HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
THURSDAY, 29 JANUARY 2015
SECRETARY-GENERAL DEEPLY CONCERNED OVER RISING INSECURITY IN DARFUR
- In a statement issued today, the Secretary-General expressed deep concern about the deteriorating security situation in Darfur following reports of an escalation of hostilities between the Government of Sudan and Darfur armed movements in Central Darfur and the resulting displacement of civilians.
- The UN has confirmed that at least 36,000 civilians have been displaced in Darfur due to these hostilities. The Secretary-General condemned the reported aerial bombardment and destruction of villages in the Golo locality in Central Darfur State on 27 January.
- He urged the Government and the armed movements to exercise maximum restraint, without delay, and fully assume their responsibility to prevent further displacements and suffering of civilian populations, and resume dialogue to reach a political settlement to the Darfur conflict.
- The Secretary-General also called on the parties to the conflict to fully cooperate with the African Union-UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and the humanitarian partners in their efforts to protect and provide assistance to the civilian population in Darfur.
MALI: SECRETARY-GENERAL DEPLORES SECURITY INCIDENTS IN GAO
- In another statement issued today, the Secretary-General deplored the incidents that took place on 27 January during a demonstration in front of the UN Mission (MINUSMA) base in Gao, in the north of Mali.
- The Secretary-General said he was saddened by the violence that surrounded the demonstration, and the reported death of at least three protesters and the injury of several others.
- The Secretary-General has decided to launch an inquiry to determine the facts surrounding this tragic incident. The UN will collaborate with the Government of Mali and all parties on the ground in this effort.
- The Secretary-General also presented his sincere condolences to the families of those who have died, and wishes a prompt recovery to those who were injured.
- The Secretary-General reiterated the UN's commitment to supporting the stabilization of Mali. He remains deeply concerned over the continued fighting in many parts of the country and reminded all parties of the need to respect their ceasefire commitments to enable the urgent resumption of peace talks in Algiers, Algeria.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL ATTENDS STOCKHOLM PEACE TALKS 2015
- The Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, is participating in the Stockholm Peace Talks 2015 at the Swedish Parliament today.
- After which, he will travel to Brussels on 1 February to meet with senior representatives of the European Union and the Government of Belgium.
- The Deputy Secretary-General will then travel on to Berlin, Germany, on 3 February. While there, he will meet with German Parliamentarians and will deliver a keynote speech on global trends at the Allianz SE’s Public Dialogue on Social and Demographic Change in the 21st Century Conference.
- He will then travel to Munich on 5 February to attend the Munich Security Conference from 6 to 8 February.
SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS ON HAITI, CYPRUS AND D.R. CONGO
- The Security Council held a meeting this morning to discuss its recent mission to Haiti.
- Prior to that discussion, the Security Council voted unanimously to extend the mandate of the UN Mission in Cyprus, UNFICYP, until 31 July 2015.
- Council members also extended the sanctions regime applying in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
U.N. MISSION IN LEBANON HOLDS MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR FALLEN PEACEKEEPER
- A memorial service was held today at the Beirut International Airport in honour of a peacekeeper from the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) who lost his life yesterday in the line of duty in southern Lebanon.
- Lance Corporal Francisco Javier Soria Toledo of Spain was killed while deployed at a UN position near Ghajar during the serious fighting incident yesterday along the Blue Line. The precise cause of death is as yet undetermined and remains the subject of investigation.
- The new UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Sigrid Kaag, met with Prime Minister of Lebanon Tamam Salam and said that she had reiterated the Secretary-General's deep concern over the security situation and the violations of resolution 1701.
- She said that the UN continues to provide its good offices and calls on all parties to exercise caution and restraint to avoid any action which could destabilise the situation.
- In a statement issued yesterday, the Secretary-General expressed his concern about the serious deterioration of the situation in Southern Lebanon and the violations of the cessation of hostilities agreements and Resolution 1701 from 2006.
- The Secretary-General is also concerned about recent violations of the 1974 Disengagement Agreement between Israel and Syria.
- He condemns all violence and calls on all concerned to exercise maximum calm and restraint, to refrain from any action that would undermine the stability of the area, and to act responsibly to prevent any escalation in an already tense regional environment.
- The Secretary-General urges respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries in the region, and adherence to all relevant Security Council resolutions.
U.N. ENVOY IN IRAQ WELCOMES GOVERNMENT’S DECISION TO INVESTIGATE ALLEGED KILLINGS IN DIYALA
- The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, welcomed the announcement by the Iraqi Government of its decision to conduct a full investigation into the alleged killings of dozens of civilians by armed groups in the village of Barwanah in Diyala province.
- Mr. Mladenov said it is the responsibility of the Government to ensure that all armed forces are under its control, that rule of law is respected and that civilians are protected in all areas of the country, including those recently liberated from Daesh. He said that any individual found by this investigation to have been responsible for killings must be held accountable according to the law.
U.N. DEPLORES KILLING OF JOURNALISTS IN IRAQ AND SOUTH SUDAN
- The Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova, today spoke out against the killing of five journalists in South Sudan, urging measures to improve the safety of media workers in the country.
- She added that these deaths are a blow to freedom of information and freedom of expression.
- The journalists, two of whom were women, were attacked by unidentified gunmen when traveling in a convoy with local officials in Western Bahr el Ghazal State earlier this week.
- Ms. Bokova today also deplored the killing of a television journalist who died while covering fighting in northern Iraq.
- She said she was deeply concerned about the loss of so many journalists reporting on the conflict in the country, adding that the high death toll among reporters is severely curtailing the media’s ability to provide the public with critical information.
U.N. ENVOY WELCOMES GOVERNMENT’S PLANS TO NOMINATE NEW FEDERAL CABINET IN SOMALIA
- The Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Nicholas Kay, today welcomed the Somali Government’s announcement to nominate a new Federal cabinet.
- Calling the announcement an important step towards the establishment of a new cabinet, the Special Representative stressed that once approved by the parliament, the Federal Government will need to address urgently Somalia’s state and peacebuilding goals. He added that the UN is commitment to support the process.
- Also on Somalia, latest humanitarian assessments conclude that despite improvements in parts of the country due to relatively good rainfall, an estimated 731,000 people continue to face acute food insecurity.
- In total, 3 million people need humanitarian assistance, including more than 200,000 acutely malnourished children.
- Humanitarian Coordinator Philippe Lazzarini warned that more funding is needed, adding that nearly 350,000 vulnerable Somalis are at risk of not receiving food assistance as early as February. This year, UN and humanitarian organizations have appealed for $863 million to provide assistance in Somalia.
U.N. CHILDREN’S FUND APPEALS FOR $3.1 BILLION TO HELP 6.2 MILLION CHILDREN
- The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) launched today in Geneva its largest appeal ever for US$3.1 billion to reach 62 million children at risk in humanitarian crises worldwide. That is a US$1 billion jump in funding needs since last year’s appeal.
- Growing numbers of children are facing increasingly complex and destructive conflicts, natural disasters and other emergencies, including the Ebola epidemic, which are placing them in extraordinary danger of violence, hunger, disease and abuse, and require increasingly more resources to address.
- The appeal also included hugely under-funded and forgotten crises where children are in desperate need, including Afghanistan, Palestine and Niger.
BETTER MANAGEMENT OF LAKES AND RIVERS WILL HELP 60 MILLION PEOPLE, SAYS F.A.O.
- International experts stressed the need to better manage lakes, rivers and streams that provide fish and freshwater to millions across the world at the Global Conference on Inland Fisheries, which concluded in Rome,
- According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in developing countries only, more than 60 million people rely on them for their livelihood.
- However, these waters are often impacted by other human needs, including energy creation, tourism and competition for freshwater.
- Currently less than half of international or shared inland water bodies have international agreements on their management and only 11 per cent have a mandate covering fish.
- The Food and Agriculture Organization also said that recognizing the value of local and traditional knowledge and respecting indigenous cultures is key to a sustainable management of lakes, rivers and streams, especially in light of the growing demands for food in a world of nine billion by 2050.
- The Spokesman said that the Head of the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), Martin Kobler, issued a statement regarding the announcement today by the Congolese Army on the beginning of military operations against the Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR).
- The Spokesman noted that Azerbaijan, Mauritania and Switzerland are the latest Member States who have paid their dues to the UN in full, bringing the total number of countries who have paid so far to 19.