Highlights of UN events during the coming week
UN deputy chief Amina Mohammed addresses regional SDG forum in Belarus
UNICEF launches new global campaign to strengthen healthcare services for mothers and newborns
International Mother Language Day
World Day of Social Justice, focusing on workers on the move

More at UN News: news.un.org/en/


On a visit to Haiti in early February, Bintou Keita, the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, visited a prison in Jeremie. SShe said the conditions at the prison, both for the detainees and the staff, were "awful."


Top stories from UN News this week:
‘Race against time’ to help Rohingya refugees
Gender equality vital to sustainable development
New guidelines on childbirth
More at UN News: news.un.org/en/


Raw Excerpts from Geneva Press Briefing. Full: http://bit.ly/2EO7O4e

Noting a surge in the number of juvenile offenders being executed in Iran, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Friday urged Iran to abide by international law and immediately halt all executions of people sentenced to death for crimes committed when they were under eighteen.

Rupert Colville, the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner, told reporters in Geneva today (16 Feb) “already during the first month of January 2018, three people, two male and one female have been executed for crimes they committed when they were 15 or 16 years old ”. The figures for last month were compared to a total of five such executions over the whole of 2017.

Colville said “the execution of juvenile offenders is unequivocally prohibited under international law regardless of the circumstance and the crimes committed,”adding that Iran is expected to abide by its obligations under the conventions it has ratified - namely the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Iran is the country in the world with the greatest number of executions of juvenile offenders.

Colville said “unfortunately, Iran violates this absolute prohibition under international human rights law far more than any other state. In fact, no other state comes even remotely close to the number of juveniles that have been executed in Iran over the last couple of decade.”

In addition to the three recent executions, a fourth juvenile offender --said to be on the point of being executed on Wednesday -- reportedly received a temporary reprieve of two months. A number of other juvenile offenders are also believed to be in danger of imminent execution in Iran, with a total of some 80 such individuals reported to be currently on death row, after being sentenced to death for crimes they committed when they were under18 years of age.

Reading a statement attributable to the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Colville said that the “High Commissioner also notes that Iran ascribes criminal responsibility to girls as young as 9 years old, whereas boys are not considered criminally responsible until they reach the age of 15. He described the discrepancy between the two genders as wholly unjustifiable on every level and the application of the death penalty to any person -- female or male -- under 18, as illegal and unacceptable.”

The statement detailed its concern for the victims of the latest round of executions, including that of child bride Mahboubeh Mofidi.

Colville said “Mahboubeh Mofidi, was 16 years old when, with the help of her brother-in-law, she allegedly killed her husband, who had married her when she was just 13 years old. She was 20 at the time of her execution on 30 January.”

With an estimated 80 people juvenile offenders on currently on death row in Iran, the High Commissioner for Human Rights has joined previous calls urging Iran to stop all violations of international law relating to the death penalty -- in particular the absolute prohibition of the application of the death penalty for juvenile offenders.


Daily Press Briefing: SG Travels, Senior Personnel Appointment, Japan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Hungary, Health, Fall Armyworm, Honour Roll

Noon Briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the UN Secretary General.

HIGHLIGHTS:
- IN MUNICH, SECRETARY-GENERAL SPOTLIGHTS DETERIORATING GLOBAL SECURITY, CALLS FOR DIALOGUE, UNITY
- SECRETARY-GENERAL NAMES MARTIN GRIFFITHS AS U.N. YEMEN ENVOY
- U.N. RELIEF CHIEF TO VISIT JAPAN NEXT WEEK
- U.N. FOOD AGENCY BROADENS OPERATIONS TO PREVENT FAMINE IN D.R. CONGO’S KASAI
- U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY VOICES DISMAY OVER BORDER RESTRICTIONS IN HUNGARY
- WORLD LEADERS JOIN EFFORTS TO BEAT NONCOMMUNICABLE DISEASES - U.N. HEALTH AGENCY
- U.N. AGENCY LAUNCHES NEW GUIDE TO FIGHT FALL ARMYWORM IN AFRICA
- U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS WING WELCOMES NEWS EL SALVADOR FREED WOMAN IMPRISONED FOR HOMICIDE AFTER BABY WAS STILLBORN
- U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF URGES IRAN TO STOP EXECUTING JUVENILE OFFENDERS
- THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES PAYS FULL U.N. DUES

Full Highlights: https://www.un.org/sg/en/content/noon-briefing-highlight?date %5Bvalue%5D%5Bdate%5D=16%20February%202018


3 months after the end of combat operations, more than half of the nearly 6 million people who have been displaced since 2014 are already home. People have been able to return because of the success of UNDP's stabilisation facility. On average, it takes up to five years after a war concludes to get people home.

With support from UNDP's Funding Facility for Stabilisation (FFS), 25 of the nearly 40 cities liberated from ISIL are stabilised. FFS is implementing a staggering 1,880 projects in these 25 cities.

In nearly all cases, UNDP is the first civilian actor in a newly liberated city. The contracting period for stabilisation projects is as short as two weeks from the time a project is approved.

FFS is able to connect households in newly liberated areas to essential services, including electricity, water and sewage, in record time. UNDP does this by starting rehabilitation at the bottom of the grid, connecting houses to the lowest functioning level, rather than starting at the top of a grid and forcing families to wait for months, if not years, to have power and services. This pragmatic, simple, very fast approach ensures maximum impact.

FFS does not brand its work in Iraq. Everything is done in the name of the government. This is key for giving people who have been forced to live under ISIL occupation confidence that their government is there for them.

Produced by: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)


More than 10,000 civilians lost their lives or suffered injuries in Afghanistan last year, according to a report released by the UN. The high number of casualties are attributed to suicide bombings and other attacks using improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The report calls on anti-Government elements to cease the deliberate targeting of civilians in the country.


Briefing to the press by Mita Hosali, Deputy Director of the News and Media Division, Department of Public Information, on the new UN News website.


Daily Press Briefing: Florida Shooting, Ruud Lubbers, Germany, Sweden, CAR/Cameroon/Chad, Middle East, Afghanistan, Refugees and Migrants, Pregnancy, Polio, Guinea-Bissau, Noon Briefing Guests

Noon Briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the UN Secretary General.

HIGHLIGHTS:
- SECRETARY-GENERAL VOICES PROFOUND SADNESS AT ‘HORRIFIC’ GUN MASSACRE IN FLORIDA
- SECRETARY-GENERAL OFFERS CONDOLENCES TO FAMILY OF LATE RUUD LUBBERS AND GOVERNMENT OF THE NETHERLANDS
- SECRETARY-GENERAL ARRIVES IN MUNICH FOR SECURITY CONFERENCE
- IN SWEDEN, DEPUTY U.N. CHIEF SPOTLIGHTS POWERFUL IMPACT OF BUSINESSES ON CHILDREN
- SENIOR U.N. OFFICIALS TO TRAVEL TO CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC, CAMEROON, CHAD
- U.N. ENVOY DISCUSSES GAZA RECONSTRUCTION, SOLUTIONS TO HUMANITARIAN CRISIS WITH PALESTINIAN AND ISRAELI OFFICIALS
- OVER 10,000 CIVILIAN CASUALTIES IN AFGHANISTAN IN 2017 – U.N.
- U.N. AGENCIES WARN DATA GAPS ENDANGER LIVES OF MILLIONS OF CHILDREN ON THE MOVE
- U.N. HEALTH AGENCY ISSUES RECOMMENDATIONS TO REDUCE UNNECESSARY MEDICAL INTERVENTIONS DURING CHILDBIRTH
- POLIOVIRUS STILL PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY OF INTERNATIONAL CONCERN, SAYS U.N. HEALTH BODY
- GUINEA-BISSAU: U.N. ENVOY HIGHLIGHTS NEED TO SUPPORT NATIONAL LEADERS TO APPOINT PRIME MINISTER
- OVER 1000 REFUGEES EVACUATED OUT OF LIBYA SINCE NOVEMBER – U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY

Full Highlights: https://www.un.org/sg/en/content/noon-briefing-highlight?date %5Bvalue%5D%5Bdate%5D=15%20February%202018


Since 1966 the United Nations Capital Development Fund has focused on a singular goal: making public and private finance work for the poor.

Produced by: UN Capital Development Fund


Xin Chun Kuai Le! [新春快乐!Happy Lunar New Year.] Wo Shi Gu Te Lei Si, [我是古特雷斯,I am António Guterres,] the Secretary-General of the United Nations. I am pleased to send my warmest greetings for the Lunar New Year as we begin the Year of the Dog. Dogs are guards and good companions to human beings. The Year of the Dog symbolizes loyalty and trust. Trust boosts unity and collaboration. That is what our world needs. Let us work together for global peace and prosperity. I thank China and the Chinese people for their support for the work of United Nations. I wish you good health, happiness and success in the year of the Dog! xiè xiè! [谢谢Thank You.]


联合国 — 新春快乐!我是古特雷斯,联合国秘书长。在我们迎来狗年之际,我谨最热烈地给大家拜年。狗是人类的守护者,也是人类的好伴侣。狗年象征着忠诚与信任。信任可促进团结与协作。这正是当今世界所需要的品格。让我们共同努力促进全球和平与繁荣。我感谢中国和中国人民支持联合国工作。我祝大家在狗年身体健康,生活幸福并取得成功!谢谢!


-Raw excerpts from Press Briefing held in Geneva, Switzerland.

Extensive conflict in Iraq to retake cities from ISIS has displaced more than 5.8 million people since 2014, with the associated military campaigns having significantly contaminated areas with explosive hazards, including Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

Pehr Lodhammar, the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) Senior Programme Manager for Iraq, told reporters in Geneva today (14 Feb) that clearing these hazards is a massive challenge in order to bring peace and stability back to the liberated areas of the country.

Speaking of one of the areas where UNMAS has been most active in supporting Iraqi authorities with defusing these threats, he said “I’ve never seen complexity similar to what we see in Western Mosul right now,” adding that “as an example we find remote-controlled improvised explosive devices, we find infrared explosive devices, we find pressure plate devices, we find anti-lift devices, all types of improvised explosives you can imagine.”

The presence of explosive hazards in liberated areas impedes urgently needed humanitarian response efforts, and prevents civilians from safely returning home. The explosive hazards problem is complex, extensive, and expensive to deal with. The Government of Iraq, the UN, and other national and international stakeholders have prioritized the clearance of explosive hazards as the essential ‘first step’ before any rehabilitation or reconstruction work can proceed.

One of the major challenges, apart from the sheer number of explosive hazards present in Iraq after years of conflict, is that many of the explosive devices look nothing like traditional landmines or unexploded ordnance.

Lodhammar said “last week we had a team finding hundreds of explosive hazards in only one day. But on top of that they also found a factory where ISIS had been manufacturing improvised explosive devices, and in one day we found 250,000 electronic components.”

He added “it basically looked as if there had been a tornado going through an electronics store.”

Another challenge is that most explosive hazards remain hidden under the rubble of war.

Lodhammar said “the problem with the rubble is that we estimate that only a third of the explosives are on top of the surface the rest is under the surface, it is under rubble, so once people are returning, once they start digging, once they start doing reconstruction, rehabilitation, there will be explosive hazards surfacing.”

Neutralizing IEDs left behind by ISIS and other explosive hazards from the bombing campaigns against them takes place in particularly hard conditions, including extremely high temperatures in the summer. But the biggest challenges ahead are likely to the time and the money required to solve this legacy of conflict in Iraq.

Lodhammar noted “we estimate that it’s going to be over a decade, before Western Mosul has been cleared.”

The financial requirements for UNMAS to support the Iraqi authorities in these efforts for 2018 – in Western Mosul alone – are currently estimated at an additional USD 260 million, on top of the existing budget of USD 76 million and USD 40 million in pledged funds.


Media Stakeout by H.E. Mr. Mansour Al-Otaibi, President of the Security Council and Permanent Representative of the State of Kuwait, H.E. Sacha Sergio Llorentty Solíz, Representative of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, and H.E. Riyad Mansour, Permanent Representative of the State of Palestine to the United Nations, on the situation in the Middle East (including the question of Palestine).


Ambassador Riyad Mansour, Permanent Representative of the State of Palestine to the United Nations on the situation in the Middle East.