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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, 17 OCTOBER 2014

SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS ON WORLD TO RECOMMIT AGAINST EXTREME POVERTY

  • Today is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and in his message, the Secretary-General calls on the world to recommit to act together against extreme poverty.
  • He notes that despite reaching the Millennium Development Goal (MDGs) target of halving the number of people living in poverty ahead of time, some 2.4 billion people still live on less than $2 a day. He warns that entrenched poverty and prejudice can undermine the fabric of societies and lead to instability. 

SIERRA LEONE: BIGGEST ONE-OFF FOOD DISTRIBUTION TO EBOLA-HIT FAMILIES SINCE BEGINNING OF OUTBREAK

  • The World Food Programme (WFP) and its partners announced the beginning of a food distribution in the outskirts of the capital of Freetown, Sierra Leone to 265,000 people.
  • It is the biggest one-off food distribution in the country since the start of the Ebola outbreak and will mobilize over 700 aid workers in just one day to distribute over 800 metric tons of food – and that includes rice, pulses, vegetable oil and salt – meeting the needs of families’ for about 30 days.
  • The aim of the distribution is to stabilize quarantined families by giving them enough to eat so that they do not have to leave their homes to look for food.
  • Before today’s distribution, the suburb of Waterloo, WFP and its partners had provided food assistance to more than 300,000 Ebola-impacted people across Sierra Leone. Given the increasing rate of infections, WFP is scaling up to reach 600,000 people impacted by the crisis.

U.N. CONDEMNS ABDUCTION OF STAFF IN SOUTH SUDAN

  • The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the World Food Programme (WFP)  condemned the abduction of their staff in Malakal.
  • On October 10, three Individual Contractors employed by UNMISS, who were working at the airfield in Malakal, were seized by an unidentified armed group of 15 to 20 men in uniformed and civilian clothes. They were driven away in a pick-up truck. The following day, in the morning, one of the three workers was released and a second was also released later that afternoon. The third worker is still missing.
  • And on 16 October, a staff member of World Food Programme (WFP) was similarly seized by a group of armed men at the same airfield while he was in the process of boarding a UN flight. The staff member is still missing.
  • UNMISS and the World Food Programme are actively engaging with authorities in Juba, as well as the Upper Nile State authorities, as well as the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and militia groups in Malakal, in an effort to secure the release of the two abducted individuals. There is still a lot of lack of clarity on the identity of the abductors.
  • The Mission urges the national and state authorities, and the SPLA militia commanders on the ground, to redouble their efforts to locate and free the abducted individuals.
  • In the meantime, the Mission has taken additional measures to enhance the security of its personnel and will continue to engage all relevant actors to secure their release.

U.N. SYRIA ENVOY CONCERNED ABOUT LEBANON’S STABILITY

  • Turning to Syria, the UN Special Representative for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, met today in Beirut with the head of Lebanon’s Future Parliamentary Bloc, Fuad Siniora. He told reporters afterwards that they discussed the situation in Lebanon and how it has been influenced by the conflict in Syria.
  • Mr. de Mistura emphasized the UN’s concern about the stability of Lebanon and the urgency to move ahead with the political process in Syria.
  • Meanwhile, UN Humanitarian Chief Valerie Amos is scheduled to visit Turkey later this month, from the 18th to the 20th of October. She is expected to meet senior Turkish officials, local authorities, humanitarian partners and refugees, in Ankara and Gaziantep.
  • The visit will focus on how UN’s humanitarian agencies can support the Government of Turkey in providing assistance to the thousands of civilians who have fled the violence in Syria.

U.N. PEACEKEEPING CHIEF IN ALGIERS FOR MALI PEACE TALKS

  • The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, is currently in Algiers for the peace talks on Mali. He will encourage the parties to negotiate in a spirit of compromise so they can reach a comprehensive peace agreement. Such agreement is in the cornerstone of peace, stability and security in Mali.
  • Mr. Ladsous will also encourage all parties to respect the cease-fire on the ground, and urge armed groups to collaborate with the UN Mission there, otherwise known as MINUSMA, in the prevention of terrorist attacks in line with their commitments already agreed to on September 16.

HUMANITARIAN COMMUNITY CALLS FOR RESPECT OF MEDICAL FACILITIES’ INTEGRITY IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

  • In the Central African Republic, the Humanitarian Coordinator and the Representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) called last night on armed groups to respect the safety and integrity of medical facilities in the country’s capital, in Bangui.
  • More than 159 wounded people have been received in medical facilities since the violence flared up in Bangui a week ago and more than 3,000 people have been displaced since October 14, including many children. This is in addition to the estimate of 6,500 newly displaced.
  • There are current almost 410,000 internally displaced people in the Central African Republic.

D.R. CONGO: U.N. MISSION CONDEMNS RECENT ATTACKS IN NORTH KIVU

  • The Head of the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Martin Kobler, condemned recent attacks against the population in North Kivu. He met today with the families of the twenty people killed in Beni overnight between October 15 and 16. This extremely violent attack followed the death of several civilians in Oicha just a week ago.
  • Both attacks were allegedly committed by elements of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a rebel group. Mr. Kobler reiterated the common determination of MONUSCO and the Congolese forces to neutralize all armed groups in Eastern DRC, including the ADF.

U.N. REFUGEE AGENCYREPORTS SHARP INCREASE IN DEATHS OF MIGRANTS TRYING TO REACH YEMEN

  • From Yemen, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today reported a sharp increase this year in the number of migrants and asylum seekers who have died in attempts to go to Yemen, mainly from the Horn of Africa. More people have died in 2014 than in the last three years combined.
  • The latest tragic incident happened earlier this month, when 64 migrants and three crew members died when their vessel was sailing from Somalia, and sank in the Gulf of Aden.
  • The Refugee Agency continues to offer support to the Government of Yemen in strengthening its capacity for search and rescue at sea, safe disembarkation and proper identification, as well as initial reception and referral mechanisms for vulnerable people.

 DEEP CONCERN ABOUT ONGOING LEGAL CASE AGAINST MEMBERS OF MALDIVES’ HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

  • The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has expressed deep concern over the case initiated by the Supreme Court of the Maldives against five members of the Human Rights Commission of the country.
  • The members are facing serious criminal charges following the Commission’s submission to the second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the Maldives in the UN Human Rights Council.
  • OHCHR calls on the Government to firmly defend the independence of the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives, in line with the commitments made during the first Review of the Maldives in 2011.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

18 – 24 October 2014
(This document is for planning purposes only and is subject to change)

Updated on a regular basis and available online: http://bit.ly/1uHuqIq   

Saturday, 18 October

From 18 to 20 October, UN Humanitarian Chief Valerie Amos (OCHA) is scheduled to visit Turkey to focus on how the UN humanitarian agencies can support the Government of Turkey in providing assistance people who have fled the violence in Syria.

Monday, 20 October

In the morning, the Security Council will hold consultations on the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF).

At 10 a.m., in the Economic and Social Council Chamber, there will be an event to celebrate science for peace and development. Speakers will include the Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, Founder of the Kofi Annan Foundation, Professor Carlo Rubbia, Nobel Physics Prize Laureate, and others.

The guest at the noon briefing will be the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura, who will brief on her recent trip to South Sudan.

At 1:15 p.m., in Conference Room 7, there will be a panel discussion in observance of the World Food Day (16 Oct) on the theme Family Farming: Feeding the world, caring for the earth.

From 20 October to 7 November, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) will hold its 59th session.

Tuesday, 21 October

In the morning, the Security Council will hold an open debate on the Middle East.

At 1:15 p.m., in S-237, there will be a press briefing on torture by the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Juan Ernesto Méndez, and others.

At 1:15 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be an event on Reflection on the continuing challenges in addressing violence against women.

At 1:15 p.m., in Conference Room E, there will be a briefing on Global Financial Reform: How might the 2015 International Conference on Financing for Development strengthen reform momentum?

Wednesday, 22 October

In the morning, the Security Council will meet on Somalia and the 751/1907 Committee. It will also meet on the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). 

At 11 a.m., in Conference Room 6, there will be an interactive dialogue on the Drug Policy Provisions from the International Drug Control Conventions.

At 1:15 p.m., in Conference Room A, there will be a briefing on protecting civilians from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. 

At 1:15 p.m., in Conference Room 6, there will be an event on the building blocks approach for a world without nuclear weapons.

At 1:15 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be an event on the human rights to water and sanitation: tools for their realization and remedies for violations.

At 1:15 p.m., in the Economic and Social Council Chamber, there will be a panel discussion on the human rights situation in Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

At 2 p.m., in Geneva, there will be a press briefing by the World Health Organization (WHO) on the launch of the Global Tuberculosis Report 2014. (embargoed until 22 October 9 a.m. EST)

At 6:30 p.m., in the UN Delegates Dining Room, the Deputy Secretary-General will launch the Realising the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation handbook.  

Thursday, 23 October

In the morning, the Security Council will hold a debate on its working methods.

At 11:15 a.m. in S-237, Ariel Dulitzky, Chair of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, and Emmanuel Decaux, Chair of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances, will brief the press.

The guest at the noon briefing Gyan Chandra Acharya, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries (LDC), Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS), will launch the latest LDC report.

At 1:15 p.m., in S-237, there will be a press conference by Ben Emmerson, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights, and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism.

At 1:15 p.m., in Conference Room 6, there will be an event on Women in Custody - Gender Equality Challenges and Opportunities in Crisis and Conflict Situations.

At 1:15 p.m., in the Economic and Social Council Chamber, there will be an event on the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Recommended Principles and Guidelines for Human Rights at International Borders.

At 2:00 p.m., in S-237, there will be a press briefing by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), WHO, and the Gates Foundation on the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, ahead of World Polio Day (24 Oct).

At 3:00 p.m., in S-237, there will be a briefing by Christof Heyns, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

Friday, 24 October

Today is UN Day, World Polio Day and World Development Information Day.

At 9:30 a.m., in Conference Room E, there will be a seminar on the protection of the environment during armed conflict.

At 11:00 a.m., in S-237, there will be a press briefing by Heiner Bielefeldt, Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief.

At 12:30 p.m., in S-237, there will be a press briefing on UN Day Concert with UN Messenger of Peace Lang Lang and others. The concert will take place at 7 p.m. at UNHQ.

At 1:15 p.m., in S-237, François Crépeau, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants and, Francisco Carrion Mena, the Chair of the Committee on the protection of the rights of all migrant workers and members of their families, will brief the press.