The Secretary-General's press encounter in Dadaab, Kenya
Dadaab, Kenya, 9 December 2011Q: Sir, you were just in Mogadishu. Tell us a little more about UN office for Somalia is going to relocate to Somalia, what you hope to achieve there and who is the most senior person that's going to be represented over there?
SG: Mr. [Augustine] Mahiga, who is the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, and his team, and other UN offices, will deploy in January next year. This is a demonstration of the United Nations' strong commitment and solidarity to work with the TFG [Transitional Federal Government] to help them implement the Roadmap. They have to implement it by the end of August. A further extension is unsustainable.
We are also grateful to many troop-contributing countries to AMISOM [African Union Mission in Somalia]. They have been performing in an excellent way.
Unfortunately, we have lost a lot of soldiers in the course of military operations. The military gains which have been achieved by AMISOM provide a certain window of opportunity for the Transitional Federal Government to achieve what they should do. The window is very limited. We should not miss this opportunity. Unfortunately, in the past, the TFG has missed several good opportunities. I have strongly urged the TGF to do all the efforts to first implement the Roadmap and establish their institutions in the liberated areas in central and southern Somalia and enhance their good governance, enhance their capacity -- institutional capacity and security capacity. The United Nations, with the deployment of a permanent mission of the United Nations Political Office for Somalia, UNPOS, will try to work with the international community to mobilize and provide the necessary assistance and expertise and know how and experience so that there will be peace and stability. This is our top priority now.
Q: But as you know in south and central Somalia Al-Shabaab there have banned a lot of aid organizations [from] working there. How concerned are you about that and to what extent do you think it will affect the famine situation there?
SG: I have strongly condemned the attack against the UN and NGO offices by Al-Shabaab. This is an attack [on] the people who are trying to help the most vulnerable groups of people of this country. This is totally unacceptable, inhuman. We have to help these people. The Government, the international community, have a moral responsibility to deliver basic needs, life saving support, to so many people. My visit to Dadaab camp -- this is quite humbling and very sad. My heart and mind are crying inside. I have heard so many concerns and difficulties from refugee camp leaders. My meeting with one family -- this [was] really humbling and sad. They lost two children while coming to the refugee camp. So we have to provide them [with] water, food, sanitation and security, education.
Q: The UN is also facing difficulties here of course with the attacks. How do you intend to maintain the level of activities here?
SG: We depend largely -- our security -- on AMISOM soldiers, and of course our own security is very much limited and I'm very much grateful to AMISOM. We will assess the situation there always.
Q: I mean in Dadaab because of recent attacks that happened here and the fact that a lot of organizations have had to scale back their activities. Have you appealed to the Kenyan Government for more assistance, in terms of security for instance?
SG: I met President [Mwai] Kibaki and we discussed this matter very seriously. I have strongly urged the Kenyan Government, first of all, to provide the necessary assistance and to not return those refuges who are continuing to come to the refugee camps and provide humanitarian and human rights protection and also to strengthen security.
Q: A question that's not on Somalia or Kenya but that is just as important and that's on Syria. Mr. [Bashar al-]Assad has said in a recent interview that the United Nations is not a credible institution, that their fact-finding reports on humanitarian crimes are not credible. And he also said that most of those who have been killed so far in the unrest are supporters of the Government. What is your reaction to that?
SG: The United Nations has been addressing all the challenges, violations of human rights issues which have been happening unfortunately in Syria and elsewhere on a very impartial, fair, objective, credible basis. This is on the basis of the spirit and letter of the United Nations Charter. As the Secretary-General of the United Nations, I can clearly state that the United Nations' mission will always be based on fairness, and impartiality, neutrality and protecting human rights and dignity.
Q: And his claim that most of the 4,000 killed are supporters of the Government. What do you say to that?
SG: I cannot believe, I cannot believe that he has not killed more than 4,000 people. All the credible information [reports] that more than 4,000 people have been killed by the Government forces. The High Commissioner for Human Rights has made it already clear through all the various sources, very credible sources.
Off-the-Cuff on 9 December 2011