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

TUESDAY, 25 JANUARY 2011

 

IN GENEVA, SECRETARY-GENERAL ADDRESSES HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL, OPENS HUMANITARIAN APPEAL CONFERENCE

  • The Secretary-General is in Geneva, where he addressed the Human Rights Council. He said that the Human Rights Council must do more to fully rise above national and regional interests.
     

  • He added that we cannot and should not limit the independence of human rights rapporteurs, yet we cannot condone irresponsible behaviour that undermines the Human Rights Council and the United Nations.
     

  • Also, the Secretary-General said, we cannot be selective in promoting human rights. Our watchword should be: all people, all countries, and all rights.
     

  • Earlier, the Secretary-General opened the 2011 Consolidated Appeal Resource Mobilization Conference with the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarians Affairs, Valerie Amos. He said humanitarian needs were growing and that we all needed to make extra efforts to secure sufficient and predictable funding for urgent, life-saving humanitarian work.
     

  • This morning, the Secretary-General visited the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne and met with its chief, Jacques Rogge, as well as the heads of some international sports federations.

 

D.R. CONGO: SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES SURRENDER OF REBEL LEADER TO INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT

  • The Secretary-General welcomes today’s surrender of the Executive Secretary of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), Callixte Mbarushimana, to the International Criminal Court in The Hague by French judicial authorities. Mr. Mbarushimana is accused of having committed crimes against humanity and war crimes in the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
     

  • In this connection, the Secretary-General also welcomes the decisive steps taken by the German judiciary to prosecute and try the President and Vice-President of the FDLR, who are also accused of having committed serious international crimes. This cooperative burden-sharing in prosecuting individuals for serious international crimes will greatly advance the fight against impunity.

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR CALM IN LEBANON

  • Asked about political developments in Lebanon, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General is following developments closely. Following two days of consultations with Lebanon's parliamentary groups, President Michel Sleiman today requested Mr. Najib Mikati to form the next Government in Lebanon.
     

  • Nesirky said that the Secretary-General calls on all the parties to maintain calm and avoid any act of violence, and he welcomes the statement issued by caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri urging calm. The immediate concern of all Lebanese leaders should be the maintenance of domestic stability and the avoidance of incidents that could easily escalate.
     

  • Asked about the impact of a new Government on support for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General expects any Government that is formed in Lebanon to abide by the international obligations that Lebanon has undertaken. The Secretary-General strongly supports the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which is an independent judicial body. The work of the Special Tribunal should be unaffected by political developments.

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL WILL CONTINUE TO ENGAGE WITH U.S. GOVERNMENT ON REFORM OF UNITED NATIONS

  • Asked about a hearing on the United Nations underway at the US Congress, the Spokesperson noted that the United Nations has always worked constructively with the United States, and we share the same goals: a stronger United Nations, one that is efficient, effective, and accountable. That is why the Secretary-General has made strengthening the United Nations one of his top priorities since taking office.
     

  • Nesirky said that the Secretary-General is convinced that a strong, effective and efficient United Nations needs the active and constructive support of Member States. To achieve that, he will continue to engage with the US Administration and with the US Congress on ways to ensure that the Organization can find solutions to today’s challenges, and deliver on the mandates given by its Member States.
     

  • Asked whether the Secretary-General will meet with members of the US Congress, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General intends to travel to Washington to meet with members of Congress, but no dates are set yet.

 

SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED ON SOMALI PIRACY

  • The Security Council heard a briefing in an open meeting this morning from Jack Lang, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser dealing with legal issues related to piracy off the coast of Somalia. They also heard from the Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, Stephen Mathias.
     

  • Mr. Lang described his visit to the region around Somalia. He said that there has been an increase in the number of pirates and in their sophistication, as well as the emergence of a new industry related to piracy. He warned about difficulties in eradicating piracy, with 9 out of 10 pirates having to be released because no jurisdiction is prepared to prosecute them. And he discussed possible alternative ways of supporting the prosecution of pirates.

 

AFRICAN UNION-U.N. MISSION CONFIRMS REPORTS OF CLASHES IN NORTH DARFUR

  • The UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) confirms reports of intense fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces and Sudan Liberation Army-Minni Minnawi movements in Tabit, located approximately 45 km south of El Fasher in North Darfur.
     

  • The clashes began on Monday evening. UNAMID peacekeepers have been prevented from entering the area by Sudanese Government forces who invoked security concerns. Despite the lack of access, the peacekeepers continue to seek further information, especially about the possible impact of the fighting on the local population.
     

  • Joint Special Representative Ibrahim Gambari is very concerned by this latest outbreak of violence.
     

  • Also, the UN-AU Mission says that at least one person is now reported dead, following a search operation by Government security forces in the Zamzam camp for internally displaced persons. The circumstances surrounding his death are still unclear, and authorities say they are investigating the incident. UNAMID’s Human Rights section is closely monitoring the case.

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL CONCERNED OVER UPTICK IN FIGHTING IN DARFUR

  • The latest report to the Security Council by the Secretary-General on the joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) is out as a document.
     

  • In it, the Secretary-General notes with satisfaction the prospects for progress made in the peace negotiations in Doha and the decrease in inter-communal fighting.
     

  • However, he also voices concern over the surge in fighting between the Government and movements, including the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), as well as the humanitarian consequences of this violence.
     

  • The Secretary-General stresses that the use of military force will not resolve the conflict; rather, it will only prolong and increase the suffering of the people of Darfur.
     

  • Also out is the most recent report on United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), in which the Secretary-General points to many interrelated challenges in the country, including strengthening the rule of law.

 

U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY WORKS TO BUILD CAMP FOR IVORIAN REFUGEES IN LIBERIA

  • The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is continuing work on a camp in eastern Liberia to shelter refugees who have fled post-election violence and tensions in Côte d’Ivoire.
     

  • It took some 200 local men with machetes and machines more than three weeks to clear some 80 hectares of jungle for the site. Construction of the camp’s main reception centre is beginning this week.
     

  • The Agency says that, in Liberia, there are more than 30,000 Ivorian refugees, who are hosted by Liberians, many of whom themselves were refugees in Côte d’Ivoire.

 

AFGHANISTAN: U.N. MISSION WELCOMES UNDERSTANDING PAVING WAY FOR NATIONAL ASSEMBLY’S INAUGURATION

  • The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has said that it welcomes the understanding reached in recent days that paves the way for the inauguration of the National Assembly on Wednesday. The UN Mission further commends the spirit of cooperation between the Presidential Office and the recently elected members of Parliament.
     

  • This process shows that a healthy debate is underway among Afghanistan’s democratic institutions, an encouraging sign of a progressing democracy.
     

  • The UN Mission and other members of the international community plan to attend the inauguration of the National Assembly on Wednesday.

 

ALLEGATIONS OF SEXUAL ABUSE, EXPLOITATION AGAINST PEACEKEEPERS FELL IN 2010, U.N. REPORTS

  • The United Nations Departments of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and Field Support (DFS) have announced that the number of allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse involving all categories of peacekeeping personnel fell markedly between 2009 and 2010.
     

  • The UN takes all allegations seriously and is committed to eradicating such abuse.

 

U. N. DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME CHIEF WRAPS UP YEMEN VISIT

  • Wrapping up her visit to Yemen today, the Chair of the United Nations Development Group and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark welcomed the increased international interest being shown in supporting Yemen to tackle the challenges it faces, and expressed her hope that it will be translated into increased support for Yemen’s development.
     

  • “Yemen is confronting a range of concurrent challenges which need urgent attention,” she said. “With international support and with commitment in Yemen to drive a reform agenda, a step change in development is possible.”
     

  • Helen Clark met with President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Monday to discuss how the UN development system can play its part in supporting Yemen to overcome its development challenges and make progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).   

 

PAKISTAN: SIX MONTHS AFTER START OF FLOODS, U.N. SAYS MORE THAN 160,000 PEOPLE STILL DISPLACED

  • More than 160,000 people are still displaced, six months after devastating floods struck Pakistan last summer, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
     

  • Although this is a substantial decrease from peak levels in the fall, where nearly 3.3 million people were living in camps, a substantial population is still in need of help.
     

  • Many of those still uprooted tell the Agency that they have lost their homes and do not have the means to rebuild them, while other say that they have lost their livelihoods and are without sufficient cash or transport to move on.
     

  • In the past six months, the Agency has provided emergency shelter to nearly two million people and pledges to continue supporting hundreds of thousands of flood victims.

 

 

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