News in Brief 03 November 2017 (PM)

Listen /

Ms. Jane Connors, Victims’ Rights Advocate for the United Nations, at the press conference on 3 November.
UN Photo/Evan Schneider.

First-ever UN advocate to “amplify” voices of sexual abuse victims

Giving visibility to survivors of sexual exploitation and abuse committed by personnel serving under the UN flag is among the top priorities of the organization’s first-ever Victims’ Rights Advocate.

Jane Connors was appointed in August by the UN Secretary-General.

She will work with government institutions, civil society and other partners “to ensure that the full effect of local laws are brought to bear.”

Ms Connors held her first press briefing at UN Headquarters on Friday.

“My priority is to give visibility to those who have suffered, including through connecting with them personally, and I wish to amplify their voices in a way that cannot be ignored and support them as they rebuild their lives. In addition to ensuring that there are reliable gender-sensitive pathways for every victim or witness to file complaints, I’ll work to ensure that assistance is rapidly and sensitively delivered.”

Ms Connors recently spent nearly two weeks in the Central African Republic (CAR), and accompanied UN chief António Guterres on his mission to the country.

It is one of four countries from which the majority of allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse emanate.

The others are the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti and South Sudan.

Overall, the UN has received 31 allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse during the period from July to September of this year.

Twelve incidents took place at peacekeeping operations and 14 investigations have been launched.

UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric has more information.

“With regards to our efforts to end impunity, we are developing an electronic tool for screening UN staff dismissed as a result of substantiated allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse, or who resigned or were dismissed during an investigation. We have also launched mandatory training for all UN personnel prior to deployment. This month we are piloting in the Democratic Republic of the Congo a single and uniform ‘Incident Report Form’ to ensure assistance is provided immediately, appropriate investigative action is undertaken, and to improve data collection.”

UN official deplores murder of journalists in Iraq, Syria

The head of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has condemned the recent killing of two journalists: one in Iraq, the other in Syria.

Arkan Sharifi, a camera operator with Kurdistan Television, was killed in the early hours of Monday when gunmen broke into his home in the Iraqi city of Daquq, located in the Governorate of Kirkuk.

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova has called for an investigation into

his murder and has urged the authorities to take all steps to end violence against the media.

The second journalist was killed during an attack in Eastern Ghouta in Syria on Sunday.

Qays Al-Qadi was the bureau chief of a television channel based in Turkey.

The UNESCO chief has issued a statement reminding all warring parties of their obligation to ensure the safety of journalists in conflict situations.

World Tsunami Awareness Day: International cooperation key to reducing risk

There needs to be an urgent shift from managing disasters to managing disaster risk, the UN Deputy Secretary-General told a panel in New York earlier this week.

Amina J. Mohammed was speaking ahead of World Tsunami Awareness Day, observed on Sunday 5 November.

Although tsunamis are rare, they can affect a lot of people, particularly those living in coastal areas, according to the UN’s disaster risk reduction office, UNISDR.

The agency recalled that up to five million people in 15 countries were affected by the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake tsunami.

The UN office said “tsunamis know no borders, making international cooperation key for deeper political and public understanding of risk reduction measures.”

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 3’55”