HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC, SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
WEDNESDAY, 30 JULY 2014
[Today’s noon briefing featured Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson and John Ging, Operations Director of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, as guests to discuss the situation in Gaza. Listed below are other highlights from the U.N. system.]
U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL DEEPLY DISTURBED BY LACK OF ACCESS TO MH17 CRASH SITE IN UKRAINE
- In a statement attributable to the Spokesman, the Secretary-General said that he is deeply disturbed to learn that forensic teams and international investigators in Donetsk who are tasked to probe the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 continue to be impeded from accessing the site and carrying out their critical work due to heavy fighting in the area of the crash site.
- The Secretary-General recalled that there are victims’ remains yet to be found and that key pieces of evidence remain at the site. The families of the victims of this horrific tragedy deserve closure and the world demands answers - international teams must be allowed to conduct their work.
- Guided by Security Council Resolution 2166, the Secretary-General called on all parties to immediately halt hostilities in the proximity of the crash site so as to allow the international teams unimpeded access to the site.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS ATTACK ON GAZA SCHOOL IN REMARKS TO PRESS IN COSTA RICA
- On Tuesday, the Secretary-General visited Nicaragua. In the capital, Managua, he met with President Daniel Ortega and other Government ministers.
- He also travelled to the Rivas Department in the country's southwest to visit a wind farm, the largest of its kind in Central America, which exemplifies Nicaragua's commitment to sustainable energy.
- The Secretary-General arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica, earlier today. He spoke to reporters upon his arrival about the situation in Gaza, saying that he condemns the attack on the UNRWA school today and repeats again his call on Israel and all parties to do vastly more to ensure the safety of these UN sites and the security of the women, children and families who have sought protection there.
- He is expected to give a lecture entitled “Costa Rica and the United Nations: Challenges and Opportunities in the 21st Century" at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
- In his remarks, the Secretary-General is expected to note how Costa Rica's approach of basing security on human rights, democracy, disarmament and respect for the environment is essential to surmounting the enormous challenges facing our world.
- While in San Jose, he will also meet with President Luis Guillermo Solis and Foreign Minister Manuel Gonzalez Sanz, as well as with representatives of indigenous groups.
- The Secretary-General will also take part in a bicycle ride with members of an environmental organization to raise awareness of the need to promote sustainable development. His official visit to Costa Rica wraps up this evening.
U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF ALARMED AT INTENSITY OF VIOLENCE IN GAZA
- Valerie Amos, the Emergency Relief Coordinator, said today that she is alarmed at the intensity of the violence in Gaza after a brief humanitarian ceasefire, and she noted that another UN school serving as a shelter has been hit today in gross violation of international law.
- On Tuesday, she said, the UN compound in Gaza housing the Special Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator was hit five times over a period between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. UN security personnel working from a safe room in the compound were fortunately unharmed.
- The Special Coordinator, Robert Serry, is deeply concerned about this incident and other violations of United Nations premises during the conflict and condemns the loss of civilian lives, including United Nations personnel, in these incidents.
- Gaza’s sole power plant was also hit and is unlikely to be operable for the foreseeable future leaving most homes with an average of 2 hours of electricity per day.
- Ms. Amos expressed her hope that all those with influence over the parties involved in this conflict will continue to do their utmost to agree on a lasting ceasefire and bring this conflict to an end.
U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL STRESSES THE NEED TO TACKLE ROOT CAUSES OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING
- In his message on the first UN day against human trafficking, the Secretary-General stressed the need to tackle the root causes of the crime, including extreme poverty, entrenched inequality and a lack of education and opportunity. He added that the best protection is to accelerate development for all.
- The Secretary-General called human trafficking a callous global industry that denies victims their rights and dignity. He said that the day is a call to action to end the crime and give hope to the victims, who often live unrecognized among us.
- The Secretary-General urged all countries to ratify and fully implement the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocol on Trafficking in Persons.
SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS ON CYPRUS, IRAQ AND SYRIA
- Earlier today, the Security Council adopted a resolution renewing the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for a period of six months.
- Following that, Council members also adopted a resolution on Iraq, extending the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission there (UNAMI) for a year and increasing the number of reports expected on the work of the mission.
- Council members then held consultations on the situation in Syria, during which they heard a briefing from John Ging, the Operations Director of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. This is the first briefing on the humanitarian situation following the adoption of resolution 2165 on 14 July on cross-border humanitarian access in Syria.
- In the afternoon, the Council will hold a meeting aimed at enhancing the efficiency and transparency of the Council’s work.
U.N. PEACEKEEPING CHIEF ENCOURAGED BY WORK OF E.U. SPECIAL INVESTIGATIVE TASK FORCE FOR KOSOVO
- Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous welcomed the statement by Ambassador Clint Williamson, Chief Prosecutor of the European Union Special Investigative Task Force, in connection with the allegations raised in the 2011 report of the Council of Europe.
- Mr. Ladsous said that the work of the Special Investigative Task Force and the proceedings and outcome of the specialist court will contribute to strengthening the rule of law and ensuring accountability in Kosovo.
- He also noted that indictments based on the findings of the investigation will be filed only after the establishment of a specialist court envisaged in early 2015.
- The Mission has cooperated with and supported the work of the Special Investigative Task Force, fully respecting the independence of its investigation, findings and conclusions.
U.N. MISSION IN AFGHANISTAN WELCOMES ADOPTION OF CRITERIA FOR INVALIDATION AND RECOUNT IN AUDIT PROCESS
- The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) welcomed the Independent Election Commission’s decision to adopt criteria for the invalidation and recount of ballots as part of the ongoing comprehensive audit of the results of the Presidential election run-off held on 14 June.
- The IEC decision is based on a UN proposal founded upon international best practice and has the full backing of the international community.
- The Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Ján Kubiš, said that the decision will help to honour the courage and determination of the Afghans who voted in the Presidential election.
- He added that the decision will help to minimise the points of friction encountered in the audit so far and encouraged both campaigns to continue demonstrating the political will necessary to proceed expeditiously with the audit, without any interruption.
U.N. ENVOY WELCOMES AGREEMENT ON THE INTENT TO FORM A NEW ADMINISTRATION IN CENTRAL SOMALIA
- The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Nicholas Kay, welcomed today’s agreement in principle to form a regional administration in central Somalia.
- Under the leadership of the Federal Government, representatives from the region signed a document in which they stated that they would work together towards the establishment of a new administration in central Somalia.
- Mr. Kay called this move the first step in a process of state formation in central Somalia and a sign of the country’s progress towards meeting the goals set out in Vision 2016 and the Provisional Federal Constitution.
- He added that the UN remains committed to supporting the Federal Government’s peace-building and state-building efforts.