HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY, SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
MONDAY, 6 FEBRUARY 2012
SECRETARY-GENERAL APPALLED BY ESCALATING VIOLENCE IN SYRIA
- In a statement, the Secretary-General says that he is appalled by the escalating violence in Syria, particularly at the mounting death toll and continued onslaught on the city of Homs involving the use of heavy artillery and the shelling of civilian areas. Such violence is totally unacceptable before humanity.
- The Secretary-General strongly condemns these attacks. The lack of agreement in the Security Council gives no license to the Syrian authorities to step up attacks on the Syrian population. No government can commit such acts against its people without its legitimacy being eroded.
- The Secretary-General deeply regrets that the Syrian authorities continue to ignore the pressing calls of the international community to stop using force against civilians. All violence must end immediately. The Secretary-General reminds the Government of Syria that it is accountable under international human rights law for all acts of violence perpetrated by its security forces against the civilian population.
- The Secretary-General calls upon all concerned in Syria and in the international community to redouble efforts aimed at stopping the violence and seeking an inclusive Syrian-led political process, in accordance with international law, that respects the will and legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people to a democratic and pluralistic political system.
- Asked about the Secretary-General’s reaction to Saturday's vote in the Security Council on Syria, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General deeply regretted that the Council had been unable to agree on a resolution supported by the League of Arab States to bring an early end to the violence and the killing in Syria. He also said the Secretary-General had said that it undermined the role of the United Nations and the international community in a period when the Syrian authorities must hear a unified voice calling for an immediate end to its violence against the Syrian people. The Secretary-General added that the Council had lost an opportunity to take unified action that could help end the crisis and forge a peaceful future.
- Asked about whether the United Nations will issue a revised casualty figure for Syria, the Spokesperson said that following her most recent briefing to the Security Council, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, had said that it was difficult to provide an updated figure. Nesirky added that people continued to be killed in Syria. He said this was wholly unacceptable and he noted the Secretary-General’s concern.
PHILIPPINES: U.N. STANDS READY TO PROVIDE ASSISTANCE IN WAKE OF EARTHQUAKE
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that a magnitude 6.9 earthquake was reported in the Philippines today, according to the country’s National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
- The Government has confirmed that 7 people have been killed but that there are fears that this number could rise.
- The Government has not requested international assistance so far, but as always, the United Nations stands ready to provide assistance if needed and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs continues to monitor developments.
YOUNG PEOPLE CONCERNED BY PAUCITY OF JOB OPPORTUNITIES - NEW U.N. REPORT
- Young people around the world are deeply concerned about a lack of job opportunities, according to a new United Nations report issued on Monday.
- Global unemployment for young people soared in the aftermath of the economic crisis, reaching nearly 76 million in 2009.
- The Secretary-General recently highlighted the need for the UN system to pull together like never before to support a new social contract of economic growth with jobs.
SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES AFRICAN UNION MISSION IN SOMALIA: On Monday morning, the Security Council met in closed consultations to discuss the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and other matters.
ISSUE OF DRONES IS COMPLEX: Asked about the use of drones, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has spoken about this topic. Nesirky noted that it is a complex issue that also involves international humanitarian law.
SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES PEACEFUL RESOLUTION ON IRAN ISSUE: Asked about Iran, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has spoken clearly about the need for a peaceful resolution and that he has repeatedly called for Iran to prove to the international community that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes. He has also underscored the need for negotiations to deal with the matter peacefully.