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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 FARHAN HAQ,

DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

WEDNESDAY, 22 OCTOBER 2014

 

U.N. ENVOY CALLS ON INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO REMAIN FULLY ENGAGED IN SOUTH SUDAN

  • The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for South Sudan, Ellen Margrethe Loej, briefed the Security Council this morning, saying that after six weeks in South Sudan, she was convinced that every day without a political agreement contributes to a further deterioration of the situation. She added that this complicates the work of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and risks impacting the region negatively.
  • Ms. Loej called on the Security Council, regional leaders and all friends of South Sudan to remain fully engaged with the warring parties so that they make the necessary compromises required to translate their public statements of commitment to peace into actions on the ground.
  • Turning to civilians sheltering in UN bases throughout the country, she said that UNMISS still provided protection to about 100,000 internally displaced people in nine sites. She added that UNMISS and its humanitarian partners have invested substantial resources on existing site enhancements and the construction of new sites to improve living conditions.
  • Ms. Loej also said that UNMISS was exerting all efforts to expand its reach, including through the establishment of forward bases, and active patrolling, both military and integrated, where possible on foot, in order to provide protection to vulnerable civilians beyond its premises.
  • She added that the deployment of the remaining authorised personnel as well as equipment remains vital for the Mission to more effectively deter violence against civilians.
  • The Secretary-General’s Special representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Bangura, also briefed the Security Council following her visit to South Sudan earlier this month.

U.N. MISSION IN D.R.C. EVACUATES STAFF IN BENI DUE TO VIOLENCE

  • The United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (MONUSCO) yesterday evacuated 12 staff members from their residence in Beni, in the North Kivu province, as it came under attack by local youth.
  • The Mission also reported that today a large number of youth converged on the MONUSCO premises at Mavivi Airport in Beni territory, North Kivu, throwing stones at the compound. The Congolese forces and the Mission intervened to disperse the crowd and are currently securing the area.
  • The Mission added that yesterday a Joint patrol of the Congolese Forces and the Mission was blocked by a large group of armed civilians near Mbau. Two civilians were reportedly killed and one injured. The Mission is ascertaining the facts about the incident.
  • The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the DRC, Martin Kobler, congratulated Dr. Denis Mukwege, the Congolese surgeon who was awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought by the European Parliament yesterday.
  • Mr. Kobler said the award shed light on Dr. Mukwege’s fight against sexual violence in the DRC. He added that this Prize underscored the commitment of the international community to support peace and security in the country.

U.N. AND LIBYAN OFFICIALS AGREE TO FOCUS ON PEACE EFFORTS

  • The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Libya, Bernardino Leon, and Libya’s Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thini met yesterday in Malta. Together, they agreed to focus on efforts to find a peaceful solution based on dialogue to the crisis in the country.
  • Despite the recent violence, the Special Representative expressed hope that the commitment of the parties, together with strong support from all Libyans, will yield tangible results in the coming weeks.

HEALTH REGULATIONS COMMITTEE ON EBOLA MEETS ON TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS

  • The International Health Regulations Emergency Committee on Ebola is meeting for the third time in Geneva to look at the latest events.
  • It is also expected to advise whether the World Health Organization (WHO) needs to change recommendations on travel and trade restrictions. The Committee conclusions will be shared at a press conference tomorrow.

MILLIONS WITH T.B. ARE MISSED BY HEALTH SYSTEMS, W.H.O. REPORT FINDS

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) today published its Global Tuberculosis Report 2014, showing that 9 million people developed tuberculosis last year, and 1.5 million died, including 360,000 people who were HIV positive.
  • The report stresses that the mortality rate from tuberculosis is still falling and has dropped by 45 per cent since 1990, while the number of people developing the disease is declining by an average of 1.5 per cent a year.
  • However, tuberculosis is still the second biggest killer disease from a single infectious agent. In addition, around 3 million people who fall ill from the disease are still being missed by health systems each year either because they are not diagnosed, or because they are diagnosed but not reported.