HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BYFARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
FRIDAY, 27 MARCH 2015
AT SECURITY COUNCIL, SECRETARY-GENERAL VOICES CONCERN OVER DANGERS FACED BY MINORITIES IN MIDDLE EAST
- The Secretary-General spoke at the open meeting of the Security Council this morning and expressed his deep concern about the grave dangers facing minorities in parts of the Middle East. At stake are millions of individual lives and the social fabric of entire countries. He warned that right now, thousands of civilians are at the mercy of Da’esh. And he discussed the spreading violence in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen, where the bombing of mosques last week has further fuelled sectarian violence.
- The Secretary-General condemns in the strongest terms all persecution and violations of the rights to life and physical integrity of individuals and communities based on religious, ethnic, national, racial or other grounds. He urges all parties to ensure the protection of civilians and to spare innocent lives.
- He told the Council that the United Nations is developing a Plan of Action on Preventing Violent Extremism which will be launched in September. The Secretary-General added that he hopes to convene a group of respected women and men with deep understanding of the region’s religious, civil, cultural, academic and business sectors. They would serve as an advisory panel on inter- and intra-sectarian dynamics.
- The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, also spoke to the Council and described the attacks on minorities by both States and non-State groups, including Da’esh, throughout the region. He called on the Security Council to refer Iraq and Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and to act decisively to end the fighting in Yemen, Libya and other countries. Those statements are available in our office.
- This meeting is presided over by Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs of France.
FIRST-EVER U.N. MEETING OF CHIEFS OF DEFENCE DRAWS OFFICIALS FROM MORE THAN 100 MEMBER STATES
- This morning, the Secretary-General opened the first-ever Chiefs of Defence Conference, which brought together chiefs of defence and senior military officials from more than 100 Member States to discuss issues central to UN Peacekeeping.
- The Secretary-General noted the challenging mandates facing peacekeepers, given the dangerously complex global security landscape marked by terrorism, organized crime, civil conflicts and even health crises today.
- He added that UN Peacekeeping remains uniquely placed to combine political, security and early peacebuilding functions under a single strategy.
- Today, more than 130,000 military, police and civilian staff serve in 16 peacekeeping operations around the world – making it the largest deployment in UN Peacekeeping’s history.
YEMEN: HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR URGES ALL SIDES TO SHOW RESTRAINT, ALLOW AID TO REACH NEEDY
- The Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, Johannes Van Der Klaauw, issued a statement from Sana'a today, urging all parties to the conflict in Yemen to show restraint, observe their obligations to protect civilians and allow access for humanitarian assistance to reach those in need.
- He said that he is extremely concerned that the escalating conflict could divert scarce resources available to Yemeni authorities away from providing basic services and a safety net for the most vulnerable. This could have disastrous consequences for the well-being and survival of millions of vulnerable people who are already deprived of access to basic healthcare, safe drinking water, food, nutrition and protection.
- He said that in the course of hostilities in Yemen over the last year, there has been a growing rate of violations, including the targeting of schools, health facilities and other social infrastructure. These incidents have often had a disproportionate impact on children, and in 2014, some 100,000 people were displaced because of the conflict.
NEW U.N. ENVOY TAKES UP DUTIES IN IRAQ
- The newly-appointed Special Representative for Iraq, J?n Kubiš, arrived today in Baghdad and immediately assumed his responsibilities as the Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).
- Mr. Kubiš said that he looks forward to working with the Government and the people of Iraq to restoring security and stability, ensuring the return of the millions of internally displaced Iraqis to their homes, and promoting inclusive cooperation, national reconciliation and the protection of human rights for all.
VANUATU: WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME HELPS TO DELIVER FOOD TO 166,000 PEOPLE AFFECTED BY CYCLONE PAM
The World Food Programme (WFP) said today that two weeks after cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu, food for more than 166,000 people has reached all 22 affected islands.
WFP is supporting the Government-led relief effort, bringing in emergency equipment from UN Humanitarian Response Depots in Dubai and Malaysia to help authorities with the large volume of cargo arriving in Vanuatu.
- After the initial relief phase, WFP plans to provide further food assistance to the most vulnerable until they can provide for themselves.
FORMER KHMER ROUGE OFFICIAL CHARGED WITH CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY – U.N. BACKED COURT
- From the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), the International Co-Investigating Judge today charged a former Khmer Rouge official, Ao An, with crimes against humanity of murder, extermination and other crimes.
- These crimes are alleged to have been committed at execution sites and security centres.
U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICE WELCOMES MOVES BY MALAWI TO PROTECT PEOPLE WITH ALBINISM
- The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights today welcomed the strong statement by President Arthur Peter Mutharika of Malawi, in which he condemned attacked on people with albinism.
- The President’s statement was followed up by the unveiling of a five-point plan of action by a Government minister.
- The Office said it hopes that this series of measures will result in a significant improvement in the security and well-being of people with albinism in Malawi, urging authorities to ensure that the Government’s action plan is fully implemented without delay.
- In neighbouring Tanzania, President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete earlier this month promised to put an end to the current wave of killings in the country.
- The Human Rights Office said that it has been informed that Tanzanian authorities have begun developing an action plan to raise awareness and fight against impunity, though it appears that most of the witch doctors arrested in recent weeks have now been released.
BRUNEI DARUSSALAM BECOMES 65TH MEMBER STATE TO PAY FULL U.N. DUES
- Brunei Darussalam has paid its dues, becoming the 65th Member-State to pay its contributions in full.