‘Important work ahead,’ Security Council says, as UN mission in Côte d’Ivoire concludes

‘Important work ahead,’ Security Council says, as UN mission in Côte d’Ivoire concludes

Recognizing the efforts of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) in promoting peace, stability and development, the UN Security Council today marked the closing of the mission by underscoring the importance of action by the Government to address the remaining challenges in the country for the benefit of all Ivorians.

In a statement read out by Ambassador Sacha Sergio Llorentty Solíz of Bolivia, which holds the Council presidency for June, the 15-member body also emphasized that the departure of the mission did not mark the end of the UN’s support to the country.

In addition, the Council welcomed progress in the West African nation, including the consolidation of peace and stability, improvements in economic prosperity and the successful holding of presidential and legislative elections in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

At the same time, it noted that “there is important work ahead” in tackling remaining challenges – including in the fight against impunity, the advancement of national reconciliation and social cohesion, security sector reform and other critical areas.

It also noted that the Government had indicated that the UN would continue to be an important partner in the next phase of Côte d’Ivoire’s development, and in that regard, encouraged the international community, including bilateral and multilateral donors, to assist the activities of the UN Country Team – the group of all UN agencies working in Côte d’Ivoire – and to consider providing funding for its transition plan.

Also in the statement, the Security Council requested the Secretary-General to undertake a study on UNOCI’s role in Côte d’Ivoire, and expressed its intention to take its findings into account in ongoing efforts to enhance the overall effectiveness of UN peacekeeping efforts.

The UN mission was deployed to Côte d’Ivoire in 2004 when the country was divided in half by an armed conflict. During its time in the country, the mission helped protect civilians, enabled inclusive political dialogue and supported the Government in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of nearly 70,000 former combatants.

It also supported social cohesion through about 1,000 quick impact projects, resulting in the decrease in inter-communal conflicts by 80 per cent.

UN welcomes major partnership initiative with tech giants to counter terrorism online

UN welcomes major partnership initiative with tech giants to counter terrorism online

A senior United Nations official has called for sustained joint efforts to combat terrorism and welcomed a partnership initiative with tech giants Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube to counter terrorism and violent extremism online.

“I welcome this major initiative, which elevates our existing private-public partnership with these and other companies,” said Jean-Paul Laborde, UN Assistant Secretary-General and the Executive Director of the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate.

“The UN remains committed to addressing the scourge of terrorism, and we look forward to remaining a key partner to the private sector,” he added.

The four tech giants have already developed and have put in place policies and removal practices to take a hard line against terrorist or violent extremist content on their hosted consumer services.

The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism partnership will help further strengthen these “counter-speech” protections through research- and evidence-based efforts and technical and policy decisions around the removal of terrorist content, noted a news release issued by the Executive Directorate.

By working together, and through the sharing of the best technological and operational elements of their individual efforts, they believe they can have a greater impact on the threat of terrorist content online, it added.

The new forum builds on initiatives, such as the European Union (EU) Internet Forum and the Shared Industry Hash Database as well as discussions with governments and the outcomes of recent G7 and European Council meetings.

It will also help strengthen existing and build future areas of collaboration between these companies, including with smaller tech enterprises, civil society groups and academics, as well as with governments, and intergovernmental bodies like the EU and the UN.

The companies will also be hosting a series of learning workshops in partnership with the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate and the ICT4Peace Foundation in Silicon Valley (which is home to many of the world’s largest high-tech corporations) and around the world to drive these areas of collaboration.

Within the UN system, the Security Council continues to closely follow efforts to combat terrorism as well as other issues that represent serious threats to international peace and security.

Last month, it unanimously adopted a resolution which, among others, provides a comprehensive international framework to counter terrorist narratives and amplifies positive and credible alternatives to audiences vulnerable to extremist messages, especially those on social media.

World Refugee Day 2017

World Refugee Day

With a record 65.6 million people last year forcibly uprooted from their homes by violence and persecution, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres today called on the international community to provide support and solidarity.

“We reflect on the courage of those who fled and the compassion of those who welcome them,” the Secretary-General said in his video message for World Refugee Day, marked annually on 20 June.

He noted that more people than ever in our lifetimes are fleeing war, disasters and persecution.

“Hardship, separation, death,” Mr. Guterres said, recalling nightmare stories heard from refugees and displaced persons, whose number rose 300,000 since the end of 2015.

Stand #withrefugees

Stand #withrefugees

Conflicts have displaced 12 million Syrians, 7.7 million Colombians, 4.7 million Afghans and 4.2 million Iraqis, according to a report released yesterday by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Despite the hardships of fleeing with nothing, “they never lose their dreams for their children or their desire to better our world,” Mr. Guterres said. “They ask for little – only our support in their time of greatest need and our solidarity.”

The UN chief said it is “so inspiring to see countries with the least doing the most for refugees.”

According to the report, about 84 per cent of the people were in low- or middle-income countries as of end 2016. Of that figure, one in every three people, roughly 4.9 million people, were hosted by the least developed countries.

To mark the Day, Mr. Guterr will hold a press conference in New York later today.

When we stand #WithRefugees, we also stand for respect and diversity for all

In his remarks, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said the Day is also a moment to recognize those communities and people around the world who receive refugees and the internally displaced in their midst, offering them a safe place, and welcoming them in their societies.

In a world in which uncertainty often abounds; economic instability, political upheaval and violence close to home “can make us want to shut our eyes or close our doors. But fear and exclusion will not lead us to a better place – they can only lead to barriers, alienation and despair,” he stressed.

“It’s time to change this trajectory. And for the better,” he stated, noting that in countless communities, including in the poorest countries that host the vast majority of the world’s refugees, business people, faith communities, teachers, journalists and many more are joining together to provide refuge to the displaced and foster their inclusion in their societies.

“Inclusion requires opening our minds, hearts and communities to refugees. It requires a whole of society approach,” Mr. Grandi underscored.

World Refugee Day is a moment to ask what each of us can do to overcome indifference or fear and embrace the idea of inclusion, “to welcome refugees to our own communities, and to counter narratives that would seek to exclude and marginalize refugees and other uprooted people,” he emphasized.

In Kabul, UN chief calls for peace and compassion

In Kabul, UN chief calls for peace and compassion

Expressing solidarity with Afghan people, in the wake of recent violence in the country, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres today underscored the Organization’s full commitment to work with the Government and people of the country to build a sustainable and prosperous future for them.

Secretary-General António Guterres is visiting Afghanistan to show solidarity with the Afghan people. Photo: UNAMA/Fardin Waezi

Secretary-General António Guterres is visiting Afghanistan to show solidarity with the Afghan people. Photo: UNAMA/Fardin Waezi

“Peace is the solution […] the international community, the neighbouring countries [and] all those related to the Afghan crisis need to come together and understand that this is a war that has no military solution,” said the Secretary-General, at a press conference in Kabul, where he arrived earlier today.

“We need to have peace,” he added, underscoring that at the same time, the level of humanitarian assistance to the country had to be increased and conditions needed to be created for Afghanis to be able to live in dignity.

 

Since his time as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (2005-2015), Mr. Guterres has been paying a solidarity visit to Muslim communities during the holy month of Ramadan, and his visit to Afghanistan was a continuation of his expression of solidarity with them.

While in Kabul, the UN chief met with displaced men and women from the Kapisa province, now living in a settlement on the outskirts of Kabul.

In their interaction, the displaced persons underscored that security remained the prerequisite for their return to their homes and that education, including for women and girls was critical for supporting themselves and their families. They also stressed their need for medical care.

“I have an enormous admiration for the courage and the resilience of the Afghan people, and they were very eloquently demonstrated in my meeting this morning,” noted the UN chief.

The Secretary-General also held bilateral meetings with Ashraf Ghani, the President of Afghanistan, as well as the country’s Chief Executive Officer, Abdullah Abdullah, where they discussed cooperation between the Organization and the Government of Afghanistan as well as the security situation in the country and the need to better mobilize the international community to counter terrorism.