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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 FARHAN HAQ, ASSOCIATE SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

THURSDAY, 15 DECEMBER 2011

SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED BY PROSECUTOR OF INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT

  • Luis Moreno Ocampo, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, briefed the Security Council on Thursday morning on the course of his investigations regarding Darfur. He reiterated his call for Sudan to transfer indicted suspects to the Court, noting its repeated failure to do so. The open meeting was followed by a closed meeting, also on Sudan.

  • On Thursday afternoon, the Security Council will hold consultations on the Secretary-General’s latest report on Iraq and Kuwait.

PEOPLE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST DUE TO SEXUAL ORIENTATION – NEW U.N. REPORT

  • In a report to the Human Rights Council, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, writes that people experience violence and discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender identity in all the world’s regions.

  • In many cases, even the perception of homosexuality or transgender identity puts people at risk, with violations including killings, rape and physical attacks, torture, arbitrary detention, the denial of the rights to assembly, expression and information, and discrimination.

  • On Human Rights Day last year, the Secretary-General said, “As men and women of conscience, we reject discrimination in general, and in particular discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL HIGHLIGHTS NEED FOR JUSTICE FOR SURVIVORS OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE

  • The Deputy Secretary-General spoke in Kampala, Uganda, on Thursday at the Special Session on sexual- and gender-based violence of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region.

  • She stressed that tackling impunity and ensuring access to justice for survivors is critical.

  • Survivors also need access to health, psychosocial and judicial services, as well as other assistance to help them rebuild their lives.

  • The Deputy-Secretary-General also said that we must also recognize the wider economic, social and political consequences of the scourge.

LEBANON: U.N. MISSION CHIEF CHAIRS TRIPARTITE MEETING

  • The Force Commander of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), Major-General Alberto Asarta Cuevas, chaired a regular tripartite meeting today with senior officials from the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Israel Defence Forces (IDF).

  • During the meeting, the officials discussed the attack last Friday against UNIFIL peacekeepers, the recent rocket launching incidents on 29 November and 11 December, the 2 December explosion near the town of Srifa, and the situation along the Blue Line. Both parties expressed their commitment to work with the UN peacekeepers to avoid any potential escalation.

MORE THAN 2.5 MILLION WILL NEED FOOD AID IN 2012 IN SOUTH SUDAN – U.N. FOOD AGENCY

  • The World Food Programme (WFP) says that more than 2.5 million people will need food assistance next year in South Sudan due to crop failure and high food prices – which have been aggravated by conflict and market disruption from border closures.

  • WFP is scaling up its operations in the country – notably for children, pregnant women and nursing mothers.

  • WFP says that border closures between South Sudan and Sudan are disrupting the food trade and affecting the Programme’s ability to replenish food stocks. It says it is critical to move food into place before the end of March, since up to 60 percent of the country is cut off once the rainy season starts in March and April.

YEMEN: U.N. RELIEF ARM SAYS NEARLY 7 MILLION PEOPLE ARE FOOD INSECURE

  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that nearly 7 million people across Yemen are affected by food insecurity.

  • A household survey currently under way is expected to reveal an even higher number of people who are severely food insecure.

  • Relief workers are distributing food to more than 350,000 displaced people in the country.

  • For next year, aid agencies are asking for nearly $450 million to assist almost four million people in Yemen.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY MUST ACT ON SYRIA VIOLENCE: Asked about violence today in Syria, the Spokesperson noted that, in his Wednesday press conference, the Secretary-General had said that more than 5,000 people have been killed in Syria, and added, “This cannot go on. In the name of humanity, it is time for the international community to act.” The Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General wanted all violence, from whatever quarter, to stop.

CLIMATE CHANGE HEAD REGRETS CANADA’S WITHDRAWAL FROM KYOTO PROTOCOL: Asked about Canada’s withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol, the Spokesperson noted the comments made by Christiana Figueres, the head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), regretting the withdrawal. He added that the Secretary-General had lauded Figueres’ work during last week’s Durban conference on climate change and supported her views on the withdrawal.

PALESTINIAN RELIEF AND WORKS AGENCY CREATED TO RESPOND TO REFUGEE CRISIS: Asked about recent remarks by an Israeli official concerning the roots of the Palestinian refugee crisis, the Spokesperson noted that the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) had been established to respond to the wave of Palestinian refugees in the region.

U.N. HAS OVERLAPPING POLITICAL, PEACEKEEPING WORK IN SUDAN: Asked about the coordination of UN efforts in Sudan, the Spokesperson said that Haile Menkerios was the official in charge of dealing with the diplomatic process involving Khartoum, while adding that, in response to the different conflicts on the ground, the United Nations currently fields peacekeepers in three different peacekeeping missions, in Darfur, Abyei and the neighbouring South Sudan.

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