HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
MONDAY, 24 NOVEMBER 2014
EASTERN AFGHANISTAN: SECRETARY-GENERAL SPEAKS OUT AGAINST ‘ABHORRENT’ SUICIDE ATTACK AT SPORTS EVENT
- In a statement, the Secretary-General strongly condemns the suicide attack on civilians in Afghanistan’s Paktika province on 23 November, which killed at least 50 people and injured more than 60 others. He denounces this attack against men, women and children who were enjoying a community sporting event not only as a grave violation of Afghan and international law, but as fundamentally abhorrent.
- The Secretary-General expresses his deepest sympathies to the families of those killed and injured, and his steadfast solidarity with the people of Afghanistan in refusing to be cowed by such attacks. He hopes those responsible will be brought swiftly to justice.
SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES TRANSITIONAL LEADERS TO UPHOLD ASPIRATIONS OF PEOPLE OF BURKINA FASO
- In a statement, the Secretary-General notes the appointment in Burkina Faso on 23 November of the 26-member Transitional Government and the convening of the first Cabinet meeting today. He looks forward to the appointment of members of the Transitional National Council.
- The Secretary-General calls on all appointed transitional leaders to work in a collaborative and harmonious manner to ensure that the aspirations of the people of Burkina Faso are upheld. He also urges all national stakeholders to address any contentious issues through dialogue to ensure a smooth transitional period leading to the holding of elections in November 2015.
- The United Nations will continue to work closely with the African Union (AU), as well as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and other international stakeholders in support of the transition in Burkina Faso.
AHEAD OF INTERNATIONAL DAY, SECRETARY-GENERAL ‘FLIPS SWITCH’ TO HELP END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
- This morning, the Secretary-General joined the Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, and actress Teri Hatcher, to “flip the switch” to illuminate the Empire State Building in orange tonight for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which will be observed tomorrow.
- Speaking at the event, the Secretary-General said that the global pandemic of violence against women still continues, affecting at least one woman in three worldwide.
- He added that women’s rights are not only women’s business, and that men and boys are finally taking their place as partners in this battle.
- The UN building will also be lit in orange this evening.
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION CHIEF DISCUSSES EBOLA RESPONSE WITH MALIAN LEADERS
- The Director of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Margaret Chan, was in Mali over the weekend.
- She visited an Ebola treatment centre in Bamako, and met with President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, as well as with Prime Minister Moussa Mara and other leaders, to discuss Mali’s ongoing efforts to stem the outbreak and ways United Nations organizations could enhance their support to Mali.
- The visit occurred as the Government announced a new case of Ebola and said 2 more suspected patients were being tested. The UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) will formally open an office in the country on Wednesday.
- The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said today it is delighted to report that their colleague who has been receiving treatment at a hospital in France has made a full recovery and is now back at home in Sierra Leone.
- UNICEF thanks the Government of France for generously facilitating the medical arrangements for him and expresses its deepest gratitude to the medical teams whose expert care brought him home back to health and safety.
KENYA: SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS TERRORIST ATTACK ON COMMUTER BUS
- In a statement issued over the weekend, the Secretary-General condemned the terrorist attack on a commuter bus in Mandera, in Kenya. The Secretary-General conveyed his profound condolences, and pledged the UN’s continuing support to Kenya and the region in their efforts to fight terrorism. He called for those responsible for the attack to be brought to justice swiftly.
- The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Nicholas Kay, added his voice, condemning the attack, saying that it showed a complete disregard for humanity.
U.N. MISSION REINFORCES PRESENCE TO RESPOND TO RENEWED ATTACKS IN EASTERN D.R. CONGO
- The UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) has reinforced its presence in Beni territory, in North Kivu province, in response to new attacks against civilians this weekend.
- The Mission also increased its support for the Congolese Army by deploying additional troops of the Force Intervention Brigade and Special Forces from other units.
- The Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes, Saïd Djinnit, also said that those behind these massacres should be brought to justice and held accountable, and called on armed groups active in the DRC to disband permanently.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: U.N. TEAM ASSESSES HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN TOWN AFFECTED BY INTER-COMMUNITY CLASHES
- In the Central African Republic, a mission comprising Humanitarian Country Team members, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and the UN Peacekeeping Mission in the country (MINUSCA) visited the town of Zémio this weekend to assess the humanitarian situation after an outbreak of inter-community violence.
- The mission called on all parties involved to end violence and ensure the restoration of social cohesion in the region.
- The violence in Zemio, a town near the border with the DRC, has left at least fourteen people injured, three killed and more than three thousand displaced.
- Humanitarian actors in coordination with local authorities are assisting to reduce inter-communal violence and to ensure respect of humanitarian space. A group of senior staff from the mission stayed in Zemio to facilitate support and the mediation process.
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION WARNS OF PLAGUE OUTBREAK IN MADAGASCAR
- The World Health Organization (WHO) said today that there has been an outbreak of plague in Madagascar, which has resulted in a total of 119 cases and 40 deaths.
- Cases have been reported in 16 districts of seven regions, including in the capital, Antananarivo. WHO says there is now a risk of a rapid spread of the disease due to the city’s high population density and the weakness of the healthcare system.
- With support from partners, the government of Madagascar has put in place effective strategies to try to control the outbreak.
- The World Health Organization for its part is providing technical expertise and human resources support. Personal protection equipment, insecticides, spray materials and antibiotics have also been made available.
NEW AVIAN FLU STRAING DETECTED IN EUROPE, U.N. AGENCY REPORTS
- The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health warned today that a new bird flu strain has been detected in Europe and posed a significant threat to the poultry sector, especially in low-resourced countries situated along the Black Sea and East Atlantic migratory routes of wild birds.
- Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom have confirmed the new avian influenza virus known as H5N8 on poultry farms, and German authorities have also found the virus in a wild bird.
- H5N8 has so far not been confirmed to infect people. However, it is highly pathogenic for domestic poultry, causing significant mortality in chickens and turkeys.