casualties across the region, the Secretary-General reiterated his call for the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces to cease immediately fighting and commit to a durable cessation of hostilities, reminding all parties of their obligations to protect civilians.

He also reaffirmed that the United Nations is committed to supporting the Sudanese people.

That full statement is online.

**Global Trends in Forced Displacement

Today, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, released its flagship annual report, Global Trends in Forced Displacement. The report shows that by the end of 2022, the number of people displaced by war, persecution, violence and human rights abuses stood at a record 108 million people; that’s up 19.1 million people from a year earlier, which was the biggest increase ever.

UNHCR notes that the upward trajectory in global forced displacement showed no sign of slowing down this year as the eruption of conflict in Sudan triggered new outflows, as we have been reporting, pushing the global total to an estimated 110 million by May. Of the global total, 35.3 million were refugees, while the greater share — 58 per cent, representing 62.5 million people — were displaced in their home countries due to conflict and violence.

Sudan is yet another example of the numbers being pushed higher.

The figures also confirmed that, whether measured by economic means or population ratios, it remains the world’s low- and middle-income countries — not the wealthy countries — that host most displaced people.

The full report is online.


And, just to highlight what is going on, obviously following the UNHCR report: Yesterday, you will recall, we highlighted the horrific numbers of deaths that took place in the Mediterranean [in 2022] as counted by the IOM. Today, we have yet another tragic illustration.

I can tell you that the Secretary-General was horrified by the reports of a shipwreck that took place off the coast of Greece, claiming the lives of scores of women, men and children. He stressed, as he said before, that every person searching for a better life needs dignity and safety. This is yet another example of the need for Member States to come together and create orderly safe pathways for people forced to flee and for comprehensive action to save lives at sea and reduce perilous journeys.


Also today, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said that it estimates that by the end of 2022, a record 43.3 million children lived in forced displacement, many of them for their entire childhood. According to UNICEF, the number of children forcibly displaced from their homes doubled in the last decade, outpacing efforts to include and protect refugee and internally displaced children.

UNICEF notes that of the total number of children who were forcibly displaced by the end of 2022, almost 60 per cent were internally displaced by conflict and violence.

UNICEF estimates that more than 940,000 children have been displaced due to the conflict in Sudan to date.

In addition, extreme weather events, such as the floods in Pakistan and the drought in the Horn of Africa, led to another 12 million displacements of children over the course of last year. More information online.

**Central African Republic

Quick update from our peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic and South Sudan. First, in the CAR [Central African Republic], we are getting reports that two peacekeepers serving with the mission from Burundi were wounded after their patrol was ambushed by armed people yesterday on the road between Damara and Bogangolo, in the Ombella-M’poko Prefecture. The UN peacekeepers returned fire in response to the attack. The wounded peacekeepers, who sustained gunshot wounds, received medical treatment in Bangui and are reported — thank God — to be in stable condition.

Meanwhile, as refugees from Sudan continue to arrive in the Central African Republic, peacekeepers are continuing their regular day and night patrols in Am-Dafock, in the Vakaga Prefecture. A temporary Mission base remains in the area to help protect civilians and where peacekeepers help de-escalate tensions and concerns between the host communities and refugees by engaging with local authorities.

The Mission also reports that in Birao, ahead of the rainy season, it is supporting local authorities and UNHCR to transfer refugee families from Sudan from their transit camp to an accommodation camp. So far over 400 people, the majority of whom are women and children, have been transferred to these new facilities.

**South Sudan

Heading south, heading north rather, to South Sudan: The Secretary-General's Special Representative and Head of the Mission (UNMISS), Nicholas Haysom, today visited Malakal, the capital of Upper Nile State, where the situation remains tense following a series of clashes between members of displaced communities at the UN protection site.

Mr. Haysom met with State authorities and discussed ways to prevent further violence and support reconciliation efforts. During his meeting with the Governor of Upper Nile State, the Special Representative noted that the increased pressure on communities resulting from people returning from ongoing conflict in Sudan in Malakal and Renk are flashpoints for ethnic conflict. He also met with community leaders and called to resolve outstanding issues and restore peace through dialogue.


Also, we have been asked about Nigeria and I can tell you that we, along with our UN team in Nigeria, have expressed our sincere condolences to the families of those who died in the tragic capsized boat accident on the Niger River, many of them women and children. Our hearts go out to all people and the Government of Nigeria in this difficult time.


Heading back to Europe and to Ukraine: The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) continues to sound the alarm at the plight of civilians in Ukraine.

Increasing airstrikes and other attacks over the past few days have left a path of destruction, with people being killed and injured.

In Odesa, an overnight strike hit a residential building, a university and shops, killing and injuring civilians, according to our colleagues who live in the area.

Following the attack, the Humanitarian Coordinator, Denise Brown, called for respect for international humanitarian law, stressing that today’s incident is not an isolated case. She said that since the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, indiscriminate attacks and the use of explosive weapons with wide impact in populated areas have left thousands of civilians killed and injured, as documented by the UN’s Human Rights Mission.

Closer to the front line, in the Donetsk region, attacks have damaged homes, gas and electricity systems on both sides of the front lines. Dozens of homes have reportedly been damaged over the last 24 hours alone in areas under Ukrainian control, including the city of Kramatorsk. That is according to what local authorities are telling us. Russian-installed authorities are also reporting that civilians have been killed and injured in areas under their control.

On the response to the catastrophe caused by the [destruction of the] Kakhovka Dam, we sent today two additional inter-agency convoys to communities facing water shortages in the Dnipro region and we are continuing our assistance around Kherson.

So far, with our partners, we have delivered more than 115,000 rations of ready-to-eat food and 900,000 litres of drinking water.

We’ve also provided cash to more than 5,400 people and registered another 9,000 for cash assistance.


Our Special Envoy to Yemen, Hans Grundberg, called on all parties to shift from a zero-sum mindset to prioritizing the Yemeni population as a whole.

He was speaking at the Yemen International Forum yesterday that was taking place in the Netherlands, and he underscored that his Office, supported by international partners and regional dialogue efforts involving the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Sultanate of Oman, continues to engage with all parties to come to an agreement on a sustainable, nationwide ceasefire, a set of economic and confidence building measures, and the resumption of a Yemeni-led political process.

More information online.


Senior personnel announcement for you: Today, the Secretary-General is appointing Kaha Imnadze of Georgia as his Special Representative and Head of the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA).

Mr. Imnadze succeeds Natalia Gherman of [the Republic of] Moldova, who was appointed as Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate and to whom he is grateful for her dedication and leadership.

Mr. Imnadze brings to the position over 30 years of experience in diplomacy, civil service and business. He is currently serving as Ambassador of Georgia to Canada and Permanent Representative to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which is based in Montreal.

**World Blood Donor Day

Today, we celebrate World Blood Donor Day, and we do that to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank individuals who donate blood and encourage more people to become new donors.

The year’s campaign is “Give blood, give plasma, share life, and share often”.

A couple of programming notes for tomorrow.


Tomorrow, the European Union will convene a ministerial meeting as part of the seventh annual conference on “Supporting the future of Syria and the region”.

The Secretary-General will address the opening by pre-recorded video message. He will stress the need to chart a path forward for the Syrian people to find a degree of stability and a measure of hope for the future.

That message has been shared with you under embargo.

The Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, will deliver the keynote address. Other speakers will include Filippo Grandi, the High Commissioner for Refugees, Ulrika Modéer, the Assistant Secretary-General for Partnerships at UNDP (United Nations Development Programme); and Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Joyce Msuya.

We expect to hear announcements of support to our two UN-coordinated response plans for Syria and the region.

**Climate Change

Also tomorrow, but this time live and in person, at 12:30 p.m., the Secretary-General of the United Nations will be here for a climate-themed briefing. He will speak to you after hosting a meeting with a group of civil society representatives in the run-up to the COP (Conference of Parties) later this year — that will be a virtual meeting.

I may or may not be here at twelve, depending on which news we have. If we have a lot of news, I will be here at 12 sharp, because I can’t be late because my boss will be here.

**Background Briefing

And I wanted to flag that at 2:30 p.m. [tomorrow], Raffi Gregorian, the Deputy to the Under-Secretary-General for Counter-Terrorism and Director of the Office of Counter-Terrorism will preview the third UN Counter-Terrorism Week, which takes place here, in New York, next week, from 19-23 June.

It will be held under the theme “Addressing Terrorism through Reinvigorated Multilateralism and Institutional Cooperation.”

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