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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 MARTIN NESIRKY, SPOKESPERSON FOR

SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
 
FRIDAY, 11 MAY 2012

 

U.N. MISSION IN SYRIA CONTINUES TO SET UP DEPLOYMENT 

  • The UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) continues to step up its deployment on the ground.
  • On Friday, the Mission had 145 observers and 56 civilian staff deployed in Syria.
  • The Mission is also carrying out patrols, one day after the attacks that took place in Damascus.
  • On Thursday afternoon, in a press statement, the members of the Security Council condemned those attacks in the strongest terms and expressed their deep sympathy and sincere condolences to the victims and their families.
  • The members of the Security Council called upon all parties in Syria immediately and comprehensively to implement all elements of the Joint Special Envoy’s six-point proposal, and in particular to cease all armed violence in all its forms.
  • And the Secretary-General and Joint Special Envoy also strongly condemned Thursday’s attacks.
  • Asked whether Kofi Annan’s plan was still going ahead, the Spokesperson said it absolutely was, and he added that it had the full support of the international community.
  • It is incumbent on the forces on the ground to adhere to the six-point plan to which they had agreed, he said. The violence in recent days was the latest sign of the attacks that the Syrian people have had to face for many months.

SECURITY COUNCIL HOLDS CONSULTATIONS ON UNOWA AND LIBYA 

  • The Security Council held consultations on the work of the UN Office in West Africa (UNOWA) on Friday.
  • On Thursday afternoon, Council members received an update on voter registration for the elections of a National Congress in Libya from the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for the country, Ian Martin.
  • Mr. Martin also expressed concern that thousands of people remain in conflict-related detention, while cases of mistreatment and torture of detainees continue.
  • The UN Stabilization Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) recently expressed deep concern regarding the deaths of three people at a detention centre in Misrata, which, according to credible information given to the Mission, were the result directly of torture.

U.N. MISSION IN THE PROCESS OF VERIFYING WITHDRAWAL OF SOUTH SUDAN POLICE FROM ABYEI

  • The UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) reports that on Thursday, South Sudan’s Inspector General officially ordered the withdrawal of the South Sudan Police Service (SSPS) from the Abyei area.
  • Following the announcement, some 700 South Sudan police, with the UN Mission’s logistical support, relocated to South Sudan.
  • The Inspector General also ordered the police officers to refrain from visiting their families in the Abyei area in uniform and with guns.
  • The UN Mission is in the process of verifying that all South Sudan police elements have withdrawn from the Abyei area.

SENIOR U.N. OFFICIAL WRAPS UP FOUR-DAY VISIT TO AFGHANISTAN

  • The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, reconfirmed the commitment of the humanitarian community to the people of Afghanistan at the end of her four-day visit to the country on Friday.
  • She said that much has been achieved over the past decade, but Afghanistan remains near the bottom ranking of all human development indicators. There is still much more to do.

U.N. AGENCY ENDORSES GLOBAL GUIDELINES ON SAFEGUARDING PEOPLE’S RIGHTS TO OWN OR ACCESS LAND

  • The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) under the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) endorsed a set of far-reaching global guidelines on Friday aimed at helping governments safeguard the rights of people to own or access land, forests and fisheries.
  • The Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization, José Graziano da Silva, said that giving poor and vulnerable people secure and equitable rights to gain access land and other natural resources is a key condition in the fight against hunger and poverty.
  • He said it is a breakthrough countries have agreed on these first-ever global land tenure guidelines.  

U.N. AGENCY ENDORSES GLOBAL GUIDELINES ON SAFEGUARDING PEOPLE’S RIGHTS TO OWN OR ACCESS LAND

  • A repatriation programme by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) for refugees who want to return to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) from neighbouring Republic of the Congo has begun.
  • 49,000 refugees are due to return by boat across the Oubangui River which forms the border between the two countries.
  • UNHCR has described the return as a major logistical challenge.
  • Most of the refugees from the DRC fled inter-ethnic clashes in late 2009 that were caused by fishing and farming disputes.
  • An additional 32,000 refugees will be repatriated next year.

U.N. CONFERENCE FOCUSES ON REFUGESS IN THE MUSLIM WORLD

  • The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) in coordination with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is holding an international ministerial conference on “Refugees in the Muslim World” in Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan.
  • The main themes of the conference are - the role of the refugee agency in enhancing refugee protection in the Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation; multilateral cooperation including burden and responsibility sharing to protect and assist refugees; and also voluntary repatriation as the most preferred durable solution for any refugee situation.
  • The conference will highlight the continued generous hospitality and assistance extended by OIC Member States to refugees and asylum-seekers, many of whom have been hosted in large numbers over a long period of time. It will also seek to encourage further actions to address the root causes of displacement.  
  • Speaking earlier today at the opening of the conference, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, said that in 2011, OIC states hosted 50% of the persons who are of concern to UNHCR.

U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICE URGES MOLDOVA TO ADOPT ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAW

  • The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has urged the Government of Moldova to act on its commitment to adopt long-overdue anti-discrimination legislation in conformity with obligations under international human rights law.
  • The Office said the law was one of the key elements raised by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay during her visit to the country in November last year and featured strongly in the report of the Universal Periodic Review of Moldova, adopted in March this year.
  • One of the most contentious provisions of the law is that it will outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Given the hostility facing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people in Moldova, including hate speech by politicians and public officials, it is imperative that this provision remain in the law.
  • OHCHR welcomes the active role of civil society in debating and promoting this draft law, which will also provide much-needed protection for groups such as the Roma community, religious minorities and individuals living with HIV/AIDS.

U.N. MISSION CONFIRMS TWO ATTEMPTS TO SMUGGLE WEAPONS INTO LEBANON

  • Asked about attempts to smuggle weapons into Lebanon by sea, the Spokesperson said that there were two attempts in the last two weeks, which are in violation of Security Council resolution 1701 (2006).
  • Upon request of the Lebanese Government, the UN Interim Force in Lebanon’s (UNIFIL) Maritime Task Force is mandated to assist the Lebanese Armed Forces Navy in preventing the unauthorized entry of arms or related material by sea into Lebanon.
  • In providing such assistance, Nesirky said, the Task Force’s role is limited to monitoring the maritime traffic and hailing all vessels within the Area of Maritime Operations. Any suspicious vessel identified by Maritime Task Force is referred to the Lebanese Navy for further action.
  • He added that the Task Force does not have the authority to board or inspect any vessel, or to investigate any such cases, which remains the sole prerogative of the Lebanese Government. 

 

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

12 - 18 MAY 2012

(This document is for planning purposes and is subject to change)

 

Saturday, 12 May

There are no major events scheduled for today.

Sunday, 13 May

There are no major events scheduled for today.

Monday, 14 May

Today and tomorrow are the World Migratory Bird Day [UNEP].

At 10 a.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Guatemala on the launch of B’aktun--the beginning of a new era in the Mayan Culture. Panel members include: Mr. Carlos Batzín, Minister of Culture of Guatemala; Ambassador Gert Rosenthal, Permanent Representative of Guatemala to the United Nations; Mr. Pedro Duchez, Director of the Guatemalan Tourist Commission; and Mr. Alvaro Pop, member of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

At 11 a.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference on the 2014 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. Speakers include: Mr. John Henriksen (Saami, Norway), co-facilitator of the preparatory process for the World Conference; Ms. Myrna Cunningham Kain (Miskito, Nicaragua), member of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues; Mr. Joseph Ole Simel, member of the Mainyoit Pastoralist Integrated Development Organization (Kenya); and Mr. Felix Cardenas, Vice-Minister of Decolonization of Bolivia.

At 12:30 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference by Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Today, the 2012 World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum will open in Geneva. Under the theme “Women and girls in ICT”, the five-day event is hosted by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and will take place at the Conference Centre of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Today, World Health Organization (WHO) will publish the first draft of the 11th International Classification of Diseases. The publication serves as the global reference for health conditions and diseases and helps medical staff to diagnose and treat various ailments. There is a briefing on the publication by Dr. Berdihaw Ustun from the WHO department of Statistics in Geneva.

Tuesday, 15 May

Today is the International Day of Families.

This morning, the Security Council will have a briefing and hold consultations on Somalia.

Today in Nairobi, the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Helen Clark and President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya will jointly launch the first UNDP Africa Human Development Report 2012: Towards a Food Secure Future. The Report explores the paradox of why hunger continues to be so prevalent on the continent, and argues that human development in sub-Saharan Africa can only be fully realized when there is food security for all.

At 12:00 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, will be the guest at the Noon Briefing.

At 1:15 p.m., there will be a panel discussion on “Ensuring work-family balance”, organized by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), in Conference Room E of the North Lawn Building (NLB).

At 7 p.m., in the General Assembly Hall, there will be a special gala concert featuring reggae, jazz, hip-hop, percussion and other musical styles. In line with the theme of the 2012 International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, "Honouring the Heroes, Resisters and Survivors", the special concert will feature a unique lineup of performers representing the various regions of the world affected by slavery and will demonstrate the vibrant musical and cultural traditions which emerged from slaves' resistance to slavery during and after the 400 years of the Transatlantic Slave Trade throughout the world. The concert is being held in support of the Permanent Memorial to Honour the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade at UN Headquarters.

Wednesday, 16 May

At 9:30 a.m., the Security Council will hold consultations on Sudan and South Sudan.

At 11:00 a.m., the Security Council will receive a briefing by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Libya.

At 10 a.m. in Geneva, World Health Organization (WHO) will hold a press conference to launch the “World Health Statistics for 2012” report. This compilation of health data of the 194 WHO members is an integral part of the organization’s efforts to provide enhanced access to data of core measures of population health and national health systems.

At 11 a.m. in Geneva, there will be a ceremony at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) headquarters, at which the 2012 World Telecommunication and Information Society Award will be presented to President Cristina Fernández of Argentina, Sun Yafang, Chairman of Huawei, and Geena Davis, Hollywood actor and founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Media and Gender.  

At 3 p.m., there will be a briefing on Web-based reporting for the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, organized by the Conventional Arms Branch of the Office for Disarmament Affairs (ODA), in Conference Room DN-2514 in the Daily News Building.

Thursday, 17 May

Today is the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day [ITU].

This morning, the Security Council will adopt a resolution on the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA). Council members will also hold consultations on the sanctions Committee established pursuant to resolution 1718 (2006) concerning the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. And the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is scheduled to brief the Security Council on Afghanistan during consultations.

At 10 a.m., in the General Assembly Hall, there will be a high-level event to commemorate the 5th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, followed by a press conference at 11 a.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium.

Friday, 18 May

There are no major events scheduled for today.

 

 

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