The SG; Nigeria; Syria

The SG: In a meeting with Pope Francis and members of the Chief Executives Board at the Vatican this morning, the SG noted his concern for recent intolerance, citing CAR, South Sudan and Syria as examples. The SG hopes the Catholic Church and Pope Francis will continue to work with the UN in eradicating poverty, promoting sustainable development, and promoting tolerance and dignity.

Nigeria: The SG will send Said Djinnit, Special Representative for West Africa, to Nigeria to meet with government officials and offer UN assistance to support the search process for the kidnapped school girls.This comes afterPresident Jonathon accepted the SG’s offer yesterday to send an envoy to Nigeria. In a statement today, UNHCR said it was concerned about attacks on civilians in northeast Nigeria, particularly in the last two months, as displacement and extreme violence has escalated.

Syria: OCHA, WHO and UNHCR shed light on the struggles for aid agencies trying to deliver humanitarian aid in Syria. Support from the Syrian government and armed opposition is needed for humanitarian workers to move around the country and help the 3.5 million people in locations currently unreachable by aid agencies.

Somalia: Philippe Lazzarini, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, said Somalia’s food insecurity could worsen without immediate action, as rising food prices, conflict in the region and delayed rains continue to exacerbate the situation. Funding for Somali humanitarian aid is dangerously low and only 15 percent of the $933 million appeal for critical projects for 2014 was received.

South China Sea: The SG expressed concern for the recent tensions between China and Viet Nam over the situation in the South China Sea and urged all parties to engage in peaceful dialogue in accordance with international law.

OHCHR: The UN Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights condemned the killing of Rashid Khan Rehman, a human rights lawyer in Pakistan. OHCHR also shared concern for the violence in Venezuela, particularly around Venezuelan universities. OHCHR called on the Venezuelan government to fulfill its human rights obligations and ensure citizens are not punished for exercising basic freedoms.