HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
WEDNESDAY, 7 OCTOBER 2015
U.N. YEMEN ENVOY WELCOMES HOUTHIS’ ACCEPTANACE OF SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION
- The Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, welcomed the latest statements by the Houthis which reaffirm their acceptance of UN Security Council resolution 2216. The Houthis reiterated their commitment to the seven Muscat Principles that have been previously conveyed by the Houthis.
- This is an important step as resolution 2216, other Security Council resolutions, the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative and the Outcomes of the National Dialogue have been at the core of the UN-led peace process. These three pillars will remain the basis for peace talks, which the Special Envoy has been working towards. Mr. Ould Cheikh Ahmed believes that the Government of Yemen, the Houthis and their allies should accept the invitation to join peace talks on this basis.
SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES U.S. MOVE TO RELEASE 6,000 PRISONERS
- In a statement, the Secretary-General welcomes the decision by the United States Government to release approximately 6,000 prisoners from federal prisoners to ease prison overcrowding and provide a degree of redress for persons who received disproportionately long sentences for non-violent drug-related offences. He also welcomes proposals that aim to consider early release of additional prisoners who are serving sentences disproportionate to their crimes, many of which are drug-related.
- The Secretary-General notes that States should only apply deprivation of liberty as a measure of last resort and only after alternatives have been duly considered. Over-incarceration constitutes one of the major underlying causes of overcrowding, which results in conditions that can often amount to ill-treatment or even torture.
- In order to address over-incarceration and overcrowding and their human rights implications, some States should develop and implement alternatives to custodial measures, and review penal policies and legislation to ensure proportionate sentencing. Consideration needs to be given to alternatives to criminalization and incarceration of people who use drugs, with an increased focus on public health, prevention, treatment and care.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: SECRETARY-GENERAL SPEAKS OUT AGAINST KILLING OF BLUE HELMET
- In a statement, the Secretary-General condemns the killing of a peacekeeper from the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) that took place yesterday in Bangui.
- A MINUSCA convoy travelling from Damara to Ngerengou in Ombella-Mpoko prefecture came under fire by an unknown group of armed elements, some 55km north of Bangui. The MINUSCA military escort, composed of a Burundian infantry company, returned fire. During the exchange, one peacekeeper was killed and another was injured.
- The Secretary-General deplores, in the strongest terms, attacks against United Nations peacekeepers and calls for swift action to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice. He reiterates his call for all armed groups to end the fighting and lay down their weapons.
- The Secretary-General reiterates the commitment of the United Nations to support the Central African authorities in their fight against criminality and putting an end to impunity, in line with MINUSCA's mandate.
- The Secretary-General offers his condolences to the bereaved family and to the Government and people of Burundi. He wishes a speedy recovery to the injured soldier.
- In addition to this incident, MINUSCA was attacked in two other incidents: one in Bangui's 4th district and one en route to Bangui from Bossentele (Ouham-Pende). The latter resulted in exchanges of fire with MINUSCA personnel and one peacekeeper slightly injured.
- The Mission has intensified patrolling activities near the National Transitional Council. Beyond the capital, peacekeepers continue to monitor the attempted movements of armed groups.
- With regard to elections, MINUSCA continues to work with the National Electoral Authority and so far 82.7 per cent of eligible voters have reportedly been registered.
- MINUSCA continues to be on high alert and to protect key installations and personalities, including key Government buildings, the International Airport and protection of civilian hot spots.
D.R. CONGO: IN LAST BRIEFING TO SECURITY COUNCIL, U.N. ENVOY CAUTIONS PROGRESS MIGHT NOT BE SUSTAINED
- The Head of the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Martin Kobler, briefed the Security Council for the last time in this function.
- Mr. Kobler urged the Government to take all necessary measures to ensure that the legislative and presidential elections are transparent, credible and inclusive.
- He said he was departing with a feeling of satisfaction and pride, but also with a sense that the Mission’s mandate has not been fulfilled yet, as he could not say with certainty whether the progress attained is sustainable.
- The Council also heard from Said Djinnit, Special Envoy for the Great Lakes, who told the Council that the momentum toward-lasting peace in the DRC appeared to be fading, due to the lack of progress in the neutralization of the FDLR and the challenges related to the electoral process.
- He called all concerned to fully assume their respective roles, and the signatory countries to show greater political will to implement the commitments they have made.
MORTAR SHELLS FIRED IN SOUTH SUDAN’S UPPER NILE STATE, U.N. MISSION REPORTS
- The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) reports hearing mortar shells yesterday morning in Malakal in Upper Nile State, coming from the direction of the west bank of river Nile.
- The Mission says it is not in a position to confirm who was shelling.
- Also in Malakal, the Mission reports the arrival of some 260 new internally displaced persons at its protection of civilians site in one day, coming from the west bank of the Nile, fleeing violence as well as food insecurity.
- There are currently more than 45,000 residents sheltering in the Protection of Civilians site in Malakal with some 185,000 people in sites across the country.
TOP U.N. OFFICIAL URGES EUROPEAN UNION TO EMPHASIZE HUMAN RIGHTS IN MIGRATION POLICY
- Ahead of a high-level European Union meeting tomorrow, the High Commissioner for Human Rights is calling on EU Member States to ensure that all discussions of migration policy are grounded firmly on the need to protect human rights.
- Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein urged the EU and its Member States to move away from the flawed view of law enforcement as the main, or sole, panacea to contemporary migration challenges, especially when so many people are fleeing their countries of origin because of serious human rights violations or decaying or collapsing economies.
- The High Commissioner said that narrow exclusion-focused policies have clearly failed. Increased border control and surveillance have not reduced the number of new arrivals, but have only forced them to use more dangerous routes, leading to increased human rights abuses and loss of life.
ROAD OPENING ALLOWING PEOPLE TO FLEE AFGHANISTAN’S BESIEGED KUNDUZ – U.N. RELIEF WING
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that the road between Kunduz and Pul-i-Khumri in Afghanistan’s Baghlan province has been opened to traffic for the first time in a week of fighting, allowing people to leave Kunduz. The number of people fleeing from Kunduz cannot be ascertained, due to high insecurity.
- Aid organizations are responding to the needs of those displaced from Kunduz in Mazar-e-Sharif, Taloqan and Kabul, and are preparing for a further influx of displaced people into those areas.
SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES ELECTION OF NEW CHAIR OF CLIMATE CHANGE BODY
- In a statement issued yesterday evening, the Secretary-General welcomed the election of Mr. Hoesung Lee of the Republic of Korea as Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
- Mr. Lee will guide the Panel’s work on assessing the science related to climate change.
- Also welcoming Mr. Lee’s election was Achim Steiner, the Head of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).