HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY EDUARDO DEL BUEY,
DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
TUESDAY, 29 JANUARY 2013
SECRETARY-GENERAL IN KUWAIT FOR SYRIA DONOR CONFERENCE
- The Secretary-General arrived in Kuwait City very early Tuesday morning.
- He met with the Emir, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Kuwait. In these meetings, he expressed gratitude for the important role that Kuwait played in convening tomorrow's Donor's Conference. This meeting comes at a critical time for Syria, where the humanitarian situation continues to worsen.
- In the afternoon, the Secretary-General met with Nabil Alaraby, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States. They discussed the crisis in Syria and reiterated their strong support for the Joint Special Representative, Lakhdar Brahimi.
JOINT SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE BRAHIMI TO BRIEF SECURITY COUNCIL ON SYRIA
- The Security Council was due to hold consultations on Tuesday afternoon to hear an update on Syria from the Joint Special Representative for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi.
- Mr. Brahimi was due to talk to reporters at the Security Council stakeout once those consultations had finished.
U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY GETTING READY TO ASSIST POSSIBLE RETURN OF THOUSANDS OF DISPLACED PEOPLE IN MALI
- The Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, represented the United Nations at the donors’ conference for Mali held on Tuesday at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa.
- In his remarks, Mr. Feltman stressed the urgency of the situation and the strong commitment of the United Nations to support Mali.
- The UN Refugee Agency said on Tuesday that it is readying itself to assist in the possible spontaneous return of thousands of conflict-displaced people in the north of Mali.
- It said that it aims to open new presences in Gao and other cities in the north as soon as it becomes feasible.
- The Refugee Agency said that despite the indications of growing interest in returns, conditions in the north of the country are difficult. People recently displaced from the north have reported serious shortages of food, clean water and fuel.
- In all, some 380,000 people have fled northern Mali since the start of the conflict a year ago. This includes 230,000 who are internally displaced, and more than 150,000 who are living as refugees in Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso and Algeria.
SECURITY SITUATION IN LIBYA REMAINS PRECARIOUS, SAYS U.N. SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE
- Tarek Mitri, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Libya, briefed the Security Council on Tuesday morning on the work of the UN Mission in that country. He told Council members that the Libyan constitution-making process has gained increased political significance in recent months, with mounting public pressure on the General National Congress to move expeditiously on forming the constitution drafting body.
- He said that, while the security situation in Libya remains precarious, efforts to reform the security sector have begun to assume greater coherence. But he added that security along Libya’s borders remains a key concern, given the current capacity limitations and the possible impact of recent developments in Mali.
- Mr. Mitri said that the continued detention without due process and mistreatment of several thousand people stemming from the conflict remains a source of deep concern. He said that there has been some progress in the screening and processing of conflict-related detainees, but this has remained limited in scope.
U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF EXPRESSES ALARM AT SPREADING VIOLENCE IN EGYPT
- The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has expressed alarm at the spreading violence and increasing number of deaths in Egypt. She urges all parties to conduct a serious dialogue in order to halt the dangerous polarization underlying the current protests.
- Ms. Pillay also called on the Government to rethink its responses to the unrest, which she said have ranged from excessive use of force on the one hand, to complete failure to protect people, especially women, on the other.
- The High Commissioner called on all sides to refrain from resorting to violence and to resolve their differences peacefully, without compromising the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
- Referring to the state of emergency and curfew declared in the Ismailia, Suez and Port Said districts, the High Commissioner said that this state of emergency should be governed by the rule of law and in line with international standards.
U.N. ENVOY FOR WESTERN SAHARA TO VISIT MOSCOW AFTER CONSULTATIONS IN WASHINGTON
- The Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara, Christopher Ross, held meetings with senior officials of the U.S. Department of State in Washington on Monday and departed on Tuesday for Moscow as the first steps in further consultations with the Group of Friends of Western Sahara.
- In addition to the United States and Russia, the Group of Friends includes France, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
- During his trip, which will extend until February 15, the Personal Envoy will also visit Germany and Switzerland.
- These consultations aim at building additional international support for the Western Sahara negotiations in preparation for the next phase of engagement with the parties and neighbouring states, foreseen for March.
U.N. AGENCY SAYS WORLD RISKS A REPEAT OF 2006 BIRD FLU OUTBREAKS
- The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Tuesday that the world risks a repeat of the disastrous 2006 bird flu outbreaks unless surveillance and control of this and other dangerous animal diseases is strengthened globally.
- The UN Agency said that large reservoirs of the H5N1 virus still exist in some countries in Asia and the Middle East, in which the disease has become endemic. Without adequate controls, it could easily spread globally as it did at its peak in 2006, when 63 countries were affected.
- FAO Chief Veterinary Officer Juan Lubroth said that the continuing international economic downturn means that less money is available for prevention of H5N1 bird flu and other threats of animal origin even though everyone knows that prevention is better than cure.
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATORS MUST BE BROUGHT TO JUSTICE: Asked about reports of human rights violations by Malian forces, the Spokesperson said that any violations of human rights have to be investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice.
ALL JOURNALISTS HAVE RIGHT TO DO THEIR WORK WITHOUT FEAR OF PERSECUTION: Asked about the rights of journalists in Iran, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General believes that all journalists have the right to do their work without fear of persecution.