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Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, 4 April 2022 - Mali, Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone

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(excerpts)

Mali

Turning to Mali, the UN peacekeeping mission in the country — MINUSMA — has launched an investigation following reports that civilians were killed during clashes last week between the Malian armed forces and militants in Mourrah. This is about 400 km north-east of Bamako.

Our peacekeeping colleagues are very concerned about these reports, and they are working to verify the facts and circumstances of the incident, including whether human rights violations and abuses were committed.

Preparations are under way for a fact-finding mission to travel to the area and MINUSMA is already engaging directly with the Malian authorities.

Sri Lanka

Our UN team in Sri Lanka, led by the UN Resident Coordinator, Hanaa Singer-Hamdy, is closely following the situation in the country following increasing periods of rolling power cuts, fuel shortages, and worsening inflation and currency devaluation.

The Resident Coordinator said that the rights to peaceful assembly, association and expression are universal fundamental rights which help foster dialogue between citizens and the State. On Friday, she also called for restraint from all groups and for the de-escalation of tensions, concerned with reports of violence. Our UN team encourages all citizens to engage in dialogue for peaceful solutions.

Sierra Leone

In Sierra Leone, our team — led by Resident Coordinator Babatunde Ahonsi — continues supporting authorities to respond to COVID-19. To date, the country has received nearly 3 million doses of vaccines via COVAX, with over 1.7 million people having received at least one dose.

Despite the pandemic’s impact on education, with the UN team’s support, there was a 36 per cent increase in children enrolled in basic and secondary education from 2020 to 2021, with 2 million children receiving their regular vaccines.

Our team also supported a new scheme to boost food production in schools, now piloted in 17 schools. And over 14,000 children can now access water and sanitation facilities in schools, and an additional 100,000 people have access to basic water supply.

Our team also contributed to improved access to renewable energy, building over 80 mini-grids in rural areas benefitting nearly 300,000 people. In addition, 123,000 crisis-affected persons benefitted from food and cash transfers, while 2,000 women who survived violence received quality attention and care and 16,000 girls received access to health and protection services.