HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
WEDNESDAY, 1 APRIL 2015
NIGERIA: SECRETARY-GENERAL CONGRATULATES PRESIDENT-ELECT BUHARI, COMMENDS PRESIDENT JONATHAN FOR LEADERSHIP
- We issued a statement on the results of the Nigerian presidential and parliamentary elections announced yesterday by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The Secretary-General also spoke by phone yesterday with President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and Major General (Rtd) Muhammadu Buhari.
- The Secretary-General congratulates President-elect Buhari. He commends President Jonathan for his leadership throughout the electoral process and his statesmanship in upholding the democratic process. He also applauds the Electoral Commission for having organized and carried out the elections in a professional manner under challenging circumstances. He calls on all Nigerians to accept the outcome of the elections. He also appeals to them to address any complaints they may have through existing legal and constitutional channels.
- The Secretary-General believes the successful conduct of these polls is a testament to the maturity of Nigeria’s democracy. He hopes that the same democratic spirit will prevail in the conduct of the Governorship and State House of Assembly elections on 11 April.
SECRETARY-GENERAL VOICES CONCERN OVER CIVILIAN CASUALTIES IN WAKE OF MILITARY OPERATIONS IN YEMEN
- In a statement issued yesterday afternoon, the Secretary-General expressed concern over reports of numerous civilian casualties resulting from ongoing military operations in Yemen, including an airstrike on 30 March on the Al-Mazraq camp for internally displaced persons in Harad, in the north of Yemen, and attacks against several hospitals in Dhale, in the south of the country. These attacks left dozens dead and injured, among them children.
- The Secretary-General reminds all parties involved in military operations in Yemen of their obligations under international humanitarian law to ensure the protection of civilians. This includes the strict adherence to the principles of proportionality, distinction, and precaution. He also stresses that hospitals and other medical installations have a special protected status under international law. The Secretary-General reiterates his firm belief in the necessity to resolve the conflict through peaceful means.
- Today, the humanitarian coordinator in Yemen said he was appalled by the killing of a volunteer with the Yemen Red Crescent Society in Al Dhale'e in southern Yemen, on Monday. He appealed to all parties to the conflict to ensure freedom of movement and access for humanitarian workers to carry out their work in safety, as well as unfettered access to those in need. This includes allowing the free and safe movement of humanitarian aid supplies into and within Yemen.
SITUATIONS IN SYRIA, YEMEN AND IRAQ TOP SECRETARY-GENERAL’S MEETING WITH IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER
- The Secretary-General met in Kuwait City yesterday, with Hossein Amir Abdollahian, the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Secretary-General and the Deputy Foreign Minister reviewed the situations in Syria, Yemen and Iraq.
- The Secretary-General underscored the extremely difficult humanitarian situation in Yemen, especially given the lack of access due to the fighting.
- The Secretary-General discussed with Iran the need for all countries in the region to ensure that Iraq does not fall due to sectarian fighting. The Secretary-General also requested Iran to do everything possible to support the Iraqi Government's efforts to promote national reconciliation.
- On Syria, they discussed efforts to promote dialogue, a transitional governing body and an end to the conflict in order to bring an end to the terrible suffering of the Syrian people.
IRAQ: U.N. ENVOY WELCOMES LIBERATION OF TIKRIT FROM DA’ESH
- The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Ján Kubiš, welcomes the recent victories of the Iraqi Security Forces in liberating the town of Tikrit from Da’esh and associated armed groups.
- He called it “a victory for all the Iraqi people” and said that the United Nations stands ready to assist the provincial and national authorities in responding to the needs of the thousands of displaced.
- Mr. Kubiš said that civilians’ safety and security must be protected in line with fundamental human rights principles and humanitarian law. He called on the government to ensure that all Tikrit inhabitants who fled from Da’esh can safely return to their homes and that much needed humanitarian assistance is provided without delay.
- The UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) also released its casualty figures for March, reporting that a total of 997 Iraqis were killed and another 2,172 were wounded in acts of terrorism and violence in the month. The number of civilians killed was 729 and the number of civilians wounded was 1,785.
U.N. AGRICULTURE BODY, MALI JOIN FORCES TO HELP THOSE AFFECTED BY VIOLENCE, CLIMATE CHANGE
- The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is teaming up with the Government of Mali to restore the livelihoods of households affected by the armed conflicts and climate change in the northern part of the country.
- Thirty-three thousand families will benefit from a new programme providing feed and veterinary products for cattle as well as training in farming and nutritional good practices, with an emphasis on the needs of women's groups engaged in horticulture.
- This project is part of a $100 million World Bank Economic Recovery and Reconstruction Programme in Mali.
HEAD OF WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME KICKS OFF VISIT TO MALAWI
- The Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), Ertharin Cousin, is starting today a visit to Malawi, as the country recovers from the devastating floods which have affected more than a million people and left some 600,000 in need of food assistance.
- While in Malawi, Ms. Cousin will visit flood-affected communities, government officials and members of the donor community.
NEW HEAD OF NEW YORK OFFICE OF U.N. ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME NAMED
- The Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is announcing today the appointment of Elliott Harris of Trinidad and Tobago as Assistant Secretary-General and Head of the New York Office of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
- Mr. Harris brings over 25 years of international experience in the fields of international economics and development policy analysis, coupled with knowledge of the UN system, multilateral and inter–agency coordination processes.
TO MARK WORLD DAY, BUSINESSES TO BE URGED TO COMMITTING TO EMPLOY PEOPLE WITH AUTISM
- Tomorrow morning, a global “Call to Action,” inviting businesses to make concrete commitments to employ persons with autism, will be launched at during an interactive discussion with the business executives ahead to mark World Autism Awareness Day.
MARSHALL ISLANDS BECOMES 67TH MEMBER STATE TO PAY U.N. DUES IN FULL
- The Marshall Islands have paid their dues, becoming the 67th Member State to pay their UN budget bill in full.