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Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General


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SPOKESPERSON’S DAILY HIGHLIGHTS

BY MARTIN NESIRKY, SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

MONDAY, 23 JANUARY 2012

SECRETARY-GENERAL MEETS WITH TURKISH CYPRIOT AND GREEK CYPRIOT LEADERS

  • The Secretary-General is at the Greentree Estate in Long Island, New York, where has been meeting since this morning with the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities. As you know, the talks – hosted by the Secretary-General- will last until tomorrow evening.
  • And tonight, at around 7:20 p.m., the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Cyprus, Alexander Downer, will speak to the media following the conclusion of the first day of meetings.

HAITI: U.N. SENDS TEAM TO INVESTIGATE ALLEGATIONS OF SEXUAL ABUSE

  • The UN Secretariat regrets to confirm that, on 16 January 2012, the UN Mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH, alerted Headquarters about two allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse involving minors in Haiti.
     
  • The first case involves UN Police Officers based in Port-au-Prince. The accused officers have been removed from their duties to reduce any contact with the local population while the investigation is underway. The second case involves one or more members of the Formed Police Unit in Gonaives.
     
  • The United Nations is outraged by these allegations and takes its responsibility to deal with them extremely seriously. The Police Contributing Countries concerned have been informed. However, unlike cases involving UN military contingent personnel, investigations into allegations involving UN Police fall under the responsibility of the United Nations.
     
  • For this reason, a team was dispatched to Haiti, on 21 January 2012, to investigate these allegations with the utmost determination. MINUSTAH is emphasizing the responsibility and accountability of the chain of command in both preventing and taking prompt action when such allegations arise. The Mission will take action to support the alleged victims.

SECRETARY-GENERAL APPALLED BY INTENSITY OF NIGERIA ATTACKS, CALLS FOR INVESTIGATIONS

  • The Secretary-General condemns in the strongest terms the multiple attacks that have taken place across the northern Nigerian city of Kano, causing large-scale casualties and massive destruction to property.
  • The Secretary-General is appalled at the frequency and intensity of recent attacks in Nigeria, which demonstrate a wanton and unacceptable disregard for human life. The Secretary-General extends his sincere condolences to the people of Nigeria and to the bereaved families. In voicing solidarity with the Government and people of Nigeria, the Secretary-General also expresses his hope for swift and transparent investigations into these incidents that lead to bringing the perpetrators to justice.

BAN KI-MOON CONDEMNS AMBUSH ON A.U.-U.N. MISSION PATROL IN DARFUR

  • The Secretary-General condemns in the strongest terms the ambush by an unidentified armed group on a UNAMID patrol near Saleah, Eastern State of Darfur, in which one Nigerian peacekeeper was killed and three were wounded, one of them seriously.
  • The Secretary-General urges the Government of Sudan to carry out a speedy investigation and to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice.
  • The Secretary-General expresses his condolences to the Government of Nigeria and to the family of the fallen peacekeeper.

U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF REGRETS GUANTANAMO HAS NOT BEEN CLOSED YET

  • The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, expressed her disappointment that the Government of the United States has failed to close the Guantanamo Bay detention centre.
  • While fully recognizing the right and duty of states to protect their people and territory from terrorist acts, Ms. Pillay also reminded all branches of the US Government of their obligation under international human rights law to ensure that individuals can have the lawfulness of their detention reviewed before a court.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS NEW FORCE COMMANDER OF LEBANON MISSION: The Secretary-General has appointed Major General Paolo Serra of Italy as Head of Mission and Force Commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). Major General Serra will succeed Major General Alberto Asarta Cuevas of Spain, who will relinquish his post on 28 January 2012.

SECRETARY-GENERAL HAS WORKED HARD TO GET NEEDED HELICOPTERS TO SOUTH SUDAN: Asked about the availability of helicopters in South Sudan, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General had worked extremely hard to try to secure the helicopters that were needed and are still needed. He said there can often be difficulties when you do not have the required helicopters in place.

MEMBER STATES OF HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL TO DECIDE CONSIDERATION OF PANEL OF EXPERTS REPORT ON SRI LANKA: Asked about the report of the Secretary-General's Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka, the Spokesperson said it is for Member States of the Human Rights Council to look at. He noted that there is no conclusion yet with respect to the study on the response of the United Nations system as a whole during that crisis.

*** The guest at the Noon Briefing today was Hilde Johnson, the Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan, who briefed by videolink from Juba.

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