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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, 21 DECEMBER 2011

SECURITY COUNCIL ADOPTS RESOLUTIONS ON PEACEBUILDING, BRIEFED ON YEMEN

  • On Wednesday morning, the Security Council adopted a number of resolutions extending the mandates of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) and the integrated peace-building offices in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS) and the Central African Republic (BINUCA).

  • The Council also extended the terms of a number of judges at the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda (ICTR).

  • Separately, the Council was briefed by the Chairman of the Security Council Committee on non-proliferation and discussed Yemen.

KENYA: U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY CONCERNED BY SECURITY INCIDENTS AT DADAAB CAMP

  • The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is calling for the peaceful and civilian nature of the camps at the Dadaab refugee complex in Kenya to be preserved, after a string of recent security incidents.

  • The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, said that the agency was deeply concerned for the well-being and safety of Somali refugees, most of whom are women, children and the elderly.

  • On Monday, an explosion killed one person and seriously injured two police officers at the Hagadera camp. On Tuesday, another improvised explosive device went off near the market at Ifo camp. According to the agency, there have also been threats against humanitarian agencies working in Dadaab.

  • Since October, growing insecurity has crippled the ability of aid agencies to fully operate. The UN Refugee Agency and its partners are exploring options to allow full operations to resume.

U.N. RIGHTS CHIEF URGES AUTHORITIES TO ADDRESS MISTRUST IN BAHRAIN

  • The High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has called on authorities in Bahrain to take immediate steps to address what she calls the deepening mistrust between the Government and civil society.

  • This includes promptly releasing those detained for taking part in peaceful demonstrations.

  • Ms. Pillay urged the Government to address prevailing impunity, including for security forces responsible for excessive use of force against peaceful protestors.

  • At the invitation of the Government of Bahrain, a senior-level delegation from the UN Human Rights Office recently visited the country. The team met with senior Government officials, civil society and others.

  • The High Commissioner said that her Office stands ready to help national efforts towards establishing an open and democratic society.

U.N. SCALING UP AID FOR THOSE AFFECTED BY STORM IN PHILIPPINES

  • The United Nations and its partners are rapidly mobilizing their resources to help the Government of the Philippines as they provide relief to the nearly half a million people affected by Tropical Storm Washi.

  • The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, has praised local communities and authorities for quickly launching search-and-rescue operations and setting up evacuation centres.

  • She also welcomed the Government’s decision to accept international assistance.

  • An assessment mission has identified water; hygiene and sanitation; emergency shelter; and food as the priority needs.

  • Ms. Amos has announced that $3 million will be released from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) for this disaster.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

U.N. ENVOY IN CONTACT WITH ALL SIDES ON CAMP ASHRAF ISSUE: Asked about developments regarding Camp Ashraf, the Spokesperson said the Secretary-General and his Special Representative in Iraq, Martin Kobler, have been working hard to facilitate a peaceful and durable solution through dialogue with the Iraqi authorities and Camp inhabitants, and to get the sides moving in the right direction. He said Mr. Kobler remains in close contact with Camp leaders and the Iraqi Government.

SECRETARY-GENERAL CONCERNED ABOUT CONTINUING VIOLENCE IN SYRIA: Asked about developments in Syria, the Spokesperson said the Secretary-General remains extremely concerned about the escalating crisis and mounting death toll, and that the killing has to stop. Nesirky said the signing in Cairo of an agreement to send League of Arab State monitors into Syria was encouraging, and that it is important for the Syrian authorities to cooperate fully with that mission.

PROTESTORS’ RIGHTS MUST BE RESPECTED IN EGYPT: On developments in Egypt, the Spokesperson said transitional authorities must allow peaceful protests to take place and respect fully the human rights of protesters.

ELECTION DISPUTES SHOULD BE SETTELED PEACEFULLY IN D.R. CONGO: Asked about the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Spokesperson said it is important that election disputes be settled peacefully and through existing institutions. He noted the deep concern expressed by the Mission there regarding the reports by independent election monitors. He said Mission had urged the Independent National Electoral Commission to undertake a rigorous review of the issues raised by those election monitors.

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