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

THURSDAY, 17 NOVEMBER 2011

IN INDONESIA, SECRETARY-GENERAL HIGHLIGHTS HEALTH, EFFORTS TO TACKLE DEFORESTATION

  • The Secretary-General visited the Central Kalimantan region of Borneo in Indonesia today. His first stop there was at a health clinic, where he immunized a child against polio and met with health workers and pregnant women.

  • The Secretary-General then received a briefing on REDD+, an initiative to tackle deforestation, from the Governor of Central Kalimantan. He also attended the opening of the UN Office for the Coordination of Indonesia REDD+.

  • He also met with representatives of communities affected by deforestation in the village of Kalampangan.

  • Before departing for Bali, the Secretary-General held a press conference, where he told journalists that while the REDD+ initiative can play an effective role in engaging developing countries in the global fight against climate change, it is not a substitute for deep greenhouse gas emissions reductions in developed countries.

SECRETARY-GENERAL EMPHASIZES IMPORTANCE OF DIALOGUE AND RECONCILIATION, AFTER LIBERIAN ELECTIONS

  • In a statement issued late yesterday, the Secretary-General congratulated the Liberian people for exercising their right to vote in that run-off election and commended the national authorities for conducting free, fair and transparent elections.

  • The Secretary-General calls upon the Liberian stakeholders to accept the outcome of the elections and to work together to resolve any outstanding issues. He emphasizes the importance of a continued dialogue on national reconciliation.

  • The Security Council is holding consultations today on the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). Council members received a briefing by videoconference from Special Representative Ellen Löj on the presidential run-off election that took place last week.

HUMANITARIAN CHIEF CALLS FOR PROTECTION OF CIVILIANS IN ESCALATING CRISES WORLDWIDE

  • The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, says that there has been an alarming escalation in several crises in recent weeks. She adds that this has had severe consequences for the safety and well-being of millions of men, women and children and has also reduced the ability of humanitarian actors to help them.

  • Citing the situations in Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan, Yemen and Syria, Ms. Amos says that civilians bear the brunt of these and many other crises.

  • She reminds all parties of their obligations, under international humanitarian law, to respect and protect civilians, and to spare them from the effect of hostilities.

  • She adds that aid agencies must also be granted free and unimpeded access to people in need, so they can do their work.

  • Asked about the development of a list of criteria for protecting civilians, the Spokesperson mentioned the concept of the responsibility to protect has been made operational this year, notably in Côte d'Ivoire and Libya. While there are bedrock principles, it would be up to Member States to decide on the specific mandates for such interventions.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

FORMER RWANDA MAYOR FOUND GUITLTY OF GENOCIDE BY INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNAL: The former Mayor of the Kivumu Commune in Rwanda was found guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity today at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. The Tribunal’s trial chamber sentenced the mayor, Grégoire Ndahimana, to 15 years in prison.

FORMER YUGOSLAVIA TRIBUNAL APPOINTS EXPERT FOR MEDICAL EXAM OF RATKO MLADIC: In The Hague, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia said today that it had ordered its registry to appoint a medical expert to conduct a complete medical examination of Ratko Mladic. That expert is to report back no later than 6 December.

U.N.D.P. TRIPLES STAFF IN IRAQ: A senior United Nations Development Programme official, Amat Al Alim Alsoswa, concluded a visit to Baghdad today, where she announced an increased presence of staff in Iraq and confirmed a renewed commitment to the Iraqi people through enhanced partnership and cooperation. She said that UNDP has tripled the number of staff based in Iraq to 44, with further increases planned in the next year.

SECRETARY-GENERAL HAS SUPPORTED PEACEFUL PROTESTS WORLDWIDE: Asked about protests yesterday in Kuwait, the Spokesperson said that peaceful protests should be allowed anywhere. It is important for leaders to listen to the voice of the people. Asked about Occupy Wall Street protests, the Spokesperson said that the right to peaceful protest is universal -- it applies everywhere. The rule of law is an important principle as well. Aspects of what happened in lower Manhattan are before the courts, however, and it would not be appropriate to discuss them.

CONTINUITY, CHANGE EXPECTED FOR SECOND TERM: Asked about possible changes to senior ranks in the Secretariat, the Spokesperson said that there is likely to be a mix of change and continuity in the Secretary-General's second-term team, but that it would not be appropriate to speculate at this point.

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