Press Conferences

Terrorism, Syria/Missing Persons, Mexico & other…

Summary
Noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
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TERRORISM 
The Secretary-General addressed today’s Security Council meeting on countering terrorism. The meeting was chaired by the President of Mozambique, Filipe Jacinto Nyusi.   
The Secretary-General said that terrorism tightens its grip by seeking out and exploiting weaknesses and instability in political, economic and security systems, and he added that the situation in Africa is especially concerning.  
Mr. Guterres said that he is deeply concerned by the gains that terrorist groups are making in the Sahel and elsewhere.  The trail of terror is widening, he said, with fighters, funds, and weapons increasingly flowing between regions and across the continent — and with new alliances being forged with organized crime and piracy groups.   
The Secretary-General said that the United Nations stands with Africa to end this scourge. Above all, that includes our ongoing close collaboration with the African Union and regional and sub-regional African organizations.  He noted that tailored assistance the United Nations provides to African Member States includes the areas of prevention, legal assistance, investigations, prosecutions, reintegration and rehabilitation, and human rights protection. 

SYRIA/MISSING PERSONS 
Later this afternoon, the Secretary-General is going to brief Member States in the General Assembly on the issue of missing persons in Syria, as the fate of an estimated 100,000 Syrians remains unknown. 
He will tell Member States that the families and loved ones deserve to know the truth about the whereabouts of the missing persons, and the international community has a moral obligation to help ease their plight.  
And following his own remarks to the General Assembly on this issue, later this afternoon, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, is expected to be at the press stakeout in front of the General Assembly Hall.

SYRIA 
The United Nations and its partners continue to respond to the urgent health needs across Syria. Since last month’s earthquakes, the UN has provided more than 922,000 medical consultations in Government-held areas including more than 500,000 consultations for mental health, and nearly 11,000 trauma consultations.  
Fifty-four mobile health teams have been deployed, and the UN and its partners have supported more than 200 health facilities.  
Hospitals urgently need medicines, equipment, reproductive health and other supplies. They also need support for mental health issues and people with chronic illnesses.  
The UN’s three-month flash appeal for the earthquake response is now 85 percent funded. But the annual Humanitarian Response Plan for Syria, seeking $4.8 billion, is just 5.6 percent funded. The UN urgently needs additional money to meet the needs of some 15.3 million people across Syria.  
In the northwest of the country, UN staff have so far completed 39 cross-border missions since the first interagency visit to Idlib on 14 February.  
And as of today, more than 1,130 trucks have crossed into northwest Syria from southern Türkiye carrying vital humanitarian aid from 7 UN agencies.

MEXICO
The Secretary-General is deeply saddened by the death of at least 39 people in a fire last night at a Mexican migration facility in Ciudad Juarez. He conveys his deep condolences to the families and loved ones of the deceased and wishes a swift recovery to the injured.
The Secretary-General calls for a thorough investigation of this tragic event and reiterates his commitment to continue working with the authorities of countries where mixed movements of people occur to establish safer, more regulated, and organized migration pathways.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO 
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, there have been more attacks by the armed group CODECO to report.  Over the weekend, in Ituri province’s Djugu territory, 17 civilians were reportedly killed in two separate attacks. The armed group also opened fire on UN peacekeepers and Congolese defense forces who were jointly conducting patrols to protect civilians around Djugu. During that incident, the UN peacekeepers and the Congolese military returned fire, prompting the assailants to flee.  
In the area of Drodro and Roe, southeast of Djugu, the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), continue to respond to the persistent insecurity caused by CODECO. The UN Mission facilitated the transport of 28 civilians, mostly women, from Drodro to the Roe site for internally displaced people.  
The Mission also temporarily sheltered civilians at its base in Drodro, following an attack perpetrated by CODECO near a church. They also evacuated a man injured during the attack.  
The Security Council will discuss the situation in the DRC tomorrow morning. Bintou Keita, Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Head of MONUSCO will be available to answer questions at the stakeout following this meeting. 

WESTERN SAHARA  
The Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara, Staffan de Mistura, has been having meetings at the UN Headquarters. Mr. de Mistura has invited the representatives in New York of Morocco, the Frente POLISARIO, Algeria and Mauritania, as well as the members of the Group of Friends of Western Sahara, namely France, the Russian Federation, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States, to informal bilateral consultations with him, ahead of his biyearly briefing to the Security Council that will take place next month in April.  
In his invitation letters for this week’s meetings, Mr. de Mistura said that he remained hopeful that a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution which will 
provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara, in accordance with relevant Security Council resolutions, was achievable.   
The Personal Envoy indicated that the purpose of the informal bilateral consultations would be to discuss lessons learned in the political process; to deepen the examination of the positions; and to continue seeking mutually agreeable formulas to advance the political process. 

UNOWAS  
The Deputy Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel – and ad interim chief of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel’s office, Giovanie Biha, is in Mauritania today to meet the country’s authorities, member of civil society and the UN Country Team.  
Later this week, she will travel to Monrovia, in Liberia, to participate in the signing ceremony of the ‘Farmington River Declaration 2023’ – a commitment by candidates from political parties in the country to ensure peaceful elections in October. The ceremony is scheduled to take place on Sunday and will include Liberian stakeholders, as well as international partners and representatives of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
During her visit to Liberia, the Deputy Special Representative will also meet with members of the Liberian government, civil society organizations and the UN Country Team.

AFGHANISTAN 
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said that Matiullah Wesa, a well-known advocate for girls’ education and founder of “Pen Path”, was arrested in Kabul on Monday.  
UNAMA calls for the de facto authorities to clarify his whereabouts, the reasons for his arrest and to ensure his access to legal representation, as well as contact with family. 
The UN Mission also said that it has been in contact with relevant de facto authorities in Kabul regarding the case of Mr. Wesa, as well as other activists and journalists who remain in detention.

GUATEMALA
The Secretary-General notes with concern the announcement by the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Guatemala of legal action against Francisco Dall’Anese, former commissioner of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), and other former justice officials.  
The Secretary-General reiterates that the Commission’s international personnel, under the terms of the agreement between the UN and the Government of Guatemala regarding the establishment of the Commission, enjoys privileges and immunities that continue - notwithstanding that they are no longer in their positions. He expresses once again his concern regarding legal actions against the Commission’s personnel and multiple reports pointing to the use of criminal proceedings as a reprisal against those who were involved in the investigation and prosecution of cases of corruption.

CHOLERA 
In a new report, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says that the cholera outbreak impacting 11 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa is an emergency for children.  UNICEF is mobilizing emergency health supplies, technical support for outbreak control, risk communication and community engagement for prevention and early treatment, as well as safe water and nutrition supplies. 
The agency says that 28 million people are impacted in Malawi, Mozambique, Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Zambia, South Sudan, Burundi, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. To respond to the increasing needs of children and families in the region impacted by cholera, UNICEF is urgently calling for $171 million, to protect children and communities in need today, and to help build more resilient systems to protect children in the future.

FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTION 
Samoa has paid its dues in full to the United Nations. This brings the number of fully paid-up Member States to 82.

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