HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
TUESDAY, 30 JUNE 2015
SECRETARY-GENERAL LAMENTS HOW THREE YEARS AFTER ADOPTION OF GENEVA COMMUNIQUE, SYRIAN PEOPLE’S SUFFERING CONTINUES PLUBMING NEW DEPTHS
- In a statement by the Secretary-General concerning the third anniversary of the Geneva Communiqué on Syria, he says:
- It should shame us all that, three years since the adoption of the Geneva Communiqué on resolving the cataclysmic conflict in Syria, the suffering of the Syrian people continues to plumb new depths.
- More than 220,000 Syrians are dead. Almost half the country's men, women and children have been forced to flee their homes. Civilians face a barrage of barrel bombs and other horrendous violations of human rights such as torture and prolonged detention of tens of thousands. There must be no impunity for such inhumanity.
- Different parts of the country are increasingly controlled by a patchwork of Syrian and non-state actors, including Daesh and the Al Nusra Front. The country’s cultural heritage is under assault. Syria is on the brink of falling apart, putting at even further risk what is already the most unstable region in the world.
- The international community, and in particular the Security Council, cannot afford to waste any further time in ending the cycle of violence. My Special Envoy on Syria, Mr. Staffan de Mistura, is engaging in a series of consultations on how the Geneva Communiqué can at long last be translated into meaningful action to ease the plight of the Syrian people.
- The human cost of further delay should be unacceptable to all – strategically, politically and morally. I appeal in the strongest possible terms to the international community to join together with my Special Envoy to genuinely work for the implementation of the Geneva Communiqué before further irreparable damage is done to Syria, its people and the region.
- Three years after the parties themselves, and all those with influence on them, expressed support for a plan to end that suffering, it is time to find an exit from this madness.
SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES SUBMISSIONS OF CLIMATE CHANGE TARGETS BY CHINA, REPUBLIC OF KOREA
- In a statement, the Secretary-General welcomes today's formal submission of their post-2020 climate change targets or Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) by the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Korea. Both submissions represent an important contribution to building momentum and strengthening prospects for reaching a new and meaningful climate change agreement at COP-21 in Paris at the end of the year.
- With these two submissions, we now have post-2020 climate change targets from over 40 countries that together represent over 60% of global emissions.
- The INDCs submitted today and since March offer a floor, and not a ceiling for ambition, and are critical for building momentum and trust on the road to COP-21 in Paris.
- The Secretary-General thanks the President of the People's Republic of China, H.E. President Xi Jinping, and the President of the Republic of Korea, H.E. Park Geun-hye, for their leadership and strong commitment in addressing climate change.
- He encourages other countries to accelerate the preparation and submission of their INDCs. A key step to reaching a universal and meaningful climate agreement in Paris is the timely submission of INDCs by all countries well in advance of Paris.
SECRETARY-GENERAL, NEW YORK MAYOR LAUNCH MUNICIPAL I.D. CARD
- This morning, the Secretary-General welcomed Mayor Bill de Blasio here at Headquarters for the launch of a pop-up registration site for New York City’s new municipal identification card called idNYC.
- The Secretary-General registered for an ID and encouraged staff and diplomats to do the same.
- The pop-up enrollment center will be open until 10 July.
NEARLY 10,000 PEOPLE FLEE BURUNDI BEFORE BORDER CLOSURE, U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY REPORTS
- On Burundi, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says today that nearly 10,000 people left the country over the weekend, before Burundi closed its borders on Sunday evening.
- The refugees who arrived in Rwanda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo said that roads are being blocked and people suspected of heading to the border are forced off buses. Some have reportedly been arrested and others have seen their belongings confiscated.
- In neighbouring countries, UNHCR provides the arriving refugees with initial assistance, including hot meals, and transports them to transit centres and eventually refugee sites.
- Since pre-election violence started in Burundi, nearly 144,000 refugees have fled the country, mostly to neighbouring Tanzania and Rwanda.
SOUTH SUDAN: U.N. MISSION FINDS WIDESPREAD RIGHTS ABUSES COMMITTED BY ARMED GROUPS
- The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has found evidence of widespread human rights abuses allegedly committed by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and associated armed groups during the recent escalation of fighting in Unity State – that is since late April 2015.
- Survivors of these attacks reported that SPLA and allied militias from Mayom County carried out a campaign against the local population that killed civilians, looted and destroyed villages and displaced over 100,000 people.
- Some of the most disturbing allegations compiled by UNMISS human rights officers focused on the abduction and sexual abuse of women and girls, some of whom were reportedly burnt alive in their dwellings.
- The UNMISS report says that there is a “new brutality and intensity” in the recent upsurge in fighting. It says that the scope and level of cruelty that has characterized the reports suggests a depth of antipathy that exceeds political differences.
NUMBER OF PEOPLE UPROOTED BY FIGHTING DOUBLES IN LIBYA – U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and its partners report that the number of displaced people within Libya has almost doubled from an estimated 230,000 last September to more than 434,000 now due to escalating fighting this year in different parts of the country.
- The agency has warned that the numbers could be higher since it has limited access in the country and is currently running its operation by remote management.
- About a quarter of the displaced population, or an estimated 105,000 people are in the eastern city of Benghazi, where UNHCR has been working with the municipality as well as local and international NGOs to distribute aid, including mattresses, blankets and kitchen sets. It is also working with partners to reach people in Misrata, Tripoli, Zintan and other areas, despite mounting challenges.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) says that, according to its latest figures, 3,083 people have died as a result of the current conflict in Yemen and an additional 14,324 people have been injured.
SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS HEAD OF U.N. GENEVA OFFICE, MULTILINGUALISM COORDINATOR
- The Secretary-General is appointing Michael Møller of Denmark as Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva. Mr. Møller is currently Acting Head of the United Nations Office at Geneva. He has served in this role since November 2013. He was previously Executive Director of the Kofi Annan Foundation from 2008 to 2011. Mr. Møller has over 30 years of experience as an international civil servant at the United Nations.
- And the Secretary-General is also appointing Tegegnework Gettu, Under-Secretary-General for General Assembly and Conference Management, as the new Coordinator for Multilingualism, in implementation of General Assembly resolution 69/250. In this role, Mr. Gettu is responsible for coordinating the overall implementation of multilingualism Secretariat-wide.
- Previously, this function was performed by Mr. Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, former Under-Secretary-General for Public Information, to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for his dedicated service in this area.
SECRETARY-GENERAL PAYS TRIBUTE TO NORMAL ROCKWELL’S VISION OF UNITED NATIONS
- The Secretary-General spoke last night at the opening of an art exhibition entitled “We the people: Norman Rockwell’s United Nations.”
- He said that Mr. Rockwell’s drawing called “United Nations, ” which will be shown at UN Headquarters this summer, lit a spark that became the “Golden Rule,” a mosaic of which is at the UN.
- The Secretary-General said that the UN Charter is our birth certificate, and that Norman Rockwell’s “United Nations” brings it to life. His drawing brings the message of the United Nations home.
ITALY BECOMES 101ST MEMBER STATE TO PAY REGULAR BUDGET DUES
- Italy has become the 101st Member State to pay its regular budget dues in full.
***The guests at the noon briefing were Jeffrey O’Malley, UNICEF Director of Data, Research and Policy, and Dr. Nata Menabde, Executive Director of the World Health Organization’s Office at the United Nations. They presented the report “Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water: 2015 Update and MDG Assessment.”