HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY EDUARDO DEL BUEY, DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
THURSDAY, 23 FEBRUARY 2012
SECRETARY-GENERAL HEADS TO ZAMBIA AFTER ATTENDING LONDON CONFERENCE ON SOMALIA
- The Secretary-General attended the London Conference on Somalia today and held a range of bilateral meetings.
- The Secretary-General told the conference that the meeting was taking place at a critical time.
- He called on the international community to take steps to improve security, advance the political process and step up assistance for recovery, reconstruction and development in Somalia.
- The Secretary-General has been meeting several leaders on the sidelines of the conference, including the Presidents of Somalia and Uganda, the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden and the foreign ministers of France, Spain and Italy.
- He is also meeting leaders from the European Union, League of Arab States and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
- From London the Secretary-General will be heading for Zambia overnight. He is due there tomorrow afternoon.
AHEAD OF SENEGAL ELECTIONS, SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS ON ACTORS TO REFRAIN FROM VIOLENCE
- As Senegal prepares to hold its presidential election scheduled for Sunday, 26 February 2012, the Secretary-General reiterates his calls for a peaceful, credible and transparent process in line with Senegal’s longstanding democratic tradition and the aspirations of its people.
- He deplores recent violent incidents that have led to the loss of lives in the run-up to the elections and emphasizes the need to respect the right for peaceful and orderly assembly.
- He calls on political actors to refrain from using or inciting violence during the electoral period and appeals once again for all electoral disputes to be resolved through legal and peaceful means.
- The Secretary-General expresses support for initiatives contributing to the conduct of an orderly and transparent poll.
SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN CONFLICT, EXTENDS MANDATE OF TIMOR-LESTE MISSION
- This morning the Security Council extended the mandate of the UN Mission in Timor Leste (UNMIT) until 31 December 2012, and endorsed the plan of its phased drawdown.
- As well, this morning the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Margot Wallström, briefed the Security Council.
- In her presentation, Ms. Wallström said conflict-related sexual violence is a global risk, age-old and universal.
- She said preventative mechanisms have been established by building a broad coalition and circle of stakeholders – peacekeepers, peacemakers, war-crimes prosecutors, and the full range of protection actors.
- Listing mechanisms – naming and shaming those who carry out such violence – has yielded tangible results, since those who condone violence can no longer hide beneath a mantle of impunity.
- She noted that the Security Council has changed how we think about rape – sexual violence is now seen as a threat to security.
- Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous also briefed the Council, noting that DPKO has worked closely with Ms Wallström’s office and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to develop Terms of Reference for Women’s Protection Advisers to maximise existing capacities on the ground and promote coordination. He concluded noting that the empowerment of women in fragile states is fundamental to eradicate discrimination, inequality, and gender-based violence.
IRAQ: U.N. ENVOY CONDEMNS ATTACKS, CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION
- The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Martin Kobler, has condemned in the strongest possible terms today’s attacks, which have claimed the lives of dozens of Iraqis and maimed many more across the country.
- He said that the continuing violent attacks on Iraqis were unacceptable and had to stop. He called on the Iraqi authorities to fully investigate these acts of violence and bring the perpetrators to justice.
- Mr. Kobler also urged Iraqis to come together in a spirit of fraternity and mutual respect to consider peaceful alternatives to violence.