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REGULAR PRESS BRIEFING BY THE INFORMATION SERVICE

Bi-Weekly Briefing

Alessandra Vellucci, Director of the United Nations Information Service, chaired the hybrid briefing, attended by spokespersons for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

Universal Periodic Reviews

Alessandra Vellucci, on behalf of the Human Rights Council, said that the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review Working Group had begun its 36th session yesterday in the Assembly Hall. Under the circumstances, and given the latest COVID-19 measures, most speakers were participating via video message. Today, the Working Group was reviewing the human rights situations in Malawi and Panama. Further details about the session could be found in the background press release sent last week and as well as in media advisories.

Election of the new President of IPU

Thomas Fitzsimons, for the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), said Mr. Duarte Pacheco, a Portuguese Parliamentarian, had been elected as the 30th President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. Mr. Pacheco had been a Member of Parliament in Portugal since 1991. He had held different functions in Parliament, including as a Member of the Budget and Finance Committee and the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Portuguese Communities. Mr. Pacheco had been elected with a majority of 56% of the vote in a first round of voting. Mr. Pacheco beat off three other candidates from Canada, Pakistan and Uzbekistan. The election had been a 100 per cent global online ballot in a unique example of digital democracy and of politics catching up with technology. The election had taken place during an extraordinary virtual session of the IPU’s Governing Council, its main decision-making body made up of parliamentarians from around the world.

Ivorians flee to neighbouring countries fearing post-electoral violence

Boris Cheshirkov, for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said UNHCR was concerned as electoral tension and unrest in Côte d'Ivoire had caused several thousand people to flee to neighboring countries as refugees. Violent clashes had erupted after the presidential election that was held on 31 October leaving at least a dozen dead and many more injured, according to the latest reports. As of 2 November, more than 3,200 Ivorian refugees had arrived in Liberia, Ghana and Togo. Most of the arrivals were women and children from Côte d’Ivoire’s west and southwest regions. The newly arrived included former Ivorian refugees who had recently repatriated and had been forced to flee once again. Many reported fears of getting caught-up in the escalating violence. UNHCR was deploying additional staff to boost its aid response and monitoring activities.

A briefing note is available here.

Responding to questions, Mr. Cheshirkov said most people crossing the borders were women and children. In Liberia and Ghana, most people arriving were children. UNHCR was boosting capacity and deploying additional staff to better understand what had led these people to flee. Arrivals were accelerating, and UNHCR was collaborating with the Governments of Ghana, Liberia and Togo to roll out contingency plans. UNHCR was calling on Ivorian political and opinion leaders to refrain from inciting violence, resorting to hate speech, and to resolve any disputes peacefully and through dialogue

Responding to a journalist’s question, Alessandra Vellucci, for United Nations Information Service, said the Secretary-General had strongly encouraged political leaders and their parties to resolve any disputes that may arise through dialogue. He had reiterated the commitment of the United Nations to support the country’s efforts to consolidate democratic gains and national cohesion.

Geneva announcements

Alessandra Vellucci, for United Nations Information Service, said that on Wednesday, 11 November at 2.30 p.m. the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development would hold a press conference on the publication of the Review of Maritime Transport 2020. The press conference would be embargoed until Thursday, 12 November at 6 p.m. GMT. The speakers would be Shamika Sirimanne, Director of Division on Technology and Logistics; and Jan Hoffmann, Chief of the Trade Logistics Branch of the Division on Technology and Logistic.

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