News in Brief 30 August 2017 (PM)

30 August 2017

Stop Syrians from “paying the price of political failure”: UN relief chief

The Security Council needs to find a way to stop the Syrian people from having to pay the dreadful price of political failure.

That’s the parting message from UN relief chief, Stephen O’Brien, who leaves his post as Humanitarian Coordinator on Thursday.

In his final briefing after more than two years in the job, he made an emotional appeal for the 15-member body to do more to end the brutal civil war, now in its seventh year.

“I am still urging you, in the name of our common humanity, to find a way to stop the Syrian people paying the price of political failure…The fact that month after month, it is the unremitting, fearful plight of the Syrian people which sears into our hearts and outrages and torments our minds, I am bound to reflect – surely we can do better.”

Also briefing the Council, UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura said that violence continued to decrease across the country but “rapid, safe and sustained” humanitarian access remained a key issue.

He said all parties to the conflict needed to develop a “common vision” towards more UN-brokered peace talks in Geneva.

UN chief pays tribute to Palestinians and Israelis “taking positive actions”

UN chief António Guterres paid tribute to Palestinians and Israelis who are “taking positive actions in their daily lives” to promote “tolerance, cooperation and understanding” with each other.

He was speaking at the Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, after spending the morning in the Gaza Strip, including a visit to a UN-run Palestinian school.

He promised to stand up to anti-Semitism and called for Israel to be treated equally to every other UN Member State.

The Secretary-General reiterated his commitment to the so-called two-state solution as the only viable option for peace, saying that the land was “the ancestral home to two peoples”.

He said he was deeply moved by a visit to the Nahal Oz kibbutz bordering Gaza, where he praised the “extraordinary message of peace and reconciliation” he had heard there, despite suffering rocket attacks.

Restraint is vital after fresh violence in Myanmar: IOM chief

There needs to be restraint from government forces and insurgents in Myanmar’s volatile Rakhine state, following days of fresh violence and displacement.

That’s the message from UN migration agency chief, William Swing on Wednesday, who also appealed to the international community to provide more support for mainly Muslim Rohingya refugees fleeing across the border into Bangladesh.

The IOM Director General also appealed to Bangladeshi authorities, who are already hosting around 400,000 undocumented Mayanmar nationals, to continue allowing people to cross over.

The migration agency is coordinating humanitarian assistance to around 200,000 refugees in Bangladesh living in makeshift settlements in Cox’s Bazaar.

An estimated 18,500 have crossed over since insurgent attacks followed by reported government reprisals, provoked another exodus beginning 25 August.

Matt Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2’38"


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