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Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,

SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

FRIDAY, 29 AUGUST 2014

TOO MANY CRISES DRIVEN BY THOSE WHO EXPLOIT FEAR FOR POWER, SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL

  • The Secretary-General today addressed the Sixth Global Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) in Bali. He stressed that too many of our world’s worst crises are driven by those who exploit fear for power, and that too many societies are fractured along cultural, religious and ethnic lines.
  • The Secretary-General said that the Alliance of Civilizations is making a difference on the ground, highlighting its work in places like Pakistan, the Middle East, Kenya and the Philippines.
  • Following that, he held a joint press conference with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and the High Representative of the Alliance of Civilization, Ambassador Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser.
  • On Ukraine, the Secretary-General said that we cannot allow the situation there to escalate further and that all must do their part to contribute to the peaceful resolution of the crisis in a manner upholding Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
  • He added that there is an urgent need to ensure a secure border between the Ukraine and Russia, with international verifications, as discussed in the Minsk meetings.
  • The Secretary-General also condemned the detention of United Nations peacekeepers in the Golan Heights, and called for their immediate and unconditional release. 
  • While in Indonesia, the Secretary-General held bilateral meetings with the Foreign Minister of Spain, José Manuel García Margallo, and the Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu. The Secretary-General is his way to Samoa to attend the Conference of Small Island Developing States.

U.N. MAKES EVERY EFFORT TO ENSURE SAFE RELEASE OF PEACEKEEPERS IN GOLAN

  • The United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) reported that 44 Fijian troops are being detained and 72 Filipino troops have movements who are still being restricted in the Golan Heights. The updated figures follows cross checking and confirmation of leave records with the mission.
  • The United Nations continues to engage with a wide range of parties within Syria, and is making every effort to ensure the safety and security of its personnel. The organization is also engaging with Member States who may have influence over armed opposition elements to encourage the safe release of the peacekeepers.

MALI: U.N. MISSION’S MILITARY VEHICLE HIT BY LANDMINE

  • The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) has reported that at around 12:00 local time, the mission’s military vehicle hit a landmine in the general area of Aguelhok. A number of peacekeepers have been wounded of which three are seriously injured. An evacuation is being arranged.
  • Yesterday, in a separate incident, four mortar shells and two rocket-propelled grenades exploded in and near the MINUSMA Aguelhok camp but it caused no damage or casualties.

SECURITY COUNCIL ADOPTS RESOLUTION TO PROTECT AID WORKERS

  • The Security Council today held consultations on Yemen. Following that, Council members adopted a Presidential Statement on Yemen and a resolution on the protection of humanitarian workers. In the afternoon, the Council held an open debate to discuss the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).

NEW HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT DOCUMENTS INCREASED LOSS OF CIVILIAN LIFE IN UKRAINE

  • In a new report issued today, the Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) says that some three dozen people are killed every day in eastern Ukraine, where intense fighting, including the use of heavy weaponry by both the Government and armed groups, has increased the loss of civilian life.
  • High Commissioner Navi Pillay said that deliberate targeting of civilians is a violation of international law, and more must be done to protect civilians.  She added that it is urgent that the fighting and violence end in the east before more civilians are harmed or are forced to flee or face intolerable hardships trapped inside the conflict zones.
  • The report says that more than half of the population of the cities of Luhansk and Donetsk have fled, but not enough has been done in time to evacuate people from the fighting in those areas. Ms. Pillay called for justice and accountability to replace the impunity for major human rights violations that have occurred over the past four months.
  • The report says that at least 2,593 people have been killed in Ukraine between mid-April and 27 August of this year.

1.6 MILLION PEOPLE NOW DISPLACED IN IRAQ

  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that new estimates indicate that more than 1.6 million people in Iraq have been displaced since January 2014.  The internally displaced people are living in over 1,500 locations across the country, often in extremely dire conditions.
  • The increase is due to new violence in various parts of the country, particularly Ninewa, Diyala and Anbar provinces. It is estimated that over 600,000 people were displaced in August alone.
  • The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and its partners have conducted assessments for nearly 190,000 people since February. Almost 6,000 have been approved for cash assistance; free legal assistance has been provided to about 9,000; and more than 3,000 have been referred for services and assistance.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) is hoping to deliver medicines and supplies to Al Alam district, in Salah Aldin Governorate. The shipment will benefit some 15,000 people for one month. WHO and the local health authorities in Dahuk are working together to reactivate the tuberculosis treatment programme in the Governorate.

NUMBER OF SYRIAN REFUGEES SOARS TO 3 MILLION

  • The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) announced today in Geneva that the number of people who have fled Syria will top 3 million today, with the High Commissioner, António Guterres, calling the Syrian crisis the “biggest humanitarian emergency of our era.”
  • Nearly half of all Syrians have now been forced to abandon their homes and flee for their lives. One in every eight Syrians has left the country, while 6.5 million people – more than half of whom are children – are displaced within the country.
  • All of this comes amid reports of increasingly horrifying conditions inside Syria, with people going hungry and civilians being targeted and indiscriminately killed.
  • Mr. Guterres said that the world is failing to meet the needs of Syrian refugees and the countries hosting them, adding that while the response to the crisis has been generous, it falls far short of what is needed.

GAZA: 52,000 PEOPLE STILL AT UNRWA SHELTERS, NEED ASSISTANCE

  • The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) reported that 52,000 displaced people continue to seek shelter in sixty UNRWA shelters in Gaza, in addition to people staying in Government schools and with host families.
  • More than 108,000 people whose homes were destroyed are expected to remain displaced for some time. Food is still being distributed to about 830,000 people in Gaza.
  • The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) estimates that contamination levels from explosive remnants of war are higher than in previous conflicts in Gaza. It says that nearly 1,900 explosive remnants must be secured or destroyed.

INTERNATIONAL ENVOYS CONCERNED ABOUT VIOLENCE IN SOOL, SOMALIA

  • The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Nicholas Kay, expressed concern today about the deployment of armed forces and violence in the country’s Sool Region.
  • Together with the U.S. Representative for Somalia and the European Union Ambassador in the country, Mr. Kay has called for the immediate withdrawal of those forces from the area. 
  • They have urged all parties to refrain from violence and make concerted efforts to de-escalate and resolve differences through peaceful means and dialogue. 

U.N. IN SOUTH SUDAN PAYS RESPECT TO THREE FALLEN RUSSIAN HELICOPTER CREW MEMBERS

  • In Juba, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) today paid respects to the three Russian crew members who died when their helicopter went down in Bentiu earlier this week. Andrei Berdnikov, Tuktasyn Ishmetov and Alexey Sazontov died in the crash on Tuesday.
  • Also attending the memorial service was Alexander Lobkov, who survived the incident. The acting head of the Mission, Toby Lanzer, expressed his deepest gratitude and respect for the fallen crew, stressing that the United Nations is committed to ascertaining the exact circumstances which caused the tragedy.

SECRETARY-GENERAL NOTES TERRIBLE EFFECTS OF NUCLEAR TESTING, 65 YEARS AFTER FIRST TEST

  • In a message dedicated to the International Day against Nuclear Tests, the Secretary-General noted the terrible effects of nuclear testing on local populations and environment.
  • He suggested that the world takes a fresh look at the stories of survivors; listen to the words and imagine the effects of these detonations as if they were experienced by us. 
  • Only then can we better understand the imperative to renew our commitment to a world free of nuclear weapons and tests.
  • Today in1949, the Soviet Union conducted its first nuclear test. This was followed by another 455 tests until 1991. On 29 August 1991, Kazakhstan closed the nuclear test site near Semipalatinsk. 

U.N. ANNOUNCES NEW INITIATIVE TO STRENGTHEN NATIONAL STATISTICAL CAPACITIES

  • Today the United Nations announced the establishment of an Independent Expert Advisory Group on the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development. This Group will advise the Secretary-General on measures that need to be taken to close data gaps and to strengthen national statistical capacities.
  • The Secretary-General said that the data revolution is giving the world powerful tools that can help usher in a more sustainable future. The new Group is expected to submit its recommendations to the Secretary-General this fall.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
30 AUGUST – 5 September 201
4

(This document is for planning purposes and is subject to change.)

 

Saturday, 30 August

Today is the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances.

Sunday, 31 August

This week is World Water Week.

Monday, 1 September

Today is Labour Day and the United Nations headquarters in New York will be closed.

In Apia, Samoa, the Secretary-General will address the opening of the Plenary Session of the 3rd International Conference on Small Island States (SIDS).

In Geneva, the Human Rights Council will hold its 22nd Special Session on the situation in Iraq, in light of abuses committed by the Islamic State and associated groups. 

From 1 to 5 September in Geneva, the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers and Members of their Families will hold its 21st Session.

From 1 to 19 September in Geneva, the Committee on the Rights of the Child will hold its 67th Session.

At 10:30 a.m. in Geneva, there will be a press conference by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on a new report entitled Trade Policies, Household Welfare and Poverty Alleviation: Case Studies from the Virtual Institute Academic Network. 

Tuesday, 2 September

The Secretary-General will travel to New Zealand, where he will receive an Honorary Doctor of Law Degree and give a lecture at the University of Auckland.

At 9:45 a.m., in the press briefing room, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, Member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and of the Palestinian Legislative Council, is expected to brief the press.

The guests of the noon briefing, the Deputy Secretary-General, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Margaret Chan, and the United Nations System Coordinator, David Nabarro, will brief on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

From 2 to 5 September in Istanbul, Turkey, the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) will hold its 9th Session focusing on the key issues for the future of the Internet.

Wednesday, 3 September

At 12:30 p.m. in the press briefing room, the President of the Security Council for September, United States Ambassador Samantha Power, will brief on the Council’s programme of work for the month. 

At 11 a.m. in Geneva, there will be press conference by UNCTAD on its assistance to Palestinian people.

Thursday, 4 September

At 10:30 a.m. in the press briefing room, there will be a briefing to launch a new report by Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict, entitled Who Will Care for Us? Grave Violations against Children in North-eastern Nigeria.

At 11:15 a.m., in the press briefing room, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake will brief on the largest-ever compilation of data on violence against children.

The guest at the noon briefing will be Sigrid Kaag, the Special Coordinator of the joint mission of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations (OPCW-UN). 

From 4 to 5 September in Geneva, WHO will launch its first global report on suicide prevention at its Mental Health Gap Action Programme Forum.

Friday, 5 September

Today is the International Day of Charity.

At 10 a.m. in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Department of Public Information will hold a panel discussion on Teaching and Learning about the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

In Geneva, WHO will hold a meeting with international experts on potential Ebola therapies and vaccines, risks and benefits, uses and barriers for treatment. A press conference is expected following this meeting.