HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY
SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
WEDNESDAY, 2 JANUARY 2013
MORE THAN 60,000 PEOPLE KILLED IN SYRIA, SAYS U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICE
- The United Nations Human Rights Office said on Wednesday that more than 60,000 people have been killed in Syria with monthly casualty figures steadily increasing since the conflict began almost two years ago.
- The analysis carried out by data specialists on behalf of the United Nations has led to the compilation of a list of 59,648 individuals reported killed between 15 March 2011 and 30 November 2012.
- The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said that as there has been no let-up in the conflict since the end of November, we can assume that more than 60,000 people have been killed by the beginning of this year 2013. She said that the number of casualties is much higher than expected.
- Ms. Pillay said that the analysis provides a very useful basis upon which future investigations can be built to enhance accountability and provide justice and reparations to victims’ families. She also called for serious preparations to restore law and order when the conflict comes to a halt.
- Asked about the percentage of people killed by the opposition, the Spokesperson said that the data came from seven different sources: the Violations Documentation Centre, the Syrian Network for Human Rights, the Syrian Revolution General Council, the Syria Shuhada Website, the March 15 Group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Government of Syria.
- Nesirky said that the High Commissioner said that the analysis was a work in progress and not a final product. Therefore, more work will need to be done but it obviously provides a solid amount of information and analysis.
- Asked if the Secretary-General is going to launch a new humanitarian appeal, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General announced a couple of days ago that there would be a donor conference in Kuwait City on 30 January.
- Nesirky said that it is an opportunity for the donor community to come together and underscore its support. Asked about the choice of Kuwait City, Nesirky said that the Secretary-General was in the region not long ago and that the authorities there were kind enough to offer to host this donor conference.
TWO PEACEKEEPERS RELEASED IN DARFUR AFTER 136 DAYS IN CAPTIVITY
- Two police officers of the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) were freed on Wednesday after 136 days in captivity.
- The Mission said that Mr. Hasan Al-Mazawdeh and Mr. Qasim Al-Sarhan, who are nationals of Jordan, were medically checked and both appear to be unharmed and in good health.
- The two peacekeepers were taken hostage by unidentified assailants while on patrol in the town of Kabkabiya, which is located approximately 140 kilometers west of El Fasher, in Northern Darfur, that was on 20 August of last year.
- The Acting Joint Special Representative for the Mission Aichatou Mindaoudou expressed the Mission’s thanks to the Government of Sudan, the Governor of North Darfur, and the Government of Jordan for their valuable assistance in the safe release of the peacekeepers.
U.N. CALLS ON BOTH GOVERNMENT AND REBELS TO FOCUS ON DIALOGUE IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
- We continue to follow the situation in the Central African Republic with serious concern and we are consulting and coordinating with the Secretary-General’s Special Representative Margaret Vogt.
- We reiterate the Security Council’s statement of 27 December of last year, which calls on all parties to refrain from any acts of violence against civilians, respect human rights and seek a peaceful solution by engaging constructively in the regional effort led by the Economic Community of the Central African States (ECCAS).
- We are calling on both the Government and the rebels to focus on dialogue that can avert violence and lead to a peaceful resolution and respect for the Libreville Comprehensive Peace Agreement. We welcome regional efforts to seek a political solution and to reinforce security.
- While as a security precaution, international staff have now all been temporarily relocated outside the country, we remain engaged in efforts to resolve the crisis. The Special Representative has remained in close dialogue with the key parties in the Central African Republic and the region and has offered support to political negotiations.
- Asked about efforts to bring Government and rebels together, the Spokesperson said that we are aware about the latest reports coming from the region about possible negotiations.
- He said that the Special Representative has offered the United Nations’ support for any political negotiations. He said that Margaret Vogt has been very active over the last few days in particular. She did speak with the Deputy Secretary-General just a few days ago and has remained in close touch with the Department of Political Affairs.
U.N. OFFERS ITS CONDOLENCES FOLLOWING DEATH OF 61 PEOPLE IN A STAMPEDE IN COTE D’IVOIRE
- The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Côte d’Ivoire, Bert Koenders, has offered condolences to the families of the victims and the nation following the death of 61 people and the injury of some 50 others in an incident while they were celebrating the New Year.
- The United Nations Mission in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) has offered medical and logistical assistance to the Government for dealing with emergency services, assistance to the victims, and for the needs of the inquiry ordered by President Alassane Ouattara.
SECRETARY-GENERAL APPALLED AT KILLING OF AID WORKERS IN PAKISTAN
- Asked about aid workers who have been killed in Pakistan, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has been fully briefed on this most recent incident and that he is certainly appalled at it.
- Nesirky said that the Secretary-General is monitoring this very closely and that he knows that the Government of Pakistan is doing its utmost to try to ensure the security of those who try to provide help to the population.
A NEW U.N. SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE IN GUINEA-BISSAU APPOINTED: The Secretary-General has appointed José Ramos-Horta of Timor-Leste as his Special Representative in Guinea-Bissau and Head of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS).Mr. Ramos-Horta succeeds Joseph Mutaboba of Rwanda, who will complete his assignment on 31 January.
SECRETARY-GENERAL VOCAL ABOUT WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN IN BAHRAIN: Asked about what Bahrainis should do to draw more attention from the United Nations about what’s happening in their country, the Spokesperson said the Secretary-General has been vocal about what has been happening in Bahrain and what needs to happen. Nesirky said that the Secretary-General and the United Nations in general are monitoring this very closely and continue to call for dialogue where it is appropriate. Nesirky said that accountability applies everywhere.