8 August 2014
Yvette Morris, Chief, Radio and Television section of the United Nations Information Service in Geneva, chaired the briefing, which was attended by the Spokespersons for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations Children’s Fund, United Nations Refugee Agency, International Organization for Migration, World Health Organization and the World Food Programme.
Ravina Shamsadani, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said OHCHR was deeply alarmed by the situation in northern Iraq, and in particular the situation of vulnerable minority groups, including the Yezidi, Christian and Turkomen communities.
OHCHR was gravely concerned about the physical safety and the humanitarian situation of the large number of civilians trapped in areas under the control of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or in areas affected by the violence, said Ms. Shamsadani.
Widespread or systematic attacks directed against any civilian populations because of their ethnic background, religion or belief may constitute a crime against humanity, said Ms. Shamsadani. All parties, including ISIL and associated armed groups, must abide by international humanitarian law, including the obligation to protect the civilian population.
OHCHR called on the international community and the Governments of Iraq and the Kurdistan Region to take all necessary measures to ensure the protection of civilians, in particular those belonging to the vulnerable communities.
Elisabeth Byrs, for the World Food Programme (WFP), said many of the families who had fled violence in Nineveh’s Sinjar region in recent weeks were in urgent need of water, food and shelter. WFP was very concerned about the very high temperatures which contributed to very difficult living conditions.
As a response to the rising numbers of people fleeing Sinjar, WFP had set up three emergency field kitchens in Dohuk, in partnership with the local Barazani charity foundation, and would establish additional field kitchens in coming days. The kitchens had enabled WFP to assist around 75,000 individuals who had fled Sinjar since 4 August.
WFP had acquired a warehouse in Dohuk to store its supplies and was establishing hubs in Basrah and Baghdad to facilitate storage of food and transport arrangements. Additionally, WFP sought to establish new transport corridors to bring food into Iraq, including a southern corridor through Kuwait.
Hundreds of thousands of people had been displaced by the crisis, said Ms. Byrs. Some people were in difficult situations in and around Mosul in hard-to-reach areas.
Before the latest wave of displacements, starting with the violence in Mosul, WFP was already assisting about 240,000 people who were displaced by conflict in al-Anbar Governorate, as well as more than 180,000 refugees from the conflict in Syria, who were sheltering in Iraq.
Altogether, despite a challenging security situation and displaced people on the move, WFP had successfully distributed food in 10 Governorates across Iraq, reaching close to 230,000 people who fled the violence that hit Mosul in mid-June then spread to surrounding cities and Governorates.
WFP planned to reach 1.2 million people displaced by early 2015.
Chris Lom, for the International Organization of Migration (IOM) said new IOM data showed there were now over one million internally displaced people in Iraq, as of 7 August 2014.
The single event that pushed the number over the one million mark was the latest round of fighting between the Islamic State and the Kurdish Peshmerga military. It was the highest number of displaced people in Iraq since the Islamic State began its advance into the previously Government-controlled areas in January 2014.
IOM had identified some 176,150 internally displaced families, representing some 1,056,000 internally displaced individuals in 1381 locations throughout Iraq. Over 54 per cent of those people, some 94,000 families, became displaced after June 2014, said Mr. Lom.
Journalists would have seen stories in the media about the displaced Yezidi and other ethnic minorities who had fled to the mountains, said Mr. Lom, indicating to journalists a new map within the IOM Flash Report which outlined where those people had escaped to.
Many of those people were difficult to access and many of them were yet to be registered. It was extremely difficult to bring them food and water and contact them.
The website www.iomiraq.net had various displacement tracking matrixes and updates which could be accessed, Mr. Lom added.
Yvette Morris, for the United Nations Information Service in Geneva, drew journalists’ attention to a statement issued on Iraq last night attributed to the spokesperson of the United Nations Secretary-General, stating that the Secretary-General was deeply appalled at reports of attacks by the terrorist group Islamic State (IS) in Kirkuk, and Qaraqosh, and earlier attacks in other districts affecting mainly the vulnerable communities of Christians, Turkomen, and Yezidis. Reports of Yezidis amassing along the Turkish border as well as thousands also trapped in the Sinjar mountains in desperate need of humanitarian assistance are of urgent and grave concern. The Secretary-General welcomes the successful humanitarian airdrop that has taken place so far but expresses his continuing and deep concern for the safety of those civilians.
Ms. Morris said that the United Nations Security Council had also condemned the attacks in Iraq’s Ninewa province. In a statement the Security Council expressed its deep outrage about the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis — many of them from vulnerable minority communities – displaced by ISIL’s attacks.
In the statement Members of the Security Council reiterated that widespread or systematic attacks directed against any civilian populations because of their ethnic background, political grounds, religion or belief may constitute a crime against humanity, for which those responsible must be held accountable. The full statements were available on the United Nations website, Ms. Morris noted.
Questions on Iraq
Jens Laerke, for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), responded to a question from a journalist who asked how many people were being rescued from the Sinjar mountains, and who was rescuing them. Mr. Laerke said OCHA was aware of reports but not yet in a position to confirm them. In any case, OCHA was ready to provide humanitarian assistance to anybody coming out of that area.
Mr. Lom noted that the figures were extremely fluid and all figures provided by him in the briefing were those that had been effectively logged in the displacement tracking matrix. The numbers clearly did not include people who were on the move, and particularly those people in the mountains who couldn’t yet be accessed.
A journalist asked about reports that ISIS was beheading Christian children. Ms. Shamsadani said she did not have any specific information about beheadings. OHCHR however had some very worrying information about children dying and about the recruitment of child soldiers. It had also received very disturbing reports about the treatment of women, that women were being sold as sex slaves, and being punished for not adhering to misinterpretations of Islamic laws. OHCHR was very worried about those reports.
Jens Laerke, for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said the situation was extremely fluid this morning in Gaza after the expiration of the 72 hour ceasefire. OCHA had received reports that some hostilities had taken place; with rockets being fired into Israel, and the other way around. People in Gaza were very reluctant to leave their homes. They feared that the hostilities would intensify once again, OCHA staff on the ground reported.
The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, James Rawley, urged a continuation of the ceasefire on humanitarian grounds, said Mr. Laerke.
During the first 48 hours of the pause in hostilities rescue teams were able to retrieve additional bodies in Gaza, which yesterday brought the cumulative death toll of Palestinians to 1,869, of whom 1,380 were believed to be civilians, said Mr. Laerke.
Humanitarian workers were also able to deliver food rations to hundreds of thousands of people during the pause. Some vital repairs to water and sanitation infrastructure were initiated. Hundreds of tonnes of debris were removed from Gaza refugee camps, and some medical supplies were brought in.
A particular issue that came up as people were able to get out of their houses and get into the streets was that there were thousands of ‘explosive remnants of war’, which was a technical term for the unexploded ammunition that was lying around in the rubble and elsewhere. It was of particular concern to children. It was of concern for farmers, who were trying to go back and tend to their land. And it was of particular concern to humanitarian workers and of course for those internally displaced persons who were trying to return home, said Mr. Laerke.
Much of the unexploded ammunition shells and other types of ammunition lay within what Israel declared the buffer zone, which was a three-kilometre wide strip of land inside Gaza, from which everybody was asked to leave. A lot of that was farming land. There was mine-risk education targeting families, particularly in the most at-risk areas, Mr. Laerke added.
OCHA estimated that some 65,000 people had had their homes completely destroyed or bombed to a state where they were completely uninhabitable. All those displaced needed food, drinking water, water for domestic use, sanitation and hygiene. Hundreds of thousands of children had been deeply traumatized and required direct psycho-social support.
OCHA launched the Gaza crisis appeal a week ago, which was available online, and outlined the planned humanitarian response of the country team, including the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. It requested US$367 million for immediate assistance to the population of Gaza. The projects included food, health, nutrition, protection, water and sanitation, as well as education, and coordination and support services. Of the US$367 million it was food security and shelter which needed the largest amount – US$293 million altogether.
Chris Tidey, for United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), announced that the number of child casualties during this conflict now exceeded the combined number of children killed in the two previous conflicts in Gaza. The numbers killed in previous conflicts were 350 in 2008 to 2009, and 35 in 2012.
No children were reported killed since the announcement of the 72-hour ceasefire on 5 August. However, the number of child casualties continued to rise as children were recovered from the rubble of houses and due to the ongoing verification of the information.
At least 447 Palestinian children were reported killed between 8 July and 5 August 2014 said Mr. Tidey. The child casualties included 277 boys and 170 girls, aged between 10 days and 17 years old.
Of the 447 children, at least 305 child casualties, or 68 per cent, were 12 years old or younger. Of the 170 girls, 126 casualties, or 74 per cent, were 12 years old or younger. Children made up approximately 30 per cent of all civilian casualties, he added.
On water and sanitation, Mr. Tidey said United Nations colleagues in Gaza confirmed that Gaza’s families were struggling to obtain clean water to drink and maintain adequate hygiene after 28 days of armed conflict had damaged critical infrastructure.
Clean water for drinking, bathing and washing up was very limited before the conflict. Even before the hostilities started, only five percent of Gaza’s underground water had been found safe for human consumption, said Mr. Tidey. Desalinization plants relied on electricity to operate, but multiple airstrikes on Gaza’s only power plant in July added to an already long existing power shortage. Rolling power cuts now extended up to 22 hours daily. Approximately only 11 per cent of Gaza’s energy needs were being met.
Most Gazans had to cope with severe shortages in water and power services. Water and sewage pumps, waste water treatment plants and desalination plants would all be unable to function properly until a solution is found to the energy crisis.
In UNICEF’s most recent estimates, some 500,000 litres of fuel were needed to power generators in place of the regular electricity supply. Import of fuel had been restricted due to Israel’s closure of the Gaza Strip. More detailed information was available for journalists, Mr. Tidey added.
Paul Garwood, for the World Health Organization (WHO), gave an update on the health situation in Gaza after speaking to the WHO Gaza office this morning. Mr. Garwood reported that his colleagues feared the resumption of hostilities would result in an increase in the stress on the health system which was already catering over 9,500 wounded people. There was a fear that number would only increase, potentially today.
More than half of Gaza’s hospitals had been damaged. Over one third of the 75 clinics operated by the Ministry of Health and UNRWA had been closed. Nine hospitals had been closed. Those closures occurred in a health system which prior to the conflict was already suffering from 30 per cent shortages, said Mr. Garwood.
There were fears of an outbreak of communicable diseases due to the high number of displaced people, the challenges in accessing safe water and the high overcrowding in many of the facilities for displaced people, Mr. Garwood reported.
The main issues were to ensure the safety of healthcare workers and health facilities and to ensure to continuation of healthcare. Mr. Garwood gave an example of at least three ambulance workers who had been reported killed in Rafah. He also underlined the importance of the strengthening the health system. More medicines were needed, as well as staff. Some 40 per cent of hospital staff had been unable to work, causing therefore high fatigue among staff who continued to work and had been working around the clock for the last four weeks.
Mr. Garwood said the latest WHO situation report for Gaza, on the health system, was available at the back of the room.
Elisabeth Byrs, for the World Food Programme (WFP), briefed on the food situation in Gaza. As of 5 August, WFP had reached more than 329,000 conflict affected people in Gaza with emergency food assistance.
Following the announcement of the 72-hours ceasefire, WFP also started its regular in-kind food distributions in Gaza targeting 85,000 people.
WFP also launched a large scale bread distribution, purchasing bread in Jerusalem and the West Bank and transporting it to Gaza. That had relieved the pressure on Gaza bakeries, which saw a threefold increase in bread customers as electricity cuts left people unable to bake bread at home.
Ms. Byrs emphasized that there had been a 71 per cent increase in the price of vegetables since the start of the conflict. The lack of adequate quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as the rising prices for those food commodities, required an increase in efforts in bringing food into Gaza that were rich in vitamins and minerals.
WFP Logistics also opened three new warehouses for the use of WFP and partners in Rafah, the Middle Area and in Khan Younis in Gaza, stated Ms. Byrs.
Questions on Gaza
A journalist asked how many injured children were in Gaza currently. Mr. Tidey replied that as reports were still coming in the numbers were in flux, but according to Ministry of Health figures, some 2,877 children had been injured in Gaza.
How much humanitarian access was achieved during the ceasefire , a journalist asked. Mr. Laerke replied that it was very difficult, and the very large amount of unexploded ordinance lying around was a major restriction to the humanitarian response, which made it very difficult for aid workers, and first and foremost the people themselves to come out. One must not forget that the Palestinians themselves were the first aid workers, said Mr. Laerke
WHO asked for the establishment of a humanitarian corridor days ago, said a journalist, enquiring whether it had been established. Mr. Garwood responded that WHO had seen in many instances that the humanitarian space was not enabled sufficiently enough to get people to the healthcare they deserved, because of the insecurity.
A journalist asked whether any pledges had been made to the Emergency Appeal yet, including by Israel. Had OCHA asked Israel for compensation for the destruction in Gaza, especially for the destruction of United Nations property, the journalist asked.
Mr. Laerke said he would check which pledges had been made. He explained that a US$700 million Strategic Response Plan was already in place for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, covering Gaza and the West Bank. Some of those projects had been folded into, realigned, sharpened and prioritized into the new Gaza Crisis Appeal. OCHA’s main message was there was a US$360 million appeal from all agencies, including the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), to assist in Gaza.
So far there had been no contributions from Israel, said Mr. Laerke. As a matter of policy OCHA did not ask any particular donor to fund any particular project. Rather OCHA presented the requirements to donors who funded appeals that they wanted to fund.
Were children being targeted, and if so, could it amount to a crime against humanity, a journalist asked. Mr. Tidey replied that that there had been any explicit targeting was not something UNICEF colleagues on the ground were suggesting. Rather, the issue was that there was no safe space for children to go. A lot of fire power was being directed at a very small geographical area. When homes were collapsing and shells were coming through the walls, the children simply had nowhere to go.
A journalist asked for a clarification about the number of non-civilian deaths in Gaza. He also asked about the United Nations position on whether armed groups in Gaza had used human shields.
Mr. Laerke replied that 1,869 Palestinians had died in the conflict. Of those an estimated 1,380 were civilians, giving a difference of 489. That difference broke down to 272 persons who had not yet been identified and 217 members of armed groups.
Ms. Morris added that there was no proof that civilians had been used of human shields, and further, the Secretary-General and other senior United Nations officials had said that even if there had been indiscriminate placement of missiles it was no excuse or reason to bomb civilians. The United Nations was not in a position to say any more.
Ravina Shamsadani, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), answered a question about the Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry into the situation in Gaza, set up at the end of the recent Special Session. Ms. Shamsadani said the President of the Human Rights Council would appoint the Commissioners, who were requested to report to the twenty-eighth session of the Council, in March 2015.
Central African Republic
Jens Laerke, for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), highlighted reports that fighting between ex-Seleka and anti-Balaka elements on 30 and 31 July in Batangafo, in the north-west of the Central African Republic, had caused renewed displacement.
An estimated 20,000 people were displaced within the town and thousands more on major roads in the region. Additionally clashes on 4 August again affected the humanitarian situation and hindered humanitarian access to those people, reported Mr. Laerke
An inter-agency assessment mission had been sent out, which was expected to visit Batangafo in the beginning of next week.
Mr. Laerke quoted the Senior Humanitarian Coordinator in the Central African Republic (CAR), Claire Bourgeois, who had issued a statement saying: “We call on all parties involved in the fighting to respect the civilian population and humanitarian agencies trying to help them”. Ms. Bourgeois also called for a return to peace in line with the spirit of the recent Brazzaville ceasefire accord.
Chris Tidey, for United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), said UNICEF was extremely concerned about the deteriorating security situation in the northeast of South Sudan. UNICEF joined its partners working in the country to express its horror over the killing of at least six South Sudanese aid workers in Maban County in Upper Nile State earlier this week.
To date over 1.5 million people had been forced to flee their homes because of the ongoing conflict. Some 1.1 million, of whom nearly 600,000 were children, were living in precarious conditions within South Sudan.
Regarding malnutrition risk, Mr. Tidey said that as a result of the violence, many parents had lost their livelihoods and many were dangerously food insecure. Before the outbreak of the conflict in December 2013, estimates for the number of children under the age of five who would suffer from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) in 2014 was 108,000. That estimate had since more than doubled to 235,000 children. UNICEF was concerned that up to 50,000 of those severely acutely malnourished children under five could die, unless they were reached with treatment.
Concerning the separation of children, Mr. Tidey said a minimum of 5,000 children at the last count had been separated from their parents and family, and those were only the children who had been registered as separated, so the real number would be much higher. Only 333 (seven per cent) of the children registered have been reunited with their families.
On water and sanitation, Mr. Tidey said that cholera continued to spread, with new cases reported this week in Juba County, Upper Nile and Eastern Equatoria States. As of 3 August, according to WHO, 35,561 cholera cases had been reported, with 122 deaths.
Ravina Shamsadani, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said OHCHR was very much concerned about the situation in Libya, where a conflict between multiple armed groups had been raging primarily in Benghazi and Tripoli. Frequent indiscriminate shelling of heavily populated areas in both cities by the rival sides had been reported, leading to the death or injury of civilians, including children.
Living conditions for civilians in both cities had steadily deteriorated, with food, fuel and electricity in diminishing supply. Health facilities had been severely affected by the violence and common criminality was on the rise.
Armed groups from both sides had taken prisoners and OHCHR was receiving initial reports of torture that it was investigating. In addition, attacks against media professionals continued, Ms. Shamsadani said.
OHCHR reminded all parties involved in the hostilities that under international law indiscriminate attacks were war crimes, as were attacks on civilians or civilian objects such as airports – unless such civilian facilities were being used for military purposes.
Torture was also a war crime. The direct perpetrators of any such crimes in Libya, as well as commanders who ordered or failed to stop the commission of such crimes, could be prosecuted, including by the International Criminal Court. There should be no impunity.
OHCHR appealed on all sides to immediately end all violations of international law. Ms. Shamsadani said OHCHR hoped that the fighting itself would end and that Libyans would engage in peaceful dialogue to resolve their differences.
Humanitarian situation in Arsal, Lebanon
Ariane Rummery, for the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), said UNHCR, working with Lebanese government and other partners in the north-eastern Bekaa Valley, was distributing humanitarian supplies, including hygiene and baby kits, mattresses, blankets, bread and canned food, to both Lebanese civilians and Syrian refugees who had fled fighting between the military and armed groups in the town of Arsal, close to the Syrian border.
The Lebanese municipal authorities estimated that over 2,000 Lebanese and Syrian people, mainly women and children, had fled Arsal since the clashes began on Saturday. They were currently sheltering in private houses, community centres and schools in Bekaa towns such as Al Marj, Bar Elias and Baalbek.
With movement into and within Arsal still curtailed by the security situation, access remained limited and reports indicated that food stocks and baby supplies were running low. Electricity remained cut off, preventing pumping of water from wells, so the water supply was precarious.
Reports indicated that health-care centres in Arsal were running low on medical supplies. Primary care and mobile medical unit activities had mostly been suspended, with only one primary care centre open to receive patients. Humanitarian agencies had dispatched mobile medical units to areas and towns in the Bekaa hosting those displaced from Arsal.
Those who were able to flee the town cited security concerns, including the risk of being caught in the crossfire, as the main reason for leaving their homes. Some 35,000 Lebanese civilians lived in Arsal, while in the same town UNHCR had registered 42,000 Syrian refugees who fled from the conflict in neighbouring Syria, now well into its fourth year.
Argentinean Grandmother and Human Rights Defender
Ravina Shamsadani, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said OHCHR was very pleased at the news that Argentinian grandmother and human rights defender Estela de Carlotto, who was president of the Association of Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, had discovered the identity of her grandson, after decades of perseverance.
Carlotto’s grandson was among an estimated 500 children who disappeared during the military dictatorship in Argentina between 1976 and 1983. He was born in 1978 during his mother’s clandestine detention by the military. His mother, Ms Carlotto's daughter, was killed two months after the birth. His father was also among those illegally detained and later killed.
Of the estimated 500 children disappeared during the military dictatorship in Argentina, only 114 had been located, said Ms. Shamsadani.
The courage, perseverance and determination that grandmothers of disappeared children in Argentina had demonstrated over the past three decades continued to inspire human rights defenders across the globe.
The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo and other human rights associations in the region had made a tremendous contribution to the United Nations human rights system, and had advanced the application of scientific methods towards resolution of human rights issues.
Enforced disappearance was a human rights violation that repeated itself daily for the families of the disappeared. OHCHR called on authorities in all parts of the world to redouble their efforts to discover the fate of such individuals and to ensure that the rights to justice and reparation are realised, said Ms. Shamsadani.
Hepatitis E among refugees in Ethiopia
Ariane Rummery, for the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), said UNHCR was stepping up measures to rein in the spread of Hepatitis E among South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia. She said that the liver disease Hepatitis E that had spread across South Sudan over the last two years had now appeared in three border camps that housed some 150,000 South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia.
UNHCR had worked swiftly with the Ethiopian government, the WHO, the refugees themselves, and other partners to contain the disease. As a result, a decline in infections was being seen, even though, unfortunately, 13 refugees had died from Hepatitis E since April, said Ms. Rummery.
Hepatitis E was caused by a virus and was spread mainly by consuming contaminated water and food. For that reason, UNHCR had been working to improve sanitation in the camps and increase the amount and availability of safe drinking water.
The key message was for refugees simply to keep their hands clean. In the camps, Médecins Sans Frontières had distributed 80,000 bars of soap donated by UNICEF in the camps to encourage better hygiene. In addition, refugees were being asked not to defecate in the open, and more latrines were being built. UNHCR was also telling refugees not to let animals defecate close to their homes.
The refugees know Hepatitis E as “Yellow Eyes” so UNHCR was sharing the message “if you have yellow eyes, go to the clinic” as getting early medical treatment was essential, said Ms. Rummery.
Since April, there have been 367 cases of Hepatitis E in Leichuor, Kule and Tierkidi camps, which were all located in the Gambella region of western Ethiopia, bordering South Sudan. Laboratories in Addis Ababa and Nairobi confirmed that the virus was related to the Hepatitis E outbreak reported in neighbouring South Sudan. Six more cases were reported in the refugee hosting communities of Itang and Nyin-yan.
Hepatitis E hit people between the ages of 15 and 40 hardest. In the three camps where refugees were with Hepatitis E, a large majority were young people aged 12 to 40 years. Hepatitis E was particularly dangerous for pregnant women; as many as 20 to 25 per cent of pregnant women who contracted the disease may die. A pregnant woman was among the 13 refugees who have died, confirmed Ms. Rummery.
Ethiopia was home to 247,554 South Sudanese refugees, including more than 185,000 who have fled since fighting broke out in mid-December last year.
In other neighbouring African countries that hosted South Sudanese refugees, medical staff were screening all refugees as they arrive to find out whether they were or had been sick. If needed, they were further examined to see if they may have Hepatitis E or cholera, which had also been sweeping South Sudan since 15 May. In addition, UNHCR and partners have also stockpiled medicine, medical supplies, and water treatment supplies as a normal precaution.
Yvette Morris, Chief, Radio and Television section of the United Nations Information Service in Geneva, announced the Advisory Committee of the Human Rights Council would hold its thirteenth session in Room XX of the Palais des Nations in Geneva from 11 to 15 August 2014.
The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination would hold its eighty-fifth session at the Palais Wilson in Geneva from 11 to 29 August 2014 to review anti-discrimination efforts undertaken by the Governments of El Salvador, United States, Peru, Cameroon, Iraq, Japan and Estonia.
Ms. Morris noted that background press releases for both Committees were issued yesterday. She also advised journalists that the Conference on Disarmament would next meet in public at 10 a.m. on Tuesday 12 August.
Ms. Morris read out an announcement from the World Trade Organization, that its Director-General Roberto Azevêdo would next week visit Mexico, Cuba and El Salvador, where he would meet with Government officials and members of the private sector. Melissa Begag could help with any enquiries from journalists.
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The webcast for this briefing is available here: http://webtv.un.org/media/geneva-press-briefings/watch/geneva-press-briefing-wfp-iom-ocha-unicef-ohchr-unhcr/3720654432001