|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING BY THE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Michèle Montas, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
Good afternoon, all.
Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, today briefed the Security Council in an open meeting about his investigation regarding Darfur, telling them that massive crimes are still being committed there and warning: “The entire Darfur region is a crime scene.” Moreno-Ocampo said that the Government of Sudan is not cooperating with the Court in the arrest and surrender of the two suspects the Court has named, Ahmad Harun and Ali Kushayb. He asked the Security Council to make it clear that the two fugitive indictees and others, and those who protect them, will not receive leniency from the international community.
The Prosecutor added that he will present a second case in July, which he says shows evidence of an organized campaign by Sudanese officials to attack civilians, in particular the Fur, Massalit and Zaghawa, with the objective of destroying entire communities. The commission of such crimes on such a scale, over a period of five years, has required the sustained mobilization of the entire Sudanese State apparatus, Moreno-Ocampo argued. Luis Moreno-Ocampo will also talk to you in this room at 1:15 today.
**Statement on the International Criminal Court and Darfur
And on a related matter, we have the following statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General:
Following the presentation to the Security Council of the Seventh Report on the situation in Darfur by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, the Secretary-General is deeply concerned about the reported lack of cooperation of the Government of Sudan with the Prosecutor. Security Council resolution 1593 (2005), which was adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter, requires Sudan to “cooperate fully with and provide any necessary assistance to the Court and the Prosecutor (…)”. This includes an obligation to arrest and surrender the indicted individuals.
The Secretary-General urges the Government of Sudan to comply with its international obligations and cooperate with the International Criminal Court.
The Secretary-General is convinced that there can be no sustainable peace without justice. Peace and justice go hand in hand. Impunity for the serious crimes committed in Darfur cannot be accepted.
**Security Council Mission in Africa
In just over an hour from now, the Security Council mission visiting Africa will wrap up its trip to Sudan by meeting with President Omer al-Bashir. We’ll have more details following that meeting. Earlier in the day, the Council mission visited El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur, where they received a briefing by the leadership of the UN-African Union Mission, UNAMID. Rodolphe Adada, the UN-AU Joint Special Representative for Darfur, told the Council: “The world has placed its confidence in this Mission. It will wither away if we are not able to deliver.”
The delegation also visited the Zam Zam Camp for internally displaced persons, and met with camp representatives, who described life there and gave an assessment of the needs still to be met. The Council delegation also met with the representatives of UN and international relief agencies, who discussed the challenges in delivering aid to Darfur and ways to respond to those challenges. Before leaving El Fasher, the Council mission met with the Wali (or Governor) of North Darfur, who described the state of affairs of the Darfur peace process.
On Sudan, the African Union and United Nations Special Envoys, Salim Ahmed Salim and Jan Eliasson, held informal consultations with regional and international partners to the Darfur political process in Geneva. The consultations were held as a follow-up to the meeting of 18 March and in accordance with the AU-UN Framework for the Way Forward. They were arranged as part of the effort to reassess the political landscape, in light of the recent attack on Omdurman, the postponement of the consultations on security between the parties, the state of relations between Chad and Sudan, and the implication of tensions after the destruction of Abyei. A Chairman’s Summary of the two-day consultations is available upstairs.
** Zimbabwe Consultations
We have just been notified that consultations on Zimbabwe are being held now in the Security Council.
On Iraq, today, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Staffan de Mistura, presented to the country’s Government the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq’s (UNAMI) first analysis regarding possible processes to resolve disputed internal boundaries. The Mission presented separate analytical reports on four disputed districts.
Its analysis has pointed to a series of specific confidence-building measures designed to assist with the handling of the administrative jurisdiction of the districts in dispute, provide security to all Iraqis living in the disputed territories and create momentum towards a wider political agreement that includes each disputed district.
De Mistura stressed that the Government of Iraq alone has the sovereign responsibility to decide on the process and methodology used to address disputed internal boundaries. UNAMI’s aim in preparing and presenting this analysis is merely to contribute to the development of processes to resolve these complicated and sensitive issues. We have a press release with more information upstairs.
**World Environment Day
Today is World Environment Day. The Secretary-General marked it this morning by attending the launch of the “Together” campaign, an initiative of the Climate Group, which is an international charity dedicated to working with big business and Government to help solve climate change.
In his remarks, the Secretary-General said that climate change is too big a challenge for any country, corporation or community to address alone. In that context, he flagged “CN Net”, a climate-neutral network recently launched by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), which will help in formulating a truly global response to the challenges of climate change. He also noted that, today, UNEP is launching a report entitled Kick the Habit: The UN Guide to Climate Neutrality, which will serve as a how-to guide for low carbon living. The launch was held in Times Square and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg also attended.
Meanwhile, in other environment-related news, the World Tourism Organization today urged the tourism sector to be innovative when seeking long-term climate neutrality. The agency also reports that it is collaborating with the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization to promote a new air travel carbon calculator. For its part, the International Labour Organization (ILO) is today rolling out its Green Jobs Initiative. The aim is to help Governments, employers and workers overcome the challenges of transitioning to greener enterprises and jobs.
** Democratic Republic of the Congo
On the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today condemned a rebel attack on a makeshift camp in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, which left at least nine people dead, including two children, and scores wounded. UNHCR said it is evacuating staff and temporarily suspending operations in this area of the North Kivu Province. The wounded included two NGO aid workers who were working with UNHCR. All other humanitarian aid agencies have also decided to pull out of the area, which is located about 70 kilometres north of Goma. We have more on that upstairs.
Over in Myanmar, the United Nations continues to mobilize its resources across the country for relief efforts in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis. According to the World Food Programme (WFP), food dispatch has increased significantly in recent days, especially with operations of three food hubs in Labutta, Bogale and Pyapon, and food deliveries are increasing as NGO partners operate greater numbers of small boats and river craft. WFP adds that one helicopter has been operating for four days now between Yangon and Labutta to carry food and other critically needed humanitarian supplies to hard-to-reach delta areas, while five more will be going into the country tomorrow. Four additional choppers are now being readied in Bangkok for transfer to Myanmar.
The in-kind donation of 400 tons of rice from the French Government that was approved for customs clearance was off-loaded from a French military ship today in Phuket, Thailand, and is being transported by a WFP-chartered plane into Myanmar. The consignment is expected to arrive at Yangon port today, and will be trans-shipped into river barges for further delivery.
**International Labour Organization
The International Labour Organization (ILO) is launching a one-year global campaign to highlight the central role of gender equality in its Decent Work Agenda. The campaign is built around 12 different Decent Work themes. These themes will be looked at through a gender lens to illustrate how various issues in the world of work may affect women and men in different ways, particularly in their access to rights, employment, social protection and social dialogue. We have a press release on that upstairs.
**Press Conference Tomorrow
And our guest at the noon briefing tomorrow will be John Holmes, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, who will brief you on the global food security crisis. And I’m sure he will also answer your questions on Myanmar, since he’s also following the question very closely.
I guess that’s all I have for you. Any questions? I guess not. It’s a great day. Thank you very much.
* *** *For information media • not an official record