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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

TUESDAY, 25 NOVEMBER 2014

 

ON INTERNATIONAL DAY, SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES ACTION TO END SCOURGE OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

  • Today marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and the start of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence.
  • In his message for the Day, the Secretary-General has urged everyone to play a role to end the global disgrace of violence against women and girls, which affects one in three women worldwide.
  • Earlier today, the Secretary-General spoke at the commemoration in the ECOSOC Chamber, together with the heads of UN Women and the UN Population Fund, as well as the First Lady of the City of New York, Chirlane McCray, and actress Teri Hatcher.
  • The Secretary-General warned that violence against women is not confined to any region, political system, culture or social class – it is present at every level of every society globally.
  • Later today at 3 p.m., UN Women will hold a panel discussion on the implementation of laws and policies in relation to the review of the Beijing Platform for Action.

NEW EBOLA CASES CONFIRMED AHEAD OF OPENING OF U.N. MISSION OFFICE IN MALIAN CAPITAL

  • Today, Mali’s Ministry of Health has confirmed two new cases of Ebola in the country, bringing the total of cases in Mali to eight, with all six previously identified patients having died.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) says that the identification of patient contacts for daily monitoring has reportedly reached 99%, and based on experiences in Senegal and Nigeria, this achievement could augur well for rapid containment of the current outbreak in Mali.
  • With WHO support, staff from Mali’s Ministry of Health will be meeting with health officials from Guinea to discuss cross-border measures for coordinating control efforts.
    The UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) will formally open its office in Bamako tomorrow to support Mali’s efforts.

U.N. MISSION SPEAKS OUT AGAINST ATTACK ON MALIAN MINISTER

  • The UN Peacekeeping Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) says that this morning, a convoy transporting the Malian Minister of Rural Development and his delegation, struck an explosive device near Gao. Two Malian army soldiers were killed and five were wounded. MINUSMA assisted in evacuating the wounded.
  • The UN Mission deplores this attack and condemns all acts which are intended to destabilize the ongoing Malian peace talks which are going on in Algiers.

SOUTH SUDAN: MORE DISPLACED PEOPLE SEEK SHELTER AT U.N. SITES

  • The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) reports that yesterday, more than 150 internally displaced persons arrived at its compound in Bentiu to seek shelter at its protection-of-civilian (POC) sites. The group included women and children who came from Koch and Leer counties in southern Unity State, after a transport corridor was opened to that part of the state with the cooperation of opposition forces.
  • More than 1,000 internally displaced persons have entered the Mission’s sites at the Bentiu compound over the past ten days, bringing the total number of people there to nearly 50,000.
  • Meanwhile, the relocation of internally displaced persons from the Mission’s Tomping compound in Juba to an alternate protection of civilians’ site contiguous to UN House, also in the capital, has resumed.
  • An estimated 3,500 people are currently staying at the Tomping site.
  • Overall, the Mission is protecting 102,000 people throughout South Sudan.

AT SECURITY COUNCIL, U.N. POLITICAL CHIEF SPOTLIGHTS SUPPORTIVE NATURE OF SANCTIONS

  • Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, briefed the Security Council on the evolution of UN sanctions, saying that sanctions work and are also fairly economical. He noted the shift over the years from comprehensive to targeted sanctions.
  • Mr. Feltman said that more work is required to raise the awareness of all Member States that UN sanctions are supportive and not punitive. He added that more work is needed to provide assistance to Member States in implementing sanctions.
  • This morning, the Council also extended the UN Mission in South Sudan, as well as the UN Office in Guinea-Bissau.
  • This afternoon, the Council will be briefed by Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos about humanitarian access in Syria.

INCITEMENT FANS FLAMES OF CONFLICT, SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS ON INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

  • The Secretary-General spoke yesterday at the General Assembly at the commemoration to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People and he said that he was deeply troubled by the situation in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Incitement and provocative acts related to the holy sites are fanning the flames of conflict far beyond the holy city, he said. He once again strongly condemned the reprehensible attacks against worshippers and other innocent civilians.
  • The Secretary-General called on all parties to stand up to extremist forces, exercise restraint and respect the status quo governing these holy sites. He welcomed the repeated assurances given by the Government of Israel to the international community on that point.
  • From Gaza, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) notes today that the Rafah crossing – in Southern Gaza, between Egypt and Gaza – has now been closed for a month to all people trying to exit or enter Gaza. This is the longest closure since 2008, when it was closed from 4 July to 3 August.  
  • The humanitarian impact is felt most by patients requiring urgent treatment. The Ministry of Health in Gaza estimates that some 1,000 patients inside Gaza are waiting to exit Gaza to get critical treatment.  An additional 1,000 patients are unable to return from treatment abroad, delaying their continued care inside Gaza, while 15 medical staff are also waiting to return to Gaza.
  • No humanitarian supplies or construction materials have entered Gaza through Rafah during this month. This makes the people of Gaza completely dependent on the Kerem Shalom crossing, the only functioning goods crossing with Israel. Today, in fact, through that crossing, through the Kerem Shalom crossing, 28 trucks carrying construction material entered Gaza, as part of the mechanism set up by the UN and Israel and the Government of Gaza.

DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL EXHORTS U.N., MEMBER STATES TO STEP UP EFFORTS TO PROTECT, PROMOTE MINORITY RIGHTS

  • In a video message to the 7th session of the UN Forum on Minority Issues, which opened today in Geneva, Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said that the UN System and all Member States must renew their commitments and intensify efforts to promote and protect minority rights worldwide.
  • Mr. Eliasson noted that the 2-day Forum plays an important part in helping us to understand the nature of crimes against minorities as well as their root causes and inherent dynamics.

IN WAKE OF PROTESTS IN U.S. TOWN OF FERGUSON, U.N. RIGHTS CHIEF URGES AUTHORITES TO LOOK INTO IMPACT OF RACE-RELATED ISSUES ON LAW ENFORCEMENT

  • In Geneva, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, today noted the violent protests in Ferguson, Missouri, following the decision by a grand jury there not to chare a police officer in the fatal shooting of a young African American man. The High Commissioner urged all protestors to avoid violence and destruction in the wake of that decision.
  • The High Commissioner said that he was not, at this point, able to comment on whether or not the verdict conforms to international human rights law. Nevertheless, he said he was deeply concerned at the disproportionate number of young African Americans who die in encounters with police officers, as well as the disproportionate number of African Americans in U.S. prisons and on Death Row.
    High Commissioner urged the US authorities to conduct in-depth examinations into how race-related issues are affecting law enforcement and the administration of justice, both at the federal and state levels.

U.N. MOURNS PASSING OF VETERAN CORRESPONDENT STEWART STOGEL

  • The Spokesman expressed sadness at the passing of UN correspondent Stewart Stogel from complications of diabetes. He was a veteran journalist who had been covering the United Nations, its Secretaries-General and the activities of the Member States for many years.
  • He worked for several media outfits and his stories appeared, among other places, on TV stations like ABC News, NBC News and Press TV and print media like the Miami Herald, Newsweek, the Washington Times and World Net Daily. He was 60 years old.
  • The Spokesman said that Mr. Stogel will be missed.

SPOKESMAN PAYS TRIBUTE TO RETIRING U.N. STAFFER ANNE SIDDALL

  • Friday, November 28, will be the last day at the UN for Anne Siddall in the Spokesman's Office. The Spokesman thanked Ms. Siddall, who will be retiring, for her truly unique contributions to the UN.
  • The Spokesman said that Ms. Siddall is always helpful and always quick with a smile, and quick with the response, no matter what the question is. He noted that throughout her time in the Office, working with a wide and diverse cast of spokespersons, she always made sure the bills were paid, that paperwork got signed and that hiring was carried out in a timely manner.

 

***The guests at the noon briefing were the Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, and Maya Wiley, the Legal Counsel to the City of New York. They spoke to journalists about a Memorandum of Understanding on the Safe Cities initiative, which was signed between UN Women and the City of New York today.