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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, SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

MONDAY, 31 AUGUST 2015

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL COMMENDS VALUABLE ROLE OF PARLIAMENTARIANS IN NEW SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AGENDA

  • The Secretary-General spoke today at the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s (IPU) Fourth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament.
  • Stressing the importance of parliaments, he noted that this is a period when the world is gripped by multiple crises and when governance structures in many parts of the world are facing a crisis of legitimacy, representation and participation.
  • The Secretary-General commended the valuable role of parliamentarians and the IPU in helping to shape the ambitious and transformative sustainable development agenda for the next 15 years.
  • In particular, he noted that Sustainable Development Goal 16 addresses democracy by calling for inclusive and participatory societies and institutions. 
  • The task of implementing and monitoring these goals is huge, the Secretary-General noted. It requires Member States to work in strong and close partnership with civil society of all stripes.  This has never been more important. And yet, for civil society, freedom to operate is diminishing — or even disappearing.
  • The Secretary-General pointed out that dozens of Governments have adopted restrictions that limit the ability of NGOs to work, or to receive funding, or both. As we embark on this new agenda, the State and civil society can and should be partners in building the future we want.

SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS RECENT ATTACKS BY SUSPECTED BOKO HARAM ELEMENTS IN NIGERIA’S BORNO STATE

  • In response to a question on Nigeria, the Secretary-General condemned the weekend attacks by suspected Boko Haram elements in Baanu and two other villages, all located in Borno State that reportedly killed over 80 people, 80 civilians.
  • The Secretary-General extended his sincere condolences to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured.
  • The Secretary-General recently visited Nigeria, where he met some victims of Boko Haram violence. There is no justification for indiscriminate violence and killings.
  • He reaffirmed his solidarity with the people of Nigeria and reiterated the United Nations’ support to the Nigerian government in its fight against terrorism, which should be grounded on international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law.

SECRETARY-GENERAL HORRIFIED AND HEARTBROKEN AT LATEST LOSS OF LIVES OF REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS

  • In a statement issued recently, the Secretary-General said that he is horrified and heartbroken at the latest loss of lives of refugees and migrants in the Mediterranean and Europe.
  • He said that these repeated tragedies underscore the ruthlessness of people smugglers and traffickers whose criminal activities extend from the Andaman Sea to the Mediterranean to the highways of Europe. It also highlights the desperation of people seeking protection or a new life.

EGYPT: SECRETARY-GENERAL DEEPLY REGRETS SENTENCING OF AL JAZEERA JOURNALISTS

  • In a statement issued recently, the Secretary-General expressed deep regret over the decision made by the Egyptian court of Cassation to uphold the sentencing of three Al Jazeera journalists – Baher Mohamed, Mohamed Fahmy, and Peter Greste.

HAITI: SECRETARY-GENERAL SADDENED BY DEATH OF FORCE COMMANDER FOR U.N. MISSION

  • In a statement issued today, the Secretary-General has expressed great sadness of the sudden passing of Lieutenant General Jose Luiz Jaborandy, Jr., of Brazil on 30 August in Miami, while travelling to Brazil. He was the Force Commander of the United Nations Stabilization Mission (MINUSTAH) in Haiti since March 2014.
  • The Secretary-General is grateful for General Jaborandy's leadership and dedication to the cause of peace. He offers his heartfelt condolences to his family and the Government of Brazil for this tragic loss.

YEMEN: CIVILIANS CONTINUE TO FACE INDISCRIMINATE VIOLENCE AND HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS, WARNS U.N.

  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that in the past five days, civilians in the Yemeni city of Taiz have been caught between frontlines, subjected to indiscriminate violence and other human rights violations.
  • Health records show that 65 people have been killed and more than 400 have been injured.
  • Water, sanitation and health services in the city have collapsed. The local water company stopped pumping water on 18 August, denying 300,000 people access to safe water. Trash has not been collected for nearly two weeks and is piling up in the streets.
  • Al-Jumhoori hospital in Taiz city, one of the main hospitals in the governorate, was hit by eight shells between 26 and 30 August.
  • Of the 375,000 people targeted for food assistance in August, only 57,500 could be reached, and a polio vaccination campaign in seven districts of the Governorate has been postponed.
  • More than 3 million people in Taizz Governorate are at risk, as the delivery of humanitarian aid has become extremely difficult. Food and fuel are not reaching points of delivery and humanitarian workers are being harassed.
  • The Humanitarian Coordinator, Johannes Van Der Klaauw, called on all parties to abide by their responsibilities to respect the lives and rights of civilians. He urges all parties to allow the safe and unimpeded passage of humanitarian aid throughout Taizz Governorate.

U.N. ENVOY FOR COTE D’IVOIRE CALLS FOR RESTRAINT AHEAD OF PRESIDENTAL ELECTIONS

  • The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Côte d’Ivoire, Albert Gerard Koenders, today called all political actors to show restraint on the way to the next presidential elections, to be held in October 2015.
  • The Special Representative said these elections will be the occasion for the people of Côte d’Ivoire to put crisis behind them for good.
  • Mr. Koenders asked political parties to urge their militants to also engage in the irreversible momentum for peace in the country.

SOMALIA: ESTIMATED 855,000 PEOPLE FACE FOOD INSECURITY, WARNS U.N.

  • According to the latest Food Security and Nutrition Assessment for Somalia, the number of people facing food crisis has increased by 17 per cent compared to six months ago. A total of 3.1 million people require humanitarian assistance, including an estimated 855,000 people who are food insecure. 
  • The latest assessment revealed that nearly 215,000 children aged under five are acutely malnourished, with almost 40,000 severely malnourished and at high risk of disease and death.
  • The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned that the situation is likely to worsen during the rainy season. Rains from October to December are affected by El Niño and floods are expected.

NEW ROUND OF U.N.-FACILITATED DIALOGUE WITH LIBYAN PARTIES TO CONVENE IN GENEVA THIS WEEK

  • The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has announced that the next round of the UN-facilitated political dialogue will take place in Geneva later this week.
  • As you know, last week the parties met in Morocco. The Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Bernardino León, has said that time is of the essence for Libya as the country continues to face more violence, a growing Da’esh terrorist threat and a collapsing currency.
  • He added that now is the time for all leaders to set aside their differences, and put the country’s interest first and work towards the quick establishment of the Government of National Accord, as called for in the political agreement.