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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

WEDNESDAY, 3 NOVEMBER 2010

 

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL WRAPS UP ASIA TRIP, AFTER ADDRESSING ROUNDTABLE IN CHINA

  • The Secretary-General is on his way back from his trip to Asia, and should be in New York later this afternoon.
     

  • Before he left China, the Secretary-General spoke in Beijing this morning at a roundtable at the Central Policy School, where many of China’s future leaders are educated. He discussed his visit to the county, saying that China is clearly on the rise, and that he believes this rise is beneficial to the world. For with China's rise, he noted, comes great expectations and great responsibilities.
     

  • He expressed his confidence that the future generation of Chinese leaders would uphold the shared values and principles of the UN Charter, as well as the body of international laws and agreements that are the foundation of our common quest for development, peace and security and human rights. He stressed that the values embedded in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are timeless and shared, yet unrealized in far too much of the globe. We must continue to work together to make those rights real in people's lives.
     

  • He noted the role that China can play as a partner of the United Nations in dealing with climate change, Sudan, Myanmar and the situation on the Korean Peninsula.
     

  • In response to questions, the Spokesperson reiterated that the subject of human rights was discussed in the Secretary-General's meetings with Chinese leaders.
     

  • Asked about criticism of the Secretary-General’s approach on human rights in China, Nesirky noted that the Secretary-General did raise the issue of human rights, both in discussions with leaders and in remarks, including those at the Central Party School.
     

  • He said that sometimes, when dealing with human rights, it is important to handle matters in an appropriate way, which may not always be in the public eye.

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES CONSENSUS REACHED AHEAD OF GUINEA ELECTIONS

  • The Secretary-General welcomes the consensus reached among Guinean stakeholders that paves the way for the holding of the run-off presidential election on 7 November 2010.  He urges all actors in the electoral process to ensure that the date is respected and that the necessary conditions are put in place for the smooth conduct of the poll.  The Secretary-General calls upon the presidential candidates to uphold their commitment to conduct a peaceful campaign and to respect the outcome of the election. He encourages all Guineans to participate in the poll.
     

  • The Secretary-General remains concerned over recent episodes of violence and reported intimidation that led to the displacement of people in parts of Guinea.  He calls on national and local leaders, as well as on the population as a whole, to refrain from any act or statement that may incite violence or human rights abuses. The Secretary-General further warns against exploiting ethnicity, religion or any other divisive factor for political ends and reiterates that those responsible for fomenting violence or violating human rights must be held accountable.  The Transitional Government of Guinea has a responsibility to protect and ensure the safety of all Guineans, regardless of their ethnicity, religion or political affiliation.
     

  • The Secretary-General reaffirms the readiness of the United Nations system to support Guinea throughout this historic electoral process, as well as after the vote, to help consolidate peace and development in the country.
     

  • Also on Guinea, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for West Africa, Said Djinnit, is in Conakry, starting today, to help support the electoral process ahead of the 7 November poll.

 

VOTER TURNOUT FOR CÔTE D’IVOIRE POLLS ONE OF HIGHEST IN THE WORLD, SAYS U.N. ENVOY

  • The Security Council this morning received a briefing by videoconference from the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Côte d’Ivoire, Choi Young-jin. He informed the Council about the electoral process that culminated in the Presidential elections held last Sunday.
     

  • Choi said that voter turnout was over 80 percent, one of the highest turnouts in the world, and no major incidents were reported. He added that provisional results of the elections are expected to be announced later today.
     

  • The UN Mission in Côte d’Ivoire (ONUCI) has been providing, and will continue to provide, support to the electoral process, with final results expected to be announced on 10 November. If no candidate wins a majority, a second round may need to take place on 28 November.
     

  • Council members continued their discussions on the Ivorian elections in closed consultations. And the Council President read a press statement on Côte d’Ivoire afterward, in which Council members welcomed the holding of the elections and urged all stakeholders to continue to be fully committed to a democratic, peaceful and transparent completion of the electoral process.

 

U.N. ENVOY FOR WEST AFRICA CONGRATULATES PEOPLE OF NIGER FOR COMMITMENT TO PEACE, DEMOCRACY

  • The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for West Africa, Said Djinnit, congratulated the people of Niger for their commitment to peace and democracy, as clearly demonstrated through their large participation to the referendum last Sunday, and their overwhelming support to the new constitution.
     

  • Djinnit calls on the Niger leadership to keep the transition on course as planned, and ensure that all conditions are met for a peaceful, credible, free and fair electoral process leading to the return to constitutional order. He also reiterates the United Nations’ continued support to the Niger transition, along with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union and other partners.

 

U.N. AND PARTNERS LAUNCH APPEALS TO RESPOND TO BENIN FLOODS, DJIBOUTI DROUGHT

  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that the Government of Benin and humanitarian agencies launched today a joint Emergency Humanitarian Action Plan (EHAP) for the country. It is asking the international community to provide more than $46 million dollars for emergency assistance to help hundreds of thousands of people survive recent flooding.
     

  • Unusually heavy rains since mid-September have caused widespread destruction across Benin. Over 680,000 people in 55 of the country’s 77 municipalities have been affected, and more than 105,000 people have lost their homes. OCHA adds that an estimated 1 million people in Benin were already food insecure and more than one third of children under five were chronically malnourished before the flooding.
     

  • The United Nations also launched another appeal today, this one for Djibouti. The appeal for more than $38 million dollars to assist will help to provide vital humanitarian assistance to 120,000 people affected by the protracted drought that has plagued the East African country since 2005.

 

U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY APPEALS TO KENYA TO HALT RETURNS OF SOMALIS TO BORDER CAMP

  • The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has issued an urgent appeal to Kenyan authorities to immediately halt its returns of Somalis from the Border Point 1 camp at Mandera in northeast Kenya.
     

  • This is in light of orders issued by local authorities to the more than 8,000 refugees at the camp, telling them to cross the border back into Somalia. As of Tuesday, some refugees had gone back into what is called “no-man’s land.”
     

  • UNHCR notes that in its advice to governments, it has made clear that people fleeing central and southern Somalia are at substantial risk and that their international protection needs must be respected.
     

  • The population at the Border Point 1 camp mainly comprises children, women, and the elderly, all of whom have fled there to escape recent fighting between Al-Shabaab and Ahlu Sunna Wal Janaa forces in the Somali town of Bulla Hawa.

 

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

U.N. WORKS WITH U.S. ADMINISTRATION AND ELECTED OFFICIALS: Asked about the midterm elections in the United States, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations works with the US administration and elected representatives.

 

U.N. UNDERLINES IMPORTANCE OF WORK OF LEBANON TRIBUNAL: Asked about the US contribution of $10 million for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, the Spokesperson pointed to the importance of the Tribunal’s work and the UN’s appreciation for support for the Tribunal.

 

***The guest at the noon briefing today was Joan Clos, the newly-appointed Executive Director of the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT).

 

  

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