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ACCESSIBILITY AT UNOG A A A A The United Nations in the Heart of Europe

REGULAR PRESS BRIEFING BY THE INFORMATION SERVICE

28 June 2019

Alessandra Vellucci, Director of the United Nations Information Service in Geneva, chaired the briefing, which was attended by the spokespersons for the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the Human Rights Council, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the United Nations Refugee Agency, the Office of the Special Envoy for Syria, the World Meteorological Organization, the International Labour Organization, the World Health Organization and the International Organization for Migration.

Situation facing migrants in the north of Bosnia

Katarina Zoric, for the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), speaking by telephone from Bihac, northern Bosnia, made the following statement:

“I am joining you this morning to raise our concerns about the humanitarian situation facing about 700 people living in a new temporary camp in Vucjak, near the Bosnia/Croatia border. These people were moved here from Bihac by local authorities due to concerns about overcrowding and safety and security issues in Bihac.

I have visited Vucjak a number of times over the past week. Living conditions at the Vucjak site are completely unacceptable, they’re not dignified. It’s not at all how people should be living regardless of whether people think migration is problem or not.

People here are living without sanitation, they don’t have toilets, so they are forced to use the nearby forest. There is no electricity, migrants are eating on the ground and during the night snakes are entering their tents.

Just yesterday, a 35-year-old man from Pakistan told me that he and his tentmates had to flee when two snakes entered their tent. They are frightened, desperate and they often tell me they feel forgotten and abandoned.

The health situation is especially alarming. There are hundreds of cases of scabies. When I first visited the camp 10 days ago, a 16-year-old boy approached me and showed me the bites on his body. His torso was completely covered in bites. Scabies is a disease of poor sanitation, heat and overcrowding. I spoke to a young man two days ago and he told me he’s been having stomach problems. The high temperatures that we are already experiencing and that we know will rise could make the health situation even worse.

This is not a sustainable solution for these people. There needs to be a better solution.

Despite extremely difficult circumstances, and despite the serious concerns we have about the appropriateness of the camp site, Red Cross volunteers are doing what they can to help people. We’re providing tents and sleeping bags, meals, hygiene items, mobile charging stations and basic first aid.

Our staff and volunteers are exhausted, and they are still struggling to cope with the increasing needs of the people in the camp.

These people are not just statistics, they are not numbers. They have names, they have their stories and hopes.

I think we all have a responsibility to act and help them.”

Responding to questions from journalists, Ms. Zoric said that the people in the camp, which was run by the local authorities, came from countries including Pakistan, India, Morocco, Algeria, Iraq, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Syrian Arab Republic. They had hoped to enter Croatia, but were unable to because that country had closed its borders.

Matthew Cochrane, for the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said that the conditions in the camp were not sustainable and it needed to be moved to a better location. IFRC had launched an emergency appeal for Bosnia and Herzegovina in November 2018 for about 3.3 million Swiss francs to respond to the worsening migration situation, but only about 30 per cent of that figure had so far been covered. Further information on the appeal was available on the IFRC website: https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/document/emergency-appeal-bosnia-herzegovina-population-movement/

Human Rights Council update

Rolando Gomez, for the Human Rights Council, said that the Council had that morning begun the second part of its annual discussion, with a number of panellist experts from civil society, academia and government, on the human rights of women, focussing on the rights of elderly women and their economic empowerment. In her opening remarks, Michelle Bachelet, High Commissioner for Human Rights, had noted that, by 2050, one in six people would be over the age of 65, up from one in 11 in 2019. Globally, the number of people aged 80 years or over was projected to triple by 2050. Despite that reality, the rights of older persons, and particularly older women, were sorely neglected by policymakers, and even the human rights community.

At 11 a.m., the Council would hear statements by Mr. Mbella Mbella Lejeune, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cameroon, Mr. Alexander Schallenberg, Federal Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs of Austria and Mr. Fuad Huseynov, Deputy Chairman of the State Committee for Affairs of Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons of Azerbaijan. They would be followed at 11.25 a.m. by the continuation of the discussion with the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Dubravka Šimonoviæ, and the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro.

At 2 p.m. that afternoon, the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty, Phillip Alston, would present his report addressing poverty and climate change, and his missions to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and the United Kingdom. The Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, Cecilia Jimenez-Damary, would then present her report addressing the role of national human rights institutions and on global and national activities under the twentieth anniversary of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. At 2.50 p.m., the Council to hear a statement by Mr. Camilo G. Gudmalin, Undersecretary for Special Concerns, Department of Social Welfare and Development of the Philippines, after which the discussion would recommence.

Later, at 4 p.m., there would be a panel discussion on women’s rights and climate change with opening statements by the High Commissioner for Human Rights and, by video message, Hilda C. Heine, President of the Marshall Islands. The panel would include Mary Robinson, Adjunct Professor of Climate Justice at Trinity College Dublin, Chair of The Elders and former President of Ireland. The panellists would explore how women and girls were more likely to experience the adverse effects caused by climate change.

The Council would continue its work on Monday 1 July 2019 with any remaining discussion on poverty and internally displaced persons, followed by thematic reports by the United Nations Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights. A general debate on civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights would be followed by a country report from Belarus and oral reports by the Special Rapporteur on Eritrea, the Special Rapporteur on Burundi and the Commissions of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic and Burundi, on Monday, Tuesday and possibly Wednesday. Many informal consultations would also be held. Information on any press conferences would be sent out to journalists as soon as possible.

Social unrest in Honduras

Marta Hurtado, for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), made the following statement:

“Ahead of demonstrations planned later today in Tegucigalpa and other Honduran cities, the UN Human Rights Office is calling on the authorities in Honduras to facilitate the exercise of the rights to freedom of opinion and expression and of peaceful assembly. We also call on the authorities not to employ the armed forces and military police in law enforcement operations during demonstrations, as we fear this could heighten tensions and lead to violence.

A number of demonstrations have been called for today to mark the tenth anniversary of the coup d’état that deposed President Manuel Zelaya. It is likely that several sectors will use the occasion to voice unsatisfied political, social and economic claims, and their opposition to current Government policies, such as planned changes in the education and the health sector.

We deeply regret the decision taken last week by the Honduran National Council for Security and Defence to confirm the existing unofficial practice of using the military and intelligence services to carry out public order functions.

Today’s demonstrations are taking place in the context of several weeks of social unrest. Since 27 May, protests took place in at least 14 departments of Honduras. Several were supressed by the security forces, using tear gas and live ammunition. Only on 19 June, 14 individuals were injured by live ammunition when security forces disbanded roadblocks in Tegucigalpa. On 24 June, military forces entered the premises of the National Autonomous University of Honduras, shooting and injuring five students.

To date, the UN Human Rights Office in Honduras is investigating the death of four people, including three adults and one child. Three of them were shot dead, and the fourth died as a result of a blade injury. Another 78 people, including journalists and human rights defenders, have reportedly been injured by the security forces in the context of the protests.

The participation of military personnel greatly increases the likelihood of excessive use of force, as was the case during the post-electoral protests in 2017. Military personnel do not generally have appropriate training or equipment for law enforcement activities, and their involvement in public order operations should be exceptional, and – if truly necessary – should be carried out in strict compliance with international human rights norms and standards.

In particular, ahead of today’s demonstrations, we remind the Honduran authorities of the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials* – which include the principles of necessity, precaution and proportionality, and make it clear that live ammunition can only be used in very specific circumstances and as a last resort – as well as of the Code of Conduct for Law enforcement officials.

We note that the Human Rights Prosecution Unit from the Attorney General’s Office has opened an investigation into the alleged human rights violations and abuses in the context of the recent protests. We urge that these investigations be carry out in a thorough, independent, and transparent manner.”

Human Rights abuses in Ituri province, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Marta Hurtado, for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), made the following statement:

“At least 117 people were killed in Ituri province, in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), between 10 and 13 June, according to a preliminary investigation carried out by the UN Joint Human Rights Office in the country.

After a series of attacks on multiple villages in the territories of Djugu and Mahagi were reported to the UN Joint Human Rights Office, a preliminary fact-finding mission was deployed to the area on 13 June, and after they had ascertained that several massacres had indeed taken place, a more robust investigative team was deployed to the area from 19 to 25 June.

The investigative team confirmed that at least 94 people had been killed in Djugu territory and 23 in Mahagi territory, including an as yet undetermined number of women and children. Some of the victims were beheaded. Homes and warehouses were burned down after being looted. The ferocity and scorched-earth nature of the attacks suggests the assailants intended to prevent survivors from being able to return to their villages.

Most of the victims belonged to the Hema community, and the rest to the Alur group. The attackers are reported to be unidentified individuals from the Lendu community.

Over the past six months, there have been reports of other attacks that have caused dozens of deaths.

The motives of the perpetrators of these latest attacks are unclear. Originally, they were reported as retaliation for the earlier deaths of four Lendu people. However, the team’s analysis of the context suggests this explanation was a pretext. The information gathered so far seems to indicate that despite the attackers reportedly belong to one community, and the victims to others, there appear to be additional political and economic motives underlying the assaults. The Hema and Lendu have a history of extreme inter-communal violence in the Ituri region.

We call on the authorities to carry out a prompt, thorough, impartial, independent and transparent investigation and to bring the perpetrators and the instigators of these crimes to justice. Efficient action by law enforcement and judicial authorities – applying international norms and standards – could reduce the risk of retaliation from the affected communities and break the cycle of violence.

We also urge the Government to investigate the inability of the Armed Forces to prevent or stop the massacres and to take the necessary measures to protect the population in the area. This includes ensuring that the Lendu community is not collectively punished for the actions of certain individuals or groups. All actions by the defence and security forces in response to the attacks must comply with international human rights norms and standards.

The repeated attacks have provoked an exodus towards different towns, as well as to IDP camps that are now hosting some 78,000 people.”

Responding to questions from journalists, Ms. Hurtado said that the possible motives for the attacks remained unclear but there were indications that they were not only the result of traditional intercommunal violence. Further investigations were therefore required and OHCHR was calling on the authorities at all levels in the country to take action.

Killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi

In answer to questions from journalists about the killing of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Marta Hurtado, for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said that the position of OHCHR was that the trials conducted in Saudi Arabia of those accused of the killing did not comply with international standards and so it was calling for an international investigation to be carried out. Also in answering the questions, Alessandra Vellucci, for the United Nations Information Service in Geneva, added that the Secretary-General’s spokesperson had, on 25 June 2019, stated that the Secretary-General had always condemned the killing of Mr. Khashoggi and had called for a prompt, thorough and transparent investigation.

Migrants in Mexico

Responding to questions from journalists about the situation and treatment of asylum seekers in or travelling through Mexico, Andrej Mahecic, for the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), said that most persons fleeing violence in Central America, and thus in need of international protection, claimed asylum in the south of Mexico. The capacity of the Mexican Refugee Commission had increased in the states of Chiapas, Tabasco and Veracruz but was not able to keep pace with the rise in numbers, and the average time for an asylum claim to be dealt with was currently more than six months. Living conditions in those areas were difficult, with little access to employment or public services, which increased the likelihood of asylum seekers attempting to travel further and attempt to enter the United States, with all the risk entailed by the absence of legal safe routes. OHCHR was working with the Mexican authorities and providing increased legal and humanitarian aid and support for refugees and asylum seekers in the country.

Syria

Jenifer Fenton, for the Office of the Special Envoy for Syria, made the following statement:

“The Special Envoy Mr. Geir O. Pedersen briefed the Security Council on Thursday 27 June 2019. He noted that it is time for the Idlib situation to be stabilized and for a nationwide ceasefire to be pursued. It remains vital to protect civilians - countering a group designated by the Security Council as a terrorist group cannot be done in violation of international humanitarian law. The Special Envoy wants to see the assurances he has received regarding commitments to maintain de-escalation and de-militarization agreements in the Idlib area reflected on the ground.

Mr. Pedersen thinks that the path may be open to bring about the launch of the constitutional committee and will be engaging with relevant actors soon.

The Special Envoy noted that the end of fighting in Idlib, a nationwide ceasefire, a constitutional committee, confidence-building measures, and a common international forum could change the trajectory and move down a clear political path in line with the provisions of Security Council resolution 2254 (2015). Mr. Pedersen noted his planned travel, but further details of his trips are not available at this moment.

Ms. Najat Rochdi, Senior humanitarian adviser to the Special Envoy, also convened the Humanitarian Task Force on Thursday. She too urged for an end to the violence in the Idlib area, noting the unacceptable death tool (300 civilians dead); and the need to respect international humanitarian law.

She raised concerns about Rukban and Al Hol. In Rukban, some 27,000 people lack the most basic of services and remain in dire need of humanitarian and protection assistance. The United Nations request for predictable and durable humanitarian access to the settlement and to help those who would like to leave grows ever more urgent.

Some 73,000 people remain in Al Hol camp, the vast majority of them women and children. News of children of foreign nationality being repatriated is welcome. But the situation for the thousands of children who remain at Al Hol remains shameful. We also ask that people in the camp receive information about the whereabouts and conditions of their family members and remind parties to the conflict that children should receive the special care and protection they are entitled to under international humanitarian law.

More resources are required to respond to urgent needs in northwestern Syria and other areas across the country.”

Responding to questions from journalists, Ms. Fenton shared that the Special Envoy had said that the path to concluding the constitutional committee’s composition and the rules of procedure might now be open and he looked forward to testing directly, in his upcoming engagements, whether a formula that he had been careful to ensure had the buy-in of all, could move forward the establishment of a committee.

Heatwave and preparatory meeting for UN Climate Summit in Abu Dhabi

Clare Nullis, for the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), made the following statement:

“Many parts of Europe are experiencing the first heatwave of the year as a result of warm air masses from Africa, setting new daytime and overnight temperature records for June. The heat poses a risk to people's health because of heat stress and high ultraviolet (UV) rays, agriculture and the environment, especially through wildfires, as we are seeing in Spain’s Catalonia province.

Meteo-France says the heatwave will peak on Friday 28 June. Numerous temperature records have been broken, not just for the month of June, but also absolute temperature records for the whole year.

France on Wednesday afternoon saw a national average temperature of 34.9°C – the warmest ever for June.

It’s not just maximum daytime temperatures, but there have also been minimum overnight temperature records. Toulouse set a new overnight record of 24.2°C Wednesday/Thursday, Nantes was 24.2°C and Limoges was 25.7°C.

Temperatures in parts of southern France topped 40°C on Thursday. Grospierre in the Ardeche saw 42°C, and St Julien de Peyrolas in Gard province was 41.9°C. Vaucluse, Herault, Gard and Bouches du Rhone are in maximum Red Alert for high temperatures today.

The Spanish national meteorological and hydrological agency AEMET has issued a red alert for heat as temperatures top 40°C in parts of northern Spain (Teruel, Navarra, Barcelona, Ampurdan and Lledia). This is bad news for authorities battling the wildfire in Catalonia.

In Germany, the Deutscher Wetterdienst said that 51 observing stations recorded new June temperature records.

Austria is expected to have its warmest June on record, 4.5°C above the long-term average and ahead of 2003, according to the national meteorological and hydrological service ZAMG.

More than half of Switzerland’s observing stations measured new June temperature records on Wednesday. Out of 85 stations, 43 recorded June temperature records and six saw an absolute record. This includes Davos at 1,594 meters with a temperature of 29.8°C.

Temperatures above 40 °C were recorded in some places in North Africa. Serious concerns have been raised about the well-being of players at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt as a consequence of extreme heat.”

Ms. Nullis added that the heatwave had been predicted and it had therefore been possible to plan for it. National meteorological and hydrological services in Europe were working closely with national and local authorities on heat-health action plans to protect lives. The heat-health early warning systems had activated civil protection efforts across the region. It was therefore hoped that the exceptionally high temperatures would not give rise to exceptionally high death tolls.

A meeting was to be held in Abu Dhabi from 30 June to 1 July, intended to galvanize initiatives that would be announced at September’s Climate Action Summit convened by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. A senior WMO delegation, headed by WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas, would attend. Together with a professor from India, Professor Taalas would co-chair the Climate Science Advisory Group.

While it was premature to attribute the unusually early heatwave to climate change, it was consistent with climate scenarios which predicted more frequent, drawn out and intense heat events. Earth was set to experience its five warmest years on record from 2015-2019, according to preliminary figures. So far in 2019, the months January to May were the third warmest such period on record. In May 2019, Antarctic sea ice extent was the smallest on record, and Arctic sea ice extent was the second smallest on record.

Responding to questions from journalists regarding the opinions of some politicians on climate change, Ms. Nullis said that the WMO position was that climate change was real, WMO’s science on climate change was apolitical and climate change and extreme weather did not abide by national or regional boundaries. It was unfolding month by month, hitting the poorest and most vulnerable hardest, but would ultimately hit everyone. That was why the United Nations Secretary-General had convened the summit meeting to be held in September to discuss how to achieve the goals set in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The regional climate monitoring centre in Offenbach, Germany, had issued a Climate Watch on 25 June indicating temperatures in Central Europe of between 3°C and 6°C above the long-term average through to 2 July, but that period might be extended. It should also be noted that such events in previous years had seen the jet stream causing a blocking pattern, whereby the heat remained over certain areas for a long time. Furthermore, the current heatwave had occurred very early in the season, as current temperatures were usually seen only in July or August. The possibility of more such heatwaves during the year could not be excluded.

Alessandra Vellucci, for the United Nations Information Service in Geneva, added that the Secretary-General had said at his press conference at the G20 summit meeting that “Climate change is running faster than we are” and had called for stronger commitments from the members of the G20, which represented 80 per cent of the emissions involved in climate change. He had continued: “It is important in relation to climate change and others aspects that the international community is able to stand together and to make sure that what was agreed in Paris and what was agreed in other fora moves forward independent of the political will of this or that statesman.”

Rosalind Yarde, for the International Labour Organization (ILO), said that ILO would launch a new report on heat stress resulting from global warming, which predicted significant productivity, job and economic losses, on Monday 1 July. The new report, Working on a warmer planet: The impact of heat stress on labour productivity and decent work, drew on climate, employment and physiological data and presents estimates of the current and projected productivity losses at national, regional and global levels. A press briefing would take place in press room 1 at 10 a.m. on Monday 1 July, and electronic copies of the report, embargoed until 12.00 p.m. on Monday 1 July, and associated media materials could be made available to journalists upon request.

Fadela Chaib, for the World Health Organization (WHO), made the following statement on the effects of heat on health:

“Exposure to excessive heat has wide ranging physiological impacts for all humans, often amplifying existing conditions and resulting in premature death and disability.

The negative health impacts of heat are predictable and largely preventable with specific public health actions. WHO has issued public health guidance for the general public and medical professionals on coping with extreme heat.

Extended periods of high day and nighttime temperatures create cumulative physiological stress on the human body which exacerbates the top causes of death globally, including respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus and renal disease.

Heatwaves can acutely impact large populations for short periods of time often triggering public health emergencies.

Awareness remains insufficient of the health risks posed by heatwaves and prolonged exposure to increased temperatures. Health professionals must adjust their planning and interventions to account for increasing temperatures and heatwaves. Practical, feasible, and often low-cost interventions at the individual, community, organizational, governmental and societal levels, can save lives.

some populations are more exposed to, more or physiologically or socio-economically vulnerable to physiological stress, exacerbated illness, and an increased risk of death from exposure to excess heat. These include the elderly, infants and children, pregnant women, outdoor and manual workers, athletes, and the poor and homeless.”

Labour income and inequality report

Rosalind Yarde, for the International Labour Organization (ILO), said that ILO would launch a new report on Thursday 4 July 2019 showing the distribution of pay of workers in 180 countries of the world, with a comparison of the world’s richest and the poorest workers. It would provide a comprehensive picture of inequality between the world’s workers. A media advisory would be distributed on Tuesday 2 July.

Release of FATAL JOURNEYS 4 with latest research on migrant deaths worldwide

Joel Millman, for the International Organization for Migration (IOM), made the following statement:

“A new report from the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) highlights the need for better data on migrant deaths and disappearances, particularly those of missing migrant children.

This year’s Fatal Journeys 4 report focuses on the theme of missing migrant children, given the growing number embarking on dangerous migrant journeys. According to IOM data for 2014-2018, nearly 1,600 children – an average of almost one every day – were reported dead or missing between 2014 and 2018, though many more go unrecorded. We have recorded 78 deaths in 2019, so the total now since 2014 stands at 1,671 (as of 27 June 2019).

“Tragically, we have been reminded in recent days that children are among the most vulnerable groups of migrants,” said Frank Laczko, Director of IOM’s GMDAC.

“The lack of data on the ages, characteristics and vulnerabilities of missing migrant children creates serious protection gaps; it makes it very difficult to create programmes and policies designed to protect them.”

UNICEF contributed a chapter to this latest report, and IOM looks forward to working closely with them in the future.

The timely focus on children is part of IOM’s contribution to a recent call to action launched by UNICEF, UNHCR, IOM, Eurostat and OECD to improve data on migrant and refugee children.

“Children dying or disappearing during migration should be a concern to everyone,” said Ann Singleton, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Bristol and co-editor of the report. “There is an urgent need for better policies and action, informed by better data, to prevent these deaths and protect children.”

· Since 2014, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded globally the deaths of more than 32,000 people.

· Between 2014 and 2018, more than 17,900 people died or went missing in the Mediterranean – the remains of almost two thirds of those victims have not been recovered.

· Despite the conflict in Yemen, people continue to attempt the sea crossing from the Horn of Africa across the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden: at least 125 people drowned off the shores of Yemen in 2018, compared with 53 in 2017.

· Of almost 2,200 deaths recorded during migration in South-East Asia between 2014 and 2018, at least 1,723 were Rohingya.

· Most of the 288 deaths recorded in South Asia since 2014 were of Afghan migrants.

· In the Middle East, 421 deaths were recorded between 2014 and 2018; the largest number (145) in 2018.

· An increasing number of deaths on the United States–Mexico border have been recorded each year since 2014, totalling 1,907 over five years.”

Mr. Millman added, in response to questions from journalists, that the children concerned had been as young as six weeks old, and came from around 46 countries. It was difficult to be precise with such figures because the definition of “people in transit” was not always clear, for instance when a child died in a detention centre after living there for several months, or when migrants stayed to work in an area for a few months.

100,000 Refugees Resettled from Lebanon

Joel Millman, for the International Organization for Migration (IOM), said that IOM had in June reported its 100,000th resettlement of a refugee residing in Lebanon assisted in beginning a new life in a third country since fleeing the crisis in neighbouring Syria.

Records of Human Rights Council proceedings

Responding to questions from journalists, Alessandra Vellucci, for the United Nations Information Service in Geneva, said that the Information Service had, despite a decreased budget and increased number of meetings, made exceptional efforts over the previous four years and managed to take on temporary press officers to ensure that reliable reports and other coverage of the proceedings of the Human Rights Council would be available. However, the Organization’s cash flow problems now meant that it was impossible to continue to do so during the current session, and there were not enough regular staff to cover needs. In particular, from Monday 1 July, the regular staff would be fully taken up by the meetings of the treaty bodies and so the Information Service would regrettably not be able to provide any press coverage of the Human Rights Council meetings.

Announcements

Alessandra Vellucci, for the United Nations Information Service in Geneva, said that Michael Møller, Director-General of the United Nations Office at General, had today, on his final day of office, signed a framework agreement with Mr. Ivan Pictet, founder and president of the Portail des Nations foundation, towards the construction of a new visitor centre for the Office, which would have the capacity to welcome up to 300,000 visitors per year.

Ms. Vellucci said that the Conference on Disarmament would hold this afternoon at 2.30 p.m. the last public plenary meeting of this second part of its annual session (still under the presidency of Viet Nam). It would hear an address by Alexander Schallenberg, Federal Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs of Austria, and discuss negative security assurances. The session would then resume on 29 July for a third and last part, until 13 September.

Ms. Vellucci said that the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women would open next Monday its 73rd session (1 - 19 July 2019) during which it would review the reports of Qatar, Mozambique, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Austria, Cabo Verde and Guyana.

She added that the Human Rights Committee would open next Monday its 126th session (1-26 July) during which it would review the reports of The Netherlands, Tajikistan, Nigeria, Mauritania and Paraguay, and the implementation of the Covenant in Equatorial Guinea in the absence of the initial report of the country.

No press conferences to announce.

The webcast for this briefing is available here: http://bit.ly/unog280619


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