HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
FRIDAY, 4 SEPTEMBER 2015
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS SUICIDE ATTACKS ON MOSQUE IN YEMEN’S SANA’A
In a statement issued this morning, the Secretary-General condemns in the strongest possible terms the suicide terror attacks against a mosque in the northern Jarraf district of Sana’a during evening prayers on 2 September that left more than 30 people dead and almost 100 injured. Such attacks against places of worship are not justifiable under any circumstances.
The Secretary-General expresses his deepest condolences and sympathies to the families of the victims and expects that the perpetrators of these reprehensible acts will be swiftly brought to justice.
The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Stephen O’Brien, today released an additional $15 million from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to support lifesaving assistance for millions of people affected by the devastating humanitarian crisis in Yemen. This brings the Response Fund’s support for humanitarian operations in Yemen to more than $44 million in 2015.
- Mr. O’Brien said that it is shocking that four out of five Yemenis require humanitarian assistance and nearly 1.5 million people are internally displaced.
- The World Food Programme (WFP) confirmed the arrival of a large shipment of wheat in Yemen. The wheat comes from USAID and will feed up to 1 million people for two months.
GUATEMALA: FOLLOWING PRESIDENT’S DECISION TO STEP DOWN, SECRETARY-GENERAL SPOTLIGHTS NEED FOR ORDERLY TRANSITION
- In a statement yesterday evening following the decision by President Otto Pérez Molina of Guatemala to resign, the Secretary-General said that he trusts that the authorities will abide by the Constitution and ensure an orderly democratic transition. He calls on all Guatemalans to ensure that the upcoming elections are held in a peaceful environment.
- The Secretary-General is aware of the deep desire shown by the country’s citizens to put an end to corruption and impunity, as well as ongoing calls for legal and political reforms. He welcomes constructive efforts by the people of Guatemala to participate in and contribute to their country’s political system.
- The Secretary-General appeals to the authorities and all sectors of society to work together in order to strengthen institutions and the rule of law in Guatemala.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC STILL GRIPPED WITH FEAR, PEOPLE DIVIDED – TOP U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICIAL
- The High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein gave a press conference this morning, to mark the end of his first visit to the Central African Republic in the capital Bangui.
- He said that while far better than it was at the height of the conflict in late 2013 and early 2014, the human rights situation is still a cause of intense anxiety for both CAR’s own inhabitants and the United Nations.
- The High Commissioner said that the country is still gripped with fear, and its people remain terribly divided. He also said that the most notorious leaders are not being arrested, let alone prosecuted, tried and convicted.
- Mr. Zeid added that the UN Mission in the country needed to be reinforced with both personnel and material so they can make good on the strong Chapter 7 mandate bestowed on them by the Security Council.
- Finally, he said that the UN and the Government must do more to find solutions and bring about reconciliation between Christians and Muslims.
- Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, the new Head of the UN Mission also spoke at the same event. He said he had taken the leadership of the Mission to spearhead peace in the Central African Republic and champion collective efforts to end sexual abuse and exploitation by UN forces.
He said the Mission will take up every single allegation with the troop and police contributors in the strongest possible terms and ensure that justice is served.
The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, will arrive tomorrow in Bangui for a three-day visit.
U.N. REFUGEE CHIEF URGES EUROPEAN UNION TO RELOCATE 200,000 PEOPLE IN NEED OF PROTECTION
- Turning to the continuing issue of refugees, the High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, said today that ahead of key emergency meetings of the European Union, the situation requires a massive common effort that is not possible with the current fragmented approach.
- The High Commissioner underscored that this is primarily a refugee crisis, not only a migration phenomenon.
- Urgent and courageous measures must be taken to stabilize the situation, and the EU must be ready to put in place immediate and adequate emergency reception, assistance and registration capacity.
- Mr. Guterres said that people who are found to have a valid protection claim in this initial screening must benefit from a mass relocation programme, with the mandatory participation of all EU member states. A very preliminary estimate would indicate a potential need to increase relocation opportunities to as many as 200,000 places.
- The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said today that more people – mostly from Syria – are crossing the border at Gevgeliya from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to Greece. Numbers have risen from 3,500 on Wednesday to 5,000 yesterday.
- UNICEF also said that there has been a marked increase in the number of women and children making the crossing.
LIBYA: U.N. ENVOY WRAPS UP TALKS ON POLITICAL DIALOGUE
- The Libyan political dialogue convened yesterday and today at the UN Office in Geneva to advance the process to bring an end to Libya’s political and military conflict. Over the last two days, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative Bernardino León, held a series of meetings with different participants.
- All the invited parties participated in this round. Participants included representatives of the House of Representatives, the General National Congress, independents, women groups, municipalities and political parties.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL TO MEET TOP U.N.E.S.C.O, FRENCH OFFICIALS IN PARIS
- The Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, will travel to Paris on Saturday, where he will conduct meetings with the leadership of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and senior officials of the French Government.
- On Tuesday, 8 September, he will participate in a conference on the Protection of Victims of Ethnic and Religious Violence in the Middle East that is being by the French and Jordanian Governments. He will return to New York on Wednesday.
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION VOICES CONCERN OVER MIDDLE EAST RESPIRATORY SYNDROME AHEAD OF HAJJ
- The World Health Organization (WHO) presented yesterday the conclusions of a recent meeting of its Emergency Committee (EC) regarding the Middle East respiratory syndrome.
- Although the Committee says that the situation still does not constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), it still emphasizes a heightened sense of concern about the overall situation.
- The Committee stresses that the current outbreak is occurring close to the start of the Hajj and many pilgrims will return to countries with weak surveillance and health systems.
SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS SENIOR SECURITY OFFICIAL, FORCE COMMANDER IN WESTERN SAHARA
- The Secretary-General is announcing the appointment of Fadzai Gwaradzimba of Zimbabwe as the Assistant Secretary-General for Safety and Security.
- Ms. Gwaradzimba succeeds Ms. Mbaranga Gasarabwe of Rwanda who was appointed as Deputy Special Representative for Mali in May.
- The Secretary-General is also announcing the appointment of Major General Muhammad Tayyab Azam of Pakistan as the Force Commander of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO).
- Major General Azam will succeed Major General Major Imam Edy Mulyono of Indonesia, whose tour of duty ends on 17 September 2015.
- Major General Azam brings to this position 30 years of national and international military experience. He currently serves as Inspector General of the Frontier Corps in Pakistan and prior to that served as Director General of the Intelligence Services.
MUSICAL ARTISTS LAUNCH NEW SONG TO SUPPORT SECRETARY-GENERAL’S EFFORTS ON CLIMATE CHANGE
- Internationally renowned artists have come together to record a song to support the Secretary-General’s leadership on climate change and the United Nations’ call for a meaningful, universal, global climate change agreement to be signed in Paris in December.
- Entitled “Love Song to the Earth,” it features performances by Paul McCartney, Jon Bon Jovi, Sheryl Crow, Fergie, Colbie Caillat, Natasha Bedingfield, Leona Lewis, Sean Paul, Johnny Rzeznik, Krewella, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Angelique Kidjo, Kelsea Ballerini, Nicole Scherzinger, Christina Grimmie, Victoria Justice and Q’Orianka Kilcher.
- The song was written by Toby Gad, Natasha Bedingfield, John Shanks and Sean Paul, and is available today exclusively on iTunes and Apple Music.
- The artists, producers and directors of the song – as well as Apple – are donating their respective proceeds to Friends of the Earth U.S. and the United Nations Foundation.
- On September 11, the song will enjoy a wide release on all major music distribution and streaming services.