HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY FARHAN HAQ,
ACTING DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
FRIDAY, 6 DECEMBER 2013
U.N. HONOURS NELSON MANDELA
- The General Assembly observed a moment of silence this morning to mark the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela, and the UN flag was lowered to half mast in his honour.
- The Deputy Secretary-General, in remarks at the General Assembly, said that we remember Nelson Mandela today, but we should carry his spirit with us every day. That means speaking out against prejudice and discrimination wherever we see their dark manifestations; standing up against the indignity and deprivation that millions of our fellow human beings still suffer around the world; and building on the power of moral courage and universal values to triumph over brute force.
- On Thursday, the Secretary-General said that Nelson Mandela touched our lives in deeply personal ways, but at the same time, no one did more in our time to advance the values and aspirations of the United Nations. And he said we should be inspired by Nelson Mandela’s lifelong example to keep working for a better and more just world.
- Asked whether the Secretary-General would attend Nelson Mandela’s funeral, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General would stay informed about the South African Government’s arrangements for the funeral and would decide accordingly.
SECRETARY-GENERAL ATTENDS SUMMIT ON AFRICA IN PARIS
- The Secretary-General is in Paris, where he attended the Elysée Summit for Peace and Security in Africa hosted by the French Government.
- In his remarks at the opening session of the Summit, he said that the violence of the past few days in the Central African Republic is yet another reminder that we must act now. He said that the resolution just adopted by the Security Council is an important step, and the deployment of additional French forces will also be essential.
- The Secretary-General also said that the Summit takes place as the world mourns the loss of Nelson Mandela, and said that his legacy is profound and will continue to guide the work of the United Nations.
- On the margins of the Summit, the Secretary-General also held bilateral meetings with a number of African leaders, including the Presidents of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan and Burundi and the Prime Minister of Libya. The readouts of those meetings are available in our office and online.
- Asked about the Secretary-General’s position in support of the DRC Government’s military action against the M23 group, the Spokesperson said that was in the context of the need to protect civilians, including in Goma, who had been under the threat of attack from M23 forces.
SECRETARY-GENERAL ALARMED AT REPORTS OF INTERCOMMUNAL VIOLENCE IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
- The Secretary-General is closely following the situation in the Central African Republic. He expresses his profound alarm at reports of escalating inter-communal violence in the Central African Republic, notwithstanding the urgent efforts now underway to stabilize the situation following the passage yesterday of Security Council Resolution 2127.
- The latest reports from the ground are grim, indicating deepening conflict between Muslim and Christian communities and armed groups, with tragic consequences.
- Following the Thursday attack on Bangui, the UN political mission in the country, BINUCA, reports killings continued overnight, driving the death toll higher. Ex-Séléka and anti-Balaka elements have been reported raiding homes and killing adults and children. Hundreds of houses were reported burned in Bossangoa after an offensive by anti-Balaka elements was repelled.
- This horrific cycle of violence and retaliation must stop immediately. Civilians must be protected. The Secretary-General appeals urgently for all parties to apply restraint and do everything in their power to reign in those fomenting and perpetrating the violence. Those responsible for grave violations must be brought to justice.
- The Secretary-General stresses the importance of providing security and protection for the civilian population, facilitating humanitarian assistance, and creating the conditions for the return to constitutional order in the Central African Republic, in accordance with the timeline established in the Transitional Charter.
U.N. RELIEF CHIEF CONCERNED OVER HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
- The Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, said today that she was extremely concerned by the further deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic.
- She urged all those involved in the violence to protect civilians and ensure their safety and to respect their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law.
- Ms. Amos also called for free and unfettered access for neutral and impartial organizations to safely deliver humanitarian aid.
- She added that despite the insecurity, the United Nations and humanitarian partners are scaling up their activities, providing displaced families with shelter, safe water, sanitation, food and emergency health services in areas across the country.
- According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), half the population of Central African Republic – 2.3 million people – is in need of some kind of humanitarian assistance. Some 415,000 people are already displaced from their homes and 1.3 million people need emergency food assistance.
- The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) also said it was very concerned about the situation in the Central African Republic, especially in Bangui and Bossangoa, where on Thursday dozens of people, including at least seven children, were killed.
- The Office plans to deploy a human rights monitoring team to the country early next week to strengthen the existing monitoring capacity of the human rights section of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA).
- The Office also welcomed the adoption Thursday of Security Council resolution 2127 on the Central African Republic. The Office welcomed the fact that the resolution requests the establishment of an international commission of inquiry to investigate reports of human rights abuses by all parties since 1 January 2013 and to help identify perpetrators of such violations and abuses, and ensure that those responsible are held accountable.
- And, in a statement issued on Thursday, the Secretary-General called the resolution “an important and timely step that sends a message of international resolve to respond to the crisis” and called for its urgent implementation.
COTE D’IVOIRE: U.N. MISSION AND RIGHTS OFFICE CALL FOR INVESTIGATIONS INTO HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES
- A new report released Friday by the UN Mission in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), in cooperation with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), is calling for investigations into serious human rights abuses committed by traditional hunters – called Dozos – between March 2009 and May 2013 in Côte d’Ivoire.
- The report documents serious human rights abuses committed by Dozos while undertaking security activities. According to the investigations, at least 228 people were killed and 164 others injured by bullets, machetes and knives, and 162 people were arbitrarily arrested and illegally detained by Dozos. In addition, 274 cases of looting, arson and extortion committed by the Dozos have been verified and confirmed.
- The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said the Dozos involved in the perpetration of human rights violations must be held accountable. She called on the authorities to carry out serious investigations, bring the perpetrators to justice and provide appropriate redress to the victims.
SOMALIA: U.N. REPRESENTATIVE CONDEMNS KILLING OF MEMBER OF FEDERAL PARLIAMENT
- The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Nicholas Kay, strongly condemned the killing today of Mohamed Warsame Feisal, a member of the country’s Federal Parliament.
- He was killed Friday afternoon in Mogadishu when an improvised explosive device planted in his vehicle detonated. At least three others are reported to have been injured in the attack, according to the UN Mission in Somalia (UNSOM).
U.N. RELIEF AND WORKS AGENCY CONDEMNS KILLING OF STAFF AS RESULT OF SYRIA CONFLICT
- The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) condemns the killing of another of its staff, the tenth to die as a result of the Syria conflict.
- Suzan Ghazazweh, a teacher at Abbasyyeh School in Muzeirib, was killed by shrapnel in her home on 2 December when a shell struck her residence in Dera’a. The explosion which took Ms. Ghazazweh’s life also seriously injured her sister.
- This tragic death illustrates yet again the devastating impact of the Syria armed conflict on families and on civilian lives.
- The Relief and Works Agency strongly deplores the mounting toll of civilian deaths and casualties in Syria, including among Palestinians and humanitarian workers. It urges all parties to abide by the prohibition against indiscriminate attacks and attacks against civilians and civilian objects.
U.N. TO HOLD PANEL DISCUSSION ON GENOCIDE
- The Department of Public Information would like to invite journalists to a high-level panel discussion to mark the 65th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
- The event, titled “From Prevention to Protection: the Genocide Convention 65 Years On,” will take place this coming Monday, 9 December, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., in the ECOSOC Chamber.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY-GENERAL VISITS BANGLADESH: In response to questions, the Spokesperson said that Oscar Fernandez Taranco, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, was visiting Bangladesh until 10 December and intended to meet with officials from the Government, opposition and civil society.
ALL SIDES IN SYRIA MUST HALT FIGHTING, SAYS U.N. SPOKESPERSON: Asked about violence and kidnappings in the Syrian town of Maloula, the Spokesperson said that it was one further reason for all sides to halt fighting, adding that the Secretary-General had repeatedly called for the unconditional release of all those who are detained.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
7 DECEMBER – 13 DECEMBER 2013
(This document is for planning purposes and is subject to change.)
Saturday, 7 December
Today is International Civil Aviation Day.
Sunday, 8 December
There are no major events scheduled for today.
Monday, 9 December
Today is International Anti-Corruption Day.
At 9:00 a.m., in Trusteeship Council Chamber in the Conference Building (CB), there will be the sixth session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals.
At 9:30 a.m., in Conference Room 1 (CB), there will be panel discussions on the occasion of the International Anti-Corruption Day as part of the thirteenth meeting of the United Nations Global Compact Working Group on the Tenth Principle against Corruption, organized by the United Nations Global Compact, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
At 10:00 a.m., the Economic and Social Council Chamber (CB), there will be a panel discussion “From Prevention to Protection: the Genocide Convention 65 Years On”, co-organized by the by the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, Outreach Division, Department of Public Information (DPI) and the United Nations Office on the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect, Department of Political Affairs (DPA).
At 10:00 a.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a panel discussion on “To serve with pride – Zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse by our own staff”, organized by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
At 12:00 p.m., in the Press briefing room, Mr. Joan Clos, Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN–Habitat), will be the guest at the Noon Briefing.
At 1:15 p.m., in the Economic and Social Council Chamber (CB), there will be a panel discussion on “Realizing a Vision for Transformative Development” in commemoration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Right to Development, co-organized by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung New York Office.
In Geneva, there will be the 2013 Meeting of States Parties on the Disarmament/Biological Weapons Convention. The meeting will end on 13 December.
In Geneva, there will be a press conference by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on the 2013 World Intellectual Property Indicators (WIPI) report.
In Geneva, there will be a press conference by the World Health Organization (WHO) on the launch of the World Malaria Report 2013.
Tuesday, 10 December
Today is Human Right Day.
At 11:00 a.m., in Conference Room 6 in the North Lawn Building (NLB), there will be a donor meeting for current and prospective contributors –– DPA’s Multi-year Appeal for 2014-2015 and its funding priorities, organized by DPA.
At 12:00 p.m., in the press briefing room, Ms. Martina Navratilova, tennis star, and Mr. Jason Collins, basketball star, will be the guests at the Noon Briefing.
At 12:00 p.m., the Economic and Social Council Chamber (CB), there will be a panel discussion on “Widening Local Development Pathways: Creative Economy and the Post-2015 Development Agenda”, co-organized by UNDP and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations (UNESCO).
At 1:15 p.m., in the Economic and Social Council Chamber (CB), there will be a special event on “Sport comes out against homophobia” on the occasion of Human Rights Day.
At 3:00 p.m., in Conference Room A (CB), there will be a workshop on “Realizing the Sustainable Development Agenda and the United Nations Development System”, co-organized by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the German Development Institute/Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE).
At 3:30 p.m., in the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Chamber, the 2013 UN Human Rights Awards will be presented.
Wednesday, 11 December
Today is International Mountain Day.
At 12:00 p.m., in the Press briefing room, Ms. Susan Bissell, Chief of the Child Protection, Programme Division, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Ms. Tessa Wardlaw, Head of the Statistics and Monitoring Division, UNICEF, will be the guests at the Noon Briefing.
At 1:15 p.m., in the Economic and Social Council Chamber (CB), there will be the Women’s International Forum: Meeting on “The Iran nuclear deal – how we got here and what it means”, sponsored by the Executive Office of the Secretary-General.
Thursday, 12 December
At 9:00 a.m., in the Economic and Social Council Chamber (CB), there will be a symposium on “Where will the international humanitarian system stand in 2025?” organized by OCHA.
At 11:00 a.m., in Conference Room 1 (CB), there will be a panel discussion on
“The World in the Age of Genocide”, organized by the Permanent Mission of Poland.
At 12:00 p.m., in the Press briefing room, Mr. Ray Chambers, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Malaria and for the Financing of the Health-related Millennium Development Goals, will be the guest at the Noon Briefing.
Friday, 13 December
At 9:30 a.m., in the Economic and Social Council Chamber (CB), there will be the High-level Conference on the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), organized by OCHA.
At 12:00 p.m., in the Press briefing room, Mr. Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, will be the guest at the Noon Briefing.