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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, 31 JANUARY 2012

SECRETARY-GENERAL HOPES SECURITY COUNCIL WILL SPEAK IN UNITED WAY ON SYRIA

The Secretary-General arrived in Jordan this morning.

He has held talks with King Abdullah, the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister.

The Secretary-General thanked the King and Government for Jordan’s efforts to promote Israeli-Palestinian talks. They also discussed the crisis in Syria.

At a press conference with the Foreign Minister, the Secretary-General said the Security Council meeting on Syria was crucially important.

He said he sincerely hoped Council Members would be really united this time, and speak and act in a coherent manner reflecting the wishes of the international community and the Syrian people.

The Secretary-General again appealed for the killing and bloodshed in Syria to stop immediately.

The Security Council is meeting on the situation in Syria this afternoon at 3 p.m. And that’s an open session.

In answer to a question on the Secretary-General's repeated calls for the bloodshed to end in Syria, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General had noted at a press conference in Amman today that the crisis in Syria had affected all three pillars of the United Nations Charter - peace and security, development and human rights.

He said that the Secretary-General had said he hoped the Security Council would act in a coherent and united way.

Nesirky also said that the discussion today in the Security Council was a sign of the significance that many Member States attached to this matter

FURTHER STEPS TAKEN FOR VOLUNTARY RELOCATION OF CAMP ASHRAF RESIDENTS

The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) says that further steps have been achieved in the implementing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the United Nations and the Government of Iraq on 25 December 2011 the situation of the residents of Camp New Iraq -- formerly Camp Ashraf.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Human Rights Office of the Mission in the country have now confirmed that the infrastructure and facilities at new site, Camp Liberty, are in accordance with the international humanitarian standards stipulated in the Memorandum.

The Mission also says that UN monitors are ready to start round-the-clock human rights monitoring during the transport of residents from camp New Iraq as well as upon their arrival at camp Liberty.

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Martin Kobler, welcomed this further step to ensure that the proper conditions are in place for voluntary relocation.

CHIEF OF HUMAN RIGHTS’ OFFICE CALLS FOR JUSTICE FOR VICTIMS OF DUVALIER REGIME

The Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) says it is extremely disappointed at reports that former Haitian President Jean-Claude Duvalier may face charges only of financial corruption rather than ones relating to serious human rights violations.

The Office says that these violations, including torture, rape, and extra-judicial killings have been extensively documented by Haitian and international human rights organizations.

The High Commissioner has consistently reminded Haiti of its absolute obligation to investigate these well-documented serious human rights violations and to prosecute those responsible for them.

The Office for the High Commissioner is urging the relevant authorities to ensure that justice is, belatedly, delivered to the many victims of human rights abuses committed under the government of Mr. Duvalier.

2011 DEADLIEST REACH FOR MIGRANTS CROSSING MEDITERRANEAN SEA

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, estimates that more than 1,500 people drowned or went missing while attempting to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe in

2011. This makes 2011 the deadliest year for this region since UNHCR started to record these statistics in 2006.

The agency adds that last year was also a record for the number of arrivals in Europe via the Mediterranean -- with more than 58,000 people arriving.

The majority of last year’s arrivals by sea landed in Italy. Most were migrants, not asylum-seekers, according to the agency.

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