HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY EDUARDO DEL BUEY
DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
FRIDAY, 2 NOVEMBER 2012
SECRETARY-GENERAL OFFERS CONDOLENCES TO VICTIMS OF HURRICANE SANDY
- In a statement issued yesterday, the Secretary-General offered condolences to the millions of people who have been severely affected by Hurricane Sandy in the United States and the Caribbean region.
- The Secretary-General has written to President Obama, and has spoken to the Presidents of Haiti and the Dominican Republic and Mayor Bloomberg of New York City, to express his solidarity at this time of crisis and to pledge the assistance of the United Nations, if requested, in the recovery effort.
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that assessment data is coming in -- providing a better picture of the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the Caribbean region.
- In Haiti, some 60 people were killed and overall 1.8 million people have been affected. The most vulnerable internally displaced persons in the camps, mainly in Port-au-Prince, were evacuated before the storm and many of these evacuees have now returned home, although 1,500 people remain in 15 hurricane shelters.
- Preliminary estimates showed that food security had been acutely affected, with up to two million people at risk of malnutrition.
- The World Food Programme (WFP) and partners are distributing food aid to those affected, mostly in the form of high-energy biscuits. Drinking water, water purification supplies, hygiene kits and other non-food items are also being distributed by Government and UN partners.
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that an emergency revision of the Consolidated Appeal (CAP) is being considered to accommodate increased needs.
- In Cuba, half a million people had been affected, according to estimates. 375 health centres and several hospitals were damaged, as were 2,100 schools. Crops have been damaged and remote communities are cut off because of road and bridge damage.
- UN agencies are working closely with national and local authorities, donors and emergency organizations to support national efforts. An Emergency Cash Grant of US$100,000 has been approved and a request for Central Emergency Response Fund is under preparation.
- In the Dominican Republic, three people were reported killed and some 11,000 people displaced, either in official shelters or staying with relatives. And in the Bahamas, two deaths were reported and a total of 130 shelters have been established.
- Yesterday afternoon, the Secretary-General visited the damaged parts of the building. He inspected the work that has been done to date. He congratulated and thanked staff for the hard work to get the building back to normal after Hurricane Sandy.
- Asked about work conditions at the UN complex, the Spokesperson said that UN workers were doing an admirable job in removing debris. He said that the United Nations would look at workplace conditions as staff return to work.
BAHRAIN: SECRETARY-GENERAL VOICES CONCERN OVER RESTRICTIONS ON PUBLIC DEMONSTRATIONS
- In a statement, the Secretary-General expressed his concern about the restrictions on public demonstrations and other public gatherings declared by authorities in Bahrain on 30 October. He reiterates his appeal to the Bahraini authorities to abide fully by international human rights standards, including respect for freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and association.
- The Secretary-General believes these restrictions could aggravate the situation in the country and urges the Government of Bahrain to lift them without delay.
- The Secretary-General also calls on protesters to ensure that any demonstrations are, in fact, peaceful. Recent violence that reportedly killed two police officers is unacceptable.
- The Secretary-General again calls on the Bahraini Government to complete the full implementation of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry’s recommendations. He reaffirms his belief that there needs to be an all inclusive and meaningful national dialogue that addresses the legitimate aspirations of all Bahrainis, as this is the only way towards greater stability and prosperity for all Bahrainis.
U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY SAYS MORE PEOPLE DISPLACED IN MALI THAN PREVIOUSLY REPORTED
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said today that new data is showing a higher number of internally displaced people than previously reported in Mali.
- At least 203,845 people are currently displaced. Previously, the estimate was 118,795 people.
- The Refugee Agency said that the revised figure reflects in part better access to areas in the north of Mali, as well as improved counting of internally displaced people in Bamako.
- There have also been indications of actual new displacement, with people reported to be fleeing because of general insecurity and a deteriorating human rights situation in the north of the country, fear of imminent military activity, and because of loss of livelihoods and limited access to basic services.
- New refugee arrivals are also being seen in neighbouring countries.
U.N. WESTERN SAHARA ENVOY ON REGIONAL TOUR
- Asked about the travels by the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara, Christopher Ross, the Spokesperson said that Mr. Ross began his visit to North Africa and Europe in Rabat on 27 October, where he met His Majesty King Mohammed VI and a wide range of interlocutors, including senior government officials, political party leaders, and civil society representatives.
- On 31 October, he arrived in Western Sahara, where he has been holding similar meetings and visiting MINURSO in Laayoune and at two field team sites.
- The Personal Envoy will be continuing his trip with visits to Algeria, Mauritania, and the refugee camps near Tindouf, where he will meet with the Polisario leadership and Sahrawi personalities. At the end of his trip, he will hold consultations in Madrid and Paris.
- Upon his return to New York, he will report to the Secretary-General and brief the Security Council.
SECURITY COUNCIL ADOPTS MONTHLY PROGRAMME OF WORK, STARTS MISSION TO TIMOR-LESTE: The Security Council adopted its programme of work for the month today. India holds the rotating presidency of the Council for the month of November. Also, the Council started last night a seven-day mission to Timor-Leste, led by Ambassador Baso Sangqu of South Africa. The mission seeks to underscore the international community’s long-term commitment to sustainable peace and development in the country.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR URGENT ACTION TO CONTROL LAWLESSNESS IN MYANMAR: Asked about the violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, the Spokesperson said that, while the Secretary-General notes the clear recognition at the highest political levels in Myanmar of the need to contain this communal violence, he calls on the authorities to take urgent and effective action to bring under control all cases of lawlessness.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
3 NOVEMBER – 9 NOVEMBER 2012
(This document is for planning purposes and is subject to change.)
Saturday, 3 November
There are no major events scheduled for today.
Sunday, 4 November
There are no major events scheduled for today.
Monday, 5 November
At 10:00 a.m., in the General Assembly Hall, there will be a plenary meeting of the General Assembly on the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
At 1:15 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference by Mutama Ruteere, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.
Tuesday, 6 November
Today is the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict.
This morning, the Security Council will hold closed consultations on the situation in Syria.
Wednesday, 7 November
This morning, the Security Council will hear a briefing on Libya by the International Criminal Court (ICC). In the afternoon, the Council will hold consultations on the 751/1907 Sanctions Committee on Eritrea and Somalia.
At 1:15 p.m., in Conference Room 1 of the North Lawn Building (NLB), there will be a briefing on the Secretary General’s High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. It will be co-organized by the Office of the President of the General Assembly and the Permanent Missions of Indonesia, Liberia and the United Kingdom.
Thursday, 8 November
This morning, the Security Council will hear a briefing on the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and on Libya sanctions, followed by closed consultations on the same topics. In the afternoon the Council will hold closed consultations on illicit trafficking.
Friday, 9 November
At 3:00 p.m., at the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea (335 East 45th Street), there will be a briefing on “The Global Green Growth Institute” (GGGI). It will be co-organized by the Permanent Missions of Denmark, Mexico and the Republic of Korea.