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UN Daily News
Monday, 22 February 2016

Issue DH/7100

In the headlines:
• Ban arrives in Burundi in support of UN efforts to

• Iraq: UN relief official calls for relocation of civilians

• Syria has been ‘reduced to ruins,’ with civilians

• UN ‘trusted partner’ for all political parties in

resolve political crisis

paying the biggest price,’ says UN human rights
probe

• Fiji: UN and Government assess needs in wake of
‘catastrophic’ Cyclone Winston

• Ban welcomes cessation of hostilities pact in Syria
as ‘signal of hope;’ condemns bombings

• UN agency puts fast-growing fish trade on the
‘sustainability’ menu

• Syria: head of panel for joint UN body says

to safer areas

Maldives, senior political official says after visit

• Ban commends peaceful holding of elections in the
Central African Republic

• Quality education in mother languages vital to
success of 2030 Agenda – UN

• Ban welcomes progress made by Comorian people
in preparations for upcoming elections

• 'Bring people in from the margins,' urges UN chief
on World Social Justice Day

chemical weapons probing to begin in March
More stories inside

Ban arrives in Burundi in support of UN efforts to resolve
political crisis
22 February - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived today in
Bujumbura, capital of Burundi, for an official visit during which he is expected to meet
President Pierre Nkurunziza and other actors in support of ongoing UN efforts at resolving
Burundi’s political crisis.
After a stop in Nairobi, Kenya, Mr, Ban was greeted on arrival in Bujumbura by the First
Vice-President, Gaston Sindimwo, the Foreign Minister, Alain Nyamitwe, and other
Government officials, as well as his Special Envoy to Burundi, Jamal Benomar, and by the
Coordinator UN resident Paolo Lembo, said the UN office in Bujumbura.
In Kenya, the Secretary-General was briefed by the Director-General of the UN Office in
Nairobi (UNON), Sahle-Work Zewde, and Kenya’s Minister for Education, Fred Matiangi.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (second
right) is greeted on arrival in Bujumbura
by First Vice-President of Burundi
Gaston Sindimwo. Photo: UNIC
Bujumbura

Burundi was thrown into crisis this past April when President Nkurunziza decided to run for a controversial third term that
he went on to win in July. To date, it has been reported that more than 400 people have been killed, more than 240,000 have
fled the nation, and thousands more have been arrested and possibly subjected to human rights violations.
The UN chief is then expected to leave Burundi on Tuesday for the Democratic Republic of Congo on the second leg of an
Africa tour. He is expected to be in Goma to visit people impacted by the insecurity and humanitarian crisis in the region,
including those living in camps for internally displaced people, according to a statement on his schedule.

For information media not an official record

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22 February 2016

The next day, the Secretary-General will be in Kinshasa, where he will preside at the opening session of the Great Lakes
Private Sector Investment Conference. He is also expected to meet with the President of the Democratic Republic of the
Congo, Joseph Kabila, as well as several Government officials and political and civil society representatives.
On Thursday, 25 February, the Secretary-General will head to Juba, South Sudan, where he is expected to meet with
President Salva Kiir as well as visit a protection of civilians’ site that is run by the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

Syria has been ‘reduced to ruins,’ with civilians paying the
biggest price,’ says UN human rights probe
22 February - As the Syrian conflict is entering its sixth year, civilians are bearing the
brunt of intensifying hostilities conducted by an ever-increasing number of warring parties,
with aerial bombardments by pro-Government forces leaving “few safe places,” a new
United Nations-mandated report has found.

In the besieged Syrian town of Madaya,
people are waiting desperately to be
allowed out because of lack of food and
skyrocketing food prices. Photo:
WFP/Hussam Al Saleh

The new report of the Commission of Inquiry on Syria, a body mandated by the UN Human
Rights Commission, to investigate and record all violations of international law since
March 2011, details the catastrophic destruction of civilian infrastructure, including
medical care and educational facilities, public spaces, electricity and water installations.
The report, the Commission’s eleventh to the Council, draws on 415 interviews with
victims and eyewitnesses in and outside the country, collected between July 2015 and

January 2016.
“As their country is reduced to ruins around them, Syrian men, women and children – often the objects of deliberate attack –
are fleeing their homes in an uncertain and often perilous search for safe haven,” said Commission Chair Paulo Sérgio
Pinheiro.
“We are seeing an overwhelming yet consistent intensification of external military involvement in Syria by all parties, with
devastating consequences for civilians and various communities,” he stressed, adding that: “With the intensification of
airstrikes, there are few safe places for civilians.”
He also emphasized that “relevant Security Council resolutions remain largely unheeded and unimplemented.”
The report further finds that crimes against humanity continue to be committed by Government forces and by terrorist
groups, such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL/Da’esh. The commission of war crimes by belligerents is
rampant.
Aerial bombardments by pro-Government forces of areas not controlled by the Government have caused hundreds of
civilian casualties, mass displacements, and destruction of vital civilian infrastructure, the report notes.
All warring parties, including pro-Government forces, anti-Government armed groups, and the terrorist groups, such as
ISIL/Da’esh and Jabhat al-Nusra, carry out indiscriminate attacks by firing shells onto civilian-inhabited areas under control
of the opposition, the report says.
“The damage wrought on Syria by this war cannot be measured solely by loss of life and the physical destruction of the
country,” said Commissioner Vitit Muntarbhorn. “The war has also devastated the nation of Syria, ripping asunder the ties
that bind its communities and cultures together.”
The report also finds that cultural heritage sites, which are important to Syria and the world, are also being destroyed and
damaged through deliberate and incidental attacks.
The report emphasises the need for concerted and sustained international action to find a political solution to end the
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violence and to stop the rampancy of war crimes and grave violations of human rights.
“Humanitarian space is shrinking daily, while flagrant violations of human rights and international humanitarian law
continue with blatant impunity,” said Commission member Carla Del Ponte. “The call for peace is now more urgent than
ever, but momentum must be sustained to ensure an all-inclusive, Syrian-led process.”
Ms. Del Ponte stressed that Security Council resolution 2139 underlined the need to end impunity and reaffirmed the
necessity of bringing perpetrators to justice. “Accountability is an essential part of this process,” she said.

Fiji: UN and Government assess needs in wake of ‘catastrophic’
Cyclone Winston
22 February - The United Nations has begun its assessment of the needs for international
assistance to the islands of Fiji, hit by a powerful tropical cyclone that left at least 21 people
dead and more than 8,000 people sheltering in evacuation centres over the weekend.
Responding to the Government of Fiji’s official request for international aid, the UN and its
Pacific Humanitarian Team are reaching out to the authorities to determine what expertise
and support they need, including in coordination of humanitarian assistance, said Osnat
Lubrani, UN Resident Coordinator in Fiji.
“The images emerging from early aerial assessments of affected areas are truly
heartbreaking, leaving little doubt about the ferocity of this cyclone,” Ms. Lubrani said in a
press release.

Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Winston
caused widespread destruction in
Tamavua, Suva, Fiji. Photo:
UNICEF/Alice Clements

“It is clear from these catastrophic impacts that Fiji is facing a long road to recovery and the United Nations and the entire
Pacific Humanitarian Team stands should-to-shoulder with the Government as they begin this enormous task,” she stressed.
On 20 and 21 February, Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Winston cut a path of destruction across Fiji’s islands, blowing off
roofs, bringing down trees and powerlines, and flooding rivers.
More than 8,100 people are currently sheltering in evacuation centres, and 4 people are still missing. Schools are closed for
a week to allow for clean-up and their use as evacuation centres. Whole villages have been destroyed on the island of Koro
where a relief and assessment ship is being deployed, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs (OCHA).
The Government is leading the response, and a 30-day state of natural disaster has been declared.
“Government assessments have begun and these will give a clearer picture of where people are most in need. Help is already
on its way to the Lomaiviti Group which was in the eye of the cyclone and suffered catastrophic impacts,” Ms. Lubrani said.
The Pacific Humanitarian Team, based in the Fijian capital, Suva, coordinates expert human resources and relief supplies
regionally and globally, should the impacts of a disaster exceed a government’s capacity to respond.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said yesterday that it is on stand-by to provide emergency supplies and
additional personnel to support the Government as it works to determine critical needs.
At its peak, the Cyclone was forecast by the Fiji Met Service to have sustained winds of 230 kmph, gusting to 325 kmph
making it one of the most severe cyclones ever to hit the South Pacific.
Meanwhile, the head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mr. Robert Glasser, today extended his condolences to
Fiji on the loss of life from the cyclone while commending the Government for its efforts to reduce mortality and the
numbers of people affected by cyclone.

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22 February 2016

“Our heartfelt condolences go out to the families who have lost loved ones,” Mr. Glasser said, adding that the death toll
could have been significantly higher if the Government, the National Disaster Management Centre and the Meteorological
Service had not united in their efforts to disseminate warnings and urge the population to use the 735 evacuation centres
opened in advance of the cyclone’s arrival.
A key target of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction adopted in March last year as a global blueprint for
reducing disaster risk and disaster losses is to ensure that fewer people lose their lives or get injured in these types of events
which are becoming more intense as a result of climate change, he said.
According to the Office, there were 90 major storms recorded last year with a reported death toll of 996, significantly down
on the ten year average of 17,778.
Also extending heartfelt condolences, President of the UN General Assembly, Mogens Lykketoft, praised the people and
Government of Fiji for their fortitude and resilience and assured them of the support of the international community, as they
begin the process of recovering from this devastating storm.

Ban welcomes cessation of hostilities pact in Syria as ‘signal of
hope;’ condemns bombings
22 February - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the agreement
announced today by United States Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign
Minister Sergey Lavrov, as co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG)
Ceasefire Taskforce, on the terms of a nationwide cessation of hostilities in Syria scheduled
to come into effect on Saturday.

Heavily damaged buildings in Homs,
Syria. Photo: UNICEF/Juliette Touma

Noting the “lengthy and detailed discussions” that preceded the announcement, Mr. Ban, in
a

statement attributable to his spokesperson said he believes the agreement, if respected,
would constitute a significant step forward in the implementation of Security Council resolution 2254 (2015), which gave
the UN an enhanced role in shepherding the opposing sides to talks for a political transition, endorsing a timetable for a
ceasefire, a new constitution and elections.
“It demonstrates the commitment of the ISSG to exert influence on the warring parties to bring about an immediate
reduction in violence as a first step towards a more durable ceasefire,” Mr. Ban stressed, adding that the agreement “further
contributes to creating an environment conducive for the resumption of political negotiations.”
“Above all, it is a long-awaited signal of hope to the Syrian people that after five years of conflict there may be an end to
their suffering in sight,” Mr. Ban said.
Urging the parties to abide by the terms of the agreement, the Secretary-General said the Office of the Special Envoy for
Syria stands ready to support implementation, both on the ground in Damascus and in Geneva. The UN will also count on
the cooperation of ISSG members – the Arab League, the European Union, the United Nations, and 17 countries, including
the US and Russia – as all stakeholders jointly set the implementation mechanism in motion.
“Much work now lies ahead to ensure its implementation, and the international community, the ISSG and the Syrian parties
must remain steadfast in their resolve,” Mr. Ban emphasized.
Earlier, the UN chief condemned the multiple bombings yesterday in Damascus and Homs, Syria, which reportedly killed at
least 155 people, mainly civilians, and injured several hundred more.
“Those responsible for these atrocious and deliberate attacks on civilians must be held accountable,” said Mr. Ban in a
statement attributable to his spokesperson.

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The Secretary-General extended his deepest condolences to the bereaved families affected by the bombings, which were
claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL/Da’esh, and wished a speedy recovery to the injured.
Yesterday, the UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, strongly condemned the bombings as well.
In a statement attributable to his spokesperson, Mr. de Mistura, condemned “yet another set of car bomb and suicide
explosions in Damascus and Homs cities.”

UN agency puts fast-growing fish trade on the ‘sustainability’
menu
22 February - Top fishery officials are gathering in Morocco this week to discuss
sustainable trade practices in a $144 billion industry that provides developing countries
with more export revenue than meat, tobacco, rice and sugar combined.
Lower-income nations’ exports of fish and fishery products reached $78 billion in 2014,
more than triple the value of global rice exports, according to the United Nations Food and
Agriculture Organization (FAO).
A woman carries fish at a FAO-funded
food security project in Uganda. Photo:
FAO/Isaac Kasamani

“Sustainably serving those lucrative markets is of critical importance to developing
countries, where most fish are produced, whether caught in the wild or grown in cages or
farm ponds,” the agency’s news release says.

The biennial high-level meeting of FAO’s Sub-Committee on Fish Trade, being held in Agadir through Friday, 26 February,
has drawn delegations of fisheries ministries from more than 50 countries to discuss emerging governance needs of the
fisheries sector.
“Trade in fish is much more important than people think, both in absolute and relative terms,” said Audun Lem, DeputyDirector in FAO’s Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy and Resources Division, who serves as Secretary of the meeting.
Dialogues will help FAO, its member countries and industry representatives understand new trends, opportunities and
challenges in the fishing sector, fostering the development of strategies that can “best position developing countries to
develop their fisheries sectors in a sustainable manner and to maximize their economic benefit from the growth we expect to
witness,” Mr. Lem said.

Traceability
One major topic for consideration is how to better trace products throughout the supply chain. Ministers are poised to agree
on FAO’s proposed technical guidelines for catch documentation schemes, a set of documents testifying to the legal origin
of the catch. This could become an important tool in curbing illegal fishing, a target concerning the conservation and
sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources under Goal 14 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2015.
Central to the effort is FAO’s Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate, Illegal, Unreported and
Unregulated Fishing, which has now been ratified by 21 nations and is on course to have the 25 national ratifications
required to enter into full legal force by the time the Committee on Fisheries, an intergovernmental forum, meets in July.
Work will also focus on harmonizing certification requirements for fish exports to major international markets, where
consumers as well as retailers are becoming more alert to quality, safety and legality concerns.

Emerging Trends
New trends will also be among the subjects at the Agadir meeting. Aquaculture output has more than tripled to 78 million
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22 February 2016

tonnes over the past 20 years, making it the world’s fastest-growing food producing sector. FAO expects wild-caught fish to
grow modestly in volume terms while its share of the market for human consumption declines to 38 per cent in 2030.
While most fish farms are in Asia, aquaculture's highest growth rates have of late been in Africa and South and Central
America, where its marginal contribution to food security can be higher than elsewhere precisely due to the fact that percapita consumption of fish in these emerging regions has traditionally been low.
Aquaculture, typically far less seasonal and volatile than open-sea fishing, can help food waste be minimized and food
safety enhanced, and investments in cold-storage facilities incentivized, all enabling supermarkets to plan and guarantee
procurement.
The seafood menu is also changing in many ways, as exemplified by the fact that, for the first time in history, more fresh
tuna was flown to the US than to Japan.
Shifts in age-old patterns are likely to become a common feature in the future of fish, especially as developing countries
increase their share of world imports. Since 2013, salmon and trout have replaced shrimp as the most important commodity
traded in value terms.

Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources
The world’s oceans – their temperature, chemistry, currents and life – drive global systems that make the Earth habitable for
humankind.
Our rainwater, drinking water, weather, climate, coastlines, much of our food, and even the oxygen in the air we breathe, are
all ultimately provided and regulated by the sea. Throughout history, oceans and seas have been vital conduits for trade and
transportation.
Careful management of this essential global resource is a key feature of a sustainable future.

Facts and figures
Goal 14 targets

Oceans cover three quarters of the Earth’s surface, contain 97 per cent of the Earth’s water, and represent 99 per
cent of the living space on the planet by volume
Over three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods
Globally, the market value of marine and coastal resources and industries is estimated at $3 trillion per year or
about 5 per cent of global GDP
Oceans contain nearly 200,000 identified species, but actual numbers may lie in the millions
Oceans absorb about 30 per cent of carbon dioxide produced by humans, buffering the impacts of global warming
Oceans serve as the world’s largest source of protein, with more than 3 billion people depending on the oceans as
their primary source of protein
Marine fisheries directly or indirectly employ over 200 million people
Subsidies for fishing are contributing to the rapid depletion of many fish species and are preventing efforts to save
and restore global fisheries and related jobs, causing ocean fisheries to generate US$ 50 billion less per year than
they could
As much as 40 per cent of the world oceans are heavily affected by human activities, including pollution, depleted
fisheries, and loss of coastal habitats








By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities,
including marine debris and nutrient pollution
By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts,
including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and
productive oceans
Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all

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levels
By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and
destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks in the
shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their
biological characteristics
By 2020, conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law
and based on the best available scientific information
By 2020, prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, eliminate
subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and refrain from introducing new such
subsidies, recognizing that appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing and least
developed countries should be an integral part of the World Trade Organization fisheries subsidies negotiation
By 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries from the
sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and
tourism
Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the
Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in
order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of
developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries
Provide access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets
Enhance the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing international law as
reflected in UNCLOS, which provides the legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and
their resources, as recalled in paragraph 158 of The Future We Want.

Syria: head of panel for joint UN body says chemical weapons
probing to begin in March
22 February - The head of a United Nations-mandated body tasked with identifying those
behind chemical weapons attacks in the Syrian civil war said today that preliminary work
on seven potential cases has been nearly concluded and that in-depth investigations will
begin in March.
After briefing a closed-door session of the Security Council at UN Headquarters in New
York this morning on the first reportOPCW)-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism on
Chemical Weapon Use in Syria, the head of the Mechanism’s leadership panel, Virginia
Gamba, told reporters that the goal is to finalize the list of potential cases by the first week
in March so that the investigation of the cases deemed as possibly leading to the
identification of perpetrators can begin.

Head of OPCW-UN Joint Investigative
Mechanism Virginia Gamba. UN
Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

“I want to assure the individuals, groups, entities or governments that minimally are thinking in that direction, or have
thought in that direction, that these acts will be identified and that they will be held accountable for their actions,” Ms.
Gamba stressed.
Reaffirming the panel’s view that the use of toxic substances or weapons under any circumstances is “totally abhorrent,”
Ms. Gamba said that the Mechanism’s report provides an overview of the investigation, the methodology behind its
activities, and some information about the way forward.
According to the report, which covers the period from 24 September 2015 to 10 February 2016, the panel initially identified
six potential cases for further investigation, while a seventh case was added during the briefing to the Security Council this
morning, Ms. Gamba said.
Thus far, the identified potential cases include: Kafr Zita, Hama Governorate, 11 and 18 April 2014; Talmenes, Idlib
Governorate, 21 April 2014; Qmenas, Idlib Governorate, 16 March 2015; Sarmin, Idlib Governorate, 16 March 2015;
Marea, Aleppo Governorate, 21 August 2015; Binnish, Idlib Governorate, 23 March 2015; and Al Tamanah, Idlib
Governorate, 29 – 30 April 2014 and 25 – 26 May 2014.
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As part of its initial phase of work, the Mechanism reviewed the incidents where the OPCW Fact-Finding Missions (FFM)
determined that chemicals were used or likely used as weapons in Syria. The Mechanism also examined additional
information and evidence as obtained from Syria or other Member States, as well as from civil society and regional
organizations, and from open sources.
Under the leadership panel’s next phase of work, Ms. Gamba said that the investigative team will be divided into two groups
and will work in parallel. The team will report to the Security Council every two months, keeping in mind the end of the
Mechanism’s mandate in September 2016.
Responding to a question regarding the panel’s relationship with parties in Syria, Ms. Gamba said the panel had been in
Damascus in December, and is “getting good cooperation” from parties in Syria.
“We are in constant exchange of information, not just with the Syrian Arab Republic, but also with about 20 or so Member
States, both from the region and internationally, that cooperate with our investigation,” she said.
Ms. Gamba also stressed that once the in-depth investigations on the potential cases commence, the panel “will not be able
to comment on the level or stage of the investigation or actions in that respect.” However, she noted that activities will
include information exchange, information collection, and, if possible, travels to the field to undertake field visits and also
interviews.
In an earlier interview with UN Radio, in which she was asked what led to the panel’s findings, Ms. Gamba said two types
of information were used to determine the cases with the greatest potential for identification purposes.
“We examined all the information available at the OPCW, but also we looked at information we obtained related to our
mandate. We got the information from the Syrian Arab Republic and other Member States of the United Nations, as well as
from civil society, regional organizations and open sources,” she said.
Asked whether there was any evidence that chemical weapons are still being used by the warring parties in Syria, Ms.
Gamba said: “Clearly they are still being used by the warring parties in Syria. This has been a constant for the last two years.
This is the reason OPCW has been sending Fact-Finding Missions. Their objective is to confirm that the use of these
substances is happening as a tool of war or terror.”
In response to a question as to why chemical weapons are so abhorrent in the Syrian context, Ms. Gamba emphasized that
such weapons are “abhorrent in any context,” primarily because the majority of countries in the world have signed the
Chemical Weapons Convention, which specifies that “any use of any substances as chemical weapons is as bad as using
chemical weapons.”
“But more importantly, it is an indiscriminate effect on people, in the use of these weapons, because of the way it disperses
once it impacts,” Ms. Gamba stressed, adding that the toxic substances usually come from chloride or fertilizers, or medical
drugs that were created for development purposes and the benefit of mankind.
“That anybody in these circumstances minimally thinks about changing these uses of these substances for or as a tactical
military weapon or as a weapon of terror, is totally abhorrent. It really undermines the principles for which these substances
have been developed in the first place,” she concluded.
The Joint Investigative Mechanism was established by the Security Council in August 2015 under resolution 2235. The
Mechanism’s mandate is for one year, and its extension will be decided by the Council based on the status of its findings
when the current mandate expires.

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Iraq: UN relief official calls for relocation of civilians to safer
areas
22 February - The top United Nations humanitarian official in Iraq has said she is deeply
worried about thousands of civilians who are trapped in Fallujah city and in Sinjar district
and are unable to access aid, calling on Government officials to redouble efforts to relocate
civilians to safer areas before the situation deteriorates further.
Although the UN is unable to access civilians in Fallujah city in Anbar Governorate, which
remains under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), information
from key informants indicates that conditions are deteriorating rapidly, said Lise Grande,
the UN's Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, in a press release.
“We are receiving reports of hunger and shortages of medicines and essential supplies. We
know that people are trying to leave the city but are prevented from doing so; we fear that
the situation is becoming desperate,” Ms. Grande said.

An increasing number of people,
including families with children and the
elderly, have encountered deadly
ambushes as they try to escape areas
controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq
and the Levant (ISIL). Photo: UNAMI

As she called on the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government to uphold their obligations under
humanitarian law and redouble their efforts to facilitate the evacuation and relocation of civilians to safer areas with food,
water and medical care, Ms. Grande stressed that urgent steps are necessary to alleviate the suffering of people struggling to
survive in the country.
“As humanitarians, we have a common responsibility to save lives,” she said.
Ms. Grande said she is also profoundly worried about the situation in Ninewa Governorate, where more than 520 people,
including an estimated 250 children, have been stranded for three months between military frontlines east of Sinjar
Mountain.
“It's the middle of winter and these people are unable to access food, water, shelter and medical assistance. Ensuring that
civilians are safe is one of our highest priorities,” Ms. Grande emphasized.
Allowing families to cross into Government-controlled areas would “dramatically” improve the situation, Ms. Grande said,
calling on all parties to do whatever is necessary to ensure that civilians are protected.
More than 3 million people have been forced to flee their homes in Iraq since January 2014. The UN estimates that an
additional 3 million people are living under ISIL control in Iraq. More than 500,000 civilians have returned to their homes
following military campaigns to bring areas under Government control.

UN ‘trusted partner’ for all political parties in Maldives, senior
political official says after visit
22 February - The United Nations should stay engaged in facilitating a political dialogue
between the Government of Maldives and the opposition parties, said a senior UN political
official on the heels of a two-day visit to the island nation.
During his meetings with President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom and other key leaders
there, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Miroslav Jenca cited the UN’s
readiness to continue the facilitation process, depending on the developments on the ground
and the willingness of the parties.
Mr. Jenca also underscored the importance of building trust, including through
UN News Centre • www.un.org/news

Assistant Secretary-General for Political
Affairs Miroslav Jenca. UN Photo/Rick
Bajornas

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22 February 2016

strengthening independent democratic institutions and reforming the judiciary during the meetings, which revealed that the
UN “is a trusted partner for all parties.” The UN official also welcomed the President’s recent invitation to all
parliamentarian parties for political talks, a call reiterated by the President during the meeting.
He also met with Minister of Foreign Affairs Dunya Maumoon and discussed, regional cooperation in South Asia,
preparations for the World Humanitarian Summit, irregular migration and refugee flows, as well as the fight against
terrorism and violent extremism.
His itinerary included meetings with Attorney General Mohamed Anil, Minister for Legal Affairs Azima Shakoor, Chief
Justice Abdulla Saeed, the judges of the Supreme Court, the Human Rights Commission, civil society organisations and
representatives of the diplomatic community.
Mr. Jenca also conducted separate meetings with all parliamentary political parties, members of both the ruling coalition and
the opposition, namely Adhaalath Party (AP), Jumhooree Party (JP), Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), Maldivian
Development Alliance (MDA), and Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM).
The senior UN political official’s visit took place at the invitation of the Government of Maldives as a follow up to the
request made last year by President Yameen to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to assist the Government on dialogue
with the opposition political parties.
Mr. Jenca conveyed appreciation for Maldives’ commitment to the work of the UN in its 50 years of membership, citing the
island nation’s role in such important global issues such as the adoption and implementation of the Sustainable Development
Goals (SDGs) and the climate change pact, known as Paris Agreement.

Ban commends peaceful holding of elections in the Central
African Republic
21 February - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has commended the
peaceful holding of elections in the Central African Republic (CAR) this past Sunday,
calling for the timely holding of the second round of legislative elections to complete the
political transition process.

In Bangui on 14 February 2016, an
electoral officer (right) assists a voter at a
polling station for the Central African
Republic’s run-off presidential elections.
A re-run of the 30 December 2015
legislative elections was also held. UN
Photo/Nektarios Markogiannis

In a statement attributable to his spokesperson, Mr. Ban took note of the announcement of
the provisional results of the presidential run-off elections held on 14 February in the CAR,
congratulating presidential candidate Faustin Archange Touadéra for his victory, according
to provisional results.
“The Secretary-General also extends his appreciation to presidential candidate Mr. Anicet
Dologuele for the spirit of statesmanship demonstrated through his concession speech,” Mr.
Ban said.

The Secretary-General also called on all political leaders and national stakeholders to continue to “maintain the constructive
atmosphere and for all actors to maintain their commitments in line with the electoral Code of Conduct.”
Calling on the Transitional Authorities to complete the electoral process through the timely holding of the second round of
legislative elections, Mr. Ban reiterated the commitment of the UN to continue providing its full support to the Transitional
Authorities to ensure the completion of the political transition process by 31 March.
The UN has played a major role in seeking to restore peace in the CAR, with military and police units from the 11,000strong UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the country (MINUSCA) joining soldiers from the French
Sangaris force and local security teams last 30 December at polling stations to ensure a peaceful vote.
After nine months of improved stability in CAR, a new wave of inter-communal violence erupted this past September,
killing at least 130 people, injuring 430 others, and triggering an 18 per cent increase in the number of internally displaced
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22 February 2016

persons to 447,500.

Quality education in mother languages vital to success of 2030
Agenda – UN
21 February - Mother languages are essential to providing quality education, which in turn
supports the achievement of the new global development agenda, the head of the United
Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said on the
International Day established to promote the preservation and protection of all languages
used by peoples of the world.

Schoolchildren in Chowrapara, Rangpur,
Bangladesh. Photo: UNICEF/Tapash
Paul

Marking International Mother Language Day, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova
emphasized that “mother languages in a multilingual approach are essential components of
quality education, which is itself the foundation for empowering women and men and their
societies.”

She underscored the need to recognize and nurture this power, in order to “leave no one behind” and “craft a more just and
sustainable future for all.”
This year's theme of the Mother Language Day is “quality education, language(s) of instruction and learning outcomes,” she
said.
Goal 4 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development focuses on quality education and lifelong learning for all, to enable
every woman and man to acquire skills, knowledge, and values to become everything they wish and participate fully in their
societies, she said, noting that this is especially important for girls and women, as well as minorities, indigenous peoples,
and rural populations.
UNESCO's Education 2030 Framework for Action, a road-map to implement the 2030 Agenda, encourages full respect for
the use of mother language in teaching and learning, and the promotion and preservation of linguistic diversity, noted Ms.
Bokova.
“Multilingualism is essential to drive these objectives forward – it is vital for success across the 2030 Agenda, regarding
growth, employment and health, as well as sustainable consumption and production, and climate change,” she said.
UNESCO brings the same focus to advancing linguistic diversity on the Internet, through support to relevant local content as
well as media and information literacy, explained Ms. Bokova. Through the Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems
(LINKS) programme, UNESCO is highlighting the importance of mother and local languages as channels for safeguarding
and sharing indigenous cultures and knowledge, which are vast reservoirs of wisdom.
International Mother Language Day was proclaimed by the UNESCO General Conference in November 1999, and has been
observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. The date
represents the day in 1952 when students demonstrating for recognition of their language, Bangla, as one of the two national
languages of the then Pakistan, were shot and killed by police in Dhaka, the capital of what is now Bangladesh.

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22 February 2016

Ban welcomes progress made by Comorian people in
preparations for upcoming elections
20 February - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the progress
made by the people of the Comoros in preparations for presidential elections and polls for
island governors on Sunday.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN
Photo/Amanda Voisard (file)

In a statement attributable to his spokesperson, Mr. Ban said that as the nation prepares for
primary presidential elections and the first round of elections of the governors of the islands
of Grand Comoros, Anjouan and Mohéli on Sunday, the people of the Comoros have the
collective responsibility to ensure that the elections are peaceful, credible and transparent.

“The United Nations, in collaboration with other international partners of the Comoros, will
continue to support the Comorian people in their efforts to consolidate democracy and peace, and promote socio-economic
development,” the UN chief said.

'Bring people in from the margins,' urges UN chief on World
Social Justice Day
20 February - The United Nations top official today called on Member States to build
inclusive societies free of discrimination, in which all people can live with dignity and
opportunities to improve their lives, as he observed the World Day of Social Justice.

Pedestrian waits to cross in Mumbai,
India. Photo: Simone D.
McCourtie/World Bank

“With exclusion and inequality on the rise, we must step up efforts to ensure that all people,
without discrimination, are able to access opportunities to improve their lives and those of
others,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message, stressing the need to “build
inclusive societies, promote decent work, bolster social protection floors, and bring people
in from the margins.”

In 2015, the UN adopted a new 15-year development plan involving all Member States,
known as 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It also adopted a framework for development financing, or Addis
Ababa Action Agenda, as well the Paris Agreement, pact to mitigate the impact of climate change.
The international community has thus pledged to end poverty by 2030 through effective integrated social, economic and
environmental policies, he said, emphasizing that these landmark blueprints for a better world provide invaluable tools and a
powerful vision to meet the needs of today's generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their
own.
“Social justice must be at the heart of our efforts,” Mr. Ban said.
In all efforts, partnerships are essential, as sustainable development is only possible with the active engagement of
governments, parliaments, employers, workers, civil society, the private sector and other agents of change, he said.
In 2007, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 20 February as World Day of Social Justice, inviting Member States to
devote the day to national activities in line with its purposes. Observing the World Day should support efforts of the
international community in poverty eradication, the promotion of full employment and decent work, gender equity and
access to social well-being and justice for all.

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Syria: UN envoy strongly condemns bombings in Damascus and
Homs
21 February - The United Nations Special Envoy for Syria has strongly condemned
bombings in two Syrian cities earlier today that resulted in more than 100 people killed or
injured, including children.
In a statement attributable to his spokesperson, the UN envoy, Staffan de Mistura,
condemned “yet another set of car bomb and suicide explosions in Damascus and Homs
cities which killed and injured today over 100 people, including children.”
A street lined with rubble and destroyed
buildings in the Old City area of Homs,
Syria. Photo: UNICEF/Nasar Ali

Mr. da Mistura said in the statement that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or
ISIL/Da'esh, claimed responsibility for the “terrorist acts.”

Fiji: UNICEF on stand-by with supplies and personnel in wake of
Cyclone Winston
21 February - In the wake of Tropical Cyclone Winston that struck the island nation of Fiji
Saturday night, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said it is on stand-by to
provide emergency supplies and additional personnel to support the Government as it
works to determine critical needs.
In a statement released today, UNICEF noted that its main concern is for children, pregnant
women and breastfeeding mothers across Fiji.
Suva, Fiji, ahead of Cyclone Winston's
landfall. The cyclone was upgraded to a
category 5 on Friday 19 February as it
made its way across the Pacific region,
having already impacted Tonga. Photo:
UNICEF/UN010591/Clements

“Little is yet known about the status of communities living on the outer islands of Fiji that
were directly under the eye of Tropical Cyclone Winston, as communications remain down
for many,” the agency said.

According to UNICEF, the Government of Fiji is rapidly working to assess the overall
situation in order to pinpoint the critical needs. The Government has declared a state of natural disaster for the next 30 days
and has initiated the clean-up process by clearing the huge amounts of debris scattered everywhere.
Alice Clements, a Communications Specialist with UNICEF Pacific, said from her base in the capital city of Suva that “the
amount of destruction to infrastructure, livelihoods and homes that something like this can do is just immense. It can also
completely destroy or severely damage school facilities and health facilities.”
Noting that UNICEF staff members are standing by to assist as required, Ms. Clements stressed that “if we are talking about
a worst-case scenario, in addition to injuries and loss of life, you have a situation where people's entire lives, top to bottom,
have been turned upside down.”
In a separate statement yesterday, Ms. Clements said she felt the impact of the storm in Suva, with “destructive, howling
winds and the sound of rivets lifting from roofs a constant throughout the night.”
“It is likely that smaller villages across Fiji will have suffered the most, given their infrastructures would be too weak to
withstand the power of a category 5 cyclone. Families may have lost their homes and crops therefore leaving them without
shelter, food and a livelihood,” she added.
UNICEF, a member of the Pacific Humanitarian Team, said it has pre-positioned supplies in Suva and Nadi, including water
kits, health kits and education materials such as school tents.

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22 February 2016

The agency said it will actively support the Government of Fiji, if called on to assist, in leading clusters of agencies working
in water and sanitation, education and nutrition, and in child protection.

The UN Daily News is prepared at UN Headquarters in New York by the News Services Section
of the News and Media Division, Department of Public Information (DPI)