Mercenary activities “serious concern” in Africa, Secretary-General tells Security Council   

On Monday, the Secretary-General delivered remarks at the Security-Council high-level debate on mercenary activities as a source of insecurity and destabilization in Africa. Although the “shadowy nature of the practice” makes data hard to come by, he noted that reports suggest a surge in the use of mercenaries and other foreign fighters and stressed their presence “worsens conflict and threatens stability”. The Secretary-General said mercenary activities “undermine the rule of law and perpetuate impunity” and, today, “are exploiting and feeding off other ills such as transnational organized crime, terrorism and violent extremism.” He called on the States outside the Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries to accede to or ratify it without delay. The Secretary-General also urged all countries to cooperate with the United Nations Working Group on mercenaries. “Together, let us strengthen our work across the spectrum of this challenge — from prevention to prosecution, and from mitigating the impacts of mercenary activities to addressing the root causes that give rise to them.”

Remarks: https://bit.ly/2Botota

Female Genital Mutilation “abhorrent”, denies dignity of women and girls

In a message on the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, observed on Wednesday, the Secretary-General called FGM “an abhorrent human rights violation” affecting women and girls around the world. “It denies them their dignity, endangers their health and causes needless pain and suffering, even death.” The Secretary-General called for “increased, concerted and global action to end female genital mutilation and fully uphold the human rights of all women and girls.”

Message : https://bit.ly/2WLlzXL

Tweet: https://bit.ly/2SfWQMy

Statements and Messages

Press encounter on Venezuela: https://bit.ly/2D6UEMT

On the Lunar New Year (video): https://bit.ly/2UP4quC

On the signing of the Central African Republic peace agreement: https://bit.ly/2TxI6VX

On data released by World Meteorological Organization (WMO): https://bit.ly/2DVihtn

Senior Appointments

Mankeur Ndiaye of Senegal as Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Central African Republic and Head of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA): https://bit.ly/2TAiEzf

Next Week

The Secretary-General will attend the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa over the weekend. On Friday, in New York, he will deliver remarks at the opening session of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.