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Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General

 

 

 

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY FARHAN HAQ, ACTING DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

MONDAY, 24 JANUARY 2011

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL APPALLED BY DEADLY BOMBING AT MOSCOW AIRPORT

  • The Secretary-General is appalled by the deadly bombing today at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport which has reportedly killed dozens of people and injured more than a hundred.
     

  • The Secretary-General condemns this deplorable and unjustifiable act of violence against innocents. He conveys his deepest condolences to the families of the victims and his solidarity with the Government and people of the Russian Federation.

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL HAS USED MIX OF QUIET DIPLOMACY AND PUBLIC PRESSURE TO PROMOTE HUMAN RIGHTS

  • Asked about a report by Human Rights Watch which, in part, criticizes the Secretary-General’s human rights record, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General values the role of independent human rights organisations such as Human Rights Watch in promoting human rights around the world.
     

  • Haq said that the Secretary-General’s record to push for human rights speaks for itself. He has spoken up to defend the human rights of people around the world, and has delivered statements on human rights in many countries.
     

  • The view of the Secretary-General is that diplomacy and public pressure are not mutually exclusive, the Spokesperson said. In each particular case, the Secretary-General makes a strategic decision on the most effective way to secure respect for human rights and accountability. The Secretary-General has applied public pressure where he has considered it the most likely means to achieve results.
     

  • The record shows that the Secretary-General has achieved results both through quiet diplomacy as well as public pressure.
     

  • Asked about Human Rights Watch’s remarks concerning Ban Ki-moon’s human rights record with regard to Myanmar and China, the Spokesperson recalled that the Secretary-General has given strong speeches about human rights in both countries.
     

  • Asked about his record on Sri Lanka, Haq said that the Secretary-General appointed an advisory panel which will present its report to the Secretary-General soon. It would not be proper to prejudge the value of its work in promoting accountability and, more importantly, preventing human rights violations in Sri Lanka and other countries in future.

 

U.N.-AFRICAN UNION ENVOY URGES SUDANESE AUTHORITIES TO EXERCISE RESTRAINT AT DARFUR CAMP

  • The African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) reports that the Sudanese Government on Sunday conducted an extensive cordon-and-search operation in the Zamzam camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs), located on the outskirts of El Fasher, North Darfur. The Mission says authorities informed UNAMID of their plans nearly three hours after they were set in motion.
     

  • According to the Mission, the reasons invoked for the measure were to search for and arrest criminal elements, seize weapons and confiscate illegal substances.
     

  • As the action did not abide by an agreement between UNAMID and the Government, requiring notification and consultations prior to any actions regarding internally displaced camps, the senior leadership of the Mission urgently contacted the Government security officials and the Wali (Governor) of North Darfur to address the matter.
     

  • Joint AU-UN Special Representative Ibrahim Gambari called on the authorities to act with the utmost restraint, particularly with regard to the use of force, and to ensure that no one is harmed.
     

  • Mr. Gambari also instructed that the Mission rapidly dispatch an integrated team of its civilian, police and military personnel, joined by an inter-agency assessment group to the camp to ensure that the safety and the rights of the community were respected. A UNAMID patrol and team were initially denied access for security reasons, but were eventually allowed to proceed. 

 

U.N. URGES INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO STEP UP SUPPORT TO SOMALIA

  • As Somalia approaches the anniversary of two decades without a functioning national government, the United Nations called on the international community to step up its support to the war-torn nation as it struggles to consolidate peace, stability and progress for its people.
     

  • The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Mark Bowden, said, “Somalia is one of the world’s most intractable crises.”
     

  • He said that despite decades of conflict, many of Somalia’s development indicators have improved since 1991 and the United Nations and local partners have increased support for the provision of essential social services to vulnerable communities.
     

  • Mr. Bowden said progress is possible even in these difficult circumstances. Across the country, increasing numbers of children are enrolling in schools, health clinics are opening and the economy led by the agricultural, banking and telecom sectors is growing rapidly. However, he also warned that much more needs to be done.

 

U.N. REFUGEE CHIEF CALLS FOR RETURN OF UPROOTED IRAQIS

  • António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, wrapped up a three-day visit to Iraq today.
     

  • In his meetings with officials – including President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki – he underlined the need for a Government-led action plan to allow thousands of Iraqis uprooted abroad and within the country to return home.
     

  • Mr. Guterres also stressed that forcing people to return home against their will where insecurity prevails is unacceptable.

 

U.N. MIDDLE EAST ENVOY ATTESTS TO PALESTINIAN LEADERS’ COMMITMENT IN PEACE PROCESS

  • Asked about documents disclosed by Al Jazeera concerning the work of Palestinian negotiators in peace talks, the Spokesperson noted that the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, said that some of the commentary he has seen conveys an inaccurate impression. Serry said he could personally attest to the commitment of the Palestinian leadership to secure the legitimate rights and interests of the Palestinian people, based on international law and UN resolutions.
     

  • At this crucial time, the Spokesperson said, Serry urged both parties to show their readiness for a negotiated peace based on a two State solution, and to deliver on the ground. It is to the genuine credit of the Palestinian leadership that they are doing so, and this is widely acknowledged in the United Nations, he said.

 

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL’S FLOTILLA PANEL HAS RECEIVED TURKEL COMMITTEE REPORT: In response to questions, the Spokesperson confirmed that the Secretary-General's Panel of Inquiry looking into the 31 May 2010 flotilla incident received a copy of the Turkel Committee's report on Sunday.  He added that, to help complete their important mandate, it is essential for the Panel to review material provided by both sides, Israel and Turkey.

 

U.N. MISSION RECEIVING GOOD COOPERATION FROM LEBANESE AUTHORITIES: Asked about the political developments in Lebanon, the Spokesperson said that the UN Interim Force there (UNIFIL) continues to receive good cooperation from the Lebanese authorities.

 

BLUE HELMETS IN CÔTE D’IVOIRE CAN USE FORCE UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES: Asked about the use of force by peacekeepers in Côte d’Ivoire, the Spokesperson said that the UN force in that country (UNOCI) has a Security Council mandate which allows it to use force under certain circumstances.

 

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