HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY EDUARDO DEL BUEY
DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
MONDAY, 14 JANUARY 2013
SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS DEMONSTRATIONS AGAINST SETTLEMENTS MUST BE PEACEFUL, STRESSES RIGHT TO PROTEST
- The Secretary-General is following with concern developments regarding the announced plans for Israeli settlement construction in the so-called E1 area, on which he expressed his grave disappointment in his statement of 2 December.
- He notes that Israeli settlements in the West Bank are illegal under international law. The Secretary-General repeats his call that any such settlement plans for E-1 must be rescinded.
- He notes that the recent Palestinian demonstrations in the E1 area, as well as the Israeli evacuation of the protesters, were largely non-violent. The Secretary-General stresses the importance for protests to continue to remain peaceful and for the right to peaceful protest to be fully respected.
- In this particularly difficult period for the region, all concerned should make serious efforts towards creating the conditions for a resumption of meaningful peace negotiations and to protect the future of the peace process, which is in danger.
MALI: SECURITY COUNCIL TO MEET, U.N. FOOD AGENCY SENDS ASSISTANCE
- This afternoon the Security Council will meet in closed consultations to discuss the situation in Mali. The Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, will brief the Council.
- An estimated 30,000 people may have been displaced as a direct result of the fighting in Central / Northern Mali. It is feared that the number of people affected may be greater as it has been reported that some Islamist groups have prevented people from moving South.
- The Mauritanian Ministry of Interior has confirmed that thousands of refugees are on their way from Mali to the border with Mauritania. No significant numbers of refugees have been observed arriving in Burkina Faso and Niger.
- Since March 2012, some 230,000 people have been displaced by the fighting and insecurity in Mali.
- The World Food Programme (WFP) said today that the conflict in the north of Mali has triggered wide displacement within the country and into neighbouring countries, uprooting half a million people and placing pressure on vulnerable host communities still recovering from the Sahel drought.
- Insecurity is severely limiting the WFP’s access to the North. However, the WFP has managed, through its partners, to move emergency food to 270,000 conflicted-affected people in the north, including 70,000 internally displaced persons. The WFP uses all available means of transport, including small boats reaching Timbuktu along the Niger River.
- In answer to questions, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General had spoken with a number of leaders over the weekend on Mali. Those include French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara, the chair of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
U.N. MISSION IN D.R.CONGO SUPPORTS RETURN OF DOCTOR AFTER HIS ATTACK
- The Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and head of the UN Mission there (MONUSCO), Mr. Roger Meece, has welcomed the return to Bukavu today of Dr. Denis Mukwege, chief medical doctor at the Panzi hospital, whose contribution to the physical and mental rehabilitation of women victims of rape in this province is recognized world-wide.
- Mr. Meece said that Dr. Mukwege’s courageous decision to return after he was attacked at his residence on 25 October 2012 demonstrates his infallible commitment and dedication to the several cases of sexually-abused women report daily in the province.
- Mr. Meece also reiterated the hope that more light will be shed on the attack and authors will be brought to justice.
- MONUSCO supported local government officials and the National Congolese Police force in South Kivu to ensure a safe return of Dr. Mukwege and will continue, within the limits of its mandate, to provide Dr. Mukwege with all the assistance he needs to pursue this important work.
SECURITY COUNCIL TO DECIDE ON WHETHER TO REFER SYRIA TO INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT
- Asked about a letter from Switzerland and more than 50 other Member States asking for the situation in Syria to be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Spokesperson said it would be up to the Security Council to determine how to deal with that request.