Daily Archives: November 7, 2017

East Asia and the Pacific: Acting Assistant Secretary Simon Henshaw and Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert on Recent Visit to Burma and Bangladesh

MS NAUERT: Hi, everybody. How are you?

QUESTION: Hello.

MS NAUERT: Good to see you. Nice to be back with you again. I brought a visitor and a colleague of mine here today. Simon, have you ever briefed up here before?

MR HENSHAW: Only once, and that was a while ago.

MS NAUERT: Just once before? Okay, well, welcome back. Actually, Simon is going to do the whole briefing today; he’s just not aware of this.

MR HENSHAW: (Laughter.) I don’t think so.

MS NAUERT: No? No, you don’t think so. Okay. Well, as many of you may know already, Population, Refugees, and Migration, our bureau here at the State Department, which is led by our Acting Assistant Secretary Simon Henshaw, went to Burma and also to Bangladesh last week. Simon led a delegation there. I was fortunate enough to be able to join them. He was there from the 29th of October to the 4th of November, in which he had a series of meetings, was able to assess the situation on the ground, speak with some government officials, also aid groups, some human rights workers who are taking a lot of reports from the Rohingya refugees.

And so Simon is going to give a readout and take a few of your questions, and then, sorry, Simon, I’ll take over the briefing after that.

MR HENSHAW: Okay, good.

MS NAUERT: So you’re off the hook. Okay. Let me get this out of your way. Go right ahead.

MR HENSHAW: Thank you very much, Heather. Good afternoon. I recently led a delegation to Burma and Bangladesh to see firsthand what is happening with regard to the humanitarian situation and the impact of our assistance. The delegation included Deputy Assistant Secretary Scott Busby of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor; Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Tom Vajda of the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs; and Office Director Patricia Mahoney of the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Also, thanks to Heather. As she mentioned, she joined us for the final leg of the trip to visit Cox’s Bazar, Dhaka, and refugee camps in Bangladesh.

In Burma, we met with government officials and Rohingya and ethnic Rakhine community leaders, including a visit to a camp for people who have been internally displaced inside Burma. We urge the Burmese Government to act to restore the rule of law, protect local populations, investigate alleged human rights abuses and violations, and to hold those responsible accountable. We welcome the government’s plans for repatriation and encourage them to implement these plans as soon as possible, emphasizing the importance of creating safe conditions that would allow refugees to voluntarily return to their villages and land.

We then traveled to Bangladesh where we met with government officials, international organizations, and NGOs, and visited refugee camps near Cox’s Bazar. What we saw in the camps was shocking. The scale of the refugee crisis is immense: more than 600,000 displaced from their homes since August 25th. The conditions are tough. People are suffering. Many refugees told us, through tears, accounts of seeing their villages burned, their relatives killed in front of them. It was tough to take. Some recalled being shot as they fled. Despite the trauma, many expressed a strong desire to return to their homes in Burma, provided their safety, security, and rights could be guaranteed.

I want to underline our appreciation for the generosity and commitment from the Government of and people of Bangladesh and our humanitarian partners, including the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, the Organization for Migration, the UN World Food Program, and the United Nations Children’s Fund, who are all working together to provide emergency assistance to these individuals. But the situation requires a lot more work. The U.S. was one of the first to pledge funds to support international organizations in the crisis, and our commitment has been followed by generous contributions from other donors. However, more is needed.

The U.S. remains committed to addressing the needs of those impacted by the crisis and calls on others, including in the region, to join us in our response.

I’d be happy to take a few questions. Thank you.

QUESTION: I just —

MS NAUERT: Matt, would you like to start?

QUESTION: Yes, please. Thank you. Is what you saw enough to make a determination on whether this is – meets a legal – legal definition of ethnic cleansing or of – or similar?

MR HENSHAW: That’s not my job to make that determination. That would be —

QUESTION: No, no, no. I’m not asking if you made it. Have you seen enough to make that determination – to make a determination?

MR HENSHAW: I’m not an expert. What I saw was shocking. I saw evidence of atrocities.

QUESTION: But it doesn’t rise up to the level of ethnic cleansing?

MR HENSHAW: That’s not my call to make. The department will review —

QUESTION: You must have some sort of —

MR HENSHAW: — this and other – my reports and others, and will make a determination.

Mm-hmm?

MS NAUERT: Arshad?

QUESTION: PRM was, I think, supposed to submit reports in September on the costs associated with admitting refugees to the United States versus housing them in third countries closer to their original country. Have you yet completed those reports? If so, when do you expect them to become public, if ever? If you haven’t completed them, do you have a sense of when they’re going to be out?

MR HENSHAW: My understanding is that work on those reports continues. I don’t have a sense of when they’ll be done, and I don’t know whether our intention is to make them public or not.

QUESTION: And can you give us any sense of what you’ve found so far?

MR HENSHAW: No, I can’t. Sorry.

QUESTION: Why not?

MS NAUERT: Let’s try to stick to this important issue of Burma and Rohingya. I’m sure a lot of people have questions about that. (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: Have you been granted full access, or there are still parts of the region you can’t go to? And the second point is: Have you got some assurances on when the program to repatriate Rohingyas will be implemented?

MR HENSHAW: So for the first part of your question, full access has not been granted to press and international NGOs in northern Rakhine State. We urge the government to do so. And the second question was?

QUESTION: About guarantees on the implementation of the repatriation program.

MR HENSHAW: The Burmese Government appear committed to start a repatriation program, but it was in the early stages. And it’s very important to us that that program not only creates safe conditions so that refugees will want to return voluntarily, but also assure that refugees go back to their villages and land, that their houses be restored in the areas where the villages were burned, and that political reconciliation take place.

MS NAUERT: Dave.

QUESTION: The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, as you probably know, has said that in addition to being allowed home they should be granted full Burmese citizenship. Is that a view that the United States shares?

MR HENSHAW: We believe that the Annan recommendations should be implemented, and they include a path to citizenship.

MS NAUERT: Conor, and then we’re at the final question.

QUESTION: Simon, thanks for being here. Given your meetings with Burmese officials, is it your view – the department’s view – that it’s better to work with the Burmese Government to find a solution to this, or do you believe that more pressure, including sanctions, are appropriate at this time?

MR HENSHAW: We absolutely believe that we have to work with the Burmese Government to find a solution here. We support the democratic transition process in Burma and want to work with the civilian government in making sure that policies are implemented to bring about a solution.

QUESTION: So the bill currently being considered in the Senate for more sanctions on the government, is that – would that be an impediment, then?

MR HENSHAW: No. We have a lot of options as we move ahead, and we’ll continually evaluate the situation and decide what steps to take.

MS NAUERT: Okay. Simon has to get going, everybody. Thank you so much. If you have additional questions, I can certainly take them and direct them to Simon and his team as well.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MS NAUERT: Are you sure you don’t want to stay?

MR HENSHAW: Thank you very much.

MS NAUERT: Simon, do you want to take over the rest of the briefing? (Laughter.) Thank you.

MR HENSHAW: Good luck.

MS NAUERT: Thank you so much.

MS NAUERT: On that note, I just want to express my gratitude to our entire team there and our embassy in Dhaka. That was my first experience as a State Department employee spending time at one of our embassies. I’d been there as a journalist, as a regular civilian before, but actually going there as an employee and spending time with our people and the situations, the difficult circumstances that they sometimes serve in, was really very eye-opening. So I wanted to just give my heartfelt thanks to Ambassador Bernicat and her entire team for taking such good care of us while we were over there.

And I just have to say, seeing some of the refugees who had crossed the border firsthand – we went to the border one day, saw the area where they had walked from Bangladesh over to Burma.[1] The day that we were there, we were told about 2,000 crossed the border earlier in the day. There were aid groups that then picked up some of those who were considered or appeared to be the most physically vulnerable. They were then brought to a smaller refugee camp – I believe it held a few thousand people – and I watched as some of these women, elderly men, and children climbed off the bus, and literally the most vulnerable. Some of them had no shoes, just a pot where they would put water once they could get water. There was a very, very small child, maybe a month old or so, who looked close to death; elderly men and women who had to be literally carried off the bus.

And we watched as our colleagues, our partners at the International Committee of the Red Cross, took incredible care of them with such compassion. And I think that baby ended up being okay. They were able to get that baby over to a makeshift hospital of sorts. But I just wanted to – you all know this as journalists from having been in the field and seen these things firsthand, but how important it was to have seen what those people are going through and then have had the chance to hear from the Government of Bangladesh about the importance that they put themselves on taking care of their neighbors.

And they really have done that; they have opened their hearts; they have opened their wallets and allowed – imagine that, 600,000, more than 600,000 to cross their borders, putting them in camps. It’s not where these people want to be, of course, in their camps. They’d rather be home, but at least they’re safe for now. So it was an incredible opportunity to see what is really going on and to work with my colleagues in the embassy. So I just wanted to pass that along to you all.

[1] Burma over to Bangladesh.

East Asia and the Pacific: Acting Assistant Secretary Simon Henshaw and Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert on Recent Visit to Burma and Bangladesh

MS NAUERT: Hi, everybody. How are you?

QUESTION: Hello.

MS NAUERT: Good to see you. Nice to be back with you again. I brought a visitor and a colleague of mine here today. Simon, have you ever briefed up here before?

MR HENSHAW: Only once, and that was a while ago.

MS NAUERT: Just once before? Okay, well, welcome back. Actually, Simon is going to do the whole briefing today; he’s just not aware of this.

MR HENSHAW: (Laughter.) I don’t think so.

MS NAUERT: No? No, you don’t think so. Okay. Well, as many of you may know already, Population, Refugees, and Migration, our bureau here at the State Department, which is led by our Acting Assistant Secretary Simon Henshaw, went to Burma and also to Bangladesh last week. Simon led a delegation there. I was fortunate enough to be able to join them. He was there from the 29th of October to the 4th of November, in which he had a series of meetings, was able to assess the situation on the ground, speak with some government officials, also aid groups, some human rights workers who are taking a lot of reports from the Rohingya refugees.

And so Simon is going to give a readout and take a few of your questions, and then, sorry, Simon, I’ll take over the briefing after that.

MR HENSHAW: Okay, good.

MS NAUERT: So you’re off the hook. Okay. Let me get this out of your way. Go right ahead.

MR HENSHAW: Thank you very much, Heather. Good afternoon. I recently led a delegation to Burma and Bangladesh to see firsthand what is happening with regard to the humanitarian situation and the impact of our assistance. The delegation included Deputy Assistant Secretary Scott Busby of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor; Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Tom Vajda of the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs; and Office Director Patricia Mahoney of the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Also, thanks to Heather. As she mentioned, she joined us for the final leg of the trip to visit Cox’s Bazar, Dhaka, and refugee camps in Bangladesh.

In Burma, we met with government officials and Rohingya and ethnic Rakhine community leaders, including a visit to a camp for people who have been internally displaced inside Burma. We urge the Burmese Government to act to restore the rule of law, protect local populations, investigate alleged human rights abuses and violations, and to hold those responsible accountable. We welcome the government’s plans for repatriation and encourage them to implement these plans as soon as possible, emphasizing the importance of creating safe conditions that would allow refugees to voluntarily return to their villages and land.

We then traveled to Bangladesh where we met with government officials, international organizations, and NGOs, and visited refugee camps near Cox’s Bazar. What we saw in the camps was shocking. The scale of the refugee crisis is immense: more than 600,000 displaced from their homes since August 25th. The conditions are tough. People are suffering. Many refugees told us, through tears, accounts of seeing their villages burned, their relatives killed in front of them. It was tough to take. Some recalled being shot as they fled. Despite the trauma, many expressed a strong desire to return to their homes in Burma, provided their safety, security, and rights could be guaranteed.

I want to underline our appreciation for the generosity and commitment from the Government of and people of Bangladesh and our humanitarian partners, including the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, the Organization for Migration, the UN World Food Program, and the United Nations Children’s Fund, who are all working together to provide emergency assistance to these individuals. But the situation requires a lot more work. The U.S. was one of the first to pledge funds to support international organizations in the crisis, and our commitment has been followed by generous contributions from other donors. However, more is needed.

The U.S. remains committed to addressing the needs of those impacted by the crisis and calls on others, including in the region, to join us in our response.

I’d be happy to take a few questions. Thank you.

QUESTION: I just —

MS NAUERT: Matt, would you like to start?

QUESTION: Yes, please. Thank you. Is what you saw enough to make a determination on whether this is – meets a legal – legal definition of ethnic cleansing or of – or similar?

MR HENSHAW: That’s not my job to make that determination. That would be —

QUESTION: No, no, no. I’m not asking if you made it. Have you seen enough to make that determination – to make a determination?

MR HENSHAW: I’m not an expert. What I saw was shocking. I saw evidence of atrocities.

QUESTION: But it doesn’t rise up to the level of ethnic cleansing?

MR HENSHAW: That’s not my call to make. The department will review —

QUESTION: You must have some sort of —

MR HENSHAW: — this and other – my reports and others, and will make a determination.

Mm-hmm?

MS NAUERT: Arshad?

QUESTION: PRM was, I think, supposed to submit reports in September on the costs associated with admitting refugees to the United States versus housing them in third countries closer to their original country. Have you yet completed those reports? If so, when do you expect them to become public, if ever? If you haven’t completed them, do you have a sense of when they’re going to be out?

MR HENSHAW: My understanding is that work on those reports continues. I don’t have a sense of when they’ll be done, and I don’t know whether our intention is to make them public or not.

QUESTION: And can you give us any sense of what you’ve found so far?

MR HENSHAW: No, I can’t. Sorry.

QUESTION: Why not?

MS NAUERT: Let’s try to stick to this important issue of Burma and Rohingya. I’m sure a lot of people have questions about that. (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: Have you been granted full access, or there are still parts of the region you can’t go to? And the second point is: Have you got some assurances on when the program to repatriate Rohingyas will be implemented?

MR HENSHAW: So for the first part of your question, full access has not been granted to press and international NGOs in northern Rakhine State. We urge the government to do so. And the second question was?

QUESTION: About guarantees on the implementation of the repatriation program.

MR HENSHAW: The Burmese Government appear committed to start a repatriation program, but it was in the early stages. And it’s very important to us that that program not only creates safe conditions so that refugees will want to return voluntarily, but also assure that refugees go back to their villages and land, that their houses be restored in the areas where the villages were burned, and that political reconciliation take place.

MS NAUERT: Dave.

QUESTION: The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, as you probably know, has said that in addition to being allowed home they should be granted full Burmese citizenship. Is that a view that the United States shares?

MR HENSHAW: We believe that the Annan recommendations should be implemented, and they include a path to citizenship.

MS NAUERT: Conor, and then we’re at the final question.

QUESTION: Simon, thanks for being here. Given your meetings with Burmese officials, is it your view – the department’s view – that it’s better to work with the Burmese Government to find a solution to this, or do you believe that more pressure, including sanctions, are appropriate at this time?

MR HENSHAW: We absolutely believe that we have to work with the Burmese Government to find a solution here. We support the democratic transition process in Burma and want to work with the civilian government in making sure that policies are implemented to bring about a solution.

QUESTION: So the bill currently being considered in the Senate for more sanctions on the government, is that – would that be an impediment, then?

MR HENSHAW: No. We have a lot of options as we move ahead, and we’ll continually evaluate the situation and decide what steps to take.

MS NAUERT: Okay. Simon has to get going, everybody. Thank you so much. If you have additional questions, I can certainly take them and direct them to Simon and his team as well.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MS NAUERT: Are you sure you don’t want to stay?

MR HENSHAW: Thank you very much.

MS NAUERT: Simon, do you want to take over the rest of the briefing? (Laughter.) Thank you.

MR HENSHAW: Good luck.

MS NAUERT: Thank you so much.

MS NAUERT: On that note, I just want to express my gratitude to our entire team there and our embassy in Dhaka. That was my first experience as a State Department employee spending time at one of our embassies. I’d been there as a journalist, as a regular civilian before, but actually going there as an employee and spending time with our people and the situations, the difficult circumstances that they sometimes serve in, was really very eye-opening. So I wanted to just give my heartfelt thanks to Ambassador Bernicat and her entire team for taking such good care of us while we were over there.

And I just have to say, seeing some of the refugees who had crossed the border firsthand – we went to the border one day, saw the area where they had walked from Bangladesh over to Burma.[1] The day that we were there, we were told about 2,000 crossed the border earlier in the day. There were aid groups that then picked up some of those who were considered or appeared to be the most physically vulnerable. They were then brought to a smaller refugee camp – I believe it held a few thousand people – and I watched as some of these women, elderly men, and children climbed off the bus, and literally the most vulnerable. Some of them had no shoes, just a pot where they would put water once they could get water. There was a very, very small child, maybe a month old or so, who looked close to death; elderly men and women who had to be literally carried off the bus.

And we watched as our colleagues, our partners at the International Committee of the Red Cross, took incredible care of them with such compassion. And I think that baby ended up being okay. They were able to get that baby over to a makeshift hospital of sorts. But I just wanted to – you all know this as journalists from having been in the field and seen these things firsthand, but how important it was to have seen what those people are going through and then have had the chance to hear from the Government of Bangladesh about the importance that they put themselves on taking care of their neighbors.

And they really have done that; they have opened their hearts; they have opened their wallets and allowed – imagine that, 600,000, more than 600,000 to cross their borders, putting them in camps. It’s not where these people want to be, of course, in their camps. They’d rather be home, but at least they’re safe for now. So it was an incredible opportunity to see what is really going on and to work with my colleagues in the embassy. So I just wanted to pass that along to you all.

[1] Burma over to Bangladesh.

To Change World, We Must Respect History, Rise to Occasion by Doing Things Differently, Deputy Secretary-General Tells ‘Diplomat of the Year’ Event

Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, to the Foreign Policy 2017 Diplomat of the Year Award Dinner, in Washington, D.C., today:

Thank you, Jonathan Tepperman, for your kind introduction.  And thank you, Foreign Policy, for honouring me and the other dedicated women diplomats with this award.  I am truly humbled and grateful.  I accept it not so much for myself, but on behalf of the Organization that I proudly serve.

I have just come back last night from a visit to Haiti, where the United Nations has done much good, but has also fallen unfortunately short.  I went on behalf of the Secretary-General together with his Special Envoy for Haiti, Josette Sheeran, whom many of you know, to assure the President, his Cabinet and the peoples of Haiti of the United Nations’ commitment to a new era of partnership.

With new leadership in Haiti, in Government and in New York, we will do things differently and grasp the opportunities of a new era.  Last month, the United Nations wound down its Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) after 13 years of highs and lows.  When the United Nations peacekeeping operation began in 2004, Haiti was enduring profound instability and wide-spread political violence.  Today, that picture has improved considerably thanks to the efforts of both Haitians and the international community.

However, the trauma caused by the cholera epidemic and wide-spread sexual exploitation and abuse still remains a cloud over these achievements and peace gains.  The United Nations is now committed to working with Haitians across a number of diverse challenges.  This will be underpinned by the work of the new Mission, addressing justice, rule of law and human rights, ably led by Susan Page, an incredible American woman diplomat who served in hotspots such as South Sudan.

The tragedy of cholera, the atrocities of sexual exploitation and abuse and the dire need to invest in eradicating extreme poverty are issues that are on the top of the agenda for cooperation with Haiti.

During my visit, I met with those most affected by the epidemic.  Many of them were women dealing with mental health issues, stigma and exclusion from the economy, and still clinging to the hope that the United Nations will right the wrongs.

I spoke to a mother at her son’s bed at the Cholera Treatment Centre in Saint Michel de L’Atalaye, who travelled far to save her 2-year-old child.  I met Liz at the Mirebalais hospital, who is tirelessly providing the very best possible care to cholera victims day in and day out.  I listened to Michelle from Cité Soleil, who is being stigmatized and can no longer sell at the market simply because she once had cholera.  And I met with the Voodoo Priestess, who in the past seven years has relentlessly provided the victims and their families with spiritual comfort.

While cholera transmission has dropped dramatically, from over 18,000 new cases per week in 2010, to 250 per week this year, success will require urgent funding to go that last mile of zero transmissions.  We will also continue to rely on the efforts of the many unsung heroes working to eradicate the disease.

I assured the President and the people of Haiti that the United Nations is committed to support the country to move from an emergency approach to durable solutions, from assistance to investment support, from handouts to hand-to-hand cooperation for sustainable development, in solidarity with and dignity for all Haitians.  This journey will be complex and will require new tools for diplomacy — which brings me to why we are here tonight.

Haiti is just one piece of the larger project of international partnership to serve humanity, to ward off common threats and to seize common opportunities.  The recipe for success can be found in the words of Mother Teresa who said:  “I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.”

I believe diplomacy is a tool that should bring us together to close the gap between what is and what should be in a world of peace, development and human rights.  Or as former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said:  “Great leaders never accept the world as it was and always work for the world as it should be.”

We live in a world of great complexities, which require that we develop new ways of working to respond to those challenges in a more effective, inclusive, sensible and sustainable way.  This requires a new kind of leadership at all levels, in all constituencies, from the President of a country, to the CEO of businesses, and even as a mother and father of families.

As Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, I feel very humbled and honoured to support the Secretary-General, António Guterres, a man of integrity, deep knowledge, courageous leadership and humility.  A man who has taken the job because of the moral imperative.

And indeed, just like the Secretary-General, it is my aspiration as Deputy Secretary-General to serve the world’s 7.6 billion people and to uphold the promise that world leaders have made:  to leave no one behind.

The creation of the United Nations in 1945 in California, in this great nation, was an act of hope in the aftermath of the Holocaust and Second World War.  Across the years, the Organization has advanced human well-being and established solid frameworks of international law and human rights.  Yet, we have also seen the limits of what the United Nations can do — and tragic examples of the pain human beings will inflict on each other.

Today, the United Nations continues to reflect its 193 Member States in all their shades, the good, the bad and the ugly.  To many it may look dysfunctional.  But, it remains the only place where all the world’s nations can come together to solve global challenges and support each other through the intricate skills required of diplomacy.

Sadly, in today’s world, everything we know is being questioned, including those values that are at the core of our common humanity.  As the Pope once said, we are witnessing the “globalization of indifference”.

I ask you:  Can the phoenix rise from the ashes?  It is a heavy lift, but I am hopeful.  Why?  Because our global village has a town hall, where shoulder to shoulder we can lift the burden together.   What are some of the key ingredients to succeed?  We will need to be truthful, committed, passionate, pragmatic, solution oriented, with a good dose pragmatism and regular reality checks.  Always with our feet on the ground and our gaze to the stars.

Your question may be:  How will this be done?  I would posit by a recalibration of our modus operandi.  We will need new ways of thinking and working in multilateralism.  How do we navigate the global interests in a context in which common sense is no longer common and in a world in which our universal core values are at risk of disintegrating?

As we strive to make a real difference in the lives of the people we serve, we must hone our diplomatic skills in the Sahel, where violent extremism is undermining security and women’s rights are on the line.  Human trafficking, illicit flows, guns and drugs are fuelling terrorism.  Our youth is recruited not for jobs but to destroy their future and take many more with them.

In Myanmar, where more than 320,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled as refugees to neighbouring Bangladesh in recent months, our dilemma is stemming the reality of ethnic cleansing and the threat of refugees fleeing.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the country with the highest number of internally displaced people, the transition to the next Government is a challenge in a country that was once the rape capital of the world — if the Democratic Republic of the Congo goes, nine countries are at risk.

And in the European Union, xenophobia and nationalism have seen a disturbing rise and pose a threat to democracy, the rule of law and the very foundation on which Human rights were built.

In all these situations and more we have to be sensitive to history, to people’s different perceptions and realities, and to the need for doing things differently.

At the United Nations, being fit for purpose for these challenges will be embodied in the reforms of the Secretary-General as we present them over the next few months.  They will address the skills and capacity to implement the 17 Sustainable Development Goals — our global response to eradicating poverty — and to taking climate action.  The reforms will also strive to help us better manage our human and financial resources, bringing service closer to the people.  And they will reshape the way we deliver on peacekeeping, assuring prevention is at the core of everything we do.  Another heavy lift, which will require all hands on deck.

It will mean ensuring a people-centred response that supports the priorities of a country as they strive to attain the aspiration of leaving no one behind.

So, finally, I ask you as diplomats of the twenty-first century:  Are you fit for purpose?  Are you the best the world expects you to be?  What can you and your foreign ministries do to navigate those interests?  Are you rising to the occasion and are you doing things differently?  Are you making the impossible possible?  Are you making your peoples aspirations a reality?  Are you contributing to our collective responsibility?

Each and every one of us has a story.  Each and every one of us has a debt that we have to return to the world.  I became a diplomat by default.

Today, as a woman of colour, a Muslim, an African, a mother of six, a grandmother and as the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, I owe it to the world to dig deep and to do my part in support of António Guterres to achieve our goals for a more peaceful world of dignity and hope, managing international relations, building trust and leveraging diplomacy in the most unconventional ways and always speaking truth to power for those whose voices cannot reach these corridors of power.

Finally, I accept this honour for those women diplomats gone before me as I stand on their shoulders to carry on their unfinished work in our world of pain, desperation and yet we don’t have the luxury of failure.

Army officers urged to protect South Sudan's children

Listen /

Children gather on a bank at sunset in the Protection of Civilians (PoC) site in Bentiu, South Sudan, 30 April 2017. ©UNICEF/UN070642/Phil Hatcher-Moore

Soldiers in South Sudan have been reminded of their responsibility to protect children from violence, neglect, exploitation and abuse.

The army officers took part in a two-day workshop last week organized by the UN mission in the country, UNMISS, where they were urged to show leadership by ensuring their troops protect children caught in conflict.

South Sudan’s army, known as the SPLA, has been accused of grave violations against children, including rape, killings and recruiting them as fighters.

Henry Lokuri spoke to the head of the Child Protection Unit at UNMISS, Alfred Orono Orono, who himself is a former child soldier from Uganda.

Duration: 3’10”

Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 6 November 2017

This report is for the media and the general public.

The SMM recorded more ceasefire violations both in Donetsk and Luhansk regions compared with the previous 24 hours. The Mission confirmed five civilian casualties from Donetsk city, including one fatality. It observed multiple impact sites near civilian residences in the Kyivskyi district of Donetsk city, assessed as caused by artillery rounds, and to essential infrastructure at the Donetsk Filtration Station and a water reservoir near Yasynuvata, including damage assessed as caused by a rocket from a multiple launch rocket system. The SMM continued monitoring the disengagement areas, its access remained restricted there and elsewhere, including at a heavy weapons holding area and in Vasylivka.* The Mission saw weapons in violation of withdrawal lines near Oleksandropil, Khriashchuvate and Novoamvrosiivske. It facilitated and monitored repairs and maintenance to high-voltage lines near Novozvanivka, and a water pipeline near Zolote and Popasna.

In Donetsk region between the evenings of 3 and 4 November the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations,[1] including, however, fewer explosions (about 150), compared with the previous 24 hours (about 220 explosions).

On the evening of 5 November, while in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard five undetermined explosions and 55 bursts of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 4-6km south-east. During the day on 6 November, the SMM heard an undetermined explosion 5-7km north-west, 16 undetermined explosions 6-7km north-east, and 13 undetermined explosions and nine bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 4-7km south-east.

On the evening of 5 November, while in “DPR”-controlled Debaltseve (58km north-east of Donetsk) the SMM heard four undetermined explosions 7-10km north-west. During the day on 6 November, positioned about 2km north-west of Debaltseve for about one hour, the SMM heard and saw 25 explosions assessed as impacts 10-14km at north-westerly directions.

On the evening of 5 November, while in “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard ten undetermined explosions 3-7km south-west.

On the evening and night of 5-6 November, the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station (15km north of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, four projectiles in flight from east to west, an undetermined explosion, 21 projectiles from north-east to south-west, an undetermined explosion, 44 projectiles from east to west, seven undetermined explosions, 18 projectiles from east to west, four undetermined explosions, a projectile (trajectory undetermined), five projectiles from west to east and 21 projectiles from east to west, all at unknown distances south. During the day on 6 November, the same camera recorded 44 projectiles in flight from east to west 0.5-1.5km south.

On the evening and night of 5-6 November, the SMM camera in government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, six projectiles in flight from north-west to south-east and 17 projectiles from south-west to north-east, all at unknown distances east-south-east. On the morning of 6 November, positioned on the southern edge of Avdiivka for over two hours, the SMM heard an undetermined explosion 3-5km south-east and bursts and shots of small-arms fire 1-3km east. On the same day, positioned on the south-western edge of Avdiivka for over three hours, the SMM heard 26 undetermined explosions 2-5km east and east-south-east.

On the evening and night of 5-6 November, while in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city centre, for about four hours, the SMM heard five undetermined explosions 8-10km north-west.

During the day on 6 November, positioned in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city’s Kyivskyi district (5km north of Donetsk city centre) for an hour, the SMM heard an undetermined explosion 2-3km north-west.

Positioned 2.5km south-east of government-controlled Lomakyne (15km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM heard an undetermined explosion at an unknown distance north-north-east, and seven undetermined explosions, an explosion assessed as an impact and ten outgoing explosions, all at unknown distances east-north-east.

Positioned 1km north-north-west of government-controlled Pyshchevyk (25km north-east of Mariupol) for about three and a half hours, the SMM heard two undetermined explosions at unknown distances north-east, two undetermined explosions at unknown distances south-south-east and small-arms fire at unknown distances east-south-east.

Positioned in Stupakove (formerly Krasnyi Pakhar, 49km north-east of Donetsk), for about 45 minutes, the SMM heard eight undetermined explosions 3-4km south.

In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations, including about 200 explosions, compared with the previous 24 hours (about 40 explosions).

On the evening of 5 November, while in “LPR”-controlled Kadiivka (formerly Stakhanov, 50km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard, in about 40 minutes, 162 explosions assessed as artillery or mortar fire (unknown calibre) (81 were assessed as impacts and 81 as outgoing), 95 bursts of infantry-fighting-vehicle (IFV) (BMP-2) cannon (30mm) fire, all 10-18km west and west-north-west, and saw three illumination flares in vertical flight 1-2km west.

On the evening and night of 5-6 November, while on the northern edge of government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard an undetermined explosion 5km south-east, 12 explosions assessed as mortar rounds (eight assessed as impacts and four assessed as outgoing) and about 100 shots and bursts of small-arms, heavy-machine-gun, automatic grenade-launcher and IFV (BMP-2) cannon (30mm) fire, all 3-5km south-west. During the day on 6 November, while in the same position, the SMM heard 13 undetermined explosions and at least 70 shots and bursts of small-arms, automatic grenade-launcher and IFV (BMP-2) cannon fire 4-6km south-east.

On the morning of 6 November, positioned in “LPR”-controlled Kalynove (60km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard ten undetermined explosions and five bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 5-7km south-south-west. On the same day, positioned 3.5km east of Kalynove, the SMM heard 11 shots of automatic-grenade-launcher fire 5-7km west.

The SMM followed up on reports of civilian casualties – four injured and one killed – in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city. Staff at the Kalinina morgue in Donetsk city told the SMM that on 5 November, they had received the body of a nine-year-old boy who had died from shrapnel injuries to his head and neck.

At the Donetsk Trauma Hospital, medical staff told the SMM that two boys (aged nine and ten) had been admitted to the hospital on 5 November with shrapnel injuries. They said that the two boys had been together with the abovementioned fatality, when a piece of unexploded ordnance (UXO) exploded – killing one, and injuring the others. They told the SMM that one of the boys had injuries to his right elbow, while the other had sustained extensive damage to his hip and remained in critical condition after having undergone surgery. Medical staff from the children’s department told the SMM that one of the boys was still suffering from shock after having seen his friend killed in front of him. According to a Russian Federation Armed Forces officer of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) and media reports, the three boys had found a piece of UXO in the playground of school no. 110 in Donetsk city’s Petrovskyi district.

At the same hospital, the SMM spoke with a 65-year-old man who had bandages over his left eye. He told the SMM that on 5 November at around 18:15, he had been in his kitchen at 84 Partyzanskyi Avenue in Kyivskyi district of Donetsk city (5km north-west of the city centre) when he had heard two explosions in rapid succession and had been thrown to the floor by the blast of the second one. He said he had subsequently noticed that his head was bleeding and had called an ambulance.

A fourth casualty at the hospital, a 35-year-old man, who had bandages on his right arm, told the SMM that at 21:20 on 5 November, he had been at 12 Kedrina Street in the Kyivskyi district of Donetsk city when he had heard several explosions and was subsequently struck on his right arm by shattered glass.

The SMM observed damage in residential areas and to essential infrastructure from shelling. At the Verkhnokalmiuska reservoir, about 2km south of Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk), accompanied by Russian Federation Armed Forces officers of the JCCC, the SMM saw a fresh crater in a concrete slab on the bank of the reservoir, assessed as caused by a rocket from a multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) fired from a north-westerly direction. About 150m south-west of the first impact, the Mission saw four fresh craters on soft ground; however, the Mission could not assess the type of weapon used or the direction of fire. Workers from the Voda Donbassa water company told the SMM that the impacts had occurred at 18:40 on 5 November.

The SMM observed four impact sites at Donetsk Filtration Station (15km north of Donetsk), accompanied by Russian Federation Armed Forces officers of the JCCC. The SMM saw a hole (60cm in diameter) in an 7-8cm thick outer layer of an aboveground pipeline (which the head of the facility said was used to transport chlorine) and, 10m south of the pipeline, next to an asphalt road, the SMM saw two small fresh craters, 15m apart. About 30m north of the pipeline, the SMM also saw an impact to the bottom of the south-facing wall of a building, three broken windows and glass on the floor. The Mission assessed that all impacts were caused by an automatic or under-barrel grenade launcher round; however the SMM could not assess the direction of fire. While at the site, the head of the facility showed the SMM a building where he said that chlorine was stored, located about 70-80m west of the impacts. He told the SMM that all damage had occurred early in the morning between 3 and 5 November.

On 6 June, accompanied by Russian Federation Armed Forces officers of the JCCC, the Mission observed impact sites in the Kyivskyi district of Donetsk city. The Mission assessed that all damage had been caused by artillery rounds of at least 122mm fired from a westerly direction.                

At 5b Kyivskyi Ave, a nine-storey apartment building, the SMM saw a hole (3.3×1.7m) in the building’s concrete roof plate, as well as debris from the roof on the ground in front of the north-facing side of the building. The SMM spoke with a woman (in her forties) who said that she had been in the building at the time it was hit. She told the SMM that she began to hear explosions nearby at around 17:00 on 5 November and that the building had been hit between 19:00 and 20:00; however nobody had been injured. The SMM saw several workers on the roof of the building repairing the power supply.

Between 63 and 63a Kyivskyi Ave, the SMM saw a fresh crater on the asphalt road, as well as workers repairing power and gas lines, and removing a large tree, which the SMM assessed to have been freshly hit. At 63 Kyivskyi Ave, the SMM saw at least 14 broken north-facing windows, as well as a damaged balcony. At 63b Kyivskyi Ave, the SMM saw broken west-facing windows and shattered glass on the floor of a room in a west-facing apartment belonging to a woman (in her late sixties). She told the SMM that she had been watching television when three loud explosions had occurred on 5 November, following which all residents had assembled outside to take shelter behind the wall of another building. At another apartment in 63b Kyivskyi Ave, a man (in his fifties) told the SMM that he had heard three loud explosions between 17:30 and 17:40 on 5 November, and that nobody had been injured.

At the Donetsk Technical School at 78 Aristova Street, the SMM observed scarring to the south-facing façades and staircase, and shattered south-facing windows. At a college at 7 Aristova Street, the SMM observed a hole (1.2×0.8m) in the west-facing wall of the gym. All west-facing windows of the building had been broken and the SMM saw shattered glass in the hallway inside the building. At 3 Aristova Street, the student dormitory had shattered north-facing windows. The SMM spoke with a college co-ordinator (a woman in her forties) who said the impacts had occurred on 5 November between 17:45 and 18:00 and that nobody had been injured. She told the SMM that 70 students had been evacuated from the dormitory when the explosions began and that only security staff had been at the college, where 300 students are enrolled, at the time of the impacts.

At 71 Kyivskyi Avenue, the SMM saw significant damage to a building’s brickwork, three of its north-facing balconies, as well as four broken north-facing windows and, 2m north of the building, a fresh crater. At 84 Partyzanskyi Avenue, 30m further north, the SMM saw multiple lacerations to its south-facing wall and at least 15 broken and cracked south-facing windows. A local resident (65-year-old man) told the SMM that the impact had occurred on 5 November between 18:00 and 18:05 and that he had sustained an injury to his eye as a result of the impact (see section on civilian casualties, above).

At a bus stop on 52 Kyivskyi Avenue, the SMM observed a fresh crater in the pavement and significant structural damage to the west-facing side of bus stop, where its roof and support pillars had been lacerated in multiple places, as well as damage to the west-facing façade of a non-operational shopping centre 5m east of the crater. A woman (in her sixties) told the SMM that the explosion had occurred after 17:00 on 5 November.

The SMM observed a fresh crater in the asphalt street between two houses at 5a and 7 Namotkina Street. The garden wall of 5a Namotkina had been punctured and scorched in multiple places, likely by shrapnel, and there were several holes in the house’s west-facing façade, as well as multiple broken west-facing windows. The owner of 5a Namotkina Street told the SMM that that the explosion had occurred at 17:45.

The SMM continued to monitor the disengagement process and to pursue full access to the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk), Zolote (60km west of Luhansk) and Petrivske (41km south of Donetsk), as foreseen in the Framework Decision of the Trilateral Contact Group relating to disengagement of forces and hardware of 21 September 2016. The SMM’s access remained restricted but the Mission was able to partially monitor them.*

Positioned in and around the disengagement areas near government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska and Zolote, the SMM observed calm situations.

The SMM continued to monitor the withdrawal of weapons, in implementation of the Package of Measures and its Addendum, as well as the Memorandum.

In violation of the respective withdrawal lines, in government-controlled areas, on 5 November an SMM mid-range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spotted eight self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) near Oleksandropil (43km north of Donetsk). In areas outside of government control, on 6 November, the SMM saw a tank (T-72) on a flatbed truck travelling north near Khriashchuvate (10km south-east of Luhansk) and four stationary MLRS (BM-21) near Novoamvrosiivske (56km east of Donetsk).

Beyond the withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites, in government-controlled areas: imagery revealed, on 28 October, 16 self-propelled howitzers (13 2S1 and three 2S3 Akatsiya, 152mm) and, on 1 November, a stationary tank (T-64) next to a train and two surface-to-air missile systems (9K35 Strela-10) loaded on a train near Zachativka (74km south-west of Donetsk); on 5 November, an SMM mid-range UAV spotted ten towed howitzers (nine D-20, 152mm and a D-30 Lyagushka, 122mm) in Novoolenivka (48km north-west of Donetsk); on 6 November, the SMM saw ten tanks (T-64) on flat-bed trucks travelling north near Novoolenivka, a stationary tank (T-64) near Bilokrynychne (formerly Kalinine, 79km south-east of Donetsk), and three tanks (T-64), two were stationary and one was on a flat-bed truck travelling north-east near Bakhmut (formerly Artemivsk, 67km north of Donetsk).

The SMM observed weapons that could not be verified as withdrawn, as their storage did not comply with the criteria set out in the 16 October 2015 notification from the SMM to the signatories of the Package of Measures on effective monitoring and verification of the withdrawal of heavy weapons. In government-controlled areas beyond the respective withdrawal lines, the SMM observed 12 self-propelled howitzers (2S19 Msta-S, 152mm) and 12 towed howitzers (2A65 Msta-B, 152mm) and noted that 72 towed howitzers (44 2A36 Giatsint-B, 152mm and 28 D-20), 18 self-propelled howitzers (2S3) and 12 anti-tank guns (D48, 85mm) were again missing. In an area outside government control beyond the respective withdrawal lines in Donetsk region, the SMM observed two towed howitzers (D-30).

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles and an anti-aircraft gun[2] in the security zone. In a government-controlled area, on 4 November, an SMM mid-range UAV spotted seven IFVs (two BMP-1 and five BMP-2) as well as an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23, 23mm) mounted on a truck near Luhanske (59km north-east of Donetsk). In an area outside of government control, on 4 November, an SMM mid-range UAV spotted a revetted IFV (BMP-1) near Dolomitne (53km north-east of Donetsk).

On 4 November, an SMM mid-range UAV spotted about 80 probable mines (type undetermined) laid across and along the shoulders of a 2km stretch road M03, as well as in the surrounding fields between government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk) and non-government-controlled Debaltseve (58km north-east of Donetsk). The SMM has previously observed mines in this area (See SMM Daily Report of 30 October 2017).

The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor repairs and maintenance, co‑ordinated by the JCCC, to high-voltage lines near government-controlled Novozvanivka (70km west of Luhansk) and the water pipeline between Zolote and government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk).

The SMM saw a train with seven wagons transporting coal traveling west near “LPR”-controlled Samsonivka (31km south-east of Luhansk).

The SMM continued monitoring in Kherson, Odessa, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Chernivtsi and Kyiv.

*Restrictions of SMM’s freedom of movement or other impediments to fulfilment of its mandate

The SMM’s monitoring and freedom of movement are restricted by security hazards and threats, including risks posed by mines, UXO and other impediments – which vary from day to day. The SMM’s mandate provides for safe and secure access throughout Ukraine. All signatories of the Package of Measures have agreed on the need for this safe and secure access, that restriction of the SMM’s freedom of movement constitutes a violation, and on the need for rapid response to these violations. They have also agreed that the JCCC should contribute to such response and co-ordinate mine clearance. Nonetheless, the armed formations in parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions frequently deny the SMM access to areas adjacent to Ukraine’s border outside control of the Government, citing orders to do so. (See, for example, SMM Daily Report 23 October 2017.) The SMM’s operations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions remained restricted following the fatal incident of 23 April near Pryshyb; these restrictions continued to limit the Mission’s observations.

Denial of access:

  • While preparing to conduct a mid-range UAV flight near “DPR”-controlled Vasylivka (20km north of Donetsk), armed persons approached the SMM and said that all flights were prohibited until permission was granted by their superiors. The SMM left the area and informed the JCCC.

  • At a heavy weapons holding area, an armed “DPR” member prevented the SMM from accessing part of a compound, citing orders from his superiors. The SMM informed the JCCC.

Related to disengagement areas and mines/UXO:

  • The SMM was prevented from accessing parts of the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area, with the exception of the main road, due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. A Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC told the SMM that no de-mining had taken place during the previous 24 hours. The SMM did not consider it safe to proceed and informed the JCCC both times.

  • < >he SMM was prevented from accessing secondary roads south of the Zolote disengagement area due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. Armed “LPR” members positioned on the southern side of the Zolote disengagement area told the SMM that no demining had taken place during the previous 24 hours. The SMM did not consider it safe to proceed and informed the JCCC both times.< >he SMM was prevented from accessing secondary roads in the Zolote disengagement area due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. A Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC at a checkpoint on the northern side of the Zolote disengagement area told the SMM that no demining had taken place during the previous 24 hours. The SMM did not consider it safe to proceed and informed the JCCC both times.< >he SMM could not travel across the bridge in government-controlled Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk) due to the presence of mines. A Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC said there were mines on the road south of the bridge. The SMM informed the JCCC both times.< >

    [1] Please see the annexed table for a complete breakdown of the ceasefire violations as well as a map of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions marked with locations featured in this report. During this reporting period the SMM camera at the Oktiabr mine (Donetsk) remained non-operational. Nine SMM cameras are in a testing phase, to last until 30 November 2017.

    * Please see the section at the end of this report entitled “Restrictions of SMM’s freedom of movement or other impediments to fulfilment of its mandate”.

    [2] This hardware is not proscribed by the provisions of the Minsk agreements on the withdrawal of weapons.