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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

THURSDAY, 6 JANUARY 2011

 

U.N. PANEL MONITORING SUDAN SELF-DETERMINATION REFERENDA ARRIVES IN KHARTOUM

  • Members of the Secretary-General’s Panel tasked with monitoring the upcoming referendum on self-determination in Sudan have arrived in Khartoum. The three-member Panel will be traveling around the country this month as they monitor the polling, counting and aggregation of results phases of the referendum on the future of Southern Sudan.
     

  • They will also meet with key stakeholders, including senior officials from the Government of Sudan, the Government of Southern Sudan, the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission, international and domestic observer groups and the diplomatic community.

 

TOP U.N. PEACEKEEPING OFFICIAL BRIEFS SECURITY COUNCIL ON UPCOMING SUDAN REFERENDA

  • Alain Le Roy, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, briefed the Security Council this morning on the preparations for the referendum on Southern Sudan that is to begin on 9 January.
     

  • Some 3.9 million voters have been registered to take part in the referendum. The polling is expected to end on 15 January, and the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission is expected to declare the final results on or about 6 February.

 

U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF URGES SUDANESE AUTHORITIES TO ENSURE VOTERS’ RIGHTS RESPECTED IN REFERENDA

  • UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has called on the authorities in both northern and southern Sudan to ensure that Sunday’s start to the crucial vote on the future status of South Sudan “is not marred by any abuses of voters’ rights before, during or after the referendum.”
     

  • “This is a critical moment in Sudan’s history,” Pillay said. “It is essential that the vote is free and fair, and that the national Government and the Government of Southern Sudan take swift and effective measures to halt any attempts to intimidate any groups or individuals, or to subvert the result.”

 

WORKING TOWARDS MORE SECURE AND STABLE ENVIRONMENT TOP PRIORITY FOR 2011, SAYS DARFUR ENVOY

  • The Joint Special Representative of the African Union-UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), Ibrahim Gambari, told mission staff in El Fasher, North Darfur, that their key priorities for 2011 will be to continue working towards a more secure and stable environment, including the protection of the civilian population.
     

  • He urged the staff to continue to support the Darfur peace and political process and the search for a comprehensive political and inclusive settlement which addresses the root causes of the conflict in Darfur.
     

  • This should include supporting the process of voluntary return of internally displaced persons and refugees to their homes, so that they can start living a normal life, Mr. Gambari said. He also emphasized that security remains a top concern.

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL HAS TAKEN NOTE OF IVORIAN PRESIDENT’S CALL FOR ACCOUNTABILITY

  • Asked whether Alassane Ouattara had written the Secretary-General to ask for a UN investigation into human rights violations in Côte d’Ivoire, the Spokesperson said that he could not confirm that a letter had been received. However, he noted that, in their phone conversation on 1 January, the Secretary-General took note of President Ouattara’s call during their conversation for an early International Criminal Court investigation as a credible signal for accountability.
     

  • Asked about diplomatic efforts, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations supports the diplomatic process that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and African Union have been pursuing. The Secretary-General is in close contact with ECOWAS and the African Union.
     

  • Asked about power-sharing, the Spokesperson made clear that the Secretary-General has said that the will of the people must be respected. Power-sharing, he said, is not an option.
     

  • Nesirky noted that the UN Mission (UNOCI) is doing all that it can to fulfil the mandate it has been given by the Security Council.

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL REMAINS CONCERNED ABOUT SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN HAITI

  • Asked about a report concerning rapes in camps for displaced people in Haiti, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General remains concerned about sexual violence in Haiti, including in the camps for displaced Haitians. The Deputy Secretary-General visited the camps last year to underscore UN support for the people in the camps, including women and girls.
     

  • Nesirky said that there have been stepped-up patrols in the camps, with UN peacekeepers doing their best, along with the Haitian National Police, to be present there.
     

  • The Secretary-General this morning held a videoconference with the UN Mission (MINUSTAH) to receive an update on recent developments, including on sexual violence, Nesirky said.

 

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL KEENLY AWARE OF RISING FOOD PRICES: Asked about the rising cost of food worldwide, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General is keenly aware of rising food prices, which have been reported by the Food and Agriculture Organization. Nesirky recalled that the Secretary-General and the UN system acted to deal with high food prices two years ago and would be prepared to act again once the right course of action has been decided.

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL DISCUSSES MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS WITH EUROPEAN, ARAB DIPLOMATS: Asked about the Middle East peace process and the role of the Quartet, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General spoke this morning with European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton and League of Arab States Secretary-General Amr Moussa on those topics.

 

 

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