HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY FARHAN HAQ, ACTING DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
THURSDAY, 2 JANUARY 2014
SOUTH SUDAN: U.N. MISSION CONTINUES TO PROTECT SOME 57,000 CIVILIANS
- The UN Mission in South Sudan, UNMISS, reports that it continues to protect around 57,000 civilians across the country. It also reports a decreased number of civilians at its Malakal base and Bor base. The numbers have been fluctuating in recent days.
- The United Nations and other humanitarian partners are providing relief.
- The Mission reports that 246 police officers from two Formed Police Units have deployed to South Sudan to strengthen security and order for civilians seeking refuge inside its bases. A medical team from the UN Mission in Cote d’Ivoire (UNOCI) arrived on Thursday in Juba to bolster support at the UN Juba bases. Logistical support for air operations is being provided by the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, MONUSCO.
- In a New Year’s Day message to the people of South Sudan on Wednesday, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for South Sudan, Hilde Johnson, said that both the leaders of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the United Nations are calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities, the release of all political detainees, political dialogue and humanitarian access. She called on the parties to take decisive steps for peace.
- Ms. Johnson also emphasized that all violence must stop, and warned against the risk of a cycle of violence between communities in South Sudan.
- She said that accountability for grave human rights violations will be essential to prevent this cycle of violence, and reported that the Mission’s human rights teams continue to gather evidence for use in future accountability measures.
LEBANON: SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS CAR BOMBING IN BEIRUT
- The Secretary-General strongly condemns today’s car bombing in the southern Beirut suburb of Haret Hreik that has killed and wounded a number of people. He extends his condolences to the families of the victims and to the people of Lebanon and wishes those injured a swift recovery.
- This act follows the terrible bombing on 27 December and further reflects a deeply worrying escalation in the violence witnessed in Lebanon in recent months. The Secretary-General calls on all Lebanese parties to act with restraint and for the Lebanese people to come together to support the institutions of the state, particularly the army and security forces, as they work to prevent other acts of terrorism and to safeguard the stability and security of their country.
- The Secretary-General underlines the need for the instigators and perpetrators of this crime to be brought to justice as soon as possible.
- The UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Derek Plumbly, also deplored the car bombing in the Beirut suburb of Haret Hreik. He extended his condolences to the families of all of the victims of this bombing.
- Mr. Plumbly expressed his outrage that this is the fourth bomb to have exploded in Beirut’s southern suburbs since July.
IRAQ: 2013 MARKS HIGHEST CIVILIAN CASUALTIES, SAYS U.N. MISSION
- The UN Assistance Mission in Iraq, UNAMI, says that the total number of civilian casualties in Iraq in 2013 has been the highest since 2008, with more than 7,800 people killed and nearly 18,000 people wounded.
- According to casualty figures released on Wednesday by the Mission, a total of 759 Iraqis were killed and another 1,345 were wounded in acts of terrorism and violence in December alone.
- Nickolay Mladenov, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, said that this is a sad and terrible record which confirms once again the urgent need for the Iraqi authorities to address the roots of violence in the country.
FIVE NEW COUNTRIES JOIN SECURITY COUNCIL AS MEMBERS
- With the start of a new year, five new countries – Chad, Chile, Jordan, Lithuania and Nigeria – have joined the Security Council as elected members.
- Jordan has also assumed the Security Council’s rotating presidency for the month of January.
- Ambassador Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zedi Al-Hussein, the Permanent Representative of Jordan to the United Nations and the President of the Security Council for this month, will brief reporters on Friday at 12:30 pm on the Council’s programme of work.
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO ISSUE INVITATIONS TO SYRIA CONFERENCE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
- Asked about invitations to the conference this month on Syria, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General is looking forward to issuing the letters of invitation to the International Conference on Syria as soon as possible.
- On 20 December, Joint Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi announced the list of countries whose invitation had been agreed with the Initiating States of the Conference. There are also several issues that need to be finalised by the Initiating States. Once that is done, the Secretary-General will promptly issue the invitations.
U.N. YEARBOOK COVERS GLOBAL ACTIVITIES IN 2009
- The United Nations issued the sixty-third volume of Yearbook of the United Nations, covering the Organization’s global activities in 2009.
- With its comprehensive coverage of political and security matters, human rights issues, economic and social questions, legal issues, and institutional, administrative and budgetary matters, the Yearbook stands as the authoritative reference work on the activities and concerns of the Organization.
- Asked about the reported killing of a colonel in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations mission there was looking into the reports but had no confirmation yet.
- The Spokesperson, in response to a question, confirmed that the Secretary-General had spoken by phone with President Park Geun-hye of the Republic of Korea.
** The guest at the Noon Briefing today was Ms. Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. She briefed journalists on the recent humanitarian challenges.