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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

FRIDAY, 25 NOVEMBER 2011

SECRETARY-GENERAL, SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE MARK DAY FOR ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

  • The Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Margot Wallström, is in West Africa, where she visited Guinea, Sierra Leone and Côte d’Ivoire.

  • Today, on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, she called on people to stand in solidarity with the survivors of sexual violence in conflict throughout the world. She said these survivors, mainly women and girls, have lived through unspeakable horrors at the hands of armed groups who deliberately and systematically use rape as a tactic of terror.

  • Ms. Wallström added that women can only reach their full potential when they feel safe. Underlying attitudes about the rights of women will only change when people everywhere work together to change them.

  • The Secretary-General marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women with a commemoration on Wednesday, and he issued a message today, in which he says that the right of women and girls to live free of violence is inalienable and fundamental. 

SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES ARAB LEAGUE EFFORTS TO END BLOODSHED IN SYRIA

  • Asked about the Secretary-General’s views on the situation in Syria, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General remains extremely concerned at the escalating crisis and mounting death toll in Syria. He welcomes the efforts of the League of Arab States to end the bloodshed and promote a political solution.

  • These efforts need to be encouraged and supported.

  • The Secretary-General, he said, welcomes in particular the Arab League's proposal to send an observer mission to protect civilians in Syria, and strongly urges the Syrian authorities to give their consent and full cooperation, as demanded by the League.

  • As invited by the Arab League and the General Assembly's Third Committee, the Secretary-General is ready to provide the support needed in accordance with his functions and within the framework of the UN's cooperation with the League of Arab States.  The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is in contact with the Secretariat of the League of Arab States in this regard.

  • In response to questions, Nesirky noted that cooperation with regional organizations is enshrined in Chapter 8 of the UN Charter, and there is a General Assembly resolution which deals specifically with cooperation with the League of Arab States.

  • Asked about a French proposal for a humanitarian corridor, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations was aware of it.

SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS ON BAHRAIN GOVERNMENT TO ENSURE IMPLEMENTION OF COMMISSION OF INQUIRY REPORT

  • The Spokesperson issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon about the report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, a copy of which was given to the Secretary-General on Wednesday by the Permanent Representative of Bahrain to the United Nations. The Secretary-General and his senior aides will closely study that report and its follow-through.

  • The Secretary-General calls on the Government to ensure the implementation of its recommendations as a meaningful step in addressing serious allegations of human rights violations. He hopes the report's issuance and implementation would help to create the conditions in Bahrain for all-inclusive dialogue, reconciliation and reforms that will meet the legitimate aspirations of the Bahraini people.

U.N. ENVOY CONDEMNS SERIES OF ATTACKS IN BASRA, IRAQ

  • Martin Kobler, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, strongly condemned the series of attacks that took place on Thursday in Basra, which have claimed the lives of dozens of victims and wounded many more.

  • He extends his condolences to the families of the victims and to the people and the authorities of Basra, as well as the Government of Iraq. He wishes a speedy recovery to those who were wounded.

DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL VISITS LEBANON, MARKS PARTNERSHIP WITH U.N. PEACEKEEPERS

  • The Deputy Secretary-General, Asha-Rose Migiro, was in Tyre Thursday to visit UN peacekeepers and to commemorate Lebanon's Independence Day, and she delivered remarks celebrating the United Nations’ partnership with Lebanon.

  • She said that the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has been helping to create a window of opportunity for establishing a permanent ceasefire and finding a long-term solution to the conflict. And she said that the United Nations is here for the people of Lebanon and will never leave them to the mercy of brutal forces seeking to undermine peace.

REFUGEE AGENCY SAYS 75,000 PEOPLE HAVE FLED SUDAN INTO SOUTH SUDAN AND ETHIOPIA SINCE AUGUST

  • The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reports population movements of more than 75,000 people from Sudan into neighbouring South Sudan and Ethiopia since August.

  • The Refugee Agency is concerned that many of those who have moved due to fighting in Sudan’s South Kordofan and Blue Nile states are now located in extremely remote locations in South Sudan’s Upper Nile and Unity states, where humanitarian assistance can only be provided by helicopter.

  • Meanwhile, efforts continue to encourage people to relocate from the Yida refugee site in Unity State to safer sites further south away from the border area, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

  • In western Ethiopia, the majority of the 36,000 refugees who arrived since August remain close to the border and approximately half of them have been transferred to camps.

  • UNHCR believes that the number of persons moving from Sudan to the two countries could reach 100,000 in the coming weeks if the trend continues. 

MILLIONS OF WOMEN, CHILDREN NEED ASSISTANCE FOLLOWING FLOODS IN PAKISTAN

  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that a quarter of the more than 5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance following floods in Pakistan’s Sindh and Balochistan provinces are women, and half are children, according to a recently completed joint UN-Government Needs Assessment.

  • Around 660,000 people in Sindh and more than 83,800 in Balochistan remain displaced. 

  • With 797,000 homes either destroyed or damaged, many of the estimated 1.2 million returnees had gone back to homes that either needed to be repaired or entirely rebuilt. 

  • OCHA continues to call for full funding of its humanitarian appeal as soon as possible.  To date, only $129 million of the $357 million requested, or 36 percent, has been received.

HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONER COMPLETES VISIT TO MALDIVES

  • Navi Pillay, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, concluded her first visit to the Maldives yesterday, and noted the country’s progress in human rights reforms and its recent ratifications of key treaties. At the same time, she pointed to the need for more progress on women’s rights and the rights of migrant workers.

  • She said that the fact that people, especially women, are still flogged in the Maldives is a serious blot on the country’s otherwise increasingly positive and progressive image overseas. There should be no place for flogging anywhere in the 21st century, Ms. Pillay said, calling at the very least for a practical moratorium on flogging.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECRETARY-GENERAL SPOKE BY PHONE WITH PRESIDENT OF YEMEN: Asked whether Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh would travel to New York, the Spokesperson noted that the President had told the Secretary-General that during a phone call they had on Tuesday. He noted that the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser, Jamal Benomar, will report to the Security Council on Monday about the agreement reached on Yemen.

SECRETARY-GENERAL WANTS TO SEE PROGRESS AT DURBAN TALKS: Asked about the forthcoming climate change talks at Durban, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has spoken out on issues such as technology transfer and the future of the Kyoto Protocol and wants to see progress on them during the talks.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

26 NOVEMBER-2 DECEMBER 2011

(This document is for planning purposes and is subject to change.)

Saturday, 26 November

There are no major events scheduled for today.

Sunday, 27 November

There are no major events scheduled for today.

Monday, 28 November

This morning, the Security Council will hold consultations on Yemen. In the afternoon, the Security Council will receive a briefing and hold consultations on Libya.

The guest at the Noon Briefing will be Radhika Coomaraswamy, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, who will brief on her recent mission to the Central African Republic and Somalia.

Tuesday, 29 November

Today and tomorrow, the Secretary-General will be in Busan, republic of Korea, to attend the 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF-4).

This morning, the Security Council will hold a debate on the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). It is also expected to adopt a resolution on DRC sanctions and to hold consultations on Lebanon.

The guest at the Noon briefing will be Nigel Fisher, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Haiti.

Today is the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. At 10:00 a.m. in Conference Room 2 (NLB), the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People will hold a Special Meeting in observance of the Day. The Special Meeting will be followed by a film screening on the history of Palestine at 1 p.m. in Conference Room 2 (NLB). At 3 p.m., the General Assembly will discuss Agenda item "The Question of Palestine," which will be followed by a reception in the General Assembly visitors' lobby at 6.30 p.m.

Wednesday, 30 November

Today, the Security Council will hold an open debate on its working methods.

Thursday, 1 December

Today is World AIDS Day.

Today, the Russian Federation will assume the rotating presidency of the Security for the month of December.

At 11 a.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, the 2012 Report on World Economic Situation and Prospects will be launched by Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Assistant-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), and Rob Vos, Director of DESA’s Development Policy and Analysis.

At 2 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, Robert Orr, Assistant Secretary-General for Planning and Policy Coordination, will brief the press on the COP-17 in Durban, South Africa.

Friday, 2 December

The guest at the Noon briefing will be Catherine Bragg, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, who will brief on the humanitarian situation in Yemen.

Today is the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.

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