Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world.

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY MARTIN NESIRKY, SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

TUESDAY, 04 OCTOBER 2011

SOMALIA: U.N. OFFICIALS SPEAK OUT AGAINST DEADLY ATTACK

  • The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Augustine Mahiga, has strongly condemned a suicide bomb attack at a Transitional Federal Government complex in south Mogadishu.

  • The attack killed scores of people and wounded many more .

  • Mr. Mahiga said he is deeply saddened by the “senseless and cowardly” attack, calling the actions “unacceptable.”

  • The murder of ordinary Somalis cannot be justified for any reason, he stressed.

  • The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, has condemned the attack in the strongest possible terms.

SECURITY COUNCIL ADOPTS OCTOBER PROGRAMME OF WORK

  • On Tuesday morning, the Security Council adopted its Programme of Work for the month of October.

  • In the afternoon, the Security Council is scheduled to meet on the situation in the Middle East.

SITUATION IN HORN OF AFRICA NOT IMPROVING, SAYS U.N. HUMANITARIAN ARM

  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that, despite the efforts of humanitarian agencies, the situation in the Horn of Africa is not improving, with 750,000 people in Somalia at risk of death without urgent intervention.

  • OCHA adds that the nutrition situation in Somalia’s southern regions is likely to continue to deteriorate through November and famine could spread and reach the southern regions of Gedo and Juba by December 2011.

  • Meanwhile, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) is very concerned by the latest escalation of violence in southern Somalia, which is further exacerbating the severe humanitarian situation.

  • UNHCR is especially worried about the fighting and worsening situation around the town of Dobley, on the Somali-Kenyan border, the main transit point for Somalis en route to Dadaab refugee camps.

  • According to UNHCR, relentless fighting, human rights abuses, crippling drought and famine had forced more than 300,000 Somalis to leave their country since the beginning of the year.  Two-thirds of this number have fled over the past four months alone. 

BULGARIA: U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS CONCERNED BY ANTI-ROMA DEMONSTRATIONS

  • The UN Human Rights Office is deeply concerned about anti-Roma demonstrations occurring in Bulgaria since late last month, when an ethnic Bulgarian youth was run over and killed by a van reportedly belonging to a local Roma.

  • The Office says it regrets the death of the young man, voicing hope that if the driver is culpable, he will be brought to justice in accordance with the law.

  • The hate speech that has been fuelling the anti-Roma protests in Bulgaria is of great concern, the Office says. It is unacceptable for an entire community to be targeted for an offence allegedly committed by an individual.

  • The Office calls on Bulgarian authorities at the highest political level to publicly restate the principle of individual criminal responsibility. The political leadership must take a strong stance against hate speech and ensure that police officers continue to be deployed in sufficient numbers to protect Roma neighbourhoods from threats of retribution and harassment.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

UN REITERATES QUARTET’S CALL TO AVOID PROVOCATIVE ACTIONS: Asked about the recent attack by Israeli extremists on a mosque, the Spokesperson said that, as he had mentioned before, the Quartet statement does mention the need for all sides to avoid provocative actions, and that obviously is referring to the parties concerned. That same sentiment also applies to the wider community in both cases, and certainly an attack of that kind is extremely unhelpful at this point.

CYPRUS LEADERS HOLD TALKS AHEAD OF MEETING WITH SECRETARY-GENERAL: The leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities discussed their next phase of negotiations ahead of their meeting with the Secretary-General later this month. The leaders’ next meeting will be on Friday, 7 October.

*** The guest at the Noon Briefing was Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, who briefed reporters on her recent trip to Haiti.

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

United Nations, SA-1B15

New York, NY 10017

Tel. 212-963-7162

Fax. 212-963-7055