HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY, SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
MONDAY, 14 MAY 2012
SECRETARY-GENERAL REQUESTS TWO-YEAR EXTENSION FOR NAVENETHEM PILLAY AS HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONER
- The UN Secretary-General has formally proposed to the UN General Assembly that it extend the appointment of Ms. Navanethem Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, for a two year period.
- The Secretary-General is pleased that he was able to prevail on Ms. Pillay, subject to General Assembly approval, to stay on as High Commissioner for Human Rights for two more years.
- The Secretary-General trusts the General Assembly will approve this extension.
SEVEN U.N. PEACEKEEPERS INJURED IN D.R. CONGO
- The UN Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) reports that seven peacekeepers were wounded in the Bunyiakiri area of South Kivu on Monday.
- The seven peacekeepers sustained bullet wounds. A number of other peacekeepers were also injured after being hit by stones when a group of some 1,000 people surrounded a base belonging to the Mission in the area.
- The people were reportedly protesting against attacks by the Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération du Rwanda (FDLR) in the area.
- The Mission says elements of the Mayi-Mayi group, Rai Mutomboki, an armed self-defence group, may have been part of the protest and may have fired on the peacekeepers.
- The Mission is monitoring the situation and has sent reinforcements to the area, which is now reportedly calm but tense.
- The seven wounded peacekeepers have been taken to Goma, North Kivu, for medical treatment.
U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONER ON FIRST VISIT TO ZIMBABWE
- The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay will begin the first mission by a UN Human Rights chief to Zimbabwe on 20 May, at the invitation of the Government.
- During the five-day mission, Pillay is due to meet President Robert Mugabe and other senior Government officials, as well as Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission.
- Pillay is considering a number of field visits within and outside Harare, where she will meet local communities and civil society members to listen to their experiences and views, to better understand the human rights situation on the ground and to work with all relevant actors towards full enjoyment of human rights for all.
PEACEKEEPING VEHICLE SHOT AT IN SYRIA
- The UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) has confirmed that one of its vehicles was hit by a bullet on Sunday near the city of Homs.
- No peacekeepers were injured, and there was no significant damage. It is unclear who fired on the peacekeepers.
- As of Sunday, the Mission has deployed 189 military observers and 61 international and local civilian staff on the ground.
SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES SUDANS TO CREATE ABYEI AREA ADMINISTRATION
- Asked about Sudan’s conditions on its withdrawal from Abyei, the Spokesperson noted that, in a statement issued last week, the Secretary-General strongly urged the Government of Sudan to remove its forces from the Area, in accordance with the 20 June 2011 Agreement, and he called on both Governments to immediately establish the Abyei Area Administration, which is necessary to normalize the situation in the Area.
- The Secretary-General urges the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan to resume negotiations under the auspices of the African Union High-Level Panel to resolve the outstanding issues between them. The Secretary-General also calls upon both Governments to activate the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism to help ensure the security of their common border.
ASSASSINATION OF MEMBER OF PEACE COUNCIL IN AFGHANISTAN CONDEMNED BY U.N. MISSION
- The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) condemned the assassination Sunday of Maulawi Arsala Rahmani, a senior member of the High Peace Council who had worked to promote peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.
- The UN Mission strongly believes that such an attack will not affect the courage and dedication of the High Peace Council members and others to continue their efforts to make peaceful reconciliation a reality.
- The UN Mission remains committed to supporting the Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process and providing assistance to the High Peace Council.
- Asked about the announced participation of the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan, Jan Kubis, at the forthcoming NATO summit, the Spokesperson noted the UN’s role on the civilian side in Afghanistan, adding that it was important for Mr. Kubis to discuss that role with NATO.
HUMANITARIAN DIRECTOR PRAISES ETHIOPIA
- Following a two-day visit to Ethiopia, Operations Director John Ging from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has praised the Government for its innovative and effective efforts to deal with drought and climatic conditions.
- “Ethiopia has made quite incredible advances in mitigating the impact of drought,” according to Mr. Ging. “Multi-year investments in safety nets and significant advances in health and nutrition have saved countless lives and protected millions from the famine experienced elsewhere in the Horn of Africa.”
- Mr. Ging went on to say that “the successful policies pursued by the Ethiopian Government provide an invaluable experience to share, not just elsewhere in the Horn, but also across the drought-ridden Sahel.”
U.N. STUDYING CHOLERA CLAIMS
- Asked about claims regarding the cholera outbreak in Haiti, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations is studying the claims.
- He added that the United Nations remains engaged in its efforts to stem the cholera epidemic and to help the affected people, including efforts to improve the water supply, hygiene promotion and the development of a waste treatment centre near the capital.
SECRETARY-GENERAL SUFFERS MINOR FRACTURE IN SOCCER MATCH
- The Secretary-General has his left arm in a sling after suffering a minor fracture in his left hand from a tumble while playing in the UN diplomats' spring soccer tournament over the weekend.
- He has to wear a cast for the next six weeks.
- He's otherwise absolutely fine and in great spirits.
SECURITY COUNCIL HOLDS MEETING ON KOSOVO: The Security Council was due to hold a formal meeting to discuss the work of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) on Monday afternoon. Farid Zarif, the head of that Mission, was due to brief Council members
U.N. SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE WELCOMES CAPTURE OF REBEL COMMANDER: The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy has welcomed the capture of what she described as one of the worst perpetrators of child rights violations. The Ugandan army last Saturday captured Caesar Acellam Otto, one of the top military leaders of the Lord’s Resistance Army, in the Central African Republic. Along with Joseph Kony and a handful of senior rebel commanders, he is responsible for the most egregious violations committed against children in the central African region.