HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
MONDAY, 8 FEBRUARY 2016
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS ARSON ATTACK AGAINST WEST BANK SYNANOGUE, CALLS FOR RESPECT FOR SANCTITY OF ALL HOLY SITES
- The Secretary-General condemns the arson attack on 6 February against a synagogue in the occupied West Bank and calls for a thorough investigation to quickly bring the perpetrators to justice.
- The Secretary-General also calls on all sides to respect the sanctity of all holy sites, refrain from any inflammatory actions or statements and reject the extremist elements that are pursuing a political agenda seeking to transform the current situation into a religious conflict.
FOCUS MUST SHIFT FROM FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION TO GIRLS’ EDUCATION – SECRETARY-GENERAL
- The Secretary-General spoke this morning at a special event on eliminating Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) by 2030.
- He said he is proud to be among so many champions in the cause of eliminating female genital mutilation, calling it more than a mobilization but a celebration of women’s empowerment.
- The Secretary-General said that in his time in his current role, impressive results have been achieved, including increasing budgeting for FGM and the changing of mindsets.
- Today, he said that nearly all countries where it is prevalent outlaw the practice.
- He thanked the many religious leaders joining the cause and saluted the men and boys speaking out against it.
- The Secretary-General called for the focus to be shifted away from mutilation to education and a world where FGM stands for Focus on Girls’ Minds.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL VISITS DUBAI, WILL ATTEND MUNICH SECURITY SUMMIT IN GERMANY
- Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, has traveled to Dubai to participate in the World Government Summit, hosted by the Government of the United Arab Emirates.
- On 10 February, the Deputy Secretary-General will travel to Munich, where he will lead the UN delegation to the International Syria Support Group meeting on 11 February. He will then attend the Munich Security Conference from 12-14 February.
SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS COORDINATOR TO IMPROVE U.N. RESPONSE TO SEXUAL EXPLOITATION, ABUSE
- The Secretary-General is appointing Jane Holl Lute of the United States as Special Coordinator on improving the United Nations’ response to sexual exploitation and abuse.
- The appointment of Ms. Lute is part of a series on ongoing measures derived from the Secretary-General’s analysis of the High Level External Independent Review Panel on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by International Peacekeeping Forces in the Central African Republic, which submitted its report on 17 December 2015. The Secretary-General is committed to ensuring that the systemic issues, fragmentation and other weaknesses identified are fully addressed in a timely manner and, in so doing, to uphold the trust that must underpin all international engagements.
- During 2016, Ms. Lute will support the ongoing efforts of the Secretary-General and the leadership of UN Offices, Departments, Funds and Programmes to better align our peacekeeping and human rights systems and to strengthen the UN response to sexual exploitation and abuse.
- Ms. Lute has been serving as Chief Executive Officer of the Center for Internet Security (CIS), and also currently serves as the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General for Relocation of Camp Hurriya Residents Outside of Iraq. Earlier UN appointments include serving as Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping from 2003 to 2007 and as acting Under-Secretary-General for Field Support from 2007 to 2008.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: MATERIALS FOR POLLS ARRIVE IN CAPITAL, U.N. MISSION REPORTS
- The UN Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) reports that sensitive and non-sensitive material for the second round of presidential elections and the first round of legislative elections arrived in Bangui on Saturday.
- The deployment of the sensitive material from Bangui to five of the 16 prefectures by MINUSCA also began on 7 February.
- Meanwhile, the two candidates for the second round of presidential elections, Anicet-Georges Dolonguele and Faustin Archange Touadera officially launched their campaigns over the weekend.
- Both candidates have reiterated publicly and privately to the Mission their adherence to the Electoral Code of Conduct and their commitment to leading a peaceful campaign.
- The presidential elections as well as the first round of the legislative polls, which were recently annulled by the Transitional Constitutional Court, are scheduled to take place on 14 February.
CONFLICT IN SUDAN’S JEBEL MARRA AREA SPARKS LARGEST CIVILIAN UPROOTING IN Y EARS – U.N. RELIEF WING
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that a spike in conflict in the Jebel Marra region of Sudan has triggered the highest levels of civilian displacement seen in the area for several years.
- About 38,000 civilians have fled into North Darfur. This includes over 23,000 people, 90 per cent of whom are women and children, seeking shelter near a team site of the African Union-UN Mission (UNAMID) in the area of Sortony, and nearly 14,000 others who are in the areas of Tawila and Kebkabiya.
- Following the intensification of fighting, the AU-UN Mission has implemented contingency plans to ensure the protection of civilians through a reinforced military and police presence at its team sites in North and Central Darfur, while continuing to facilitate the provision of humanitarian assistance.
- Together with humanitarian partners, the Mission has engaged with the Government to advocate for full and unhindered access to affected areas.
- A humanitarian convoy escorted by UNAMID reached Sortoni, in North Darfur, yesterday.
- OCHA also says that a 24-truck convoy is also on its way to El Fasher, the main city in North Darfur State.
WITH ONE QUARTER OF POPULATION NEEDING URGENT AID, SOUTH SUDAN FACING UNPRECEDENTED FOOD INSECURITY – U.N. AGENCIES
- South Sudan is facing unprecedented levels of food insecurity, as 2.8 million people, or 25 percent of the country’s population, remain in urgent need of food assistance, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) say that the dry season, which is now beginning, could bring additional hardship to people facing the most severe levels of hunger.
- The agencies are calling for a speedy implementation of the peace agreement signed last year, and for unrestricted access to conflict areas to deliver much needed supplies to the most impacted areas.
- UNICEF says that many of the areas where the needs are greatest are out of reach because of the security situation. It adds that it is crucial that we are given unrestricted access now, and that if we can reach them, we can help them.
NEARLY 40 PER CENT OF SOMALI PEOPLE NEED HUMANITARIAN AID, NEW U.N. FOOD AGENCY REPORT FINDS
- The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says that Somalia will continue to face large-scale food insecurity between now and June 2016 as a result of poor rainfall and drought conditions in several areas, trade disruptions, displacement and chronic poverty. Acute malnutrition remains high in many parts of the country.
- In total, FAO’s latest food insecurity assessment reports that nearly 4.7 million people or 38 percent of the total population of Somalia are acutely food insecure and will be in need of humanitarian assistance between now and June 2016.
U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICE VOICES ALARM AT REPORTS OF STEPPED UP CLASHES IN EASTERN D.R. CONGO
- The UN Human Rights Office said today it is alarmed by reports of escalating inter-communal violence in the North Kivu province in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, with at least 21 people killed, 40 wounded and 70 houses burned down over the week-end.
- Tensions between the Hutu and Nande communities, which have been increasing since November 2015, seem to have reached an alarming level with these latest incidents and could lead to large-scale violence and further displacement.
- The Human rights Office calls upon the Congolese Government to do its utmost to ensure the protection of civilians and eradicate the threat of armed groups.
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION PRIORITIZING ACTION TO FAST-TRACK MEDICAL APPROACHES TO DEALING WITH ZIKA VIRUS
- Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) released its first situation report for the public health emergency announced after a spike in cases of microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome in the Americas, as related to Zika.
- These cases are strongly suspected to be linked to Zika virus.
- WHO is currently mapping out existing research and development for Zika virus to prioritize actions that need to be taken in order to fast-track medical products and approaches.
- This situation report shows that the geographical distribution of Zika virus has been steadily increasing since it was first detected in the Americas in 2015, with a total of 33 countries having reported native circulation of Zika virus. Further spread is considered likely.
SECRETARY-GENERAL, SECURITY COUNCIL SPEAK OUT AGAINST D.P.R. KOREA MISSILE LAUNCH
- In a statement issued over the weekend, the Secretary-General deplored the launch by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) using ballistic missile technology in violation of relevant Security Council resolutions.
- This launch, he said, came in despite the united plea of the international community against such an act.
- The Secretary-General reiterated his call on the DPRK to halt its provocative actions and return to compliance with its international obligations.
- He also reaffirmed his commitment to working with all sides in reducing tensions and achieving the verifiable denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.
- The Security Council held urgent consultations yesterday and strongly condemned the launch in a press statement.
- The Council reaffirmed that a clear threat to international peace and security continues to exist, especially in the context of the nuclear test. It also expressed its commitment to continue working toward a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution to the situation leading to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
HAITI: SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES ROADMAP TO WRAP UP ELECTORAL CYCLE
- In a statement issued over the weekend on Haiti, the Secretary-General welcomed the agreement reached by Haitian stakeholders to preserve the institutional continuity of the country as well as a roadmap for the swift conclusion of the ongoing electoral cycle.
- Acknowledging that the agreement is in the spirit of the Haitian Constitution, the Secretary-General called on all actors concerned to implement it in order to ensure the democratic transfer of power to elected officials.
- The Secretary-General encouraged all Haitian stakeholders to continue engaging in constructive dialogue to guide their country to a stable and democratic future, which is essential for tackling the challenges facing Haiti. The Secretary-General encouraged all actors to promote measures aimed at fostering calm and stability.
- The Secretary-General reaffirmed the commitment of the United Nations to extend its full support to the Haitian people in the fulfilment of their democratic aspirations.
SENIOR U.N. FIELD SUPPORT OFFICIAL STEPS DOWN
- The Secretary-General has accepted the resignation of Anthony Banbury, who has had a long and varied career at the United Nations serving in positions all over the world ending with his current post as Assistant Secretary-General in the Department of Field Support.
- The Secretary-General thanks Mr. Banbury for his dedication to the United Nations and his outstanding contributions to our work. He helped the United Nations respond to many of the leading challenges of the past two decades, from hunger and natural disasters to the spread of Ebola and the impacts of armed conflict. He never hesitated, sometimes at a moment's notice, to jump on a plane and head to the frontlines.
- He showed a special skill for galvanising the UN machinery to high standards of achievement. Throughout, he had a capacity to inspire others, earning lasting admiration. The UN System, and the Secretary-General personally, will miss his dynamism and friendship and wish him every success in his future endeavours.