HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY, SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
THURSDAY, 24 OCTOBER 2013
SECRETARY-GENERAL CELEBRATES U.N. DAY IN TIMES SQUARE
- It was United Nations Day on Thursday. In the morning, the Secretary-General was in Times Square, in New York, along with United Nations staff who handed out UN promotional material to passers-by. They were also there to watch as the Nasdaq billboard displayed the UN messages. That was around 10 o’clock in the morning, and those messages were expected to be repeated on that billboard just after 4:25 pm.
- In his message for the day, the Secretary-General says that United Nations Day is a chance to recognize how much the Organization contributes to peace and common progress, but it is also a time to reflect on what more we can do to realize our vision for a better world for all.
- Asked about how UN Day is being promoted worldwide, the Spokesperson said the Day marks how UN staff, the vast majority of whom are in the field, carry out practical work, often in very difficult circumstances.
SECURITY COUNCIL HOLDS CONSULTATIONS ON SUDAN AND SOUTH SUDAN, SANCTIONS ON COTE D’IVOIRE
- The Security Council held consultations on Thursday morning on the situation in Sudan and South Sudan and on sanctions in Cote d’Ivoire.
- In the afternoon, Council members were expected to discuss the implementation of resolution 1559, concerning Lebanon.
U.N. MISSION IN D.R. CONGO CALLS ON ALL ACTORS TO STOP CHILD RECRUITMENT BY ARMED GROUPS
- The UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) says it is extremely concerned about persistent reports of child recruitment by armed groups in the country. It calls on all actors to help stop and prevent this grave violation against children.
- According to a report published today, almost 1,000 cases of child recruitment by armed groups were verified by MONUSCO between 1 January last year and 31 August this year, predominantly in North Kivu.
- Children who were victim of recruitment within the ranks of these armed groups were also victims and witnesses of other grave child rights violations, such as rape, abduction, killing and maiming.
SUDAN: U.N. HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR WELCOMES AGREEMENT TO START POLIO VACCINATION CAMPAIGN
- The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Ali Al-Za'tari, has welcomed the official confirmation of the Government of Sudan's agreement that a polio vaccination campaign will start on 5 November in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.
- No polio vaccination programmes have taken place in these areas so far.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have put in place plans to vaccinate children under the age of five in these areas.
U.N. HUMANITARIAN OFFICE SAYS WOUNDED PEOPLE EVACUATED DURING VIOLENCE IN SOUTH SUDAN’S JONGLEI
- In South Sudan, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that during the inter-communal violence earlier this week in Twic County, in Jonglei State, humanitarian organizations evacuated nearly 50 wounded people for medical treatment.
- They are now preparing to respond to other urgent needs resulting from the violence.
- Meanwhile, some 150,000 people are in need of assistance in seven states across the country following severe flooding. Humanitarian organizations continue to reach tens of thousands of people with aid and have already delivered food assistance and other essential household items. But impassable roads are making it hard to reach some communities.
SOLUTION TO THE NAME ISSUE IS IN THE INTEREST OF GREECE, FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA – U.N.
- Asked about the talks between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Spokesperson said that a solution to the so-called “name” issue is in the interest of both countries, as well as to the Western Balkans as a whole.
- He added that the Secretary-General sincerely hopes that these discussions will pave the way for serious negotiations on finding a mutually acceptable resolution to the “name” issue. The Spokesperson also noted that the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy, Matthew Nimetz, is holding talks with the Representatives of the two countries.