HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEAPHEN DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
FRIDAY, 9 OCTOBER 2015
SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS 2015 NOBEL PEACE PRIZE TO TUNISIAN QUARTET IS INSPIRATION TO THE REGION, WORLD
- In a statement, the Secretary-General said he was pleased that the 2015 Nobel Prize for Peace has been awarded to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet. He congratulated the members of the Quartet and saluted the Tunisian people, saying that this recognition belongs to all those who gave birth to the Arab Spring and are striving to safeguard the sacrifices of so many.
- Above all, he said, this tribute highlights that lasting progress requires an inclusive process. The Arab Spring began with great hopes that were soon replaced with grave doubts. Tunisia has managed to avoid the disappointment and dashed hopes that have tragically emerged elsewhere.
- As leaders of civil society, the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet has helped drive the change the Tunisian people demanded -- and been central to the country’s stability, integrity and pursuit of justice.
- The Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet offers hope that serious political challenges can be overcome through dialogue and consensual politics. Their example is an inspiration to the region and the world.
- The United Nations will continue to proudly stand in solidarity with the awardees as they work to build the peaceful and democratic nation that the Tunisian people deserve.
SECURITY COUNCIL ADOPTS RESOLUTION ON MIGRANTS OFF COAST OF LIBYA
- The Security Council, by a vote of 14 in favour and one abstention, approved a resolution this morning concerning the situation of migrants and human trafficking in the high seas off the coast of Libya.
- As the Council stated in the text of the resolution, it is intended to disrupt the organised criminal enterprises engaged in migrant smuggling and human trafficking and prevent loss of life and is not intended to undermine the human rights of individuals or prevent them from seeking protection under international human rights law and international refugee law.
- The Council also extended the mandate of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) until 15 December.
LIBYA: SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES PROPOSAL FOR PRESIDENCY COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL ACCORD
- In a statement issued Thursday night, the Secretary-General welcomed the proposal of nominees for the Presidency Council of the Libyan Government of National Accord. He commended the dialogue participants on having reached a final text of a political agreement after comprehensive and broad consultations.
- After months of turmoil and uncertainty, the Secretary-General urges Libyan leaders not to squander this opportunity to put the country back on the path to building a state that reflects the spirit and ambitions of the 2011 revolution. Now is the time for the parties to the political dialogue to endorse this proposal and sign the Agreement without delay.
- The Secretary-General remains committed to supporting the Libyan people through his Special Representative and the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).
SECRETARY-GENERAL ATTENDS WORLD BANK AND I.M.F. ANNUAL MEETINGS IN LIMA, PERU
- The Secretary-General is in Lima, Peru, today for the 2015 Annual Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the World Bank Group (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He will be attending several events today, including a climate finance ministerial lunch.
- He will take part in an interactive panel discussion with the Secretary-General, President Ollanta Humala of Peru, UK Secretary of State for International Development, Justine Greening, as well as the Heads of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, and of the IMF, Christine Lagarde.
- The Secretary-General will be flying Saturday to Bolivia for the “Peoples World Conference on Climate Change and Defence of Life”. He will be back at Headquarters on Monday.
- Meanwhile, on Thursday, the Finance Ministers of the Vulnerable Twenty, or V20, representing close to 700 million people threatened by climate change and spanning world regions, launched their new group in Lima, Peru.
- This UNDP-backed initiative announced actions to foster greater investment in climate resiliency and low emissions development—at home and internationally.
- The V20 is led by the Philippines and other members include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Barbados, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kiribati, Maldives, Nepal, Rwanda, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, and Vietnam.
YEMEN: U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION INTO AIR STRIKES ON WEDDING PARTY
- Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien said in a statement on Thursday night that he was deeply disturbed by the news of civilians being killed by coalition air strikes that hit a wedding party in Yemen's Dhamar Governorate on Wednesday.
- He noted that some 4,500 civilians have reportedly been killed or injured by explosive weapons in Yemen during the first seven months of this year, which is more than in any other country during the same period.
- Ninety-five per cent of the Yemeni people killed or injured by explosive weapons in towns or cities are civilians, according to a recent report. More than half of all the air strikes have occurred in towns or cities, often in densely populated areas, resulting in very high numbers of civilian casualties.
- Mr. O’Brien called for a swift, transparent and impartial investigation into the latest incident. Real accountability for parties to conflict, whether they are States or non-State armed groups, is urgently needed, to ensure that the commitment under international law to protect civilians is meaningful.
U.N. ENVOY IN CÔTE D’IVOIRE CALLS FOR CALM ELECTORAL CAMPAIGN
- On Côte d’Ivoire, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in the country, Aïchatou Mindaoudou, called for the electoral campaign to take place peacefully.
- She urged presidential candidates to ensure peaceful electoral campaigns and called on the media to show professionalism in their coverage of this campaign.
U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF CONDEMNS VIOLENCE AHEAD OF GUINEA’S PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS
- The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, said Friday that he has received worrying reports of violent unrest and looting in Conakry, Guinea, since yesterday.
- These new incidents come after a series of violent clashes between supporters of Guinea's ruling party and members of the opposition last week in the southwestern city of N'Zerekore, which left more than 45 people injured.
- The High Commissioner condemned all acts of violence and destruction of property, and called for calm, ahead of the first round of the Presidential elections, which is expected to take place on October 11. He urges all political leaders to use their influence to calm their supporters and to bring an end to the current unrest.
HEAD OF U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY TO VISIT GREECE, ASSESS RESPONSE TO MEDITERRANEAN CRISIS
- The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, will visit Greece Saturday to assess the humanitarian response to the Mediterranean crisis and determining how UNHCR can further support those efforts.
- He will visit the island of Lesvos, the main entry point for most of the more than 428,000 people who have made the sea crossing from Turkey to Greece so far this year. He will get a first-hand look at the arrival areas, visit reception sites and meet with local authorities, NGOs, volunteer groups and others involved in the relief effort.
- On Sunday and Monday, Mr. Guterres is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and other members of his Cabinet, and will also visit accommodation sites in Athens and meet foreign diplomatic missions and NGOs.
Meanwhile, the UN Refugee Agency says that a first group of 19 asylum-seekers was relocated from Italy to Sweden today under a European Union relocation scheme.
The asylum-seekers who arrived in Sicily by boat over the last few weeks were registered in Lampedusa and accepted to take part in the relocation scheme that will allow them to be relocated to other EU countries.
- The scheme foresees the relocation of 160,000 refugees from Italy and Greece. UNHCR says that it is an important step toward stabilizing the refugee crisis in Europe although much more needs to be done.
U.N. AGENCIES CONCERNED OVER DELAY IN UKRAINE’S POLIO CAMPAIGN
- Six weeks after an outbreak of polio in Ukraine, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are concerned that at further delay in a nationwide polio campaign could put 1.8 million children’s lives at risk.
- On 1 September, Ukraine’s Ministry of Health confirmed two cases of polio in children who were not vaccinated against the disease.
- UNICEF and WHO said that risk of further polio outbreak remains unless a full-scale immunization campaign begins immediately to stop the transmission of the polio virus.
- UNICEF has procured 3.7 million oral polio vaccines for Ukraine, with funding from the Government of Canada. WHO has confirmed that the vaccines are WHO-prequalified, entirely safe and ready to use.
SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS DEATH PENALTY DOES NOT DETER CRIME, NOR PROTECT PEOPLE FROM DRUG ABUSE
- Saturday is the World Day against the Death Penalty, which this year will focus on the death penalty and drug crimes.
- In a statement, the Secretary-General says that international law limits the application of the death penalty to the “most serious crimes”. This means that it should only – if at all – be applied to the crime of intentional killing.
The United Nations human rights bodies have repeatedly stressed that the use of the death penalty for drug-related crimes does not meet this threshold.
The Secretary-General adds that the death penalty does not deter drug crimes, nor does it protect people from drug abuse.