East Jerusalem, Central African Republic, Myanmar & other topics

From The United Nations

Noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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MIDDLE EAST The Council started its work this morning with closed consultations on the Middle East. Council members heard an update on the situation in occupied East Jerusalem from the UN Special Coordinator, Tor Wennesland.

As for the situation on the ground, a number of you have been asking me before the briefing and I can tell you that the Secretary-General is following with deep concern the latest security developments, which risk triggering yet another dangerous escalation leading to further violence and loss of lives.

He condemns in the strongest terms the launching of rockets from Gaza into Israel, which have reportedly been claimed by Hamas, particularly the targeting of civilian population centres.

He urges all parties to exercise maximum restraint. Special Coordinator Mr. Wennesland is working closely with all concerned parties to restore calm. His office is monitoring the situation closely.

In a statement we issued last night, the Secretary-General expressed his deep concern over the continuing violence in occupied East Jerusalem, as well as the possible evictions of Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighborhoods.

He urges Israel to cease demolitions and evictions, in line with obligations under international humanitarian and international human rights law.

Israeli authorities must exercise maximum restraint and respect the right to freedom of peaceful assembly. All leaders have a responsibility to act against extremists and to speak out against all acts of violence and incitement.

The Secretary-General urges that the status quo of the holy sites be upheld and respected, and if we have more, as the situation is unfolding, we may have more for you later this afternoon.

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC In the Central African Republic, peacekeepers have been deployed since yesterday morning to help secure the town of Bakouma, which is about 130 km north of Bangassou.

Bakouma is one of the towns where security concerns had prevented the holding of elections in December of last year and again in March.

The deployment of 300 UN peacekeepers there was made possible following the rehabilitation of bridges damaged by armed groups a few weeks ago.

While there, the peacekeepers will work to protect the civilian population, and will also help with the organization of legislative elections later this month.

MYANMAR Our colleagues on the ground say they remain appalled by the ongoing violence at the hands of security forces since the military took over the Government on 1 February.

The UN Human Rights Office says that, as of today, at least 781 peaceful protestors, many of them women and children, have been killed, while thousands more people have been injured.

Now in its fourth month, the situation in Myanmar has fast become one of the worst protection and human crises in the world today.


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