Where global solutions are shaped for you | News & Media | REGULAR PRESS BRIEFING BY THE INFORMATION SERVICE

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


22 February 2019

Rhéal LeBlanc, Chief of Press and External Relations 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, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the World Food Programme, the United Nations Refugee Agency, and the World Health Organization.

Visit to Geneva of the United Nations Secretary-General

Rhéal LeBlanc, for the United Nations Information Service in Geneva, informed that the UN Secretary-General would give opening remarks at the Human Rights Council on Monday, 25 February. The journalists could access the room starting at 8 a.m.

He also said the UN Secretary-General would address a special session of the Conference on Disarmament at 3 p.m. on Monday.

Also on Monday, at 3:45 p.m. in Room III, António Guterres, UN Secretary-General would join Peter Maurer, President, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and Julienne Lusenge, Director of the Fund for Congolese Women and President of SOFEPADI (Women’s Solidarity for Peace and Integrated Development), to deliver a joint UN/ICC statement on sexual and gender-based violence in conflict.

On Tuesday, at 1:00 p.m. in front of Room XXI, a press stakeout would be held on the High-Level Pledging Event for the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. The speakers would be António Guterres, UN Secretary-General; Simonetta Sommaruga, Vice-President of the Federal Council of Switzerland; and Margot Wallström, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden.

Finally, on Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. outside S.160, there would be a statement on the Charlemagne prize to be awarded to the United Nations Secretary-General. António Guterres, UN Secretary-General; Marcel Philipp, Lord Mayor of Aachen, Germany; and Jürgen Linden, Director of the Board of Directors of the Charlemagne Prize, would address the media.

High-Level Pledging Event for the humanitarian crisis in Yemen

Jens Laerke, for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), spoke about the High-Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen hosted by the United Nations and the governments of Switzerland and Sweden that would take place in Geneva on Tuesday, 26 February.

The event would be open to the press and webcast live on UN TV.

Mr. Laerke reminded that donors could pledge to all humanitarian action in Yemen, but were encouraged to support the newly launched, UN-coordinated Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen. This plan requested USD 4.2 billion to assist up to 19 million people in need. That was the largest-ever single country appeal.

After four years of continuous conflict, the humanitarian crisis in Yemen was the worst in the world. Ten million people were one step away from famine and starvation.

Hervé Verhoosel, for the World Food Programme (WFP), stated that, more than ever, the WFP felt it was the right moment to make progress in Yemen. He read the following statement:

“WFP welcomes the Yemen pledging conference next week. We call all countries to give generously to Yemen Humanitarian Response plan during this crucial moment for the millions of Yemenis that are facing the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

Food assistance is a lifeline for millions and is the only thing standing between Yemen and famine. Twenty million Yemenis – some 70 percent of the population – would be severely food insecure without humanitarian food aid.

WFP’s Yemen emergency response is our largest anywhere in the world. In 2019, WFP plans to help 12 million people each month – a 50 percent increase over 2018 targets - including 8.2 million with food rations; 2.8 with commodity vouchers and, eventually, 1 million with cash assistance. This level of response is essential to prevent the food security situation from deteriorating.

As part of the new registration drive, WFP is rolling out its most ambitious biometric registration scheme to date in Yemen. This process has already begun in southern Yemen and we hope to begin registration in the north in the coming months. This will give a huge boost to the transparency and accountability of our operations and help ensure that the right food reaches the right people at the right time on a consistent basis.

WFP is grateful for the support of donors, but WFP urgently needs increased funding to respond to the deteriorating food security situation. WFP’s average monthly requirements in 2019 have increased to around USD 176 million a month as we scale up our operations in Yemen. WFP urgently needs USD 464 million to ensure uninterrupted assistance for the next six months. WFP is facing an unmet need of USD 1.5 billion for all of 2019.

In addition, WFP needs unimpeded access to all parts of the country if we are to achieve our ambitious goal of feeding 40 percent of the population each month.”

Asked how big the appeal for 2018 had been, and how much of it had been funded, Mr. Laerke said that USD 2.6 billion had been received, or 83 percent of the humanitarian requirements.

On the question how much was expected in pledges for 2019, Mr. Laerke said that USD 4.2 billion was being asked for.

Mr. Laerke said journalists would have access to Room XVIII. The whole pledging conference would be webcast.

Asked about the definition of famine, Mr. Verhoosel said there had to be a minimum number of people in the Level 5 situation for a famine to be declared. The criteria for famine were a net total lack of food consumption by at least 20 percent of people, at least 30 percent of malnourished children under the age of five, and the death rate needed to be at least two per 100,000 people. He shared the precise definition of famine with the journalists via email. Even if it was not formally famine, many people in Yemen were living in famine-like conditions, stressed Mr. Verhoosel.

On whether any money had been pledged so far, Mr. Laerke said that only three percent of the money needed (USD 127 million) had been given so far for 2019.

On another question, Mr. Verhoosel said that WFP was hoping to access the Red Sea Mills within the coming days, where a quarter of its in-country wheat stock had been inaccessible since early September. When WFP has lost access to the Red Sea Mills, these contained 51,000 metric tonnes of wheat, which was enough to feed 3.7 million people for one month. WFP did not know what condition the wheat was in now. WFP urgently needed access to the mills to assess the condition of the stock and the milling facility, and to start moving the viable wheat to the people who desperately needed it.

Asked whether the pledges included what the Member States had already promised, Mr. Laerke said that donors could either announce or re-confirm their previously made pledges. The conference would help realize the totality of pledges as of the end of February 2019; not all pledges would be completely new.

A question was asked on why the amount of money asked for had increased so dramatically since 2018. Mr. Laerke emphasized that the situation had continued to deteriorate in 2018, leading people to the edge of starvation and famine. It had been a horrific year for millions of people in Yemen. There was a movement on the political front, but in the meantime, people were still suffering on a scale not seen in living memory.

Mr. Laerke confirmed there would be an off-record background briefing by UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock on Monday at 1:30 p.m. He would take some on-record questions at the beginning.

Asked how much the Scandinavian countries were pledging for Yemen for 2019, Mr. Laerke said that those countries were in general great humanitarian donors, in Yemen and elsewhere; more details on their exact pledges for 2019 would be provided subsequently.

Asked about the impact of the fighting in Yemen on humanitarian operations. Mr. Verhoosel said he had no precise information on the clashes in question. In any case, the current situation did not provide full security for humanitarian deliveries; both security and access were needed. The fighting was slowing down the operations, which was why the targets for the number of people to be reached were missed the previous month. It was hoped that access would soon get better through Hodeidah, through which 70 percent of the food was imported. The country greatly depended on food imports. The target of people to reach was 12 million; today that number stood between 10 and 11 million.

Rupert Colville, for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said that the total number of civilian casualties - both killed and injured (individually verified cases) stood at 18,173, out of whom 7,025 killed. There could be cases not recorded, reported or verified, so the total number could be larger. Of those killed, the OHCHR believed that 4,584 had died as a result of the attacks by the Saudi-led coalition; 1,448 had died as a result of Houthi activities; 367 had died because of Al Qaeda and ISIL activities; 441 - no identified cause; and 150 from various other armed groups.

Tarik Jašareviæ, for the World Health Organization (WHO), informed that Dr Altaf Musani, WHO Representative in Yemen, would be in Geneva for the conference, and interested journalists could get in touch regarding interviews.

Nicaragua: criminalization of dissent

Rupert Colville, for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), read the following statement:

“UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet warned Friday that if the arrests and convictions of people expressing dissenting opinions continue in Nicaragua, current efforts to start dialogue to solve the political and social unrest in the country could be seriously undermined.

Over the last six months, several hundred people - including peasant leaders, students, former politicians, journalists and civil society activists - have been arrested and held in pre-trial detention for long periods in connection with their alleged roles during the protests between April and July 2018.

Since December, amid rising concerns about the independence of the judiciary, various criminal courts in Managua have handed down guilty verdicts and extremely heavy sentences to a number of prominent opposition and community leaders, some of whom had cooperated with the UN and helped to highlight human rights abuses in Nicaragua.
Other people who have raised dissenting voices – including students, journalists, and a Supreme Court judge – have fled the country.

The proceedings in many of the cases that have reached the courts have been marked by a lack of transparency, issues relating to the credibility and independence of witnesses, undue restrictions on evidence and witnesses for the defence, and insufficient access of defendants to their lawyers.

“I am deeply concerned about the apparent lack of due process and increasing criminalization of dissent in Nicaragua. The arrest and jailing of opposition leaders, possibly in some cases as a reprisal for cooperating with the UN, clearly hinders the creation of an environment conducive to holding a genuine and inclusive dialogue – which the Government says it wants.

Prominent leaders convicted or sentenced in controversial circumstances in recent weeks include student leader Jonathan López, sentenced to five years and three months in prison; peasant leaders Medardo Mairena and Pedro Mena sentenced to 216 and 210 years in prison respectively; and former army officers Carlos Brenes and Tomas Maldonado for whom the Prosecutor is seeking sentences of 32 and 34 years.

There needs to be an independent review of the convictions and sentences imposed on opposition leaders and activists who took part in the protests to ensure that their cases were properly handled at every stage by the police, prosecutors and judges,” the High Commissioner believed.

I also call on the authorities to release all those deprived of their liberty in connection with their intrinsic right to peaceful protest and dissent, and to ensure people who cooperate with the UN and other human rights organizations do not face reprisals.

It is a fundamental tenet of democracy that people from all parts of society should be able to engage freely in debate about the future of their country, without fear of arrest or intimidation,” the UN Human Rights Chief said.”

Asked about the planned visit of Felix Maradiaga, a prominent opposition leader, to Geneva the following month, Mr. Colville said he had no information on whether a meeting had been requested. Mr. Colville said that the High Commissioner had met Jonathan López, who had been part of a broader delegation, during his visit to Geneva the previous summer. It was believed that the charges against him should be properly reviewed.

On how many people were in jail in Nicaragua, Mr. Colville said there were different figures at play, but the number was definitely in the hundreds.

On 7 November 2018, Mr. Colville informed, five UN special rapporteurs had jointly written to the Nicaraguan authorities; their letter was now publicly available.

Responding to another question, Mr. Colville said he was not aware of any recent direct contact between the High Commissioner and the President or the Vice-President of Nicaragua. The contacts continued through the Permanent Mission in Geneva. Mr. Colville would check and confirm on whether a report on Nicaragua was being currently prepared.

Egypt: concerns about executions

Rupert Colville, for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), read the following statement:

“We are very concerned by the news from Egypt that a total of 15 people have been executed so far in the month of February, including nine people who were executed on Wednesday and six others who were subjected to the death penalty earlier in the month.

On 20 February, nine individuals were executed in a case related to the killing of Egypt’s General Prosecutor, Hisham Barakat. During the trial, detailed accounts of the torture allegedly used to obtain confessions were apparently ignored by the court without due consideration.

A week earlier, on 13 February, three other individuals, convicted of the assassination of a police officer, General Nabil Farrag, were hanged, and a week before that, on 7 February, three men were executed in connection with the murder of the son of a judge. All of them had claimed before the courts that they had been disappeared, or detained incommunicado for prolonged periods, and were subjected to torture in order to make them confess to the crimes.

There is significant cause for concern that due process and fair trial guarantees may not have been followed in some or all of these cases, and that the very serious allegations concerning the use of torture were not properly investigated.

In countries that still permit the death penalty, trials in cases of capital punishment must meet the highest standards of fairness and due process in order to ensure that there is no miscarriage of justice resulting in innocent people being deprived of their right to life. In particular, confessions obtained under torture must be excluded from the trial.

Over the past few years, there has been a succession of cases of individuals being convicted in similar circumstances in Egypt amid disturbing reports of a lack of due legal process. A number of these individuals, having exhausted all legal proceedings, are currently on death row and at imminent risk of execution.

The allegations made by the defendants and their lawyers are particularly disturbing given that on 23 June 2017, after a four-year confidential inquiry under article 20 of the Convention Against Torture, the Committee against Torture concluded that torture is “practised systematically” in Egypt.

We urge the Egyptian authorities to halt all executions; conduct a review of all pending cases involving the death penalty, in accordance with the country’s international human rights obligations; conduct credible, independent and impartial investigations into all allegations of torture; and take all necessary measures to ensure that violations of due process and fair trial are not repeated.

We expressed similar concerns just one year ago, on 5 January 2018, after 20 people were executed in a single week.”

Responding to subsequent questions, Mr. Colville said that the issue at stake was fair trial and the alleged use of torture. The common position of the UN was to advocate for the abolition of the death penalty. He added that continuous contact existed between the OHCHR representatives and Egyptian officials and diplomats in Geneva.

Answering a question about the profile of the people convicted and executed, Mr. Colville said some had allegedly been connected to the Muslim Brotherhood. On whether some of the people might have indeed committed the crimes they had been accused of, Mr. Colville said that the issue was allegations of torture, which appeared endemic. He reiterated that confessions obtained under torture could not be admissible. Such allegations of torture, in the opinion of the OHCHR, had not been taken seriously by courts.

Mexico: National Guard

Rupert Colville, for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), read the following statement:

Our office in Mexico has the revised text of the National Peace and Security Plan and is in the process of analysing it. We understand the important security challenges facing Mexico and the complexity of addressing the various causes of the endemic violence that has been afflicting the country for many years.
Our office has been very involved in discussions with the authorities on the National Peace and Security Plan, and we made our views clear about certain issues we perceived as problematic, including in three presentations before the Congress and Senate. We will have to see to what extent our views have been taken into account before commenting further.

The High Commissioner has a meeting scheduled with the Foreign Minister of Mexico, Marcelo Ebrard, and the Undersecretary for Multi-lateral Affairs and Human Rights, Martha Delgado, during the Human Rights Council next week here in Geneva. I can also now confirm she will make a visit to the country in early April, at the invitation of the Government, 5-9 April. We are optimistic that we can continue to find common ground with Mexico in the effort to improve the human rights situation in the country.”

A question was asked about the Mexican President’s insistence, in a press conference, to have a military command of the National Guard. Mr. Colville responded that the OHCHR still did not have full details and was still analysing the new text. The discussion was continuing.

South Sudan

Hervé Verhoosel, for the World Food Programme (WFP), read the following statement:

“According to the new Integrated Phase Classification IPC report for South Sudan released today (February 22nd 2019), the number of people suffering severe acute food insecurity in January 2019 is 6.17 million – a four-fold increase since the same period in 2014 after the conflict began, and a 13% increase since January last year.

The report projects that from February to April, .45 million people – more than half the country’s population – will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity or worse, with an estimated 45,000 people in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5). The number in need is expected to rise to 6.87 million by July.

Yes, nearly 7 million people – 60 percent of the population – will be unsure where their next meal will come from at the peak of the hunger season from May to July 2019.

The food crisis stems from conflict, a series of poor harvests, displacements, reduced crop production, economic crisis and years of people’s assets being depleted.

The 2018 agricultural season was particularly poor. Only 52 percent of 2019 national cereal needs will be met by harvests compared to nearly 61 percent in 2018. This means that the lean season will start much earlier in the year than expected.

Poor families in the worst-hit areas (Greater Upper Nile, Bahr el Ghazal and Equatoria regions) are already experiencing food gaps - and as many as 50,000 people will face famine-like conditions at the height of the lean season in July. Without immediate food assistance, their situation is expected to deteriorate further.

It is crucial that in 2019 we meet immediate food security needs while supporting people to produce more, both by subsistence farming and to sell in markets and generate revenue.

WFP plans to procure and distribute 310,000 metric tons of food in 2019. Of this, WFP plans to pre-position 175,000 tons in more than 60 warehouses before the onset of the rains. Pre-positioning food by road will cut the cost for WFP by as much as US$100 million because of savings from not having to carry out airdrops.”

On how many people the WFP was going to feed, Mr. Verhoosel responded that in 2018 WFP had assisted 5.3 million, while 5.4 million were expected to be assisted in 2019. People really had nothing in some of the regions.

Cameroon: imprisoned opposition leader

Asked whether the High Commissioner had a reaction to the situation of a jailed opposition leader, Maurice Kamto, Mr. Colville did not know whether the High Commissioner was planning to publicly comment on the situation. A group of special rapporteurs had contacted the government on the issue of the treatment of the opposition leaders. The OHCHR was currently focused on extrajudicial killings and violence on all sides.

Syria: Rukban camp relocations

Mr. Laerke, responding to a question from a journalist, reminded that the evacuation operation had started by the Syrian Government without UN involvement. People remained in the camp and still needed humanitarian assistance. It was critical to get the aid in, as the situation for people in the camp was still very dire. Mr Verhoosel added that it was clear the people in the camp needed continuous support; WFP had provided them with one-month worth of rations.

ISIS fighters in Syria

In response to a question, Mr. Colville said that it was an extremely complex situation and generalizations should be avoided. He said that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) had the expertise and was taking the lead on the issue. Regarding stripping fighters of nationality, Mr. Colville reminded that, under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the customary international law, nobody should be deprived of nationality arbitrarily and everyone had the right to nationality.

Mr. Colville reiterated that the issue was immensely complicated, as it touched upon the two conventions on statelessness and the general human rights law, issues of single/dual or disputed nationality, individual country laws, marriage issues related to statelessness and so on; furthermore, some States had expressed reservations or had not ratified the statelessness conventions. The conventions also included caveats, and situations depended from case to case, hence a simple general answer could not be given. The bottom line was that nobody should be rendered stateless in an arbitrary manner as that deprived them of their fundamental human rights. Statelessness should be avoided at all costs.

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Ebola outbreak

Tarik Jašareviæ, for the World Health Organization (WHO), provided the latest statistics on Ebola cases. As of 20 February, 853 cases (788 confirmed and 65 probable), including 521 deaths, had been recorded since the beginning of the outbreak on 1 August 2018.

The Ebola outbreak was continuing with moderate intensity. Katwa and Butembo remained the major health zones of concern, while simultaneously, small clusters continued to occur in various geographically dispersed locations.

The good news was that no new cases had been reported from the Beni in the previous three weeks, which was a significant achievement given the previous intensity of the outbreak in that area. Elsewhere, trends in the case incidence had also been encouraging; however, other indicators (such as the continued high proportion of community deaths, persistent delays in case detection, documented local travel amongst many cases, and relatively low numbers of cases among contacts under surveillance) suggested a high risk of further chains of transmission in affected communities.

Mr. Jašareviæ said that, following a series of consultations and review of the evidence, the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization, an independent advisory group convened by the WHO, had provided updated recommendations on the use of Ebola vaccine:

· Ring vaccination (vaccination of contacts and contacts of contacts) and geographic targeted vaccination continue to be the recommended strategies for Ebola vaccination with rVSV-ZEBOV-GP vaccine;

· Consideration should be given to assessing one or more of the three other new Ebola vaccines (experimental or licensed but currently without data on efficacy) in areas neighbouring the affected areas, and pregnant and breastfeeding women should be included in these trials;

· In line with the committee’s assessment of October 2018, SAGE welcomes the DRC Ethics committee’s recommendation to authorize the use of rVSV-ZEBOV-GP vaccine in pregnant women in outbreak affected areas.

The DRC National Regulatory Authorities and the Ethics Committee of the DRC have approved the use of the investigational Ebola vaccine for pregnant women beyond three months in their pregnancy (i.e, in their second or third trimester), in breastfeeding women, and in babies under 1 year old.

Ebola in pregnancy results in a very high risk of maternal death and foetal loss. This change was anticipated to help protect pregnant women, who had previously protected only if their surrounding community members (contacts and contacts of contacts) were vaccinated.

In October 2018, SAGE had recognized that a decision on whether to offer rVSV-ZEBOV, a systemically replicating vaccine virus, to pregnant women was complex, with ethical, clinical, epidemiological and social considerations. Inclusion of pregnant women in an EVD vaccine research protocol depended on national regulatory authorities and local ethics review committees.

Following the SAGE recommendation, the Ethics Review Committee of DRC had reviewed once more the risk and benefits of vaccinating pregnant women and made the decision to include women in their second or third trimester of pregnancy.

The risk of pregnant women for adverse effects after administration of the replicating live virus vaccine, rVSV-ZEBOV, remained largely unknown, given the limited data. However, as of 19 February, more than 80,000 people had received the vaccine in the DRC during the current outbreak. Also, in 2015-16, the vaccine had been given to more than 16,000 volunteers involved in several studies in Africa, Europe and the United States where it had been found to be safe and protective against the Ebola virus.

All vaccinated pregnant women would be closely monitored on a regular basis until the birth of their child, to follow up on any possible adverse effects they may experience after vaccination and to document the outcome of the pregnancy and the health status of the newborn. The vaccination of pregnant women would stop with the end of the epidemic. The reporting of any adverse event is required within 48 hours as per regular procedures of the ring vaccination protocol.

Finally, Mr. Jašareviæ informed that the coordination centre had moved from Kinshasa to Goma to be nearer to the outbreak affected areas. Operations in Beni would continue at full scale. Goma would provide a base for training of staff, and eventually develop into a center of excellence on Ebola.

On 13 February, the Ministry of Health had launched an updated strategic response plan for ending the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The plan had been developed with the WHO’s support, in consultation with all partners. It lays out the response strategy, objectives and budget requirements for the Ministry of Health, WHO, and all implementing partners for the next six months (February through July 2019).

Regarding the vaccinations, a question was asked on whether the benefit was larger than the risk, Mr. Jašareviæ said that this particular vaccine had been given to almost 100,000 people, including during test trials and the outbreaks. There was still not enough consolidated data on adverse effects on pregnant women, as they had not been part of the trial. If people around pregnant women were vaccinated, those women could benefit from village “ring” protection. Vaccinated pregnant women would be closely monitored.

Responding to another question, Mr. Jašareviæ explained that the move to Goma was primarily for operational reasons, as Goma was closer to the outbreak region. The risk of having a case in Goma was real, but there had luckily been no cases so far. If there were to be a case in Goma, Mr. Jašareviæ explained that any time there was an outbreak in a new area, it led to logistical complications; another outbreak would definitely stretch the resources further. The Strategic Response Plan appealed to donors to continue funding so that the progress made was not lost.


Asked about the plans to bring aid to Venezuela from Colombia over the weekend, Mr. Andrej Mahecic of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said that many of the people who were leaving Venezuela had protection needs. For the UNHCR it was of the utmost importance that those who needed international protection were able to seek it when they required it. When they were forced to use irregular routes, they were often abused by smugglers or traffickers, making them particularly vulnerable. Mr. Mahecic referred to the joint UNHCR-IOM press release for the latest statistics.

On whether the UNHCR was in contact with the Venezuelan Government, Mr. Mahecic said that the UNHCR had a continued presence in the country: there were four field offices in addition to the office in Caracas. A number of projects were underway inside the country, where some 80,000 people had been provided aid so far. UNHCR continued to support the UN Country Team coordination mechanism.

Mr. Mahecic said that the UNHCR work was focused on the Venezuelan refugees in Colombia, and in border areas between Venezuela and Colombia, and Venezuela and Brazil.

Geneva announcements

Rhéal LeBlanc, for the United Nations Information Service in Geneva, informed that the press briefing next week would take place on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. instead of Tuesday.

He also said that the Conference on Disarmament, under the Presidency of the United Kingdom, would begin its High-Level Segment on Monday, at 10 a.m., in the Council Chamber.

Laurent Sierro, representing the Geneva Association of United Nations Correspondents (ACANU), informed that, on the occasion of the ACANU’s 70th anniversary, ACANU would organize a cocktail reception in Salle des Pas Perdus on 25 February at 4:30 p.m. Swiss Federal Councilor Ignazio Cassis would speak. The Director-General of the UN Office at Geneva, Michael Moller, would also deliver remarks.

In the evening, ACANU would also host an awards ceremony for its two new international journalism awards: the ACANU Prize for Excellence in Reporting and the ACANU Prize for Reporting on Human Rights Issues. The ceremony would be part of a high-level event organized with the Graduate Institute and the Club Diplomatique de Genève.

The event, which would take place at the Auditorium Ivan Pictet, Maison de la Paix, from 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm, would include a keynote address at the start by António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, on press freedom and journalists under attack. His speech would be followed by a panel discussion with Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Christophe Deloire, Secretary-General, Reporters Without Borders; David Sylvan, Professor, International Relations/Political Science, the Graduate Institute; and Nina Larson, President, ACANU (moderator).

* * * *

The webcast for this briefing is available here: http://bit.ly/unog220219