HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY,
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
TUESDAY, 12 FEBRUARY 2013
SECRETARY-GENERAL STRONGLY CONDEMNS D.P.R.K. NUCLEAR TEST
- At the opening of the Security Council meeting on the protection of civilians in armed conflict on Tuesday morning, the Secretary-General strongly condemned Pyongyang's nuclear weapons test. He said that the test is a clear and grave violation of the relevant resolutions of the Security Council. A statement was issued earlier on Tuesday about that nuclear test.
- The Secretary-General said that he was encouraged by the swift and overwhelming international condemnation of this wanton act. This is a direct challenge to the Security Council. It is absolutely essential that the Council act and speak with one voice and engage with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in a unified manner.
- Tuesday’s meeting was preceded by Security Council consultations on non-proliferation and the DPRK. In a press statement issued after those consultations, Council members also strongly condemned the test, saying that it is a grave violation of resolutions 1718, 1874 and 2087. Council members will begin work immediately on appropriate measures in a Security Council resolution.
- Asked what the Security Council could do in response to the test, the Spokesperson said it is up to the Security Council to react. The Secretary-General has made clear his concerns about the test and what it means for regional stability, as well as how it was a direct challenge to the Security Council.
- Asked about the Secretary-General’s contacts, Nesirky noted that, as the Secretary-General said at the Council on Foreign Relations on Monday, he is in contact with the relevant parties.
- Asked about the humanitarian problems caused by sanctions on the DPRK, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has spoken out about the humanitarian needs of the people of the DPRK.
LOOTING AND EMPTY VILLAGES FOUND IN BAMBARI AREA, IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC, U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY SAYS
- The UN Refugee Agency said on Tuesday that an assessment mission sent last week to Bambari in the Central African Republic found looting and empty villages.
- The joint mission by the Refugee Agency and Mercy Corps found that villages along a 100 kilometre stretch of road between Grimari and Bambari were almost completely deserted, with most residents hiding in the bush. In Bambari, there has also been widespread looting, including of the UN Refugee Agency's own warehouse.
- The assessment mission was the first to the region since the mid-December takeover last year by the Seleka rebel coalition of the major cities of the north and centre of the country, including Bambari and Kaga Bandoro.
- The Refugee Agency said that access for humanitarian work in the Central African Republic remains limited as a result of the lack of security guarantees. The Agency urged the Government and the Seleka rebels to allow better access for humanitarian workers to populations in need.
WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME CHIEF STARTS VISIT TO TANZANIA
- The Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), Ertharin Cousin, began a visit to Tanzania on Tuesday. She will meet with President Jakaya Kikwete and Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda.
- During her stay, Ms. Cousin will also visit the World Food Programme’s port operations in Dar-es-Salaam to see a central logistics hub that is vital to the Agency’s work in Africa.
INVESTIGATION ABOUT RAPES IN MINOVA, D.R. CONGO, IS NOW ON THE GROUND
- Asked on Monday about rapes in Minova, in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Spokesperson said that the investigation led by the Congolese authorities and supported by the UN Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) is now on the ground in Minova and surrounding areas.
- The investigation will include a large number of interviews with victims and witnesses.
- In line with the UN Human Rights Due Diligence Policy, a review of MONUSCO's support to units of the Congolese Armed Forces involved in human rights violations will take place once the investigations have concluded.
IRAN HAS TO COMPLY WITH SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTIONS: Asked about Iran’s stated willingness to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Spokesperson noted Iran’s obligation to cooperate fully with the IAEA and comply with the resolutions of the Security Council.
ANY EFFORTS TO REINVIGORATE MIDDLE EAST PROCESS ARE WELCOMED: Asked about US President Barack Obama’s plans to travel to the Middle East, the Spokesperson said that any efforts to reinvigorate the Middle East peace process are to be welcomed.
INTERNAL REVIEW LOOKING INTO FOLLOW-UP TO SRI LANKA REPORT IS UNDER WAY: Asked about an internal review looking into follow-up on Charles Petrie’s report concerning Sri Lanka, the Spokesperson noted that a review is proceeding under the leadership of the Deputy Secretary-General.
JOURNALISTS NEED TO GO ABOUT THEIR WORK WITHOUT PERSECUTION: Asked about the arrests of journalists in Iran, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has spoken out about the need for journalists to go about their work without persecution.
U.N. CONDEMNS RECRUITMENT OF CHILDREN IN CONFLICTS: Tuesday was the International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers. The EU High Representative, Catherine Ashton, and the UN Special Representative, Leila Zerrougui, condemned the recruitment of children in conflicts in a joint statement.