HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY
SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
FRIDAY, 18 JANUARY 2013
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO CALL FOR GREATER PROGRESS ON DISARMAMENT
- The Secretary-General is in California today, where he will speak on disarmament and non-proliferation at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.
- In his remarks, he is expected to call for more progress on nuclear disarmament. The Secretary-General is also expected to encourage the nuclear-armed States to come up with a bold set of measures to promote transparency about their nuclear arsenals.
- In his speech, he is expected to say that another year of stalemate in the Conference on Disarmament would be simply unacceptable. The Secretary-General will also say that we must intensify efforts to bring the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty into force.
SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSING SYRIA, BRIEFED BY U.N. RIGHTS CHIEF
- The Security Council began consultations on Syria this morning.
- Council members were briefed about the human rights situation in the country from the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay.
U.N. WEST AFRICA ENVOY MET WITH MALIAN LEADER
- The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for West Africa, Said Djinnit, was in Bamako yesterday and met with the President of Mali, Dioncounda Traore.
- They shared views about the fast evolving situation on the ground.
- Today, Said Djinnit is in Abidjan, attending the Mediation and Security Council of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). He will participate to the ECOWAS Heads of States Summit on Saturday.
U.N. MULTIDISCIPLINARY FORCE DEPLOYING IN MALI
- In continuation of UN efforts to assist with the restoration of the constitutional order and territorial integrity of Mali, the multidisciplinary presence called for in Security Council resolution 2085 is deploying with the arrival in Bamako of an advance team on Saturday and the start of its consultations with the Malian Authorities on Monday, 21 January.
- The initial team will be headed by Mr. Joao Honwana, Director of the Africa II Division of the Department of Political Affairs, and the initial team will include representatives of the Departments of Field Support, Peacekeeping Operations, Public Information, Safety and Security, and also the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
- The role of the advance team is to engage with the Malian authorities to ensure full UN support in the implementation of resolution 2085 on both its political and security tracks.
MALI CRISIS HAS LED TO RIGHTS VIOLATIONS, SAYS U.N. REPORT
- A new report by the Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights says that the crisis in Mali has led to various human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings, rape and torture – both in the North, and in the area under government control.
- The report, which was requested by the Human Rights Council, presents the findings of a human rights mission deployed to Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger from 11 to 20 November 2012.
- In Northern Mali, serious human rights violations have been taking place since January of last year, including summary executions and extra-judicial killings, according to this report. Human rights experts also found that civilians in the North suffered from degrading treatments by extremist groups, based on an extreme interpretation of Sharia.
- The human rights team also highlighted human rights violations in territories under the control of the Malian government, including the extra-judicial killings of several soldiers of the Malian army and at least 21 cases of forced disappearances.
- The Office calls on all parties to abide by international human rights and humanitarian law standards and for the initiation of a reconciliation process. The Office also urges the Malian army and its supporters to take extreme care not to carry out further reprisals as and when they retake territory in the North.
AS MILITARY OPERATIONS CONTINUE IN NORTHERN MALI, U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY STEPS UP ASSISTANCE TO THOSE DISPLACED
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says that military operations continue in northern Mali, it is reinforcing its teams across the region to assist the internally displaced persons and refugees.
- The agency says that displacement across borders has been rising steadily - with 2,744 Malian refugees having arrived in neighbouring countries in the past week. This brings the number of Malian refugees in neighbouring countries to 147,000 since the crisis started a year ago. In addition, close to 230,000 people are now displaced inside Mali.
- In Burkina Faso, the agency has sent staff from Ouagadougou to monitor the border and to boost assistance in the refugee camps in Burkina Faso’s Sahel administrative region.
D.R. CONGO: U.N., PARTNERS APPEAL FOR $30.5 MILLION FOR CONFLICT-AFFECTED
- UN agencies and humanitarian partners have appealed for US$30.5 million to help more than half a million people affected by conflict in North Kivu, in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The North Kivu Response Plan, which was launched today in Goma, will fund life-saving humanitarian response for the first six months of this year.
- The response plan will cover urgent efforts to reach people displaced in camps with food, water and shelter as well as help families return home and rebuild their lives. Health partners plan to renovate clinics and health centres, and replenish the medical supplies.
- The plan also addresses the need to protect civilians in the region, many of them affected by clashes between the M23 rebel group and the Congolese army in recent months. While Goma remains tense, new displacements are occurring every day elsewhere in North Kivu with thousands seeking safety in neighbouring South Kivu.
HAITI: U.N. ENVOY URGES SWIFT ELECTIONS
- The Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Haiti, Mariano Fernandez, has called on the Haitian Government to take all necessary measures to hold legislative, municipal and local elections as soon as possible.
- He said he was encouraged by the commitment, made earlier this week by the President of the country and of the National Assembly, to hold these elections this year. The elections have been delayed for more than a year.
- Mr. Fernandez also noted that the UN Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and the international community were ready to assist in organizing free, transparent and inclusive elections.
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO HOLD FIRST PRESS CONFERENCE OF 2013 ON 22 JANUARY: On Tuesday, the Secretary-General will be here to give his first press conference of the year after he has spoken to Member States.
IRAN NUCLEAR TALKS TO RESUME SOON: Asked about talks between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Iran, the Spokesperson said the Secretary-General continues to encourage all the parties to continue to focus hard so that Iran can be in compliance with all Security Council resolutions. He noted the IAEA has said the talks will resume soon.
SECRETARY-GENERAL ANGRY OVER HOSTAGE-TAKING IN ALGERIA: Asked about the hostage-taking in Algeria, the Spokesperson said the unfolding situation remains fluid and tense. He noted that the Secretary-General has expressed his anger at the taking of hostages, and made clear our thoughts are with those being held. If reports are true that some hostages have been killed, we would strongly condemn this.
PEACE, RECONCILIATION PURPOSE OF GENERAL ASSEMBLY CONCERT: With respect to a concert in the General Assembly hall earlier this week, the Spokesperson said the purpose of the concert was as a message of peace and reconciliation. He said everyone is aware of the extreme sensitivities around this topic and the different perspectives there are about this song. He said he would simply say that what he said yesterday was an expression of regret that some people were offended. In answer to another question, he noted that the Secretariat had provided logistical support for the concert.
U.N. ENVOY REPEATEDLY SPEAKS OUT ON IRAQ VIOLENCE: Asked about escalating violence in Iraq, the Spokesperson said the Secretary-General's Special Representative in Iraq, Martin Kobler, has repeatedly spoken out against such violence, including in statements.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
19 – 25 JANUARY 2013
(This document is for planning purposes and is subject to change.)
Saturday, 19 January
There are no major events scheduled for today.
Sunday, 20 January
There are no major events scheduled for today.
Monday, 21 January
This morning, the Security Council will hold an open debate on “UN Peacekeeping: a multidimensional approach”.
In Geneva, the Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Guy Ryder, will launch the study "Global Employment Trends" 2013.
Tuesday, 22 January
At 11:45 a..m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, the Secretary-General will hold his first press conference of the year.
This morning, the Security Council will hold consultations on Sudan/South Sudan and on the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH.
At 6 p.m., in the Visitors’ Lobby of the General Assembly Building, the Department of Public Information will open two exhibit on the occasion of the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust (27 January): “Whoever Saves a Single Life –– Rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust” and “The World Knew, Jan Karski’s Mission for Humanity”.
Wednesday, 23 January
This morning, the Security Council will hold an open debate on the situation in the Middle East.
In Geneva, the latest Global Investment Trends and Prospects of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) will be launched by James Zhan, Director, Division on Investment and Enterprise.
At 6:30 p.m., in the Economic and Social Council Chamber (NLB) there will be a screening of the film “The Rescuers” and a panel discussion on the occasion of the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust
Thursday, 24 January
This morning, the Security Council is expected to adopt resolutions on the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA) and the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). It will also hear a briefing and hold consultations on the United Nations Office in Burundi (BNUB). In the afternoon, the Security Council will hear a briefing and hold consultations on the African Union - United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).
Friday, 25 January
From 11:00 to 13:00, in the General Assembly Hall, there will be a Holocaust memorial ceremony on the theme “Rescue during the Holocaust: The courage to care”. The ceremony will include a video message from the Secretary-General, remarks by the President of the General Assembly, and a key note address delivered by Holocaust survivor Mordecai Paldiel. Ethel Brooks, Professor of Sociology at Rutgers University, will speak about the Romani experience during the Holocaust.