HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
FRIDAY, 27 FEBRUARY 2015
PROGRESS IN GENDER EQUALITY TOO SLOW AND UNEVEN, STRESSES SECRETARY-GENERAL AT CONFERENCE IN CHILE
- The Secretary-General was in the Chilean capital of Santiago today where he attended a high-level event organized by the Government of Chile in cooperation with UN Women called “Women in Power and Decision-Making: Making a World of Difference.”
- In his keynote address at the event, he stressed that progress in achieving gender equality was too slow and uneven. He added that words are not enough and that action needs to be backed by funds.
- The Secretary-General said we need to change mind-sets, starting with men. He urged for the appointment of more women at all levels, from Government to business.
- He also called on increased investments in gender equality to achieve a truly transformative new agenda for sustainable development.
- In his bilateral meeting with Michelle Bachelet, President of Chile and former Executive Director of UN Women, he expressed his appreciation for the measures Chile has taken toward women empowerment at the national level. They exchanged views about the importance of gender equality in the framework of the post-2015 development agenda.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS CONTINUING ATTACKS BY BOKO HARAM
- In a statement issued today, the Secretary-General reiterated his strong condemnation of the continuing indiscriminate and horrific attacks by Boko Haram against civilian populations in Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria.
- The abduction and use of children, including as “suicide bombers”, is particularly abhorrent.
- The Secretary-General is encouraged by the positive steps taken by the countries of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and Benin, with the support of the African Union, towards operationalizing the Multinational Joint Task Force to counter the threat posed by Boko Haram in the sub-region. The Secretary-General called on international partners to provide support to these regional efforts.
- He urged the states involved to ensure that all measures taken to combat the terrorist threat of Boko Haram are conducted in line with international human rights, humanitarian and refugee law.
- He is concerned by the impact of combat operations on local populations in Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, and calls on countries of the region to give the highest priority to the protection of refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons, including by providing them with life-saving support.
- The UN scaled up its humanitarian operations and increasing its human rights monitoring in all the countries.
- The Secretary-General is convinced that a military approach alone will not suffice to counter the Boko Haram insurgency.
- Only through a multi-dimensional approach that addresses legitimate grievances, past and current human rights violations, and the root causes of the conflict, will we be able to effectively respond to the barbaric threats posed by Boko Haram to regional peace and security and to local populations.
DISCRIMINATION IS A VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS, STRESSES SECRETARY-GENERAL AHEAD OF ZERO DISCRIMINATION DAY
- On 1 March, the UN will mark Zero Discrimination Day to celebrate diversity and reject discrimination in all its forms.
- In a press release from UNAIDS, the Secretary-General called discrimination a violation of human rights that must not go unchallenged.
- Nearly 40 countries, territories and areas today impose some form of restriction on the entry and residence of people living with HIV. The head of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé, added that some of the world’s most challenging problems can be solved simply by eliminating stigma and discrimination.
- UNAIDS is calling on everyone to join its “Open Up, Reach Out” - using social media channels to tell the world what zero discrimination means to them.
U.N. ENVOY FOR YEMEN DISCUSSES SITUATION IN COUNTRY WITH PRESIDENT
- The Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Yemen, Jamal Benomar, met yesterday with President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi. Mr. Benomar expressed the hope that the President’s return to Aden will help to extract Yemen from the current crisis.
- For his part, the President reiterated his commitment to dialogue, consultation and consensus, recalling that this approach saved Yemen in 2011.
- They discussed the situation in the country and the possibility of addressing it peacefully to put the political transition back on track.
- They also agreed on the need for all parties to engage seriously in good faith in the UN-brokered negotiations.
- Mr. Benomar said he will announce the new location of the negotiations soon.
- The Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said today in Geneva that it was closely monitoring, with great concern, the critical situation in the country where the political dialogue is faltering.
- The Office urged a meaningful dialogue to avoid further instability in Yemen.
- Noting the many mass demonstrations in recent months, the Office said that it had documented a number of unlawful arrests, arbitrary detentions, as well as targeting of journalists.
HEAD OF U.N. CULTURAL AGENCY DISMAYED AT DESTRUCTION AT IRAQ’S MOSUL MUSEUM
- The Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova, spoke to reporters in Paris today to express her dismay at the images of the attacks on the Mosul Museum and on archaeological sites in Iraq’s Nineveh region.
- She said a large number of statues and bas-reliefs have been disfigured or destroyed, in a destructive fury with the swinging of axes and the use of jackhammers.
- Ms. Bokova emphasized that this tragedy is far from only being a cultural issue, and that this is also an issue of security. She added that we can see now how terrorists use the destruction of heritage in their terror strategy to destabilize and manipulate populations.
U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF TO VISIT JORDAN AND LEBANON
- Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos will be on mission in Jordan and Lebanon from 2 to 6 March.
- In Amman, she will address the regional World Humanitarian Summit consultations.
- In both countries, she is expected to meet with senior officials, key humanitarian partners and donors to discuss the impact of the Syrian crisis.
U.N. MISSION IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC LAUNCHES OPERATION TO COMBAT CRIME IN BANGUI
- The UN Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) said today that it launched a wide operation in Bangui, in cooperation with the national security forces.
- The operation, which started yesterday, aims to combat the surge in crime in the capital.
- MINUSCA said that it is patrolling the city and has also put in place checkpoints, focusing on two neighborhoods in particular: Boy-Rabe and Gobongo. The operation will be extended to other neighbourhoods.
BOARD OF INQUIRY FOR SOUTH SUDAN SUBMITS FINAL REPORT
- A seven-member UN Board of Inquiry (BOI) on South Sudan, constituted by the Department of Field Support (DFS) to consider the circumstances of the crash of a UN-contracted helicopter in Bentiu, Unity, in August last year, submitted its final report.
- The findings have been shared with the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), the Permanent Mission of Russia, and other relevant stakeholders, responsible for implementing the Board's recommendations.
- While as all Board of Inquiry reports, it is an internal document. The facts made available to the Board indicate that there is a high probability that the helicopter was hit by anti-aircraft fire, which caused a mechanical failure and eventually leading to the crash that destroyed the helicopter.
- The Board was not able to identify the attackers. The location of the attack borders an area where both the SPLA and the SPLA in Opposition operate and where the firing could have come from either party.
AID ORGANIZATIONS NEED $377 MILLION TO HELP 1.5 MILLION PEOPLE IN MALI
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that aid organizations have launched an appeal yesterday seeking $377 million to cover the needs of over 1.5 million people in that country for the current year.
- OCHA said that an estimated 2.6 million people are projected to suffer from food insecurity so far this year.
- Some 715,000 children will be affected by acute malnutrition, which means they are nearly nine times more likely to die than children who are not affected.
- Ninety per cent of malnutrition cases are in the south of the country where most of the people live.
U.N. ENVOY WELCOMES RELEASE OF HOSTAGES HELD BY SOMALI PIRATES
- The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, Nicholas Kay, today welcomed the recent release of four remaining crewmen from a Thai fishing vessel.
- The crew, all Thai nationals, were taken hostage at sea by Somali pirates in April of 2010.
- The mission to recover the hostages was conducted by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and funded by the Contact Group for Piracy off the Coast of Somalia’s Trust Fund.
- Mr. Kay also called for the immediate release of 26 crew members abducted from another vessel.
SECURITY COUNCIL HOLD MEETING ON UKRAINE
- The Security Council held a meeting on Ukraine today during which members heard from the Special Representative of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine, as well as the head of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission.
MOBILE TECHNOLOGY KEY TO BRINGING EDUCATION TO POOR COMMUNITIES
- The UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development said today that mobile technology is the key to bringing educational opportunities to the world’s poorest communities.
- At a meeting at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France, the commission highlighted the lack of resources such as computers in classrooms in poor countries. In some parts of Africa, for instance, 150 students share a computer.
- The commission believes that mobile broadband, which is the fastest growing technology in human history, could be the solution to in the developing world.
- Mobile phone subscriptions now exceed the world’s population of 7 billion.