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U N I T E D N A T I O N S N A T I O N S U N I E S
Remarks to Security Council On Myanmar
New York, 28 August 2018
I join you today with a heavy heart. The massive refugee emergency that began one year ago in Rakhine State, Myanmar, has become one of the world’s worst humanitarian and human rights crises. Last month, I visited Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh and heard stories of horrendous persecution and suffering. One father broke down as he told me how his son was shot dead in front of him. His mother was brutally murdered and his house burned to the ground.
He took refuge in a mosque only to be discovered by soldiers who abused him and burned the Quran. I know members of the Council heard similar harrowing accounts on your own visit to the region.
You highlighted in your press statement of 9 May the degree to which you “were struck by the scale of the humanitarian crisis” and how you “remain gravely concerned by the current situation.”
Peacebuilding and sustaining peace require a more coherent United Nations strategy, as well a ‘quantum leap’ in funding activities that prevent the outbreak, escalation, continuation and recurrence of conflict, Secretary-General António Guterres said Wednesday. More.
Unequivocally condemning unlawful destruction and pillaging of cultural heritage such as religious sites and artifacts, the United Nations Security Council adopted an historic resolution that is expected to strengthen protections for such heritage during armed conflicts where they are most vulnerable. More
10 January 2017 – Delivering his first formal briefing to the Security Council, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres underlined the need for new, strengthened efforts to build and sustain peace ranging from prevention, conflict resolution and peacekeeping to peacebuilding and sustainable development.
22 August 2016 – Stressing the need for a 48-hour pause to the fighting in the Syrian city of Aleppo, the United Nations humanitarian chief today urged the United States and Russia to rapidly reach agreement on the security guarantees and operational modalities for a ceasefire there so aid workers can deliver life-saving assistance to those in desperate need.
“I’m not going to pretend – I’m angry, very angry” about what is happening in Aleppo today and throughout Syria over the last five years, said Stephen O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator in his briefing to the Security Council.
“This callous carnage that is Syria has long since moved from the cynical, to the sinful,” he said, warning that it is the failure of politics and the 15-member Council.
“So please: now is the moment, this instant, to put differences aside, come together as one, and stop this humanitarian shame upon us all, once and for all,” he told Council members.
You already heard [from] the Chairman of the Council, the Ambassador of France. Let me first summarize what we did and then of course I will take questions.
The first point was that we all remembered with sadness and horror the terrorist attack in Istanbul. It was a reminder to everyone in the Council that fighting terrorism is a priority and should be considered constantly a priority. We should not forget that aspect. However, winning – not only fighting – terrorism in Syria and Iraq too, but particularly in Syria, would require a political transition because that’s the way through which we take away the water from those who are swimming in the terrorist environment.
The second point that came up marginally but it’s an important point was the fact that today 18 towns have been reached amongst the besieged cities. And for those of you who have been following up all the different attempts to reach all the besieged areas [will know] it’s quite a landmark. It’s not enough. We’re not reaching them as much as we want. We are not reaching everywhere but if you think about what was last year [compared to] today, 18 of the 18 towns besieged were reached.
Sexual violence is widely recognized as a deliberate strategy used to shred the fabric of society; to control and intimidate communities and to force people from their homes. It is rightly seen as a threat to international peace and security, a serious violation of international humanitarian and human rights law, and a major impediment to post-conflict reconciliation and economic development.
This Council has played a significant role in ushering in this change, in particular through several landmark resolutions that confirm sexual violence as a war crime, a crime against humanity, and a constituent act of genocide.
The designation of 19 June as the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict is a further sign of heightened engagement and commitment.
Over the past decade, I have sought to do whatever I can to end sexual violence in conflict and uphold the rights of women and girls everywhere.
The Security Council would hold two open debates this month, the first on the issue of counter-terrorism and the other concerning cooperation on peace and security matters between the United Nations and the African Union, Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta (Egypt), the 15-member organ’s President for May, said at a Headquarters press conference. Continue reading →