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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

TUESDAY, 22 NOVEMBER 2011

SECRETARY-GENERAL LAUNCHES “RIO=20: THE FUTURE WE WANT” CAMPAIGN AHEAD OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE

  • This morning, the Secretary-General participated in the launch of a new campaign called “Rio+20: The Future We Want.” He stressed the importance of sustainable development in addressing the numerous challenges the world faces.

  • He also addressed the Peacebuilding Fund’s high-level stakeholders meeting. There, he emphasized the role of the United Nations in supporting local efforts to prevent any relapse to violence and nurture democracy and peace.

SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED ON PROGRESS IN TIMOR-LESTE, ADOPTS TEXT ON SOMALIA PIRACY

  • Ameerah Haq, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Timor-Leste, told the Security Council this morning that the overall trend in that country is positive, with Timor-Leste continuing to make progress towards sustainable peace and development. She noted the start of preparations for next year’s presidential and parliamentary elections, which she said will be a major milestone.

  • She detailed the reasons for optimism for Timor-Leste, first and foremost among them the determination of the Timorese people.

  • Earlier, the Security Council adopted a resolution renewing its authorization for States helping to fight piracy off the coast of Somalia.

SECRETARY-GENERAL HAS CALLED FOR RELEASE OF POLITICAL PRISONERS IN BAHRAIN

  • Asked about Bahrain, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has repeatedly called for the release of all political prisoners and respect for all international human rights norms. He noted that an Independent Commission of Inquiry is expected to release its findings on Bahrain on Wednesday.

  • The Secretary-General is convinced that this will contribute to conditions for national dialogue, reconciliation and reform, as sought by all the Bahraini people.

DURABLE AND PEACEFUL SOLUTION NEEDED FOR CLOSURE OF CAMP ASHRAF IN IRAQ

  • Asked about the impending closure of Camp Ashraf in Iraq, the Spokesperson noted that the Special Representative in Iraq, Martin Kobler, spoke out on that topic earlier this month and said that the United Nations is ready to assist in this matter.

  • This is a matter of national sovereignty for Iraq, but it is also clear that there needs to be a durable and peaceful solution to this problem, which may involve the UN Mission and the UN Refugee Agency.

  • Asked about concerns about the camp’s closure, the Spokesperson added that the Secretary-General has been in touch with a number of officials on this in recent weeks.

IN ETHIOPIA, DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL STRESSES NEED TO CHANGE ATTITUDES TO CURB VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

  • The Deputy Secretary-General is in Addis Ababa today, where she emphasized the need to change attitudes to curb violence against women.

  • She was speaking at the Association for Women’s Sanctuary and Development, which seeks to advance women’s social and economic development and provide support for women and girls facing physical and psychological violence.

  • The Deputy Secretary-General stressed that there is never any excuse for any form of abuse against women.

  • She also underscored the need to speak out against harmful practices – such as female genital mutilation and early marriage.

  • Attitudes are changing but we need to do better, she said. We need to make sure that universal values prevail over societal norms.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

U.S. POLICE ACTION BEING REVIEWED: Asked about tensions during arrests at a protest at the University of California-Davis, concerning the Occupy Wall Street movement, the Spokesperson noted that there was an investigation into that incident, which was appropriate.

SECRETARY-GENERAL SPOKE WITH AFGHAN PRESIDENT: In response to a question, the Spokesperson confirmed that the Secretary-General recently spoke by telephone with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

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