HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY MARTIN NESIRKY,
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
FRIDAY, 28 FEBRUARY 2014
U.N. RELIEF WING REPORTS AID DELIVERY TO SYRIA
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that aid supplies have been delivered to a number of areas in Syria over the past few days.
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) provided an airlift on Thursday of 31 metric tons of relief supplies from Damascus to Qamishly, including medicines, vaccines for 250,000 people, medical equipment and winterized relief items.
- A UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) team was also able to deliver a limited number of food parcels in Yarmouk Thursday, but the team was forced to withdraw following reports of gunfire near the distribution point.
- A further 50 males who left Old Homs City were reportedly cleared on Thursday, according to the Governor of Homs. That leaves some 72 males awaiting screening. UN protection officers remain on site to monitor the situation.
SOUTH SUDAN: U.N. RELIEF CHIEF DEEPLY CONCERNED BY GRAVE HUMANITARIAN SITUATION
- Valerie Amos, the UN Emergency Coordinator, issued a statement on South Sudan on Thursday. She said she was deeply concerned by the grave humanitarian situation in the country, where, despite the recent ceasefire agreement, the lives of millions of civilians were threatened by lack of food, outbreaks of disease, and continued violence.
- She added that all those who continue fighting in South Sudan must abide by their obligations under International Humanitarian and Human Rights laws: to protect civilians, to respect the ceasefire, to stop targeting civilian facilities, and to allow safe access for aid workers.
- The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) continues to conduct patrols in various parts of the country. On Thursday, two UN patrols to Malakal, in Upper Nile State, observed an increased presence of troops in the town. The patrol reported seeing two mortar rounds abandoned on the roadside. The UN patrol also visited Malakal Teaching Hospital and transferred a further 14 civilians for medical treatment to its protection site.
- The Mission reports that, as part of its protection mandate, it also visited two churches and a college and, in all, assisted 82 civilians sheltering there to move to the UN site. UNMISS is protecting some 22,000 civilians at its site in Malakal.
- UNMISS also reports that a team visited Jamjang Payam, Ajuang Thok refugee camp and Pariang town in Unity State on 26 and 27 February, and reported the situation in all those locations to be calm.
SECURITY COUNCIL TO MEET ON UKRAINE
- The Security Council will hold a private meeting on Friday afternoon, followed by consultations on the situation in Ukraine.
- Asked how the United Nations could deal with the claims by the two sides in Ukraine, the Spokesperson said that Ukraine is a sovereign state all the people of Ukraine deserve to have their demands met in a peaceful way, through dialogue.
- He noted that Robert Serry, whom the Secretary-General had sent to Kiev this week, is meeting with different interlocutors. Mr. Serry has been following recent developments, including in Crimea. The Spokesperson said it was important for all sides to lower tensions and resolve any disputes through dialogue.
- Nesirky noted, in response to further questions, that Mr. Serry, in his discussions, had pointed to the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
D.R. CONGO: DUE TO FUNDING SHORTAGE, WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME TO CURB AID DISTRIBUTIONS
- The World Food Programme (WFP) says that it will have to reduce its geographical coverage in the Democratic Republic of Congo due to funding constraints. Until now, it has only received $8 million, which is only 4 per cent of the funding required to assist hundreds of thousands of people who have been affected by conflict and are hungry through August.
- The Programme has already started to cut rations to internally displaced persons in Uganda and North Kivu. Some 11 per cent of the rural population in the DRC is food-insecure and chronic malnutrition affects more than 40 per cent of the children in the country.
- The Programme stresses that the situation in Katanga province is deteriorating and is extremely preoccupied by the arrival of refugees from the Central African Republic.
NEARLY 100 FLEE FIGHTING IN PAKISTAN, U.N. AID WING REPORTS
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that its team in Afghanistan reports that nearly 100 people have crossed from northern Pakistan into Afghanistan. District officials in Pakistan’s North Waziristan report that nearly 20,000 people, mostly women and children, have been displaced since 20 February because of military operations in the area.
- The majority of displaced people urgently need access to adequate food, shelter and health care.
- Although the Government of Pakistan has not requested international assistance so far, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is in contact with the authorities and is following the situation closely. Some local non-governmental organizations are providing emergency aid including food supplies and medical assistance to those displaced.
U.N. RIGHTS CHIEF SPEAKS OUT AGAINST VENEZUELA VIOLENCE
- The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has condemned the violence over the past weeks in Venezuela. She urges the Government to ensure respect for freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. She says that the inflammatory rhetoric from all sides is utterly unhelpful and that it is time for all sides to move beyond verbal aggression and towards meaningful dialogue.
- Navi Pillay is very concerned by the reported excessive use of force by the authorities in response to protests, and she calls on all sides to renounce the use of violence.
- Asked whether the Secretary-General would attend the meeting of the International Support Group for Lebanon in Paris on 5 March, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has asked the Deputy Secretary-General to attend that meeting on his behalf.
- Asked about the meeting today between the Secretary-General and the new Permanent Representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Spokesperson said that this was a protocol meeting in which he welcomed the new ambassador to his position. He did the same today with the incoming Permanent Representatives for Cambodia and for Cape Verde.
- Asked about press freedom in Sri Lanka, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General believes that, as a general principle, freedom of expression is very important, including access to websites and other sources of information.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
1 – 7 MARCH 2014
(This document is for planning purposes and is subject to change.)
Saturday. 1 March
Today, Luxembourg will assume the rotating presidency of the Security Council for the month of March.
Sunday, 2 March
Today the Secretary-general will be in Mont-Pelerin, Switzerland, to the attend the 10th Seminar of the Special Representatives of the Secretary-General
Monday, 3 March
The Secretary-general will be in Geneva today and will address the opening of the High-Level Segment of the 25th session of the Human Rights Council.
At 11:00 a.m., in the Press briefing room, there will be a press conference on the launch of the 2013 Human Security Report by the Human Security Research Group. This event is sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations.
Today is World Wildlife Day. In Geneva, the Secretary-General will inaugurate a photographic exhibition to mark this Day.
From 15:30 to 17:30, in Conference Room 6 (NLB), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) will launch its Industrial Development Report 2013 entitled “Sustaining Employment Growth: The Role of Manufacturing and Structural Change”.
Tuesday, 4 March
At 10:30 a.m., in the Press briefing room, there will be a press conference by United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) entitled "World Urban Campaign launch of the City We Need in preparations of the World Urban Forum 7”.
At 11:00 a.m., in the Press briefing room, there will be a press conference to present the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) Annual Report for 2013. The speaker will be Mr. David T. Johnson, Member of the International Narcotics Control Board. This event is sponsored by the Department of Public Information.
At 12:30 p.m., in the Press briefing room, there will be a press conference by Ambassador Sylvie Lucas, Permanent Representative of Luxembourg to the United Nations and President of the Security Council for the month of March.
From 10:00 to 13:00 and from 15:00 to 18:00, in the General Assembly Hall (NLB), there will be a forum on “Turning Inspiration into Action: Next Steps for the Private Sector to Empower Women Globally” (on the occasion of the International Women’s Day (8 March))
Wednesday, 5 March
Today at 12 p.m. in Geneva, the Chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, Paulo Pinheiro, will hold a press conference to launch the Commission’s latest report.
Thursday, 6 March
The Secretary-General will travel to Freetown, Sierra Leone, today to participate in the closing ceremony of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) after fifteen years of UN peace and political missions in the country.
At 11:15 a.m., in the Press briefing room, there will be a press conference by Ms. Arancha Gonzalez, Executive Director, International Trade Center (ITC) on supporting women’s economic empowerment through entrepreneurship
At 12:00 p.m., in the Press briefing room, Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women Executive Director will be the guest at the Noon Briefing.
Today and tomorrow, from 10:00 and 15:00, in the Economic and Social Council Chamber (CB), there will be a High-level Event on “The Contributions of Women, the Young and Civil Society to the Post-2015 Development Agenda”.
From 16:00 to 18:00, in Conference Room 3 (CB), there will be the launch launch of the campaign “Children, not Soldiers” (co-organized by the Permanent Mission of Luxembourg, the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict and the United Nations Children’s Fund)
Friday, 7 March
There are no major events scheduled for today.