HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
MONDAY, 5 OCTOBER 2015
SITUATION IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC CAPITAL IMPROVING BUT STILL TENSE, U.N. MISSION REPORTS
- The UN Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) says that the security situation in Bangui is improving but remains tense. Over the weekend, shops began to open and regular traffic was observed in the streets. Both the Mission and Sangaris forces are actively patrolling the city.
- The Mission also reports that the Joint Task Force has cleared all roads and barricades in the capital, including the last one at PK12. MINUSCA peacekeepers in cooperation with Sangaris are also putting in place measures to prevent movement of ex-Seleka elements in Kaga Bandoro and Dekoa from moving south.
- Following a Government's request, the Mission is using its Urgent Temporary Measures mandate to maintain order at Camp de Roux prison in the capital.
- Separately, on Friday evening, the Mission reports that armed elements fired shots at peacekeepers guarding its headquarters in Bangui. Peacekeepers returned fire forcing the individuals to flee. There have been no reports of casualties.
AID AGENCIES CONCERNED BY CLASHES IN SOUTH SUDAN’S UNITY STATE
- Aid agencies are concerned about fighting in South Sudan’s Unity State which has escalated over the past days, with clashes reported around Koch and Leer.
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says both have experienced intense conflict since April and there are grave concerns regarding the humanitarian condition of people trapped by the fighting.
- Aid agencies have relocated staff from Leer and humanitarian premises have apparently been looted.
- Humanitarian access is currently a major challenge in these areas and all assistance is on hold in light of the insecurity.
- During the week of 18-25 September, the World Food programme (WFP), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and partners delivered food, nutrition and shelter assistance to 13,000 people in Koch town and more than 6,700 people in Buaw town.
U.N. AGENCY HEAD SPEAKS OUT AGAINST DESTRUCTION OF ARCH OF TRIUMPH IN SYRIA’S PALMYRA
- The Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today strongly condemned the destruction of the Arch of Triumph in Syria’s Palmyra, an iconic 2,000-year-old civil monument of the city that is inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
- She said that this new destruction shows how terrified by history and culture the extremists are. Palmyra symbolizes everything that extremists abhor: cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue, the encounter of different peoples in this centre of trading between Europe and Asia.
- She said that UNESCO will make every effort, at its level and in close cooperation with the International Criminal Court, to ensure that the perpetrators of these acts of destruction are brought to justice.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONCERNED OVER SITUATION IN JERUSALEM, OCCUPIED WEST BANK, URGES NEGOTIATED TWO-STATE SOLUTION
- Concerning the situation in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank, the Secretary-General remains very concerned by the ongoing situation. Over the weekend, he condemned in the strongest terms the attacks that took place on Saturday in the Old City of Jerusalem, including the killing of two members of an Israeli family and injuries to Israelis and Palestinians in subsequent incidents in various neighborhoods in Jerusalem. Recalling the recent deadly attack on another Israeli family in the occupied West Bank, and in light of the wave of extremism and violence sweeping the region, the Secretary-General is deeply concerned that these latest incidents signal a dangerous slide towards escalation.
- He is deeply troubled by statements from Palestinian militant groups, including Hamas, praising such attacks, and he urges all leaders to condemn violence and incitement, maintain calm and to do everything they can to avoid further escalation.
- The Secretary-General firmly believes that a just and lasting solution to the conflict can be achieved only through pursuing a negotiated two-state solution. The UN stands ready to work with all parties to create the conditions on the ground, in the region and internationally to make meaningful negotiations possible.
AFGHANISTAN: SECRETARY-GENERAL STRONGLY CONDEMNS DEADLY AIRSTRIKES KILLING MEDICAL WORKERS, PATIENTS IN KUNDUZ
In a statement issued over the weekend, the Secretary-General strongly condemned the airstrikes in Kunduz, Afghanistan, that resulted in the death and injury of medical workers and patients at a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital. The Secretary-General recalled that hospitals and medical personnel are explicitly protected under international humanitarian law. He called for a thorough and impartial investigation into the attack in order to ensure accountability.
MSF have been operating the only hospital in Kunduz under extremely difficult conditions. The Secretary-General commends the courageous and dedicated staff of the organization and extends his deepest sympathies to the families of those killed and injured in this attack.
- Also issuing a statement on this was the High Commissioner for Human Rights, who stressed that international and Afghan military planners have an obligation to respect and protect civilians at all times, and medical facilities and personnel are the object of a special protection.
CONTINUING BOKO HARAM VIOLENCE ‘AFFRONT’ TO INTERNATIONAL LAW, HUMANITY – SECRETARY-GENERAL
- In a statement issued over the weekend, the Secretary-General condemned the bomb attacks of 2 October in the outskirts of Abuja, Nigeria, as well as the multiple suicide bombings of 1 October in the city of Maiduguri, capital of Borno State, all by suspected Boko Haram elements. The continuing violence by Boko Haram is an affront to international law, to humanity and to religious faith.
- The Secretary-General extends his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and the Government of Nigeria, and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured. He reiterates the United Nations’ support to the Nigerian government in its fight against terrorism.
- The Secretary-General also recalls the vital importance and obligation to respect international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law in countering terrorism.
NEW SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS RECOGNIZE ROLE OF URBANIZATION, SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS ON WORLD HABITAT DAY
- This morning, the Secretary-General spoke at a high-level discussion on World Habitat Day.
- He said that this is a time of new challenge and opportunity following the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
- The 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the Secretary-General said, reflect an international consensus that sustainable urbanization can play a transformational role.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL TO TRAVEL TO MIDDLE EAST, EUROPE
- The Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, will travel to Riyadh tomorrow to participate in meetings with senior members of the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other members of the Royal Family.
- On 9 October, he will travel to Abu Dhabi, where he will meet with senior members of the Government of the United Arab Emirates.
- On 11 October, Mr. Eliasson will travel to Tehran to attend the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the UN and meet with senior members of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and other senior officials.
- On 13, he will travel to Istanbul, to represent the Secretary-General at the Global Forum on Migration, and take that opportunity also to meet with senior Turkish leaders.
- On 14 October, Mr. Eliasson will travel to Geneva for the Global Consultation on the 2016 Humanitarian Summit. He will also have meetings with Member States and senior UN officials in Geneva.
- The Deputy Secretary-General will return to New York after his travels.
U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF KICKS OFF MEXICO VISIT
- The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, is in Mexico for three days, where he will meet President Enrique Pena Nieto, as well other members of the Government.
- He will also hold discussions with the President of the National Commissioner for Human Rights, members of civil society, victims of human rights violations, the UN country team and members of the international community.
GLOBAL REFUGEE CRISIS LEAVE U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY, OTHERS STRUGGLING TO RESPOND – TOP U.N. OFFICIAL
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said today that the global refugee crisis is so great that the Agency and others are struggling to respond to and meet all the humanitarian needs they face.
- Addressing the agency’s Executive Committee, High CommissionerAntónio Guterres said that there are now more than 60 million refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced persons in the world, and that that number is rising.
- He recalled that when he became High Commissioner 10 years ago, there were 38 million refugees and that number was actually falling at the time.
- In the last five years, Mr. Guterres said, 15 new conflicts have broken out or started to flare up again, without any of the old ones getting resolved.
U.N. THANKS OMAN FOR H ELPING TO PRESERVE AUDIO-VISUAL ARCHIEVES
- On Friday afternoon, the Foreign Minister of Oman, Mr. Yousef Bin Al-Alawi Bin Abdulla, met with the Secretary General and the two exchanged letters to acknowledge the voluntary contribution of $4.5 million by Oman to preserve the United Nations audio-visual archives.
- The United Nations is very thankful for the gift, as the clock was ticking to save these historical audio-visual documents which by 2028 would either have been too damaged to use or the equipment would not have been available anymore.
- This generous gift from Oman will allow the UN Department of Public Information (DPI) to begin digitising precious and rarely seen footage. In all, some 6,000 hours of film, 22,000 hours of analogue videos and 18,000 hours of audio archives will need to be converted to a digital format.
SECRETARY-GENERAL NAMES PHILIPPINES NATIONAL AS NEW HEAD OF U.N. INTERNAL OVERSIGHT OFFICE
- The Secretary-General, following consultations with Chairs of Regional Groups, informed the General Assembly of his intention to appoint Heidi Mendoza of the Philippines as the new Under-Secretary-General for Internal Oversight Services for a five-year non-renewable term.
- Ms. Mendoza is currently Commissioner of the Commission of Audit of the Philippines, a post she has held since 2011, serving notably as Chairperson of Audit Committee on Public Sector Auditing Standards Board and External Auditor for the Food and Agriculture Organization, World Health Organization (WHO) and International Labour Organization (ILO).
- A certified public accountant, Ms. Mendoza has over 20 years of service in government particularly in the field of audit, investigation, fraud examination, anti-corruption and integrity advocacy.