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Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY EDUARDO DEL BUEY,
DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

THURSDAY, 28 FEBRUARY 2013

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO VISIT HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL; DEPARTS AUSTRIA AFTER MEETING FOREIGN MINISTER

  • On Thursday, the Secretary-General arrived in Geneva from Vienna.
  • Before leaving Austria, the Secretary-General held talks with the Foreign Minister, Michael Spindelegger, that covered Syria, Mali and the Middle East Peace Process, among other topics. He also met the heads of UN agencies based in Vienna. 
  • On Friday, the Secretary-General will visit the Human Rights Council and attend a high-level panel discussion on human rights mainstreaming. He will also deliver the Annual Sergio Vieira de Mello lecture. He will speak to reporters and, as in Vienna, he will hold a town hall meeting with UN staff.
  • The Secretary-General will return to New York over the weekend.

U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL WRAPS UP ITS WORK FOR THE MONTH

  • The Security Council held a session on Thursday morning to wrap up its work for February, in its last consultations under the Council Presidency of the Republic of Korea.
  • On Friday, Russia will take over the rotating Presidency of the Security Council. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, the Council President for March, will brief journalists on the Council’s programme of work for the month next Monday, at 12:30.

D.R. CONGO: SITUATION IN NORTH KIVU REMAINS TENSE FOLLOWING CLASHES

  • The UN Stabilisation Mission in DR Congo (MONUSCO) reports that the situation in Kitchanga, north Kivu, remains tense following Wednesday's clashes between the Forces armees de la Republique Democratique du Congo (FARDC) and the Alliance des Patriotes pour un Congo Libre et Souverain (APCLS), an armed group operating in the region.
  • On Thursday morning, MONUSCO reported gunshots in the area.
  • The mission says that between 3,000 and 4,000 Congolese have taken refuge around its base in Kitchanga.
  • The Mission also adds that at least 36 people have been killed, including 10 civilians.
  • MONUSCO is closely monitoring the area, including with its combat helicopter.

SOUTH SUDAN: HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR DEEPLY CONCERNED OVER THREATS TO CIVILIANS IN JONGLEI

  • The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan expressed his deep concern over the increasing threats to civilians in Jonglei due to inter-communal violence and hostilities between the army and others.
  • In his recent visit to Akobo and Pibor Counties, Toby Lanzer said that he met communities living in fear of what may happen over the coming weeks.
  • He urged the Government of South Sudan to reinforce its ongoing efforts to strengthen law and order and to hold to account those who are responsible for committing crimes and putting civilian populations at risk.
  • He also called on all armed actors to ensure that civilians are spared from the consequences of military engagement. Armed actors must distinguish between civilians and those directly involved in fighting, he added.

U.N. ADVISOR FOR GENOCIDE PREVENTION CONCERNED WITH INCREASING ETHNIC TENSIONS AROUND THE WORLD

  • The Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, said on Thursday that we are witnessing a dangerous increase in ethnic tensions in various regions.
  • Addressing the Human Rights Council, he said that we have seen extreme violence in countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Sudan and Syria.
  • He said that while we cannot correct the failures of the past, we can at least learn from them and strive to create mechanisms that can help us prevent these atrocities from happening again. 
  • Also speaking at the Human Rights Council was Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS.
  • He said that the AIDS response has shown that when people stand up and demand their rights, denial and inaction are shattered.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SYRIA: SECRETARY-GENERAL BELIEVES ATTEMPTS TO ARM PROTAGONISTS UNHELPFUL: Asked about outside involvement in the Syrian conflict, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General believes that any attempts to arm the protagonists in the fighting in Syria are unhelpful. 

SECRETARY-GENERAL SUPPORTS PEACEFUL PROTESTS IN ALL COUNTRIES: In response to a question on Bangladesh, the Spokesperson reiterated the Secretary-General’s position that peaceful protests should be allowed in all countries. 

SECRETARY-GENERAL BELIEVES DUE PROCESS SHOULD BE FOLLOWED IN TRIALS IN BAHRAIN: Asked about trials in Bahrain, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General believes that due process should be followed.