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Monday's Daily Brief: Hopes rise for peace in Syria and Yemen, UNGA speeches end, Guterres saddened by India flood deaths

A family fleeing hostilities in Idlib set up a makeshift camp in Aqrabat village, near the Turkish border. (3 June 2019)
© UNICEF/Aaref Watad
A family fleeing hostilities in Idlib set up a makeshift camp in Aqrabat village, near the Turkish border. (3 June 2019)

Monday's Daily Brief: Hopes rise for peace in Syria and Yemen, UNGA speeches end, Guterres saddened by India flood deaths

Peace and Security

'Sign of hope' for long-suffering Syrians as new committee forms; Yemen prisoner release signals hope for Yemen; Assembly President closes formal Debate; Refugees evacuated from Libya to Rwanda; Multilingualism observed on World Day.

Constitutional Committee breakthrough offers ‘sign of hope’ Syrians

Children rest beneath a tree in a makeshift camp in Aqrabat village, near the Turkish border, after fleeing hostilities in Idlib. (June 2019)

There is a “sign of hope for the long-suffering Syrian people” as a Syrian-led, Syrian-owned, credible and inclusive Constitutional Committee is set to start deliberations next month, the United Nations Special Envoy for the country told the Security Council on Monday.

As the “first concrete political agreement” between Government and opposition groups, it “implies a clear acceptance of the other as an interlocutor", said Geir O. Pedersen. “It commits their nominees to sit together in face-to-face dialogue and negotiation, while at the same time opening the space for civil society at the table”.

Get our coverage here.

UN chief saddened by death toll, displacement in India, due to major flooding

The UN chief said on Monday he was "saddened by the loss of life" across the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar over the past few days, due to heavy rains which sparked major flooding.

More than 100 have reportedly died since Thursday. In a statement issued by his Spokesperson, Secretary-General António Guterres, said the rains had also caused  "displacement of people and destruction of property due to monsoon rains and associated flooding".

"He extends his condolences and solidarity to the families of the victims, to the Government and people of India and wishes those injured a speedy recovery", said the statement.

 Mr. Guterres said the UN stood ready to work with the authorities "as they respond to the humanitarian needs resulting from this ongoing monsoon season."

Curtain closes on UN General Debates

 Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President of the seventy-fourth session of the General Assembly, closes the general debate of the seventy-fourth session of the General Assembly. (30 September 2019)

As the 74th General Assembly Debate comes to a close, the UN body’s President declared multilateralism “the only guarantee” of peace and sustainable development for the future.

“The world will not survive for long unless we cultivate the give-and-take spirit which is a distinct and defining attribute of multilateralism,” Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande told delegates.

“It is gratifying to note that even those who are a bit skeptical about the direction of multilateralism acknowledge this much. Active participation in the General Debate by 192 of our 193 Member States is the clearest indicator of the acknowledgement of the interdependence between and among nations”, he added.

The Assembly chief went on to praise world leaders and General Debate participants for strides made in the climate dialogue, elimination of nuclear weapons, and global finance, among others.

Full story here.

Yemen prisoner release boosts hopes of peace at last for war-weary civilians

Children sitting next to their tent at the Al-Meshqafah camp in Yemen. (26 February 2019)

Hopes for a possible end to the war in Yemen are growing slightly, following news that nearly 300 detainees have been released as a gesture of goodwill by Houthi forces, pitted against the Government of Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Welcoming the development, UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, said he hoped that it would lead to both sides meeting at “the nearest opportunity” to resume the discussions on a future exchange, as per the UN-led deal signed by their representatives in the Swedish capital last December.

Read the full story here.

First group of vulnerable refugees evacuated from Libya to Rwanda

As renewed fighting broke out in Tripoli, Libya, in early-September, UNHCR’s local office provided assistance to refugees and asylum-seekers who escaped from detention centres as rockets exploded around the capital. Refugees in Libya have been kidnapped,

A group of 66 vulnerable refugees have been successfully evacuated from Libya to Rwanda, the UN’s support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) announced on Sunday, making the group the first to benefit from the recently-implemented Emergency Transit Mechanism.

After landing at Kigali International Airport on Thursday morning, all were granted asylum-seeker status, pending assessment of their refugee claims by the UN’s refugee wing (UNHCR).

In total, 26 of the evacuees were children, nearly all unaccompanied, hailing from Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea. One of the youngsters had not been outside a detention centre for more than four years.

International Day recognizes pivotal role of multilingualism for peace

United Nations interpreters provide simultaneous translation for a Security Council meeting (November 2008).

The world is paying tribute to the work of language professionals, who play a vital role in all international relations and dialogue for peace, on International Translation Day, observed 30 September.

Transposition of a literary or scientific work between languages, and interpretation are indispensable to preserving clarity and productivity in international relations and interpersonal communication, the UN says.

The UN is one of the world’s largest employers of language professionals, employing several hundred language staff between New York, Geneva, Vienna, Nairobi and other regional commissions.

Listen to or download our audio News in Brief for 30 September on Soundcloud: