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Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WORK OF THE U.N. SYSTEM
FROM THE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESPERSON OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

Monday, 31 December 2012

[There are no noon briefings provided by the Office of the Spokesperson during the final week of the year. Attached below are recent developments in the UN system.]

U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF SAYS CHANGES NEEDED IN WAKE OF INDIA RAPE TRAGEDY

  • The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, expressed her deep sadness at the death of a 23-year old Indian woman who was brutally gang-raped on a bus on 16 December.
  • Ms. Pillay also expressed her hope that this terrible case would mark a turning point against violence against women in India. She noted that this was the latest in a series of rape cases that have sparked public concern and debate.
  • Noting escalating protests and calls for the death penalty against those accused of the recent rape/murder, Ms. Pillay called for urgent and rational debate on comprehensive measures to address such crimes.
  • She said that however terrible the crime, the death penalty is not the answer. She said that there should be a new public consciousness and more effective and sensitive enforcement of the law in the interests of women.
  • Ms. Pillay welcomed the Government’s announcement it would establish a Commission of Inquiry into public safety of women in Delhi and a judicial panel to review India’s legislative framework on violence against women.
  • She said that now is the time to strengthen India’s legal regime against rape and that she encourages the Indian Government to consult widely with civil society and to invite the United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women to visit the country to assist in this process.

SECRETARY-GENERAL EXPRESSES DEEP SORROW AT DEATH OF INDIA RAPE STUDENT

  • In a statement issued on Saturday, the Secretary-General also expressed deep sorrow at the death of the Delhi student who was gang-raped.
  • He offered his sincerest condolences to her parents, family and friends, and utterly condemned this brutal crime. Violence against women must never be accepted, never excused, never tolerated. Every girl and woman has the right to be respected, valued and protected.
  • The Secretary-General welcomed the efforts of the Government of India to take urgent action and called for further steps and reforms to deter such crimes and bring perpetrators to justice. He also encouraged the Government of India to strengthen critical services for rape victims. UN Women and other parts of the United Nations stand ready to support such reform efforts with technical expertise and other support as required.

SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS CONTINUED VIOLENT TARGETING OF RELIGIOUS MINORITIES IN PAKISTAN

  • In a statement issued on Sunday, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General is appalled by the escalating terrorist violence in Pakistan. He condemns in particular the continued violent targeting of religious minorities, the latest in a car bombing of three buses in south-west Pakistan today, in which some 20 Shi’a pilgrims on their way to Iran were reported killed and 25 injured.
  • The Secretary-General also strongly condemns the killing of 21 members of  a government-backed tribal police force after being kidnapped last week in north-west Pakistan by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan. These cruel acts of violence cannot be justified by any cause or grievance. Their perpetrators should be brought to justice.
  • The Secretary-General conveys his deepest sympathies to the families of the victims. He expresses the solidarity of the United Nations with the Government and people of Pakistan and its continued support for their efforts to defend their country's institutions and freedoms in the face of the scourge of terrorism.