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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, 26 NOVEMBER 2013

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO ATTEND U.N. CONFERENCE ON INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT IN PERU

  • The Secretary-General will depart New York for a visit to Lima, Peru, on Sunday, 1 December.
  • On Monday, 2 December, he will attend the opening session of the 15th General Conference of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which was established as a specialized agency in Lima in 1975 when the first Lima Declaration was adopted. This marks the first time in 20 years that the UNIDO General Conference will take place outside of its headquarters, Vienna, and in a developing country.
  • The Secretary-General will also take part in the adoption of the second Lima Declaration, in which Member States will deepen their commitment towards achieving inclusive and sustainable industrial development. Its outcome will serve as the Organization’s contribution to the post-2015 development process.
  • On the margins of the Conference, the Secretary-General will meet with the President of Peru, Ollanta Humala Tasso. He is also scheduled to hold other bilateral meetings on the margins of the Conference.
  • On Tuesday, 3 December, the Secretary-General will visit a project aimed at bolstering resilience to climate change by planting native tree species and restoring environmentally degraded areas to a productive state. Peru will host the UN climate change conference in 2014.
  • The Secretary-General will return to New York on the evening of Tuesday, 3 December.

U.N.: NO CONFIRMATION ON INVITEES FOR SYRIA CONFERENCE

  • In response to questions, the Spokesperson said he could not confirm any invitees yet for the 22 January Geneva II conference on Syria. He noted the important role of neighbouring countries in diplomatic efforts for Syria but added that there is no list of invited countries or organizations to announce at this point.
  • Nesirky said that there would be a meeting on 20 December to prepare for the Geneva II conference.
  • Asked about the position of the Free Syrian Army on the conference, the Spokesperson declined from commenting on the positions of individual groups.
  • He said that what is important for the success of the conference is that the Syrian sides be represented by credible delegations.
  • The Secretary-General has made clear his own expectation for all sides to start working now to take steps to help the Geneva conference succeed, including toward the cessation of violence, humanitarian access, release of detainees and return of Syrian refugees and internally displaced to their homes.

DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL TO DEPART FOR BRUSSELS, GENEVA

  • The Deputy Secretary-General will fly to Brussels today to participate in the European Development Days on behalf of the Secretary-General.  During his visit, he will meet with the President of the European Commission, with the Commissioner for development and the Commissioner for environment, as well as other officials and Ministers attending the event. 
  • On Wednesday, the Deputy Secretary-General will travel to Geneva to speak at the Council session of the International Organization for Migration on behalf of the Secretary-General.
  • The Deputy Secretary-General will return to New York on 28 November.

U.N. LEBANON ENVOY BRIEFS SECURITY COUNCIL

  • The Security Council held consultations this morning on the implementation of resolution 1701, concerning Lebanon. Derek Plumbly, the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, briefed Council members on recent developments there. The Security Council President issued a press statement afterward, welcoming the successful mobilization of the International Support Group for Lebanon.
  • The Security Council is also discussing the work of the Somalia/Eritrea Sanctions Committee this morning.
  • This afternoon, the Council will hold a formal meeting, followed by consultations, on Guinea-Bissau.

PHILIPPINES: U.N. CONTINUES TO PROVIDE RELIEF THREE WEEKS AFTER TYPHOON HAIYAN

  • As we enter the third week of the emergency response to Typhoon Haiyan, the World Food Programme (WFP) is extending its reach to those in need on outlying islands in the Philippines with airlifts, ferry services and trucks.
  • In the past two weeks, WFP has dispatched more than 4,000 tons of rice and more than 100 tons of high energy biscuits for distribution by partners.
  • The WFP-managed United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) is operating two helicopters and a nine-passenger plane out of Cebu, with the aim of helping with that relief effort.
  • The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is working with authorities to prevent congestion in overcrowded evacuation centres.
  • Thousands of people had been evacuated to public buildings such as stadiums, schools and churches ahead of the typhoon. Many have since left, but some 240,000 people still remained in some 1,100 evacuation centres, according to the authorities in the Philippines.

EGYPT: U.N. RIGHTS CHIEF SOUNDS ALARM ON NEW REGULATIONS ON DEMONSTRATIONS

  • The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said today that a new law regulating demonstrations in Egypt could lead to serious breaches of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly. She said that the law must be amended.
  • She expressed particular concern at the provisions on the use of force by law enforcement officials and the excessive sanctions, which can be imposed on those found to be in breach of this law.
  • The High Commissioner said that no one should be criminalised for addressing human rights issues through peaceful protest. She urged the authorities to amend or repeal the law.

U.N. MISSION IN SOMALIA FOLLOWING CASE OF ALLEGED RAPE

  • Asked about the reported arrest of an alleged rape victim and a journalist who interviewed her, the Spokesperson said that the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) reports it is following this case closely.
  • The UN Mission is in close contact with the authorities and individuals connected with it. According to the Mission, the full facts of this case are not yet clear, but the information available so far gives cause for concern over the handling of the case and the rights of those involved.
  • Nesirky said that any individual in detention should be given access to legal representation and be either charged or promptly released. Allegations of rape should be properly investigated and the freedom of journalists to report responsibly on the issue should be respected.

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL UNDERSCORES NEED FOR SECURITY COUNCIL ACTION

  • Asked about the Central African Republic, the Spokesperson noted that the Deputy Secretary-General had said on Monday that the situation in that country is dire and there is urgent need for Security Council action.
  • The Security Council, Nesirky noted, is considering the possibility of a resolution.

U.N. AGENCIES CONCERNED OVER DOMINICAN REPUBLIC RULING WHICH COULD DEPRIVE HAITIANS OF NATIONALITY

  • In response to questions, the Spokesperson said that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Refugee Agency (UNCHR) have both expressed their concern over a ruling of the Dominican Republic Constitutional Court may deprive tens of thousands of people of nationality, virtually all of them of Haitian descent, and have a very negative impact on their other rights.
  • The UN human rights office said that the decision could have disastrous implications for people of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic, leading such individuals in a state of constitutional limbo and potentially leaving tens of thousands of them stateless and without access to basic services for which identity documents are required.
  • For its part, the UN Refugee Agency said that by virtue of being stateless, a person can be denied many of the rights and privileges taken for granted as a national of a country, including the right to vote, the right to travel outside of one's country and even the right to access basic services.

BAN KI-MOON VOICES HOPE THAT N.E. ASIA DISPUTES RESOLVED AMICABLY

  • Asked about incidents in the South China Sea, the Spokesperson said that there are quite a number of territorial disputes in Northeast Asia, in the Asia-Pacific region and in many other parts of the world.
  • The Secretary-General expects that those disputes are resolved amicably, through dialogue and negotiations and in full accordance with international law.
  • The parties concerned should approach those issues with a good will and in a constructive spirit.

U.S. HIP HOP STARS LEND THEIR VOICES TO U.N. L.G.B.T. CAMPAIGN

  • U.S. hip hop artists Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have joined the UN Free & Equal Campaign, which seeks to encourage greater respect for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
  • The UN Free & Equal Campaign seeks to raise awareness about homophobic and transphobic violence and discrimination.
  • Macklemore and Lewis are well-known for their song, “Same Love,” which celebrates same-sex relationships and quickly became an anthem for LGBT equality.

HEADS OF U.N., WORLD BANK TO SPEAK TO REPORTERS ON SUSTAINABLE ENERGY INITIATIVE

  • The Secretary-General and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim will speak to the media tomorrow on action to catalyze financing for the Sustainable Energy for All initiative.
  • The Sustainable Energy for All initiative was launched by the Secretary-General in 2011. It seeks to achieve universal access to modern energy services, double the improvement rate of energy efficiency and double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
     

***The guest at the Noon Briefing was Leila Zerrougui, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, who spoke to journalists about her recent visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.