MSF scales up patient care activities in DRC amid growing tensions and decreased access

Source: Médecins Sans Frontières
Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Reaching communities has become even more difficult as tension after the postponement of elections in Beni and Butembo increased the distance between the people and EVD response.
Almost six months after the declaration of the Ebola epidemic in north-eastern DRC, response teams on the ground, including Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), are still struggling to gain control of the outbreak. So far, 619 people have been infected with the virus and 361 of them have died in what is the second-largest Ebola outbreak on record since the virus was discovered in this country in 1976.

As the number of new confirmed Ebola cases keeps growing, a heightened climate of unrest linked to the presidential elections has further restricted the population’s access health care in and around the city of Beni, where several health centres were damaged during protests. This is making the prompt identification of new Ebola cases more challenging, as remaining health centres become overloaded.

“In this situation people might have no other choice than to seek medical help in health facilities that do not have adequate triage or infection prevention and control measures in place, which makes the risk of contamination higher,” says Laurence Sailly, MSF emergency coordinator in Beni. “We are talking about a population that has endured many years of conflict. On top of that, they are now faced with the deadliest Ebola outbreak the country has ever seen. The unrest of these past weeks adds even more to their plight by limiting their chances of finding adequate medical care.”

Since the outbreak was declared on 1 August, MSF has been steadily scaling up patient care activities to tackle the increasing number of confirmed Ebola cases, most recently in the Butembo, Katwa and Komanda health zones. This includes the expansion of the Ebola treatment centre (ETC) in Butembo from 64 to 96 beds, the opening of a new ETC in Katwa – east of Butembo – and the opening of a transit centre in Bwana Sura in Komanda, Ituri province, where new hotspots have been identified.

“With more and more cases coming from the city of Butembo, which has a population of almost a million people, it was necessary to set up a second treatment centre very rapidly,” says Emmanuel Massart, MSF project coordinator in Katwa. “We are also addressing the need to gain the trust of the affected communities. We designed the Katwa treatment centre with the aim of offering greater capacity for patient care. Large windows allow our patients to see the faces of the doctors and nurses treating them and make family visits easier, reestablishing some of the human contact that is so hard to maintain in Ebola treatment centers”.

Raising awareness among communities about measures to control the spread of Ebola remains one of the main challenges of the outbreak response and has become largely the responsibility of those actors of the intervention. Reaching communities has become even more difficult as the tension that followed the postponement of the elections in Beni and Butembo increased the distance between the population and Ebola response activities. People are now even more reluctant to accept infection prevention and control practices such as safe and dignified burials or the decontamination of health centres and households.

“With Ebola, treatment centers alone are not enough. Connecting with the communities and building mutual trust is key to get the outbreak under control”, says Roberto Wright, MSF anthropologist is Katwa. “We need to increase our efforts to engage the population as active participants in the fight against the outbreak. This includes listening to their broader needs. For instance, at the end of December, we distributed trauma kits to local health centres to help their response to potential outbursts of violence. Likewise our transit centres are not only there to identify Ebola patients and refer them for treatment, but also to ensure adequate care for other health issues, which is a clear need for this population. Visiting communities to present our activities before we actually launch them can go a long way in terms of improving mutual understanding and facilitating better collaboration in the long run.”

MSF teams have been responding to the Ebola epidemic in North Kivu and neighbouring Ituri province since it was declared on 1 August 2018. MSF is running Ebola treatment centres in the towns of Butembo and Katwa, transit centres in Beni and Bwana Sura (Komanda health zone), and an isolation centre in Bunia. MSF also helped with the vaccination of frontline health workers and it carries out infection prevention and control activities and awareness-raising activities among health workers and affected communities.

MSF maintains complete independence from all political, religious or military powers and observes impartiality in its actions, based on an assessment of medical needs. The independence of the association is ensured by funding, 96% of which comes from private donors.


UNHCR welcomes Ethiopia's new law granting more rights to refugees

Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Country: Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Yemen

Ethiopia’s historic law will allow refugees to obtain work permits, access primary education, obtain drivers’ licenses, legally register life events and open bank accounts.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, welcomes Ethiopia’s historic new refugee law which will now allow refugees to obtain work permits, access primary education, obtain drivers’ licenses, legally register life events such as births and marriages and open up access to national financial services, such as banking.

Ethiopia’s parliament adopted revisions in its existing refugee law on Thursday (17 January 2019), making it one of the most progressive refugee policies in Africa.

“The passage of this historic law represents a significant milestone in Ethiopia’s long history of welcoming and hosting refugees from across the region for decades,” said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees. “By allowing refugees the opportunity to be better integrated into society, Ethiopia is not only upholding its international refugee law obligations, but is serving as a model for other refugee hosting nations around the world.”

Ethiopia’s revision of its refugee law comes just weeks after the UN General Assembly agreed to the Global Compact on Refugees on 17 December 2018. At the heart of this innovative new framework is a more comprehensive response to displacement in which refugees are included in national services like health and education, rather than setting up parallel systems. It also focuses on ensuring refugees have the opportunity to be self-reliant and can contribute to local economies in a way that also benefits their hosts.

UNHCR was involved in the drafting process of the refugee law revision, which was led by Ethiopia’s Agency for Refugee and Returnee Affairs, ARRA. It replaces the 2004 Refugee Proclamation which also upheld the key principles of the 1951 Refugee Convention as well as the 1969 OAU Convention, which restricted some refugee rights, like freedom of movement and access to education, and made no mention of integration.

Ethiopia currently hosts over 900,000 refugees, primarily from neighbouring South Sudan, Somalia, Sudan and Eritrea, as well as smaller numbers of refugees from Yemen and Syria.

For more information on this topic, please contact:

In Ethiopia, Kisut GEBREEGZIABHER, gegziabk@unhcr.org, +251 911 208 901
In Nairobi, Dana Hughes, hughes@unhcr.org, +254 733 440 536
In Geneva, Charlie Yaxley, yaxley@unhcr.org, +41 79 580 8702
In Geneva, Babar Baloch, baloch@unhcr.org , +41 79 513 9549


Girls returning from conflict in DR Congo find acceptance through education

Source: Child Soldiers International
Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Child Soldiers spoke to more than 150 returned girls, community members and local NGOs: it was abundantly clear that many girls were suffering immensely because of their experiences.
“My community now accepts me without question and sometimes girls in my community come to visit me. This makes me happy.”

Since we began research in Eastern DR Congo three years ago this month, life for this 16-year-old girl and hundreds like her formerly associated with armed groups has changed immeasurably.

In January 2016 we set out to understand what happens when girls return home from armed conflict and assess the support they receive once free from armed groups.

After weeks of interviews – we spoke with more than 150 returned girls, community members, local NGOs and others across Congo’s eastern provinces - it was abundantly clear that many girls were suffering immensely because of their experiences. The source of their greatest misery was often not memories from the bush as one might think, but how they were treated once home.

Rejected by family and friends, girls coming home were being ostracised by their communities because of their association with an armed group.

“Every girl from the bush, the community points to her and says: ‘Watch out: HIV.”

Alongside our local partners we wanted to reverse this shocking reality. To tangibly improve the reintegration support given to returning girls in the region we knew we had to ask them directly what specific assistance they required.

The overwhelming wish for many was to feel accepted again by their communities. One very efficient way of achieving this was by returning to education.

“If we could go to school, the community would be nicer to us, we would get some consideration.”

Over the proceeding months and after dialogue with schools, religious leaders and senior community members, we began to implement projects to improve reintegration support for girls.

The findings from our research led to the creation of a research report and a Practical Guide in 2017. Focusing on low-cost community initiatives to eradicate stigma and improve community acceptance, the guide has since been shared in 46 local communities, leading to more girls being welcomed and accepted.

Initiatives include religious leaders involving girls in church activities, engaging local women to run listening sessions so girls can share their thoughts without judgement and organising ‘Welcome Ceremonies’ to offer a welcoming gesture on behalf of the family and the community, emphasizing their responsibility to care for their child.

“I have friends at school and in my neighbourhood. I love to get involved in church activities like singing in the choir. I'm accepted by my community and I'm happier now.”

As of January 2019, our education projects have helped 245 girls formerly associated with armed groups and other vulnerable girls return to school or attend numeracy and literacy classes and five have started university. Some of them, having graduated the numeracy and literacy classes, proceeded to agricultural training and are now growing peanuts and maize together as a cooperative.

“I just finished primary school and soon I will begin secondary school. I'm so proud to be going to school.”

In February 2018 we also launched our National Action Groups. Comprised of local NGOs, community figures and government representatives, the groups are using the Practical Guide to raise awareness among communities about how they can better welcome and support returning girls.

You can find out more about our DR Congo projects here.


UNHCR criticises forced refugee returns from Cameroon

Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Country: Cameroon, Nigeria

Filippo Grandi, Refugee Agency chief, appeals to Cameroon to continue its open door and hospitable policy and practices and halt immediately any more returns.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is extremely alarmed by reports of the forced return by Cameroon this week of several thousand refugees into violence-affected Borno State in northeast Nigeria. This follows the forced return of 267 Nigerian refugees on 16 January. They had crossed into Cameroon in 2014. We are gravely concerned for the safety and well-being of all these people.

An estimated 9,000 Nigerians fled across the border into Cameroon earlier in the week after militants attacked and ransacked the small border town of Rann in Nigeria’s Borno State. The militants went on a rampage by targeting military installations, civilians and humanitarian facilities. At least 14 people are reported killed.

“This action was totally unexpected and puts lives of thousands of refugees at risk,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. “I am appealing to Cameroon to continue its open door and hospitable policy and practices and halt immediately any more returns and to ensure full compliance with its refugee protection obligations under its own national legislation, as well as international law.”

Cameroon is currently home to more than 370,000 refugees, including some 100,000 from Nigeria.

For more information on this topic, please contact:

In Cameroon, Xavier Bourgois, bourgois@unhcr.org, +237 690 049 996
In Dakar, Romain Desclous, desclous@unhcr.org, +221 786 396 385
In Geneva, Babar Baloch, baloch@unhcr.org , +41 79 513 9549


The invisible burden of antibiotic resistance in Mosul

Source: Médecins Sans Frontières
Country: Iraq

Almost 40 per cent of patients admitted to MSF’s post-operative care facility in East Mosul arrive with multidrug-resistant infections, and antibiotic resistance is a problem throughout the country.
Saad[1] sits in his bed and stares at the window, enjoying for a moment the pale light that filters through. He is alone in his isolation room, the doctors having just finished their daily medical consultation. They told him that he would be having surgery again soon – his fourth surgical intervention since the accident.

Saad, aged 46, is from Mosul; his family has lived there for generations. But the life he knew changed dramatically when a bomb went off in his neighbourhood, just as Saad was walking towards his car to go to work. “It was an incredibly hot, overcast morning, like lots of days,” he remembers. “But suddenly an explosion knocked me over and I fell unconscious.”

The blast was not close enough to kill Saad, but his leg was badly injured, fracturing his tibia and fibula. Saad was taken to hospital for surgery. “The first surgery I had consisted of inserting an internal fixation into my leg to enable me to walk again,” he says. “But the recovery was excruciating and there were complications.”

When MSF opened a post-operative care facility in East Mosul in April 2018 for people injured by violent or accidental trauma, Saad was admitted there. A biopsy showed that his internal fixation needed to be removed and replaced by an external one, and that he had developed a multidrug-resistant infection.

Multidrug-resistant infections: a major public health challenge

Saad’s case is not an isolated one. Almost 40 per cent of patients admitted to MSF’s post-operative care facility in East Mosul arrive with multidrug-resistant infections, and antibiotic resistance is a problem throughout the country[2]. While the incidence of antibiotic resistance is particularly high in Iraq and across the Middle East, it also occurs in many other countries around the world where MSF works.

Antibiotic resistance is not new, but it urgently needs to be addressed to prevent it becoming one of this century’s major public health challenges.

When a person has a bacterial infection, they are generally treated with antibiotics – the only available drugs that are effective against bacteria. But the bacteria can adapt to the drugs to ensure their survival.

This ability to adapt and survive is called antibiotic resistance and can be caused by the overuse or misuse of antibiotics. In many low and middle-income countries, antibiotics are frequently available over-the-counter, rather than solely on prescription by a doctor, so their overuse and misuse is a common problem.

In the long run, antibiotic resistance has a tremendous impact on people’s health. If antibiotics lose their effectiveness, essential medical procedures can become too risky to carry out. Antibiotic resistance also complicates the recovery of patients injured by violent or accidental trauma, such as the ones that MSF treats in East Mosul.

Tackling antibiotic resistance in East Mosul

When its post-operative care facility opened last year, MSF put in place antibiotic stewardship and infection prevention and control measures to limit the impact of drug-resistant infections.

“It’s crucial to avoid the transmission of multidrug-resistant infections between patients in the facility,” says An Caluwaerts, MSF’s advisor on infection prevention and control. These measures can be as simple as making sure that people wash their hands properly.

“Hand hygiene in healthcare facilities is one of the most important infection prevention and control measures to prevent this transmission,” says Caluwaerts. “Undertaken at the right time, hand hygiene can prevent the spread of resistant or sensitive organisms present in our environment and in our body.”

‘Contact precautions’ are also fundamental: patients with multidrug-resistant infections are given single rooms, rather than staying in open-plan wards, to avoid the spread of infection to other patients and medical staff.

Contact precautions also include the use of personal protective equipment, such as gloves and gowns; limiting the transport and movement of patients; using dedicated patient-care equipment; and making sure that patients’ rooms are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected regularly.

The importance of mental healthcare and health promotion services

Because of their physical isolation within the hospital, patients with drug-resistant infections are more likely to experience psychological difficulties related to what they have experienced and the challenges of their treatment.

“People who are in ‘contact isolation’ experience higher levels of anxiety, depression and anger than other patients,” says Olivera Novakovic, a psychologist in MSF’s East Mosul project. “Many of our patients experienced traumatic events, and they have more time to think about it when they are in isolation rooms.”

MSF mental health staff are on hand to help them cope. “We’re developing individual psychological programmes according to the age and the level of education of our patients,” says Novakovic. “Psycho-education is a crucial phase, because if the patient understands why he’s in contact isolation and what drug resistance is, naturally he will become more compliant with the treatment.”

At the same time, MSF’s health promoters raise awareness about multidrug-resistant infections among patients and caretakers. “Antibiotic resistance represents a severe threat to public health and it shouldn’t be underestimated,” says health promoter Karam Yaseen, bringing to an end an awareness session in the hospital.

Data suggests that antibiotic resistance rates in Middle Eastern countries, including Iraq, are alarmingly high[3]. We recommend that all medical and paramedical professionals avoid the unnecessary use of antibiotics. We also strongly recommend that the Iraqi Ministry of Health take all necessary measures to make the population of Iraq aware of the severe impact on their health of the misuse or overuse of antibiotics.

MSF has been working in and around Mosul since 2017 to provide lifesaving services for people caught up in the violence. Throughout 2017 and 2018, MSF ran a number of trauma stabilisation posts in East and West Mosul and worked in four hospitals, providing a range of services including emergency and intensive care, surgery and maternal healthcare. In April 2018, MSF opened a comprehensive post-operative care facility in East Mosul for people injured by violent or accidental trauma.

With more than 1,500 staff, MSF in Iraq delivers primary and secondary healthcare, services for expectant and new mothers, treatment for chronic diseases, surgery and rehabilitation for war-wounded, mental health support and health education activities. MSF currently works in the governorates of Erbil, Diyala, Ninewa, Kirkuk, Anbar and Baghdad.

[1] The name of the patient has been changed to protect his identity.

[2] 40 per cent of patients among the total patients admitted in the period (April-mid November 2018) had a microbiologically confirmed infection. Among those 40 per cent, over 90 per cent had an multi-drug resistant infection. 60% of the admitted patients did not have a confirmed infection (either did not have any clinical signs of infection or they had some signs compatible with infection but this was not confirmed).

[3] https://www.reactgroup.org/uploads/news/2014-MSF-Conference-on-ABR-in-the-Middle-East.pdf


Displaced people at Niger-Mali border fear being attacked at any time - MSF

Source: Médecins Sans Frontières
Country: Mali, Niger

These people were forced to leave their homes, their fields and often their animals to escape the violence orchestrated by armed groups and other opportunists. Basic services are closed.
After increased insecurity in the Tillabéry region of Niger caused large numbers of people to flee their homes, MSF carried out an emergency response in early January 2019.

MSF deputy head of mission Boulama Elhadji Gori describes the situation.

Why did MSF carry out an emergency response in the rural area of Dessa in the Tillabéry region last week?

A state of emergency was declared recently in the department of Tillabéry, in the region of the same name. Like many other departments in the region, Tillabéry faces many security challenges.

The people living in this border area between Mali and Niger find themselves trapped in violence that comes from two directions: on one side, the community conflict; on the other, the activities of non-state armed groups.

After receiving information about people being displaced in the region, an MSF team visited the immediate area, where they saw first-hand the precarious situation in which the displaced people were living.

We are talking about a total of 1,287 people at three sites within a five-kilometre radius. These people were already vulnerable, having been displaced several times already.

What were people’s main needs?

These people had been forced to leave their homes, their fields and often their animals in order to escape the violence orchestrated by armed groups and other opportunists. Because of the hostilities in the area, basic services such as schools and health centres have been closed.

The displaced people lack shelter, food, healthcare and protection. They are also drinking untreated river water, which brings the risk of various diseases.

Given the urgency of their needs, and in the absence of other humanitarian organisations, the MSF team decided to launch a response.

What did MSF’s response involve?

Our medical team conducted 170 medical consultations, mainly for respiratory infections, malaria, dermatitis and severe malnutrition, as well as 20 antenatal consultations.

We also assessed the nutritional status of children and vaccinated nearly 130 children against measles. Five mental health promotion sessions were organised for approximately 160 people.

Several patients were referred to the health centre for follow-up care, which MSF was also involved in. Our team distributed essential relief items to 220 families, including blankets, cooking utensils, washing kits, mosquito nets and jerry cans.

To make sure that people have safe drinking water, the teams distributed 4,000 water purification tablets, and ran sessions on how to use them.

Who are the displaced people?

“Most of the people who fled the violence are women, children and the elderly, of different ethnicities, living in the border area between Mali and Niger. There are also a number of young people who reject violence and want to settle in places that are considered more secure.

The displaced include refugees from Mali and internally displaced people from Niger.

The majority of the displaced people live in fear of being attacked at any time, because of what they have already experienced – their villages being attacked, assassinations, their markets burned down, their animals stolen, and living with the threat of death.

Other than this emergency response, what is MSF doing in Tillabéry region?

MSF has been working in Niger’s Bani-Bangou department, near the border with Mali, since November 2018. Long before the state of emergency was declared, schools, health centres and other social infrastructure were not functioning because of the violence.

MSF is working in the area to ensure access to free quality medical care for displaced people and local communities. We support two health centres and five health posts.

We are also monitoring the situation in other areas which could potentially receive newly displaced people, or where there are needs not covered by other organisations, particularly in the area around Innates. MSF also supports medical services, from health posts to hospitals, in Bani-Bangou and Ouallam.

Our teams work in collaboration with the Ministry of Health. In December 2018, we treated 4,599 people, provided 452 antenatal consultations and assisted 22 births. In addition, 588 children under the age of two received routine immunisations, and 34 women of childbearing age were vaccinated against tetanus. We also referred to hospital seven patients in need of emergency treatment.

What are people’s main needs in this region? And what are the challenges of assisting them?

People in this region need food, essential relief items, physical and mental healthcare, clean water, good sanitation and hygiene, and protection.

The main challenge we face is the climate of insecurity in the region, which can make it difficult to reach the people who need assistance.


La ONU condena el ataque a la academia de policía en Bogotá

Source: UN News Service
Country: Colombia

El portavoz del Secretario General y la ONU en Colombia condenaron en los términos más enérgicos el ataque cometido este jueves contra la Escuela de Cadetes de la Policía General Santander en Bogotá, que dejó varias víctimas mortales y decenas de heridos.
El portavoz del Secretario General de la ONU y las Naciones Unidas en Colombia condenaron en los términos más enérgicos el ataque cometido este jueves contra la Escuela de Cadetes de la Policía General Santander en Bogotá, que dejó varias víctimas mortales y decenas de heridos.

La Oficina de la ONU en Colombia señaló que el atentado “es un acto criminal absolutamente inaceptable que va en contra de los esfuerzos que viene adelantando el país en su rechazo a la violencia y en el trabajo presente de diferentes sectores en pro de un futuro más próspero y pacífico”.

Igualmente, mostró su solidaridad con las familias de las víctimas y el cuerpo de la Policía Nacional. A su vez, deseó una pronta recuperación de los heridos.

La presidenta de la Asamblea General, María Fernanda Espinosa, se sumó a la condena a través de un tuit y expresó su “solidaridad con el pueblo colombiano que sigue de mostrando su compromiso incansable para alcanzar la paz”.

Según informaciones de prensa, el atentado se produjo a las 9:30 hora local cuando un individuo detonó un coche bomba dentro de las dependencias de la escuela de policía. Las informaciones iniciales indican que durante el asalto han fallecido 9 personas y 54 han resultado heridas.


UN rights chief says reports of excessive force against Sudan protests deeply worrying

Source: UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Country: Sudan

Michelle Bachelet called on the government to protect the exercise by all of their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, regardless of their political affiliations.
GENEVA (17 January 2019) – Credible reports of the use of excessive force, including live ammunition, by State security forces against protestors across Sudan over the past month are deeply worrying, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said Thursday. Bachelet called on the Government to protect the exercise by all of their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, regardless of their political affiliations.

The demonstrations since 19 December 2018 have taken place in a number of cities across Sudan, including Wad Madani, Port Sudan, Al-Qadarif, Atbara, Berber, Dongla, Karima, Al-Damazin, Al Obeid, Khartoum, Sinar, Bara, Nyala and Omdurman. The Government has confirmed that 24 people have died in the course of the protests, but other credible reports suggest the death toll may be nearly twice as high. Many others have been injured. According to information received, security forces have also followed some protestors into the Omdurman Hospital and fired tear gas and live ammunition inside the premises of the hospital. Reports also suggest that police fired tear gas inside Bahri Teaching Hospital and Haj Al-Safi Hospital. These two hospitals are in Khartoum North, where a large protest was organized by opposition groups.

Authorities have also confirmed that up to 6 January, at least 816 people were arrested in connection with the demonstrations. Reports indicate that these include journalists, opposition leaders, protestors and representatives of civil society.

“A repressive response can only worsen grievances,” High Commissioner Bachelet said.

“I am very concerned about reports of excessive use of force, including live ammunition, by Sudanese State Security Forces during large-scale demonstrations in various parts of the country since 19 December. The Government needs to ensure that security forces handle protests in line with the country’s international human rights obligations by facilitating and protecting the right to peaceful assembly.” *

As a State party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights since 1986, Sudan is obliged to take all necessary measures intended to prevent arbitrary deprivations of life by their law enforcement officials. In particular, all operations of law enforcement officials should comply with relevant international standards, including the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials (General Assembly resolution 34/169)(1979) and the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials (1990).

The High Commissioner noted that fact-finding committees had been established by the Government and the National Commission of Human Rights. She urged that any investigations be conducted in a prompt, thorough and transparent manner, with a view to accountability.

“I also call on the authorities to ensure that all those arbitrarily detained for the exercise of their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression are promptly released, and that these rights are fully protected,” Bachelet added.

“I urge the authorities to work to resolve this tense situation through dialogue, and call on all sides to refrain from the use of violence.”

Bachelet stressed the readiness of the UN Human Rights Office to deploy a team to Sudan, to advice the authorities and help ensure they act in accordance with the country’s international human rights obligations.

ENDS


Security Council establishes Hodeidah ceasefire monitoring mission

Source: UN Security Council
Country: Yemen

The United Nations Mission to support the Hodeidah Agreement (UNMHA) will support and lead the Redeployment Coordination Commission, with an initial mandate of six months.
SC/13664
16 JANUARY 2019

Permanent Representative Says Text Reaffirms Support for Yemen’s Independence

The Security Council today decided to establish a special political mission to support implementation of the ceasefire agreement reached in Stockholm on 13 December 2018 between the Government of Yemen and the Houthi militia covering the city and port of Hodeidah, as well as the ports of Salif and Ras Issa.

Unanimously adopting resolution 2452 (2019), the Council decided that the United Nations Mission to support the Hodeidah Agreement (UNMHA) — with an initial mandate of six months — will lead and support the Redeployment Coordination Commission tasked with overseeing the ceasefire, redeployment of forces and mine action operations.

It will monitor compliance with the ceasefire, work with the parties to ensure that security is assured by local security forces, in line with Yemeni law, and coordinate United Nations efforts to assist the parties in fully implementing the Agreement.

Through the text, submitted by the United Kingdom, the Council — approving the Secretary-General’s proposals on the Mission’s composition and operational aspects — said UNMHA will be headed by the Chair of the Redeployment Coordination Commission, who will report through the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen and the Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs.

By other terms, the Council requested the Secretary-General to deploy the Mission expeditiously and call on the parties to the Agreement to ensure the safety, security and unhindered movement of its personnel, equipment and supplies. It also requested Member States, particularly those neighbouring Yemen, to support the Organization as required for the implementation of UNMHA’s mandate.

Abdullah Ali Fadhel al-Saadi (Yemen) welcomed the resolution, saying it reaffirmed international support for Yemen’s independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty, while stressing the need for a comprehensive and lasting peace that meets the aspirations of the Yemeni people. Emphasizing that his Government is fully committed to supporting implementation of the Agreement, he urged the Council and the international community to monitor ongoing ceasefire violations by the Houthi militia, supported by Iran, which have claimed 41 lives and injured 396 people. The Council must condemn such violations, he said, pointing to an attack last week on a Yemeni military base in which an Iranian drone was used. His Government looks forward to the special political mission in supporting the timely implementation of the Hodeidah Agreement.

Today’s resolution comes one week after the Council reviewed the situation in Yemen, following the adoption on 21 December 2018 of resolution 2451 (2018), which expressed support for the talks between the Government and the Houthis in Sweden. (See Press Release SC/13659.)

The meeting began at 9:33 a.m. and ended at 9:39 a.m.

Resolution

The full text of resolution 2452 (2019) reads as follows:

“_The Security Council_,

“_Recalling_ its resolutions 2014 (2011), 2051 (2012), 2140 (2014), 2175 (2014), 2201 (2015), 2204 (2015), 2216 (2015), 2266 (2016), 2342 (2017), 2402 (2018) and 2451 (2018) and the statements of its President of 15 February 2013, 29 August 2014, 22 March 2015, 25 April 2016, 15 June 2017 and 15 March 2018 concerning Yemen,

“_Having considered_ the letter of the Secretary-General to the President of the Security Council of 31 December 2018 and its annex, circulated as document S/2019/28, submitted pursuant to its resolution 2451 (2018),

“_Reaffirming_ its strong commitment to the unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Yemen and its commitment to stand by the people of Yemen,

“_Reaffirming_ its endorsement of the agreement reached in Sweden by the Government of Yemen and the Houthis on the city of Hodeidah and the ports of Hodeidah, Salif and Ras Issa (the Hodeidah Agreement) and reiterating its call on the parties to implement it,

“1. Decides to establish a special political mission, the United Nations Mission to support the Hodeidah Agreement (UNMHA), to support the implementation of the Agreement on the city of Hodeidah and ports of Hodeidah, Salif and Ras Issa as set out in the Stockholm Agreement, circulated as document S/2018/1134, for an initial period of six months from the date of adoption of this resolution;

“2. Decides further that, to support the parties in implementing their commitments in accordance with the Hodeidah Agreement, UNMHA shall undertake the following mandate:

(a) to lead, and support the functioning of, the Redeployment Coordination Committee, assisted by a secretariat staffed by United Nations personnel, to oversee the governorate-wide ceasefire, redeployment of forces, and mine action operations,

(b) to monitor the compliance of the parties to the ceasefire in Hodeidah governorate and the mutual redeployment of forces from the city of Hodeidah and the ports of Hodeidah, Salif and Ras Issa,

(c) to work with the parties so that the security of the city of Hodeidah and the ports of Hodeidah, Salif, and Ras Issa is assured by local security forces in accordance with Yemeni law, and

(d) to facilitate and coordinate United Nations support to assist the parties to fully implement the Hodediah Agreement;

“3. Approves the proposals of the Secretary-General on the composition and operational aspects of UNMHA set out in the annex to his letter of 31 December 2018 to the President of the Council, and notes that the Mission will be headed by the Chair of the Redeployment Coordination Committee at Assistant-Secretary-General level, reporting to the Secretary-General through the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Yemen and the Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs;

“4. Underlines the importance of close collaboration and coordination between all United Nations entities operating in Yemen in order to prevent duplication of effort and to maximise the leveraging of existing resources, including the Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, the Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator and the United Nations country team in Yemen, UNMHA and the United Nations Verification and Inspection Mechanism (UNVIM);

“5. Requests the Secretary-General to deploy UNMHA expeditiously and calls on the parties to the Hodeidah Agreement to support the United Nations as set out in document S/2019/28, including by ensuring the safety and security of UNMHA personnel, and the unhindered and expeditious movement into and within Yemen of UNMHA personnel and equipment, provisions and essential supplies;

“6. Requests Member States, particularly neighbouring States, to support the United Nations as required for the implementation of UNMHA’s mandate;

“7. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council on a monthly basis on progress regarding the implementation of this resolution, including on any obstructions to the effective operation of UNMHA caused by any party; and on resolution 2451 (2018), including on any non-compliance by any party;

“8. Further requests the Secretary-General to present to the Council a review of UNMHA, by five months from the date of adoption of this resolution;

“9. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”

For information media. Not an official record.


Nigeria: Thousands fleeing Rann attack seek refuge in Cameroon

Source: Médecins Sans Frontières
Country: Cameroon, Nigeria

Following a violent attack on the town on 14 January, MSF estimates that some 8,000 people arrived yesterday to Bodo and is preparing to assist 15,000 people with food, water and medical care over the coming days.
Several thousand people have fled Rann in northeast Nigeria following a violent attack on the town on 14 January. Yesterday, they started arriving by foot in Bodo, Cameroon, some seven kilometres across the border from Rann. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) staff have started providing assistance in Bodo. A team consisting of medical and logistical staff have been distributing food and water, and are providing emergency medical care.

People left in a state of shock – and with nothing

“Our team in Bodo estimates that some 8,000 people arrived yesterday and we expect several thousand more may come today,” said Hugues Robert, MSF Programme Manager for Nigeria. “We are preparing to assist 15,000 people with food, water and medical care over the coming days. Many people were in a state of shock and were clearly distressed by what they had witnessed. Now they have lost all that they have and need absolutely everything.”

Near Bodo, people have spent one night outdoors as there are no shelters. There are children and many breastfeeding and pregnant women among them.

Rann destroyed – once again

In Rann, many parts of the town were burnt, including houses and shelters. The market and food stores were also destroyed. The MSF warehouse, office and pharmacy were looted and burnt to the ground. Empty boxes of medical supplies were lying scattered on the ground outside.

MSF was able to evacuate one injured man on site, but most others fled to nearby Cameroon.

“This is truly devastating for the people in Rann”, says Robert, “They suffer endless violence. And now they have to get back on their feet once more. How many more times is this possible? The people of Borno continue to pay the price for this merciless conflict. All the warring parties must respect the safety of civilians.”