HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
FRIDAY, 31 OCTOBER 2014
SECRETARY-GENERAL UNVEILS INDEPENDENT PANEL TO REVIEW U.N. PEACE OPERATIONS
- The Secretary-General announced his appointment of an independent panel on peace operations:
- “The world is changing and UN peace operations must change with it if they are to remain an indispensable and effective tool in promoting international peace and security.
- That is why I am announcing today the establishment of a High Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations. I have appointed Mr. Jose Ramos-Horta of Timor-Leste to chair the panel, which will draw together individuals with a wide range of experience and expertise.
- The Panel will make a comprehensive assessment of the state of UN peace operations today, and the emerging needs of the future. It will consider a broad range of issues facing peace operations, including the changing nature of conflict, evolving mandates, good offices and peacebuilding challenges, managerial and administrative arrangements, planning, partnerships, human rights and protection of civilians, uniformed capabilities for peacekeeping operations and performance.
- The last major external review of peace operations was undertaken in 2000 and led by Mr. Lahkdar Brahimi. In addition, this will be the first such panel to examine both peacekeeping operations and special political missions.
- As we approach the 15-year anniversary of the Brahimi report, we must acknowledge that peace operations today are increasingly called on to confront politically complex and challenging conflicts, often in volatile security environments where operations are directly targeted. We must take stock of evolving expectations and consider how the Organization can most effectively advance peace, assist countries caught in conflict and ensure that our peacekeeping operations and special political missions remain strong and effective in a changing global context.
- The Panel will work closely with the main UN Departments concerned, as well as with Member States and the UN system as a whole. The Panel’s recommendations to me will be available for consideration by the General Assembly at its 2015 General Debate.”
- The Panel will be chaired by Jose Ramos-Horta, and its other members are: Jean Arnault of France, Abhijit Guha of India, Ameerah Haq of Bangladesh, Andrew Hughes of Australia, Alexander Ilitchev of Russia, Hilde F. Johnson of Norway, Bruce Jones of Canada, Youssef Mahmoud of Tunisia, Ian Martin of the United Kingdom, Henrietta Joy Abena Nyarko Mensa-Bonsu of Ghana, B. Lynn Pascoe of the United States, Floriano Peixoto Vieira Neto of Brazil, and Wang Xuexian of China.
BAN URGES CALM IN BURKINA FASO FOLLOWING RESIGNATION OF LEADER, U.N. ENVOY BEGINS MISSION
- Moving on to the situation in Burkina Faso, the Secretary-General continues to follow the situation in that country with great concern. He notes the resignation of President Blaise Compaoré today.
- Mohammed Ibn Chambas, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for West Africa, has arrived this morning in Burkina’s capital, Ouagadogou, as part of a joint mission which also includes the President of the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union Commissioner for Political Affairs.
- He is expected to meet with all political stakeholders, as well as religious and traditional leaders.
- The Secretary-General urges all parties to exercise calm and restraint and to use dialogue to solve the current crisis.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONTINUES KENYA VISIT
- The Secretary-General is in Kenya today, where he met with the Secretary General of the Kenya Red Cross. He also held discussions with the Director General of the UN Office in Nairobi and other senior UN officials.
- The Secretary-General visited the Ushahidi/i-Hub offices in Nairobi, which is an incubator for young Kenyan technology innovators. He commended their creativity and noted that their ideas have been exported internationally and even used by the UN.
- This weekend, he will travel to Copenhagen, where on Sunday he will participate in the launch of the latest Synthesis Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
SOUTH SUDAN: U.N. MISSION EXTRACTS 30 CIVILIANS, MOVING THEM TO PROTECTION SITE
- The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) extracted 30 civilians from the Rubkona airstrip yesterday, and brought them to the protection of civilians site in the UN compound. Civilian casualties so far from the week’s fighting include one dead and eight wounded.
- In a statement issued yesterday afternoon, the Secretary-General strongly condemned the resumption of hostilities between the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) and Opposition forces in Bentiu and Rubkona in Unity State.
- He called upon President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar to cease immediately all military operations and reminds them of their obligation to protect civilians and respect international humanitarian law.
- The Secretary-General reminded all parties of the inviolability of all UN premises, including the Mission’s Protection of Civilians sites, where the Mission is currently protecting some 100,000 displaced civilians countrywide, 49,000 of them in Bentiu alone.
U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY VOICES CONCERN IMPACT OF INSECURITY IN BORDER BETWEEN NIGERIA, CAMEROON
- In Geneva, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said today that it is very concerned about growing insecurity in the border areas between Cameroon and Nigeria, where thousands of Nigerian refugees fleeing attacks have sought refuge in recent weeks.
- The Agency says that Nigerian insurgents have launched repeated cross-border attacks, hindering efforts to relocate refugees.
- It says that Cameroonian civilians are living in a state of terror due to frequent attacks, a situation that has been aggravated by the fact that the insurgents from Nigeria have reportedly started targeting civilians in Cameroon. Nigerian refugees, who fled previous attacks by the insurgents in north-eastern Nigeria, are asking to be moved away from the border area as quickly as possible.
- Despite that insecurity, the Agency continues to work with local authorities to expedite the transfer of the refugees. Security permitting, further transfers will continue this week.
NIGER CAMP HOSTING MALIAN REFUGEES ATTACKED – U.N. AGENCY
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) confirmed this morning in Geneva that there had been an attack against the National Guard post responsible for providing security in the Mangaize refugee camp, which hosts some 6,000 Malian refugees and is located about 40 kilometres from the border.
U.N. FOOD AGENCY WARNS FLOODS COULD WORSEN SOMALI FOOD CRISIS
- From Somalia, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warns today that poor rains followed by floods are likely to worsen the food crisis in that country.
- Close to 260,000 people died in the 2010-2012 famine in Eastern Africa - more than half of those children under the age of five – and the FAO says that many current food security indicators across Somalia resemble or are worse than those seen in that pre-famine period.
- It estimates that more than one million people are now in urgent need of assistance- a rise of 20 percent in just six months - while another two million people are experiencing threats to their food security.
- The FAO is appealing for urgently appeals for $49 million to stave off disaster in the country.
IRAQ: 1.26 UPROOTED PEOPLE IN NEED OF SHELTER, SUPPLIES, U.N. HUMANITARIAN WING REPORTS
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that some 1.26 million internally displaced people (IDPs) throughout Iraq need shelter and basic supplies. Of that number, an estimated 600,000 people need immediate help to deal with the winter, particularly in the north.
- UN agencies and their partners urgently require approximately $172 million to help the most vulnerable IDPs, to get shelter, food and core relief items and health services.
- The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says that through funding from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and in partnership with non-governmental organizations, will start distributing 3,000 metric tonnes of wheat seeds and 3,000 metric tonnes of fertilizers in conflict-affected areas of Iraq next week. This will benefit more than 15,500 farming families in Nineveh, Erbil and Dohuk Governorates in Iraq.
LACK OF ACCESS TO CONFLICT-AFFECTED AREAS POSES HAMPERS AID DELIVERY IN LIBYA – U.N.
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that the lack of access to the conflict-affected areas in Libya remains a major challenge for national and international humanitarian organizations, and is hampering the delivery of vital aid to the affected communities.
- Working through local partners, UN agencies have been able to deliver food to some 65,000 people, as well as basic household items to hundreds of vulnerable migrants and displaced families.
- UN agencies are preparing to scale up humanitarian assistance in the coming weeks. However, the humanitarian appeal for Libya is in dire need of funds.
U.N. RIGHTS OFFICE SPEAKS OUT AGAINST UPHOLDING OF SINGAPORE LAW CRIMINALIZING SAME-SEX RELATIONS
- The Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) today said it is disappointed by this week’s ruling by Singapore’s Supreme Court to uphold a law criminalizing consensual same-sex relations between men.
- The Office said that using criminal law to prosecute individuals for engaging in consensual same-sex conduct violates a host of human rights guaranteed by international law, including the right to privacy and the right to freedom from discrimination.
It added that while this law is rarely invoked in Singapore, it nonetheless codifies discrimination and contributes to societal stigma against individuals who are gay.
The Office said that it regrets the courts have missed this important opportunity to strike down this law.
***The guest at the noon briefing was Dr. David Nabarro, Senior United Nations System Coordinator for Ebola.