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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 STÉPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

MONDAY, 9 NOVEMBER 2015

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL BEGINS TRAVEL TO SAUDI ARABIA

  • The Secretary-General has arrived in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where he will attend the opening of the Fourth Summit of Arab and South American countries, which opens tomorrow.  The Secretary-General will also hold talks with a number of Saudi officials, as well as South American officials attending the summit.
  • The Secretary-General is scheduled to return to New York on Wednesday.

SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS KILLINGS IN BURUNDI, CALLS FOR MAXIMUM RESTRAINT BY SECURITY FORCES

  • The Secretary-General condemns the killing of at least seven people, including a United Nations staff member, in a bar in the Kanyosha neighborhoud of Bujumbura, Burundi, on 7 November.  Preliminary reports suggest that the attack was conducted by persons in police uniform.
  • The Secretary-General reiterates his call for an immediate end to the recurring violence and killings.  He urges the Government to swiftly conduct a full investigation and ensure the perpetrators of this terrible crime are brought to justice.  He reminds the Government that it is responsible for protecting civilians and ensuring the safety and security of UN personnel in the country.
  • The Secretary-General has seen the troubling reports today that several people, including a policeman, were killed during the ongoing forcible disarmament campaign in Bujumbura.  He strongly urges all Burundian security forces to exercise maximum restraint in order to avoid a further escalation of the tense situation in the country.  
  • The Secretary-General reiterates his appeal to all national stakeholders, in particular the Government of Burundi, to keep the interests of the people of Burundi uppermost and resolve all outstanding issues through an inclusive dialogue.

BAN KI-MOON CONGRATULATES PEOPLE OF MYANMAR FOLLOWING HISTORIC POLLS

  • The Secretary-General and various members of the United Nations family have been commenting over the past days expressing their hopes and concerns over the 8 November election in Myanmar. We are likely to have more considered comments on the election results in the coming days.
  • The Secretary-General wishes to congratulate the people of Myanmar for their patience, dignity and enthusiasm as they participated in Sunday’s historic polls. He commends the Union Election Commission as well as its various state, regional and local institutions for their important work. Observers to the process, both domestic and international, have also witnessed this momentous event.
  • The Secretary-General notes that the results of the polls have started to come in.  He encourages all stakeholders in Myanmar to maintain the dignified spirit, calm and respect throughout the completion of the electoral process.

SECURITY COUNCIL SETS UP U.N. SUPPORT OFFICE IN SOMALIA

  • The Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution on Monday establishing the UN Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) – which will provide support to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), the UN Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and the Somali National Army on joint operations with AMISOM. 
  • Following that, the UN Chef de Cabinet, Susana Malcorra, briefed the Council’s ministerial meeting on Somalia on behalf of the Secretary-General.
  • Stressing that the next year will be a momentous year for Somalia, she said that a peaceful, constitutional transition of power would mark an extraordinary milestone on the country’s path to democracy.
  • The Secretary-General has urged Somali leaders to complete the consolidation of its federal system by the end of 2016 as well as to achieve genuine, inclusive reconciliation in all regions.
  • And the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Nicholas Kay, also addressed the Council. He warned that any scaling back on support or resources now will only endanger peace and security in the Horn of Africa and East Africa, bolster violent extremism and risk a renewed exodus of refugees.

SECURITY COUNCIL EXPRESSES CONCERNS ABOUT VIOLENCE IN EASTERN CONGO

  • Following the Security Council meeting on Somalia, Council members took up the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). They adopted a presidential statement welcoming the appointment of Maman Sidikou as the new Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the DRC and head of the mission.
  • They also expressed deep concern over the persistent high levels of violence, and violations and abuses of human rights and international law in the eastern part of the country.
  • This afternoon, at 3 p.m., Jeff Feltman, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, and also the High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein will brief the Security Council on the situation in Burundi.

U.N. MISSION IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC WORKS TO PREVENT CLASHES IN BANGUI

  • The UN Mission in the Central African Republic, MINUSCA, reports that this morning its peacekeepers blocked an armed group, predominantly made up of Muslims, from moving past the Pont Jackson bridge in Bangui. At the same time, MINUSCA received reports indicating that anti-Balaka individuals were planning to advance from the south-east of Bangui towards the group of Muslims.
  • Some of the members of the group of Muslims set houses on fire in the third district of Bangui, but they eventually withdrew to PK5 after MINUSCA peacekeepers fired warning shots and tear gas.
  • The security situation in Bangui remained tense throughout the weekend, with a total of six people reportedly killed there. A joint patrol comprising internal security forces and peacekeepers from MINUSCA investigated some of the deaths but was fired upon on Sunday, with no injuries reported.

U.N. RESPONDS WITH AID TO DAMAGE CAUSED BY NEW TROPICAL CYCLONE IN YEMEN

  • Tropical Cyclone Megh passed over Socotra, Yemen, yesterday, and initial reports suggest six people have been killed and 60 injured, with the storm causing significant damage. There has reportedly been damage to whole villages, including in some on the smaller islands to the west of Socotra.
  • A United Nations inter-agency convoy of eleven trucks, containing 35 metric tons of household goods departed Aden on 8 November in the evening for Al Mukalla. There are reports of damage on the Aden-Al Mukalla road, including to several bridges.
  • The World Food Programme (WFP) says that Yemen’s fragile food security is deteriorating fast. Ten out of Yemen’s 22 governorates are classified as facing food insecurity at ‘Emergency’ level – one step below famine. Humanitarian organizations need to be able to move freely and safely to provide assistance to reach all those in urgent need before they fall deeper into crisis.
  • Despite colossal challenges, in October WFP assisted more than 2.5 million people across the country – compared to a monthly average of 1 million people since the conflict started – and is scaling up to reach 5 million people a month by February 2016.

HUMANITARIAN TEAM REACHES DISPLACED PEOPLE IN SOUTH SUDAN

  • Following weeks of fighting and displacement, a humanitarian team has reached about 24,000 displaced people in South Sudan’s Maridi County in Western Equatoria State with child protection, health, nutrition, water and sanitation support. Aid agencies have also reached neighbouring Mundri East and West counties, also in Western Equatoria, to conduct a rapid needs assessment and deliver health supplies and equipment.
  • The assessment team estimates that around 50,000 people are displaced and urgently need food, water, shelter and healthcare in the two counties.  
  • Reaching people in need of assistance in Western Equatoria has been challenging, as most people are hiding in the bush and have deserted the main villages.

UNHCR DELIVERS WINTER AID TO LUHANSK, UKRAINE

  • For the first time since the suspension of its activities, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, has delivered vital winter aid -- including plastic sheeting, timber and thousands of blankets -- for distribution to up to 12,000 highly vulnerable people in an area of eastern Ukraine that is beyond Government control.
  • The UNHCR convoy of nine trucks loaded with basic relief items and construction materials passed through checkpoints to arrive in Luhansk on Saturday. It was the first UN convoy in three months to take supplies to the city, where thousands of civilians have been caught up in the conflict that erupted last year.
  • The delivery included 10,000 blankets, 10,000 towels, 5,000 buckets and a similar number of jerry cans and plastic sheets, as well as cement and timber for shelter repairs. It was unloaded at a warehouse in the city for distribution in a drive that began today.

SECRETARY-GENERAL CONCERNED ABOUT DETENTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER IN EGYPT

  • The Secretary-General has learned with concern of the detention of Egyptian human rights defender Hossam Bahgat on 8 November, reportedly in connection with an investigation in which he is accused of publishing false information that harms national interest. Mr. Bahgat is a member of UNDP's Global Civil Society Advisory Council and the founder of the group Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. 
  • This is just the latest in a series of detentions of human rights defenders and others that are profoundly worrying to the Secretary-General.
  • The Secretary-General again underscores the importance of safeguarding freedom of speech and association in Egypt.  He strongly believes that pluralism and vibrant civil society are key for achieving long-term stability in the country, including the guarantee that all peaceful voices are heard and represented.

SECRETARY-GENERAL CONGRATULATES AMINA MOHAMMED ON APPOINTMENT TO NIGERIAN CABINET

  • The Secretary-General congratulates Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, Assistant Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning, on her appointment as Minister in the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria.
  • The Secretary-General is deeply grateful for Ms. Mohammed's outstanding service and contributions to the shaping of the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  Across three years of complex negotiations and the most inclusive consultation process in the history of the United Nations, her vision and voice helped to bring people together, enlist new partners to the cause, and reach global consensus on the Sustainable Development Goals – the world’s inspiring new framework for ending poverty and building lives of peace and dignity for all on a healthy planet. 
  • The Secretary-General wishes Ms. Mohammed every success in her new role as Minister and looks forward to her continued engagement with the United Nations.

POLIO VACCINATIONS PROCEED IN SUDAN, IRAQ

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) announced today that more than 4 million children under the age of 5 have been targeted with oral polio vaccine during a 3-day national immunization campaign in Sudan.
  • The campaign was carried out in 18 states of Sudan, which remains at high risk of the spread of wild polio virus because of large numbers of people moving throughout the country, mostly due to conflict and displacement - more information on WHO’s website.
  • And Iraq this week completed its first round of oral cholera vaccination campaign for Syrian refugees and displaced people inside Iraq. And that campaign is being supported by the World Health Organization and the UN Children’s Fund.

METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION SAYS GREENHOUSE GASES IN ATMOSPHERE HIT A NEW RECORD

  • And the World Meteorological Organization, WMO, today warned that the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached yet another new record high in 2014.
  • According to the latest Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, since 1990 there has been a 36 per cent increase in radiative forcing – the warming effect on our climate – because of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide from industrial, agricultural and domestic activities - more information on WMO’s website.

UNITED NATIONS MARKS POLICE WEEK

  • The Chef de Cabinet, Susana Malcorra, delivered remarks on behalf of the Secretary-General at the opening the 10th meeting of the UN Police Components, which kicks off UN Police Week, which starts today.
  • Addressing police commissioners and senior police advisers, the Secretary-General said that police are on the frontline in the transition from violence to post-conflict societies.
  • He added that the officers that they command every day work tirelessly to build new police services from the ground up and protect civilians. He called on them to work together, to protect the good name of peacekeeping and uphold the trust placed in the UN by the people who need us most.

UMOJA LAUNCHED AT U.N. HEADQUARTERS

  • Today, the United Nations launched Umoja – the new central UN administrative system. It went live today for thousands of new users, including at the UN headquarters in New York, as well as in Geneva and Vienna.
  • Speaking on behalf of the Secretary-General, Ms. Malcorra said that the launch is a milestone and an essential part of transforming the UN into a more modern, flexible and nimble Organization.
  • The pilot launch for Umoja, which for those of who don’t speak Swahili, means “unity”, took place in July of 2013 with the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Lebanon (UNIFIL) as well as the Office of the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL). Today’s launch will allow an additional 12,000 staff to start using the new system.