HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
THURSDAY, 25 OCTOBER 2012
SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES REPORTED ANNOUNCEMENT OF SUSPENSION OF VIOLENCE IN SYRIA
- Asked about the latest developments in Syria, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General welcomes the reported announcement of the suspension of violence before the Eid holiday. Everyone is watching to see what happens on Friday morning, he added, saying that it is in everyone’s interest for the violence to be halted.
- Nesirky said it is important, first, for all sides to adhere to the suspension of violence, noting that we cannot be sure yet of what will happen.
- Second, he said, should the guns fall silent, humanitarian workers are ready to move in and convoys are ready to each areas that have not been easily accessible because of the fighting. The United Nations would work with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent to provide aid if a suspension of violence is achieved.
- Third, those with influence in the region need to exercise that influence so that the suspension of violence can take hold. The ultimate aim, the Spokesperson said, is to have a ceasefire and political negotiations, so that the aspirations of the Syrian people can be met.
- Asked about reports of the arming of the fighting forces in Syria, the Spokesperson reiterated that any further militarization of the conflict is undesirable.
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO TRAVEL TO REPUBLIC OF KOREA
- The Secretary-General will leave for the Republic of Korea on Saturday, 27 October, arriving on Sunday, 28 October.
- On Monday, 29 October, he will receive the Seoul Peace Prize. The Secretary-General welcomes this as a recognition of the United Nations’ efforts.
- While in Seoul, he will meet with President Lee Myung-bak; Kang Chang-hee, Speaker of the National Assembly; Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik; Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan; and Kim Kum-lae, Minister of Gender Equality and Family.
- On Tuesday, 30 October, the Secretary-General will address the National Assembly on the topic, “The United Nations and Korea: Together, Building the Future We Want.”
- He will also speak on the theme, “Promoting Peace and Development through Sports and the Role of Public Diplomacy,” at the 2012 International Academic Conference. This event is being organized by the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA), the Korean Association of International Studies and the Korea Foundation.
- The Secretary-General will deliver the keynote speeches at both the 22nd Rehabilitation International World Congress and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
- He will also meet with the board of the UN Academic Impact.
- The Secretary-General will return to New York on Wednesday, 31 October.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS HE SAW UNIQUE SENSE OF COMMON PURPOSE IN SUPPORTING MALI AT MEETING IN BAMAKO
- The Deputy Secretary-General gave a press conference in Geneva on Thursday, where he spoke about Syria, Mali and the Millennium Development Goals, among other matters.
- On Mali, he described his visit to Bamako last week, where he said he had seen a unique sense of common purpose among the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the United Nations in supporting the Malian authorities’ efforts to establish constitutional order and national unity. He discussed the UN’s work to support a political process in Mali, as well as its assistance with planning for a possible military mission.
- And the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that more than 5 million people have been affected by the humanitarian crisis in Mali.
MOST RECENT OUTBREAK OF VIOLENCE IN MYANMAR IS DEEPLY TROUBLING, SAYS U.N. SENIOR OFFICIAL
- The Secretary-General’s Special Adviser, Vijay Nambiar, says that the most recent outbreak of violence in Rakhine is deeply troubling.
- A member of his office is in the country and is in touch with authorities on the subject. Mr. Nambiar’s office has expressed its concerns at the possibility of a new spiral of violence which could damage the social fabric in the state and put back the national efforts of and opening up in Myanmar.
- The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar today voiced his grave concern over the situation in Rakhine.
- Ashok Nigam says that access to all affected people is critical and that the UN appeals for immediate and unconditional access to all communities in accordance with humanitarian principles.
MORE FUNDS NEEDED FOR AREAS AFFECTED BY FLOODS IN PAKISTAN, U.N. HUMANITARIAN OFFICE SAYS
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that 1.3 million people in Pakistan are in urgent need of food and safe drinking water following the recent monsoon.
- More funds are required to meet the critical needs in the areas affected by floods. Among them, the World Food Programme (WFP) requires $25 million to continue and to extend food distributions to 700,000 people for two months.
- The United Nations’ Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has allocated US$9.9 million for water, food, shelter and healthcare to 1.3 million people in the seven hardest-hit districts of Balochistan, Punjab and Sindh.
U.N. MISSION CONDUCTING INTERNAL INVESTIGATION INTO THE NAHIBLY CAMP INCIDENT IN COTE D’IVOIRE
- Asked on Wednesday about an incident at the Nahibly camp in Côte d’Ivoire, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations Mission in the country (UNOCI) is conducting an internal investigation into the incident. And after that review, measures will be taken to avoid similar occurrences in the future.
- Nesirky pointed out that only a few police personnel from the UN Mission were inside and ten peacekeepers were stationed outside the camp, when several hundred youths attacked the site. Ivorian security forces bear the primary responsibility for providing security for the Nahibly internally displaced persons site.
- Also asked about the peacekeepers' rules of engagement in the Mission, Nesirky said that as mandated by the Security Council, protection of civilians is a priority for the UN Mission in Côte d’Ivoire. Both the mandate and the rules of engagement are very clear: peacekeepers are authorised to use all necessary means to carry out its mandate, within its capabilities and its areas of deployment. This includes the use of force to protect civilians under imminent threat.
SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES PEOPLE OF LEBANON TO DISSOCIATE THEMSELVES FROM THE INSTABILITY IN THE REGION: Asked about assassination threats against people in Lebanon, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has urged the people of Lebanon to dissociate themselves from the instability in the region. He noted the Secretary-General’s recent phone calls to the Lebanese President and Prime Minister.
SECRETARY-GENERAL SUPPORTS CALL FOR RESTRAINT IN THE MIDDLE EAST: Asked about rocket fire from Gaza to Israel, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has in his past visits to the region seen the damage caused by violence in both Gaza and in Israel. He noted that the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, had called on Wednesday for maximum restraint by all sides and the Secretary-General fully supports that call.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
27 OCTOBER – 2 NOVEMBER 2012
(This document is for planning purposes and is subject to change.)
Saturday, 27 October
Today is World Day for Audiovisual Heritage.
Today, the Secretary-General will depart New York for the Republic of Korea, where he will meet with senior government officials and receive an award, the Seoul Peace Prize.
Sunday, 28 October
There are no major events scheduled for today.
Monday, 29 October
This morning, the Security Council will hold an open debate on women and peace and security – resolution 1325.
At 9:00 a.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference by Evo Morales, President of Bolivia, in the occasion of the Global Launch of the International Year of Quinoa, 2013.
At 1:15 p.m., in Conference Room B of the North Lawn Building (NLB), there will be a briefing on the implementation of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. It will be co-organized by the Permanent Missions of Japan and Mexico, in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).
At 1:15 p.m., at the Church Center for the United Nations (777 United Nations Plaza), there will be a special event on “Targeted sanctions, human rights and due process –– The future of the 1267/1989 Al-Qaida sanctions regime”. It will be co-organized by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Permanent Mission of Germany.
At 1:15 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference by Raquel Rolnik, Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living.
At 2:00 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference by Frank La Rue Lewy, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the rights to freedom of opinion and expression.
At 3:00 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a high-level panel discussion on “International Year of Quinoa 2013”, co-organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Permanent Mission of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, on behalf of the International Committee of Coordination for the International Year of Quinoa (ICC-IYQ) and the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI).
At 6:15 p.m., in the Economic and Social Council Chamber (NLB), there will be a premiere and screening of the documentary “Wild Wealth” co-produced by the Inter-American Development Bank and National Geographic. It will be co-organized by FAO, the Permanent Mission of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, on behalf of the ICC-IYQ.
In Geneva, the 3rd session of the Committee on Enforced Disappearance will begin, ending on 9 November.
In Geneva, the 49th session of the Committee against Torture will begin, ending 23 November.
In Geneva, there will be a press conference on the Conference for Burundi's Development Partners. The speaker will be Gervais Rufyikiri, Vice-President of the Republic of Burundi.
Tuesday, 30 October
This morning, the Security Council will hold a private meeting on the International Court of Justice (ICJ). In the afternoon, the Council will adopt its annual report and a resolution on Somalia.
At 10:15 a.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference to present the “State of the World’s Cities Report 2012-2013”. Speakers will include: Joan Clos, Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), and Eduardo Moreno, Head of the Global Urban Observatory at the UN-HABITAT and the author of the Report.
At 11:00 a.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference by Margaret Sekaggya, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, and Ben Emmerson, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism.
At 12:00 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, John Ging, Director of Operations for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), will be the guest at the Noon Briefing.
At 12:00 p.m., in Conference Room C (NLB), there will a special event on “Prevention of hate speech and incitement to genocide”, co-organized by the Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, the Office of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Permanent Mission of Norway.
At 12:45 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference by Catarina de Albuquerque, Special Rapporteur on the rights to safe drinking water and sanitation.
At 1:15 p.m., in Conference Room 6 (NLB), there will be a special event on “Addressing inequalities in the post-2015 development agenda for water, sanitation and hygiene”. It will be co-organized by the Permanent Mission of Finland, the Office of the Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UN-Women and WaterAid.
At 2:00 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference by Puvan Selvanathan, Chairperson of the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises.
Wednesday, 31 October
This morning, the Security Council will hold closed consultations on the report on the implementation of resolution 1559 (Lebanon).
At 11:00 a.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference by Olivier de Schutter, Special Rapporteur on the right to food.
At 1:15 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference by Kishore Singh, Special Rapporteur on the right to education, and Faria Shaheed, Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights.
At 1:15 p.m., in Conference Room E (NLB), there will be a special event on “Minorities and conflict prevention: Protection before tension”, co-organized by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Permanent Mission of Austria.
At 1:15 p.m., in Conference Room 6 (NLB), there will be a panel discussion on the role and inclusion of local actors in implementing Security Council resolutions 1325 and 1820. It will be co-organized by the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP), the Permanent Mission of Norway and UN-Women.
At 1:15 p.m., in Conference Room 7 (NLB), there will be briefings by the President of the International Criminal Court, Sang-Hyun Song, on “The contribution of the International Court of Justice to the development of the law of the sea” and on “Major issues before the International Criminal Court”.
Thursday, 1 November
Today, India will assume the rotating Presidency of the Security Council for November.
At 11:00 a.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference by Marzuki Darusman, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
At 1:15 p.m., in the Economic and Social Council Chamber (NLB), there will be a special ceremony in observance of World Food Day 2012, organized by FAO.
At 1:15 p.m., in Conference Room 3 (NLB), there will be a panel discussion on female genital mutilation, co-organized by the Permanent Missions of Benin and Burkina Faso and the Permanent Observer Mission of the African Union, in collaboration with the Office of the Permanent Observer of the International Organization of la Francophonie and the International Ban FGM Coalition.
Friday, 2 November
At 12:30 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference by Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri, President of the Security Council for the month of November and Permanent Representative of India.
At 1:15 p.m., in Conference Room E (NLB), there will be a panel discussion on ensuring equal cultural rights for women and girls, organized by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.