Syria; Darfur; Child Labor; G77

Syria: The SG strongly condemns yesterday’s “appalling attack” at Aleppo University that left over 80 dead. “Deliberate targeting of civilians and civilian targets constitutes a war crime. Such heinous attacks are unacceptable and must stop immediately,” he said, calling for a full investigation of the attack. The Syrian Government has also expanded the list of local partners WFP can work with inside the country. WFP plans to reach 2.5 million people – a million more than it is currently assisting – with the assistance of 44 new local partners.

Darfur: UN Agencies and aid organizations are assisting some 70,000 people who have fled their homes in the Jebel Amir areas of North Darfur with the assistance of UNAMID, state and federal government authorities. UNAMID has escorted WFP trucks, is actively supporting ongoing mediation and reconciliation efforts, and has offered support to facilitate humanitarian assistance and mobilized three medical evacuations. Parties to the conflict had reportedly agreed to cease hostilities and engage in a reconciliation conference planned for this Thursday, January 17.

Child Labor: 1.3 million Yemeni children (17%) between the ages of 5-17 are working, many unpaid, revealed Yemen’s first national child labor survey. Released publicly today, the survey was carried out with the support of ILO, UNICEF, and the Social Development Fund. Yemen has consequently ratified the two key ILO conventions on child labor – Convention No. 138 on Minimum Age and Convention No. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour – recognizing that children under the age of 18 cannot be employed in hazardous work and that 14 is the minimum age for employment.

G77: Leadership of the G77 and China has shifted to Prime Minister Josaia V. Bainimarama of Fiji for 2013, who will replace Ambassador Mourad Benmehidi of Algeria. The SG welcomed the transition, encouraging Fiji to “build on the efforts of its predecessors in fostering cooperation – both within the G77 and China and with other partners.”