HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
FRIDAY, 19 OCTOBER 2012
U.N. AND LEAGUE OF ARAB STATES CALL FOR CEASEFIRE IN SYRIA DURING EID AL ADHA
- In a joint statement issued on Friday, the Secretaries-General of the United Nations and of the League of Arab States appealed to all warring parties in Syria to heed the call of the Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi for a ceasefire and a cessation of all violence in all its forms during the period of Eid Al Adha, to allow the Syrian people to observe this important religious holiday in peace and security. They called on all regional and international actors to support this appeal.
- This step needs to be sustained. It could create the space to allow a peaceful political process that realizes the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people for democracy, equality and justice.
- The longer the violence lasts, the more difficult it will be to find a political solution and rebuild Syria. The Secretaries-General appealed to all, in particular the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic as the stronger party, to show wisdom and vision and stop the killing and destruction so that all the issues, however complex, can be addressed through peaceful means.
- The Secretaries-General called on all Syrian, regional and international parties to take the necessary measures to ensure the success of Mr. Brahimi's efforts.
- Asked about the situation in Syria, the Spokesperson said the Joint Special Representative is exerting a great deal of effort to speak with all key players in the region, and is now in Syria to meet with parties to the conflict.
SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY HAS A MORAL RESPONSIBILITY TO STOP BLOODBATH IN SYRIA
- On Friday morning, the Secretary-General spoke at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, on the theme of “Global Citizenship in a Changing World.”
- He told the students and the audience that there were three tests of global citizenship: sustainable development; empowering the world’s women and young people; and meeting people's aspirations for democracy, peace and security.
- On Syria, the Secretary-General said that the international community had a moral responsibility, a political duty and a humanitarian obligation to stop the bloodbath and find peace for the people of Syria. He called on the Security Council, the countries in the region and all parties to live up to their expectations, support the work of Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi, and promote a ceasefire.
- The Secretary-General departed Des Moines for New York on Thursday afternoon.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS SITUATION IN MALI IS UNACCEPTABLE AT A MEETING IN BAMAKO
- In Bamako on Friday, the Deputy Secretary-General spoke at the meeting of the Support and Follow-up Group on Mali, and he said that, for many reasons, the situation in that country is unacceptable. He said that some 4.6 million people are at risk of food insecurity, while 560,000 children below the age of five are threatened with grave malnutrition. Meanwhile, in the zones that they occupy, terrorist groups are imposing a brutal version of Sharia law.
- The Deputy Secretary-General said that we must help the Malian authorities design and implement a credible political process that addresses the underlying causes of the crisis.
- At the same time, he said, we must help the Malian authorities plan and execute the military operations which may ultimately be required to return the areas occupied by terrorist groups and criminal networks. In doing so, he said, we must ensure that military action does not exacerbate existing tensions or worsen an already fragile humanitarian situation.
- Asked about the situation in Mali, the Spokesperson said that this is a matter for regional cooperation involving the United Nations, the African Union and ECOWAS. The most important thing is that key players are meeting in Mali today to look at not only the planning for potential military operations but also at the political track.
- He added that there is a sizeable United Nations presence in Mali dealing with humanitarian and development issues, and what would be added is a team to help liaise with local authorities and others in working on northern Mali.
U.N. DEPUTY HUMANITARIAN CHIEF SAYS SOUTHERN AFRICA FACING A SILENT FOOD INSECURITY EMERGENCY
- The Deputy Humanitarian Chief, Catherine Bragg, wrapped up her five-day visit to southern Africa on Friday, and she called on countries and partners in the region to strengthen their efforts to work together to promote disaster preparedness and tackle food insecurity. She said that Southern Africa is facing a silent food insecurity emergency.
- Food insecurity continues to be a chronic problem in southern Africa, particularly in Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. Across the region, more than 5.5 million people in eight countries face food shortages due to the impact of recurrent natural disasters such as droughts and floods, and rising food prices.
- Asked about the situation in Southern Africa, the Spokesperson said that food insecurity continues to be a chronic problem and that it has been a silent emergency that must be addressed urgently by the international community.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS BOMBING IN BEIRUT: Asked about the bombing in Beirut, the Spokesperson said the Secretary-General has been briefed on this attack and strongly condemns it.
SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES THE LIFTING OF ANY KIND OF RESTRICTION IN CUBA: Asked about the lifting of exit permits by the Cuban Government, the Spokesperson said the Secretary-General agrees with the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, who has said that the lifting of any kind of restriction is welcome. He also agrees with her recommendation that the Cuban government should open up the country to international human rights cooperation by allowing in Special Rapporteurs.
***The guests at the Noon Briefing were Yukio Takasu, Under-Secretary-General for Management, and Maria Eugenia Casar, the Controller and Assistant Secretary-General for the Office of Programme Planning, Budgets and Accounts.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
20 – 26 OCTOBER 2012
(This document is for planning purposes and is subject to change.)
Saturday, 20 October
There are no major events scheduled for today.
Sunday, 21 October
There are no major events scheduled for today.
Monday, 22 October
At 12:00 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, will be the guest at the Noon Briefing.
At 1:15 p.m., in Conference Room 6 of the North Lawn Building (NLB), there will be a briefing on external debt sustainability and development. It will be organized by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
In Geneva, the 14th session of the Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review Working Group will begin, ending on 15 November.
In Geneva, there will be a press conference on the situation in Syria and the World Food Programme’s response in neighbouring countries. The speaker will be Daly Belgasmi, WFP Regional Director for the Middle East, Central Asia and Eastern Europe.
Tuesday, 23 October
At 11:00 a.m., at the North Lawn Building Stakeout, the Secretary-General will present her prize to Ms. Haruka Shoji, the winner of the UN Art for Peace Contest, and a copy of the winner’s artwork to Ambassador Tsuneo Nishida, Permanent Representative of Japan.
At 1:15 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference by human rights experts on torture.
At 1:15 p.m., in Conference Room 7 (NLB), there will be a panel discussion on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons. It will be organized by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), with the support of the Permanent Mission of Switzerland.
In Geneva, there will be a press conference on global investment trends by James Zhan, Director of the Division on Investment and Enterprise of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
Wednesday, 24 October
Today is United Nations Day.
Today is World Development Information Day.
This morning, the Security Council will hold closed consultations on Côte d’Ivoire sanctions. In the afternoon, the Council will hear a briefing on the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), followed by closed consultations on the same topic.
At 11:00 a.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference by Chaloka Beyani, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights of internally displaced persons.
At 1:15 p.m., in Conference Room 7 (NLB), there will be a panel discussion on the evolution of the mandate of the human rights of internally displaced persons. It will be co-organized by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Permanent Missions of Norway and Uganda.
At 4:00 p.m., there will be a press conference by Ahmed Shaheed, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran.
Thursday, 25 October
At 11:00 a.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference by Heiner Bielefeldt, Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief.
At 1:15 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference by the Special Rapporteurs on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian occupied territories and in Myanmar.
At 3:00 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference by the Special Rapporteurs on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions and enforced disappearances.
In Geneva, the Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson will brief the press on major political and development-related issues.
In Geneva, the fourth meeting of States parties to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture will take place.
Friday, 26 October
Today is an official holiday at United Nations Headquarters in New York.