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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 VANNINA MAESTRACCI, ASSOCIATE SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

TUESDAY, 11 OCTOBER 2011

DARFUR: SECRETARY-GENERAL STRONGLY CONDEMNS DEADLY ATTACKS AGAINST AFRICAN UNION-U.N. PEACEKEEPERS

  • The Secretary-General strongly condemns the attack on 10 October against peacekeepers of the African Union-United Nations Joint Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) in which two military personnel and one police advisor were killed and six peacekeepers were injured, three of them seriously.

  • The attack, by unidentified armed men, took place near the Zam Zam internally displaced persons camp in North Darfur while the peacekeepers were undertaking a confidence-building patrol.

  • The Secretary-General extends to the families of the deceased his deepest sympathy.  The Secretary-General appeals to the Sudanese authorities to investigate the incident and to bring to justice the perpetrators as soon as possible.

  • Ibrahim Gambari, the Joint Special Representative and head of UNAMID, has also spoken out against the attack.
                                                                           

BAN KI-MOON ADDRESSED GREEN GROWN FORUM IN DANISH CAPITAL

  • The Secretary-General arrived on Tuesday morning in Copenhagen, where he addressed the Global Green Growth Forum, also called the “3GF.” He said these three Gs must respond to social, economic and environmental challenges equally. We need to marshal all forces to power progress in a way that protects our planet and promotes the welfare of all people, he said.

  • The Secretary-General went to the Royal Palace where he had an audience with Queen Margrethe II.

  • At the Ministry of Defence, he also held separate meetings with Defence Minister and the Minister for Climate, Energy and Buildings.

  • The Secretary-General also had a working lunch with Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt in her office; he spoke to reporters afterwards.

  • The Secretary-General then toured the UN City in Copenhagen and met with United Nations staff there.

  • He later went to the Foreign Ministry for separate meetings with the Foreign Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation.

  • In the afternoon, the Secretary-General met with the former President of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Mohammad Bedjaoui.

  • On Tuesday evening, the Secretary-General is scheduled to attend a dinner for participants in the Global Green Growth Forum.

MILLIONS STRUGGLING TO SURVIVE IN YEMEN, WARNS U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF

  • Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos says that for far too long, the international community has failed to give enough attention to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

  • Conflict, poverty, drought, soaring food prices and collapsing state services have created a daily struggle for survival for millions of people in Yemen, she said.

  • On Libya, Ms. Amos said yesterday that she is extremely concerned by the impact on civilians of intense fighting in and around the city of Sirte.

  • She called on all parties to spare civilians from the effects of hostilities and to comply with international humanitarian law.

EUROPEAN UNION, SECURITY ISSUES TOP CYPRUS TALKS

  • The leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities met on Tuesday, and their talks focused on the European Union, economy and internal security issues.

  • Speaking to reporters afterwards, Alexander Downer, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser, said it was a productive meeting and that they are looking forward to continuing the constructive process.

  • The leaders will meet again on Friday, 14 October.

SENIOR OFFICIALS APPOINTED FOR KOSOVO, U.N.-HABITAT

  • The Secretary-General announced two senior appointments today.

  • Farid Zarif of Afghanistan has been named as his Special Representative for Kosovo and Head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). Mr. Zarif succeeds Mr. Lamberto Zannier of Italy.

  • Aisa Kirabo Kacyira of Rwanda has been appointed as Deputy Executive Director and Assistant Secretary-General for UN-HABITAT.  She succeeds Inga Björk-Klevby in the position.

SAUDI ARABIA: U.N. RIGHTS OFFICE SOUNDS ALARM AT PUBLIC EXECUTION

  • The UN Human Rights Office is deeply distressed at the public execution in Saudi Arabia last week of ten men, eight of whom were foreign migrant workers.

  • The Office notes that of the nearly 60 people reportedly executed in the country this year, 20 were migrant workers.

  • It calls on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and all other States that still maintain the death penalty to respect international standards that provide safeguards to ensure protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty.

  • Some 140 of the 193 UN Member States are believed to have abolished the death penalty or introduced a moratorium, either legally or in practice.

  • The UN Human Rights Office calls on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to join these states and establish a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.

U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS ARM CONCERNED BY UPTICK IN WEST BANK VIOLENCE

  • The UN Human Rights Office is concerned about a spike in violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank since the beginning of September.

  • In particular, the Office is concerned about the situation in the village of Qusra in the West Bank, which has been targeted by settlers at least six times in the past six weeks.

  • The attacks are emblematic of the phenomenon of settler violence throughout the West Bank, it said, noting that a mosque was torched, hundreds of trees were cut down, and a Palestinian civilian was killed following the intervention of an Israeli Defence Force unit.

  • The Office calls on the Government of Israel to fulfill its obligation under international human rights and international humanitarian law to protect Palestinian civilians and property in the occupied Palestinian territory.

  • Most needs to be done to effectively prevent attacks by settlers against Palestinian civilians. When they do occur, they should be properly investigated by the Israeli authorities.

AFGHANISTAN: OPIUM CULTIVATION ON UPSWING, SAYS U.N. DRUG OFFICE

  • Opium crop cultivation in Afghanistan has climbed 7 per cent due to insecurity and high prices, according to a new report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the country’s Ministry of Counter Narcotics.

  • The amount of opium produced has risen from 3,600 metric tons in 2010 to 5,800 metric tons in 2011.

  • The Office’s Executive Director, Yury Fedotov, urged Afghan institutions to increase seizure rates and to continue with eradication programmes.

  • The total number of hectares eradicated has increased by 65 per cent this year, but that area represents only 3 per cent of the total cultivation area.

FOR FIRST TIME, TUBERCULOSIS ON DECLINE, REPORTS WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that for the first time, the number of people falling ill with tuberculosis each year is declining.

  • New data also shows that the number of people dying from the disease fell to its lowest level in a decade.

  • However, the World Health Organization warns that progress is at risk from under-funding.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS ON SUDAN, BRIEFED ON YEMEN: The Security Council held closed consultations this morning on the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA).Jamal Benomar, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for Yemen, also briefed the Council.

SECRETARY-GENERAL EXPECTS IMPARTIAL PROCEEDINGS FOR FORMER UKRAINIAN LEADER: Asked about the Secretary-General’s reaction to the trial of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, the Associate Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has noted the concerns voiced widely regarding the judicial proceedings involving the former Ukrainian Prime Minister and other officials. The Secretary-General expects the judicial proceedings, currently still ongoing, to be conducted in a fair and impartial manner and to follow due process.

***The guest at the Noon Briefing was Angela Kane, Under-Secretary-General for Management, who gave an update on the financial situation of the Organization.

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