HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
FRIDAY, 2 OCTOBER 2015
SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES SOMALIA’S RATIFICATION OF U.N. CHILD CONVENTION, URGES U.S. TO DO SO
- In a statement, the Secretary-General welcomes the Government of Somalia's ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, an important measure which binds the Government to ensure specific protections for all children in the country.
- The Secretary-General views the Convention as the world's strongest commitment to promote and respect the human rights of children, including the right to life, to health, to education and to play, as well as the right to family life, to be protected from violence and from any other form of discrimination, and to have their views heard. Adopted in 1989, the Convention stands as the most widely ratified human rights convention, with 196 State parties.
- The Secretary-General encourages the United States, the only State yet to ratify the Convention, to join the global movement and help the world reach the objective of universal ratification. He affirms the continuous support of the United Nations in these efforts.
SECRETARY-GENERAL ‘DEEPLY SADDENED’ BY MASS SHOOTING IN U.S. STATE OF OREGON, CALLS FOR ACTION TO STEM GUN VIOLENCE
- In a statement, the Secretary-General was deeply saddened to learn of the mass shooting in Roseburg, Oregon, on 1 October. He conveys his sincere condolences to the families of the many victims and wishes a swift recovery to those wounded.
- In the face of yet another tragedy of this kind, the Secretary-General expresses his strong hope that the United States, through the robust democratic process that characterizes it, will be able to take the necessary action to reduce the appalling toll in human life that gun violence is taking on American society. He notes that President Barack Obama has consistently demonstrated his commitment to address this scourge.
LIBYA PACT WILL HELP TO PROMOTE STABILITY, DEMOCRACY – SECRETARY-GENERAL
- The Secretary-General this morning spoke at a high-level meeting on Libya, and he warned that the violence of the past year and a half is leading Libya down a path of death, displacement and destruction.
- He said that, for the first time since the revolution of 2011, Libyans have before them a negotiated, inclusive and workable political roadmap for the remainder of the political transition process. No agreement is perfect, he added, but this document will help Libya move beyond the chaos and toward the creation of a stable and democratic State with a clear legal framework.
- The Secretary-General has instructed his Special Representative, Bernardino León, to adhere to the agreed deadline of this General Assembly week to begin discussion on the formation of a new Government. Mr. León has assured the Secretary-General that the participants at this morning’s meeting remain committed and will not go back on their word.
SECRETARY-GENERAL MEETS ISRAELI LEADER, SPEAKS OUT AGAINST ‘BRUTAL’ KILLINGS IN WEST BANK
- In a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday, the Secretary-General condemned the brutal killing of two Israeli citizens in the West Bank that took place earlier that evening.
- The Secretary-General and the Prime Minister discussed the regional situation, including the risks posed by incitement, violent extremism, and terrorism. The Secretary-General noted the tensions on the ground in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and reiterated his call on both sides to prevent any escalation. In this regard, he referred to the Prime Minister's public commitment to maintain the status quo on the Holy Sites.
- Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, also condemned the shooting attack.
U.N. RELIEF CHIEF VOICES ALARM AT UPTICK OF CENTRAL AFRICAN VIOLENCE
- The Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien, said today that he was extremely alarmed by the recent upsurge in violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) and by attacks on humanitarian premises.
- He said that people in Bangui are living without the most basic necessities because humanitarian NGOs and U.N. agencies cannot reach them.
- He added that the situation is also deteriorating outside the capital, with movements of armed groups spreading panic amongst the population.
- Across the country, more than 412,000 people have fled their homes. Some 2.7 million people, more than half the population, depend on humanitarian aid to survive.
- Mr. O’Brien called on all those involved to end the violence and to allow the resumption of humanitarian assistance immediately.
- The UN Mission in the country (MINUSCA) reports that the situation in the capital, Bangui, remained relatively calm but tense in the last 24 hours with sporadic looting activity.
- MINUSCA peacekeepers, in collaboration with Sangaris, have taken a robust posture in Kaga Bandoro, where a group of armed ex-Séléka were reportedly moving south.
- The Mission continues to take measures to prevent a further deterioration of the situation in order to ensure protection of civilians and safe passage along key axis routes within the capital.
COUNTRIES’ SUBMISSIONS OF CLIMATE CHANGE PLANS SOLID FOUNDATION AHEAD OF PARIS TALKS – SECRETARY-GENERAL
- In a statement issued yesterday evening, the Secretary-General welcomed the submission of national climate action plans, or Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), by 147 countries, which account for over 85 per cent of global greenhouse emissions.
- He said that the submission of these plans at the 1 October milestone provides a solid foundation for a universal and meaningful climate change agreement in Paris this December.
- The Secretary-General welcomes these contributions as a positive first step and encourages all countries that have not already done so to submit them before the Paris conference.
U.N. SUSPENDS AID DELIVERY AS PART OF SYRIA CEASEFIRE
- Today, the United Nations had to suspend its planned humanitarian intervention in Syria as part of the implementation of the ceasefire agreement on Zabadani, Madaya, Fua, and Kefraya due to the recent surge of military activities in the concerned areas.
- Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura’s said that the UN team and humanitarian partners had made all necessary preparations and were in place to immediately implement the humanitarian provisions of the agreement.
- The Syrian population in these affected areas is waiting for this agreement to be implemented so that needed humanitarian assistance can be provided to end their long suffering.
- The UN calls on all concerned parties to fulfil their responsibilities in the protection of civilians and reach the necessary understandings in order to implement this agreement as soon as possible. The UN reaffirms its commitment to the protection of civilians and remains ready to assist.
SIX MONTHS OF VIOLENCE LEAVES MORE THAN 500 CHILDREN DEAD IN YEMEN, U.N. CHILDREN’S FUND REPORTS
- The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said today that six months of unremitting violence in Yemen have left at least 505 children dead, 702 injured and 1.7 million at risk of malnutrition.
- Across the country, nearly 10 million children – 80 per cent of the country’s under-18 population – need urgent humanitarian assistance. More than 1.4 million people have been forced to flee their homes.
- Even before the conflict, the nutrition situation was dire, as Yemen produces less than 10 per cent of its food needs and relies heavily on imported food. But the escalation of the fighting has caused food insecurity to spiral and malnutrition to spike.
U.N. MISSION: MORE THAN 700 IRAQIS DIE AS RESULT OF TERRORISM, VIOLENCE LAST MONTH
- The UN Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) released its periodic report on casualties: a total of 717 Iraqis were killed and another 1,216 were wounded in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict last month.
- Jan Kubis, the Head of the UN Mission, remains deeply concerned by the ongoing violence and the high rate of ensuing casualties.
NUMBER OF REFUGEES, MIGRANTS ARRIVING IN GREECE TO TOP 400,000 SHORTLY, U.N. AGENCY SAYS
- According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), despite the windy autumn weather affecting sea crossings from Turkey in recent days, the number of refugees and migrants arriving in Greece continues to climb and is expected to reach the 400,000 mark shortly.
- It said that Greece remains by far the largest single entry point for new sea arrivals in the Mediterranean, followed by Italy with 131,000 arrivals so far this year.
- The total is close to 530,000 of people having crossed the Mediterranean this year.
- UNHCR said that the continuing high rate of arrivals underlines the need for the fast implementation of Europe's relocation programme, jointly with the establishment of robust facilities to receive, assist, register and screen all people arriving by sea.
- It is also concerned that the lack of reception capacity in Greece could seriously jeopardize the relocation programme agreed upon by the European Council, as eligible refugees have nowhere to stay while awaiting relocation.
TAJIKISTAN: IN WAKE OF BANNING OF ISLAMIC POLITICAL PARTY, U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICE CONCERNED OVER INCREASING RISK OF VIOLATIONS
- The UN Human Rights Office said today that it is concerned about an increasing risk of human rights violations connected with the recent banning of the Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan, as well as the arrest and detention of more than a dozen of its members last month.
- The Party was the only Islamic political party legally registered in Central Asia and was party to the 1997 inter-Tajik peace agreement.
- The Human Rights Office calls on Tajik authorities to ensure that any measures taken in the fight against “terrorism” or “extremism” are fully in line with international human rights law, with full respect for the rights to freedom of religion, opinion, expression, peaceful assembly, and association, participation in public affairs, and the principle of non-discrimination.
MARKING NON-VIOLENCE DAY, SECRETARY-GENERAL PAYS TRIBUTE TO GANDHI’S COURAGE, CONVICTION
- The Secretary-General spoke this morning at a special event marking the International Day of Non-Violence, which is also the birthdate of Mohandas Gandhi.
- The Secretary-General said that Mr. Gandhi, whose courage and conviction he deeply admires, proved that non-violence – the principle and the practice – can change history.
- Mr. Gandhi showed the power of peacefully opposing oppression, hatred and injustice, and demonstrated the value of the rule of law in breaking vicious cycles of vengeance.
- Today, at a time of escalating conflicts, rising extremism, massive displacement and rapidly growing humanitarian need, the Secretary-General said that Mr. Gandhi’s dedication to non-violence remains an example to us all.
***The guests at the noon briefing were Mr. Gordon Brown, United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, and Mr. Anthony Lake, Executive Director of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).