HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
TUESDAY, 4 AUGUST 2015
SECRETARY-GENERAL MEETS PRESIDENT OBAMA IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
- The Secretary-General is in Washington, DC, today and will meet with President Barack Obama.
- The Secretary-General is also scheduled to speak to the press in the US capital.
SECRETARY-GENERAL SPEAKS OUT AGAINST ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT ON BURUNDIAN HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER
- In a statement issued yesterday evening, the Secretary-General strongly condemned the assassination attempt on Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, a leading Burundian human rights defender who was shot and wounded by unknown assailants in Bujumbura.
- This incident, which comes only a day after the killing of General Adolphe Nshimirimana, is part of a growing pattern of politically-motivated violence in Burundi that must be broken before it escalates beyond control. The Secretary-General stresses that accountability and the resumption of a genuine and inclusive political dialogue are the best response to such attempts to destabilize Burundi.
- Also yesterday, the Secretary-General held a conference call with President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, and Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, to discuss the situation in Burundi.
- The Secretary-General expressed his full support for President Museveni’s efforts to facilitate an inclusive political dialogue in Burundi on behalf of the East African Community.
- He also called for the swift resumption of the dialogue to defuse mounting tensions and pave the way for the formation of a government of national unity. It was agreed that the United Nations, the East African Community and the African Union should continue working closely together in a coordinated and unified approach to find a sustainable solution to the crisis in Burundi.
- The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said today in Geneva that they were deeply concerned at the brutal arrest and ill treatment, on 2 August, of the RFI and AFP local correspondent, Esdras Ndikumana, by agents belonging to the Service National de Renseignement (SNR), the national intelligence agency.
- Mr. Ndikumana was taking pictures on the crime site where General Adolphe Nshimirimana was killed on 2 August, when he was arrested and brutalized by SNR agents. They took him to their HQ in Bujumbura and reportedly subjected him to torture, claiming that he was a “journalist enemy”. He is currently under medical care, suffering from a broken finger and psychological trauma.
U.N. YEMEN ENVOY WRAPS UP TALKS IN CAIRO
- The Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, has completed several days of discussions in Cairo.
- Mr. Ould Cheikh Ahmed met with the Secretary General of the League of Arab States, Nabil Elaraby, who was fully supportive of his efforts. And he also met with the senior officials of the General People’s Congress party in his continuing efforts to push for a political solution.
- In the coming days, the Special Envoy plans to visit Oman and Riyadh to hold further discussions with Yemeni officials.
- The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said today that the civilian death toll in Yemen has risen to at least 1,916, with another 4,186 civilians wounded since the escalation of the armed conflict on 26 March. Over the past few weeks, it added, there have been two particularly devastating attacks in residential areas.
- The World Food Programme (WFP) and its partners last week began food distributions to around 340,000 people in eight of the worst-affected areas of the port city of Aden. All of these districts – except one – had not been reached since April because of conflict. While WFP continues to send assistance to Yemeni ports, including Aden, Saleef and Hodeidah, commercial food and fuel imports are urgently needed to meet the growing needs of hundreds of thousands of people.
U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY, PARTNERS DISTRIBUTE RELIEF TO FLOOD-AFFECTED IN MYANMAR’S RAKHINE STATE
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said today that despite strong winds, heavy rains and serious flooding, its teams, and other UN and aid organizations staff have reached camps for displaced people in Rakhine’s capital, Sittwe, and other nearby towns in Myanmar.
- The Agency said that an assessment of 24 camps has found that a quarter of temporary shelters have been damaged and more than 21,000 people have been affected as a result.
- UNHCR and its partners are still looking at the impact of the cyclone on displaced people in Rakhine and Kachin to identify immediate needs and distribute relief items.
- In Maungdaw in Rakhine, more than 2,000 households have been affected, but receding floodwaters have allowed many evacuated families to return home in recent days.
- UNHCR has distributed relief items such as blankets, mats and buckets to people sheltering in official reception centres as well as to others.
- In Kachin state, which is home to over 100,000 conflict-displaced people, the impact of recent rains and floods has been less extensive. At the Government's request, UNHCR and its partners have examined conditions in Mogaung township, and of the four camps for the displaced visited, one was flooded and nine displaced families were relocated.
SOUTH SUDAN: U.N. MISSION REPORTS IMPROVEMENT OF SECURITY SITUAITON IN YAMBIO
- In response to a question on the security situation in Yambio, South Sudan, the Deputy Spokesperson said that the UN Mission there (UNMISS) says that the security situation has improved and that the majority of the civilians have returned home.
- Opening UNMISS compounds to civilians is and will remain a last resort measure.
- Right now, the Mission is protecting civilians by various means to create security conditions for a safer environment. These include engaging with local authorities and conducting patrols. UNMISS has increased patrols in an attempt to restore a sense of safety and security in Yambio by patrolling day and night and providing a reassuring presence.