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Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

MONDAY, 15 SEPTEMBER 2014

At noon on Tuesday, the Secretary-General of the United Nations will give his pre-General Assembly press conference. There will be no noon briefing by the Spokesperson that day, although the web site will be updated.

U.N. FORCE IN GOLAN HEIGHTS FORCED TO RELOCATE PERSONNEL

  • The situation on the Syrian side and the area of separation of the UN Disengagement Force in Golan Heights (UNDOF) has deteriorated severely over the last several days.
  • Armed groups have made advances in the area of UNDOF positions, posing a direct threat to the safety and security of the UN Peacekeepers along the “Bravo” line and in Camp Faouar.
  • All of UN personnel in these positions have thus been relocated to the Alpha side.
  • UNDOF continues to use all available assets to carry out its mandated tasks in this exceptionally challenging period and environment.

IRAQ: AT PARIS CONFERENCE, U.N. URGES STATES TO ENFORCE SANCTIONS AND STOP FLOW OF FOREIGN FIGHTERS

  • The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, attended the Paris International Conference on Peace and Security in Iraq today.  
  • In his remarks, delivered on behalf of the Secretary-General, Mr. Mladenov urged Member States to cooperate in enforcing the sanctions adopted by UN Security Council resolution 2170 (2014), calling on those states to act to suppress the flow of foreign fighters, financing and other support to Islamist extremist groups in Iraq and in Syria.
  • Mr. Mladenov further underlined that growing international consensus to fight Islamist extremist groups must also be governed by international law and standards that uphold the protection of civilians.
  • On the humanitarian end, the UN Humanitarian Chief, Valerie Amos, wrapped up her mission to the country over the weekend. Following her three-day visit, Ms. Amos said that additional support is needed ahead of the long winter months.
  • Ms. Amos, who met displaced families in Iraqi Kurdistan’s Dohuk Governorate, said that people urgently need shelter and protection. She assured them that the humanitarian community will do all it can to help communities in need.
  • So far, 20 million people from across Iraq have been affected by the ongoing violence, including 1.8 million who have been displaced. More than 850,000 of them are currently in Iraq’s Kurdistan region.
  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has warned that the numbers of displaced people could increase in the coming months since fierce fighting continues in northern and eastern part of Iraq.

FIRST DAY OF U.N. MILITARY AND POLICE ACTION IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

  • Today marks the beginning of the U.N. Mission in the Central African Republic’s military and police action.
  • The transfer of authority from the African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic, otherwise known as MISCA, to the United Nations Mission, MINUSCA, took place earlier in Bangui at a ceremony attended by the UN, African Union and Central African officials.  The UN was represented by the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Mr. Hervé Ladsous.
  • As of today, MINUSCA’s presence stands at some 6,600 troops, more than 1,000 police – that’s 65 per cent of its authorized forces and 58 per cent of its authorized police force -- and a complement of civilian staff that are progressively deploying throughout the country. The Mission will prioritize the protection of civilians, as well as support to the political process and state-building efforts.
  • In a statement issued on Sunday, the Secretary-General expressed his appreciation o MISCA, which has saved and protected many lives, alongside the French Sangaris forces as well as the European Union Force in the Central African Republic. He also said he was grateful for the exemplary collaboration between the UN and the African Union to ensure a seamless transition of authority.

SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS NEW DEADLY ATTACK AGAINST PEACEKEEPERS IN NORTHERN MALI

  • The Secretary-General strongly condemned the attack that killed one peacekeeper and wounded four others yesterday, in the vicinity of Aguelhok, Kidal Region.
  • He said it would not alter the determination of the United Nations to support the Malian people in their search for peace.
  • According to the UN Mission, 26 killed peacekeepers were killed since the start of the mission – 17 of them as a result of hostile action. In addition, 103 peacekeepers have been wounded since the beginning of the mission. 
  • The Security Council also issued a press statement on the same issue yesterday condemning this attack.
  • The UN Mission in the country, MINUSMA, says that the four peacekeepers were transported to Bamako and to Dakar, Senegal. Their condition is listed as stable.

FIRST DAY AT SCHOOL FOR 300,000 CHILDREN IN GAZA

  • Nearly 300,000 children went back to schools run by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), at the start of the school year in Gaza and Syria today.
  • In Gaza, some 240,000 children went back to 252 UNRWA schools. Over 90 school buildings had been used as shelters for displaced people during the recent Gaza violence. The Relief and Works Agency has employed over 200 counsellors to support children, parents and teachers as they get used to going back to school.
  • The recent conflict in Gaza left 258 schools and kindergartens damaged, including 26 schools that are beyond repair. Initial estimates indicate that at least $30 million is needed until the end of the year to address the impact of the conflict on school infrastructure.
  • Also, more than 63,000 people, of whom half are children under the age of 18, remain displaced in Gaza.

LIBYA:  U.N. ENVOY BERNARDINO LEON BRIEFS SECURITY COUNCIL ON NEED TO RESUME POLITICAL PROCESS

  • The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Libya, Bernardino León, briefed the Security Council today. Mr. León, who was in Libya recently meeting with key political leaders, said that everyone he met underscored the need for an end to the violence and the need for the political process to resume.
  • Mr. León said that despite the repeated calls for an immediate end to the violence, including from the Council, the situation on the ground remains extremely volatile and precarious.
  • He said that the United Nations remains committed to its mission in Libya and will continue to stress the urgent need for political dialogue. He added that he intends to undertake further visits to Libya.
  • The Security Council also unanimously adopted a resolution today to renew the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).

U.N. REFUGEE CHIEF ANTONIO GUTERRES AND SPECIAL ENVOY ANGELINA JOLIE VISIT NAVAL RESCUE CENTER IN MALTA

  • The High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, and his Special Envoy Angelina Jolie visited the naval rescue headquarters in Malta on Sunday, on a weekend in which new boat sinkings were reported off the coasts of Egypt and Libya.
  • More than 2,500 people have drowned or gone missing trying to cross this year alone, including more than 2,200 since the beginning of June.

ON DEMOCRACY DAY, SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS ON THE WORLD TO DO MORE TO EMPOWER PEOPLE

  • In his message on the International Day of Democracy, the Secretary-General said that the world seems more turbulent than ever and that the values of the United Nations are being tested and challenged.   
  • He noted recent outbreaks of violence in societies that are not inclusive, and when Governments are not responsive and accountable. He called on the world to do more to empower people, especially those who remain underprivileged, marginalized, jobless, hopeless and frustrated.
  • The Secretary-General also called on young people around the world to confront global challenges, by leading a major push for inclusive democracy around the world. 

JUDY CHENG-HOPKINS OF MALAYSIA APPOINTED AS SPECIAL ADVISER ON UNIVERSITY FOR PEACE

  • Senior appointment today - the Secretary-General has appointed Judy Cheng-Hopkins of Malaysia as Special Adviser of the Secretary General on the University for Peace (UPeace).
  • The University was established as a treaty organization on December 5 1980 and it is based in Costa Rica.
  • Its mission is to provide humanity with an international institution of higher education for peace. The Secretary-General is the honorary president of the Council of the university and Ms. Cheng-Hopkins will represent him there.  She was most recently the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support.