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Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE PRESS BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY,
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

 

TUESDAY, 1 OCTOBER 2013

 

U.N.- O.P.C.W. JOINT CHEMICAL WEAPONS TEAM ARRIVES IN DAMASCUS

  • An advance team from the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has arrived in Damascus, just four days after the OPCW Executive Council and the UN Security Council unanimously endorsed a plan to send them to Syria to begin the process of overseeing the destruction of the country’s chemical weapons programme.
  • The team, which includes 19 OPCW inspectors and 14 UN staff members, went into Syria over land from the Lebanese capital, Beirut.
  • On arrival, the team established a logistics base for its immediate work. In the coming days, their efforts are expected to focus on verifying information provided by the Syrian authorities and the initial planning phase of helping the country destroy its chemical weapons production facilities.
  • Asked about Syrian refugees, the Spokesperson said it is incumbent on the international community to help those who have fled the Syrian conflict. The countries on Syria’s borders have shown tremendous generosity, he said, adding that the United Nations participated earlier this week in a meeting on the question of how to help Syria’s neighbours deal with Syrian refugees.
  • No one should be made to return to Syria until they feel safe to do so, Nesirky said.
  • Asked about the Syrian opposition, the Spokesperson noted that, when the Secretary-General met with Ahmed al-Jarba and other opposition figures over the weekend, he urged the National Coalition to reach out to other opposition groups and agree on a representative and united delegation.

TERRORISM AND VIOLENCE KILL NEARLY 1,000 IRAQIS IN SEPTEMBER

  • The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) reports that a total of 979 Iraqis were killed and another 2,133 were wounded in acts of terrorism and violence in September.
  • Nickolay Mladenov, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, called upon all political leaders to strengthen their efforts to promote national dialogue and reconciliation.
  • He said that political, religious and civil leaders, as well as the security services, must work together to end the bloodshed and ensure that all Iraqi citizens feel equally protected.

LIBYA: NEW U.N. REPORT SAYS ABUSE OF DETAINEES CONTINUES DESPITE GOVERNMENT’S EFFORTS

  • The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights have issued a report, “Torture and Deaths in Detention in Libya”, which says that the abuse of detainees continues despite the Libyan Government’s efforts to end it. The report recommends swift action to transfer detainees held by armed brigades to effective State control and renewed efforts to build the capacity of the criminal justice system.
  • The report is based on information gathered first-hand during the UN Mission’s visits to nearly 30 detention centres over two years, including information from detainees, family members, officials and civil society, as well as documentation such as medical reports.

U.N. SPECIAL ADVISERS CALL FOR PROTECTION OF POPULATION IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

  • The United Nations Special Advisers on the Prevention of Genocide and on the Responsibility to Protect expressed their deep concern today over the deterioration in the situation in the Central African Republic.
  • Adama Dieng and Jennifer Welsh called on the national transitional authorities to take urgent measures to protect the population against the risk of atrocity crimes and to restore the rule of law and public order.
  • Meanwhile, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said today that it is providing emergency assistance to around 5,500 families newly displaced by recent violence in the northwest of the country.
  • The Agency said that the majority of the displaced are women and children who are now living in deplorable conditions without shelter and also with no access to safe water.
  • There are close to 400,000 people displaced by the fighting in the Central African Republic, including around 170,000 who have been uprooted by the violence in recent weeks.

DARFUR: A.U.-U.N. POLICE ADVISOR DIES, FOLLOWING JULY ATTACK ON PATROL

  • A Police Advisor from Sierra Leone serving with the joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) died in a hospital on Monday. He had been seriously injured in an attack during a patrol on July.
  • The incident, took place on 13 July, also resulted in the killing of seven peacekeepers from Tanzania.

GLOBAL HUNGER DECLINES BUT MILLIONS STILL SUFFERING FROM CHRONIC HUNGER

  • According to a new report released today by the UN food agencies, global hunger is down, but millions of people are still not getting enough food.
  • Some 842 million people suffered from chronic hunger between 2011 and 2013. The number is down from 868 million reported for the 2010-12 period.
  • The vast majority of these people live in developing regions, while 15.7 million live in developed countries.

U.N. REPORT OUTLINES STEPS TO END CHILDHOOD TUBERCULOSIS DEATHS

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) says more than 74,000 deaths can be prevented each year through first-ever action plan developed specifically on tuberculosis (TB) and children, in a report launched on Tuesday.
  • The report, entitled "Roadmap for childhood TB: towards zero deaths", estimates that $120 million per year could have a major impact on saving tens of thousands of children’s lives from TB, including among children infected with both TB and HIV.
  • WHO estimates that every day, more than 200 children under the age of 15 die needlessly from TB – a disease that is preventable and curable. The new roadmap builds on the latest knowledge of the disease and identifies clear actions to prevent these child deaths.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

U.N. COORDINATOR ON CHOLERA IN CLOSE CONTACT WITH HAITIAN AUTHORITIES: Asked about the cholera epidemic in Haiti, the Spokesperson said that there is a senior UN coordinator dealing with cholera, who is in close contact with the Haitian authorities on how to handle cholera in the country.

GRANTING OF VISAS IS MATTER FOR HOST COUNTRY: Asked about the granting of US visas to dignitaries, the Spokesperson said that was a matter for the United States as host country.