HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY EDUARDO DEL BUEY,
DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
FRIDAY, 17 AUGUST 2012
LAKHDAR BRAHIMI APPOINTED JOINT SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR SYRIA
- The Secretary-General of the United Nations was pleased, along with Secretary-General Nabil ElAraby of the League of Arab States, to announce the appointment on Friday of Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi as their Joint Special Representative for Syria.
- The violence and the suffering in Syria must come to an end. The Secretary-General appreciates Mr. Brahimi’s willingness to bring his considerable talents and experience to this crucial task for which he will need, and rightly expects, the strong, clear and unified support of the international community, including the Security Council.
- Diplomacy to promote a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Syria remains a top priority for the United Nations. More fighting and militarization will only exacerbate the suffering and make more difficult the path to a peaceful resolution of the crisis which would lead to a political transition in accordance with the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people.
- The Secretary-General takes this opportunity to reiterate his deepest gratitude to former Secretary-General Kofi Annan for his selfless efforts and contributions to the search for peace in Syria.
- Asked whether Brahimi would come to New York, the Spokesperson said he was expected to come to New York soon.
- Asked about details concerning Brahimi’s office, he said that first discussions would be held between the Secretary-General and the Joint Special Representative about Brahimi’s work.
- Asked what assurances Brahimi had received, the Spokesperson noted that the President of the Security Council had written a letter to the Secretary-General in which the Security Council expressed their full support for the work of the Joint Special Representative.
- Asked about the title of Joint Special Representative, del Buey said that Brahimi had suggested that title.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS ATTACK ON A BUS IN NORTHWEST PAKISTAN
- In a statement issued on Thursday afternoon, the Secretary-General strongly condemned the appalling attack on a bus near Gilgit in northwest Pakistan earlier that day, which reportedly targeted and killed more than 20 Shia Muslims.
- The Secretary-General expressed his outrage over such deliberate attacks on people due to their religious beliefs in Pakistan.
- He extends his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government and people of Pakistan.
U.N. CONDEMNS ATTACKS THAT CLAIMED DOZENS OF LIVES IN IRAQ
- Martin Kobler, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, strongly condemned the attacks that claimed dozens of lives and wounded hundreds across the country yesterday.
- He condemned these attacks in the strongest possible terms, saying that they violate the spirit of peace associated with this holiest of times in the Muslim year.
U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF WELCOMES EFFORTS IN AUSTRALIA FOR MORE REGIONAL COOPERATION ON MIGRATION
- The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, today welcomed recent efforts in Australia to institute more comprehensive regional cooperation on migration.
- But she voiced concern that some aspects of the proposed changes could place at risk the human rights of migrants and asylum-seekers.
- The UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) said that it has long-standing concerns about Australia's mandatory detention regime.
- While applauding the goal to protect the lives of the migrants and asylum-seekers who seek entry to Australia, the Office is concerned that a re-opening of offshore detention centres could result in violations of human rights, including potentially indefinite detention.
- For its part, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said that its preference remains an arrangement which would allow asylum-seekers arriving by boat into Australian territory to be processed in Australia, which would be consistent with general practice.
WREATH-LAYING CEREMONY AT U.N. HEADQUARTERS TO HONOUR STAFF KILLED IN BAGHDAD IN 2003
- Ahead of World Humanitarian Day on Sunday, the Deputy Secretary-General took part on Friday in a wreath-laying ceremony at United Nations Headquarters to honour the memory of United Nations staff killed in Baghdad in 2003 and of all those who face danger and adversity in order to help others.
- In his message for the Day, the Secretary-General says that this year’s World Humanitarian Day presents an historic opportunity to bring together one billion people from around the world to advance a powerful and proactive idea: People Helping People.
- More than 200 million people have been reached so far by the UN’s global campaign via social media to celebrate the Day.
- Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, said that together, we can create an unprecedented awareness of the plight of people affected by crises around the world.
- Also calling on the world to join the UN campaign was Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), who said that it is unacceptable that humanitarian workers should face physical violence, intimidation, attacks and even death in their daily struggle to help the world’s most vulnerable.
- International star Beyonce filmed the World Humanitarian Day video for the song, “I Was Here,” last Friday at the General Assembly Hall in New York. That video, which also shows humanitarian workers in action around the world, will be shown around the world this weekend, including on the billboards of Times Square in New York.
U.N. CHILDREN’S FUND SAYS ARMED GROUPS IN NORTH OF MALI ARE INCREASINGLY RECRUITING CHILDREN
- The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Friday that it has received credible reports that armed groups in the north of Mali are increasingly recruiting and using children for military purposes.
- In July, UNICEF reported that at least 175 boys, aged between 12 and 18, were directly associated with armed groups in the north.
- UNICEF calls on all parties to the conflict, leaders and community members to ensure that children are protected from the harmful impact of armed conflict and do not participate in hostilities.
SIERRA LEONE FACES THE WORST CHOLERA EPIDEMIC IN 15 YEARS, SAYS THE U.N.: Since the beginning of the year, more than 100 deaths and 6,200 cholera infections have been reported in Sierra Leone, constituting the worst cholera epidemic in 15 years, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The epidemic is concentrated in seven districts including the capital, Freetown. Nearly $2.5 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has been allocated to UN agencies to respond to the epidemic. The United Nations Children’ Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) will use the funding for emergency response.
U.N. SAYS THAT HOUSING PROBLEMS IN HAITI WILL TAKE TIME TO RESOLVE: Asked about housing problems in Haiti, the Spokesperson said that the 2010 earthquake had destroyed a considerable amount of housing in Haiti. The United Nations has been working hard to provide humanitarian assistance and to help with reconstruction, but it will take time to resolve.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
18 – 24 AUGUST 2012
(This document is for planning purposes and is subject to change.)
Saturday, 18 August
There are no major events scheduled for today
Sunday 19 August
Today is World Humanitarian Day
Monday, 20 August
Today is an official holiday at United Nations Headquarters in New York
Tuesday, 21 August
Today, in the morning, the Security Council will hold a debate on the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). In the afternoon, troop-contributing countries will meet on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). Then, the Security Council will hold closed consultations on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Sanctions Committee.
At 11:30 a.m., in Geneva, there will be a press conference about the ongoing drought situations and the need for national drought-management policies. Speakers will include Dr Mannava V.K. Sivakumar, Director of the Climate Prediction and Adaptation Branch of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and Sergio A. Zelaya-Bonilla, Coordinator of the Policy for Advocacy on Global Issues at the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification Secretariat.
In Geneva, there will be a commemoration of World Humanitarian Day.
Wednesday, 22 August
Today, in the morning, the Security Council will hear a briefing on the Middle East, followed by closed consultations on the Middle East.
At 12:00 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, will be the guest at the Noon Briefing. She will brief on her recent mission to Syria.
At 9:45 a.m., in Conference Room 6 of the North Lawn Building (NLB), there will a seminar on Social inclusion of Migrants: Access to Education and Health Services. It is organized by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) in cooperation with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the MacArthur Foundation.
At 2: 45 p.m., in Conference Room 6 (NLB), there will be a seminar on Rio+20 outcome and Migration: Including all stakeholders in the future we want. It is organized by UNITAR in cooperation with UNFPA, IOM and the MacArthur Foundation.
Thursday, 23 August
Today is the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.
In the morning, the Security Council will hold closed consultations on Sudan/South Sudan, followed by closed consultations on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
Friday, 24 August
There are no major events scheduled for today.