HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY,
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
FRIDAY, 24 AUGUST 2012
“EXTRAORDINARY TALENT” OF NEW SYRIA ENVOY LAUDED BY SECRETARY-GENERAL
- The Secretary-General met the newly-appointed Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and League of Arab States for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi.
- Mr. Brahimi was appointed a week ago and formally takes over the position from the former Secretary-General Kofi Annan as the Joint Special Representative on 1 September.
- Speaking before the meeting, the Secretary-General said that Mr. Brahimi had a very important and crucial task to bring peace and stability to Syria and to promote human rights there.
- He said Mr. Brahimi has extraordinary talent and expertise that he can bring to the region.
- Mr. Brahimi said that the interests of the Syrian people would be his first master and that he will be considering those interests first and foremost.
- Asked about the approach the incoming Joint Special Representative will take regarding the crisis in Syria, the Spokesperson said Mr. Brahimi was meeting with the Secretary-General and will spend the next week consulting with senior UN officials.
- The six-point peace plan, which is endorsed by the Security Council, and the Action Group's communiqué continue to be important building blocks.
SECRETARY-GENERAL TRAVELS TO WASHINGTON DC FOR 50 YEAR REUNION
- The Secretary-General is travelling to Washington DC on Friday for a reunion with the friends he made 50 years ago during their visit to the United States, which was organized by the American Red Cross.
- This is very much a personal journey for the Secretary-General, and something he has really been looking forward to.
- He has said many times that the Red Cross study trip half a century ago, and the meeting the group had with President John F Kennedy, inspired him to pursue a life of public service.
The group will also be visiting United Nations Headquarters in New York on Monday.
U.N. AGENCY REPORTS 200,000 SYRIAN REFUGEES
- The Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that the total number of Syrian refugees registered or awaiting registration has surpassed 200,000. The refugees are located in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq.
- And Turkey continues to host the largest number, about 75,000 to date.
- The Refugee Agency’s operations in Syria continue despite an escalation of military activity in the capital which is restricting staff movements and the ability of those who are displaced to reach the office.
- Hotlines continue to operate giving counselling to refugees who ask about relocation, food distribution, financial assistance, residency, registration and resettlement.
Relief items like hygiene kits and mattresses are being distributed to displaced people with the help of local partners.
REFUGEE AGENCY ALARMED BY HEALTH OF REFUGEES IN SOUTH SUDAN
- The U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says that it is alarmed by the health situation of the 170,000 Sudanese refugees living in camps and settlements across South Sudan’s Unity and Upper Nile states.
- Given the rain and cold, the Agency is seeing refugees suffering from respiratory tract infections, diarrhea and malaria.
- It adds that nearly half of the refugees in Upper Nile are under the age of 11, and it is this group that is suffering the most.
- Their mothers and other caregivers are also often weak and cannot look after them properly.
The Agency and its partners launched an extensive health and hygiene programme this month and are also building latrines in camps to keep pace with new arrivals.
U.N. MISSION IN SOUTH SUDAN CONCERNED OVER HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS
- The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has called on all those in the country who are engaged in stabilizing Jonglei State to take immediate action to safeguard recent gains in the peace process, stem human rights violations and hold perpetrators to account.
- The Mission is concerned by the recent increase in serious human rights violations allegedly committed by some undisciplined elements within the South Sudanese Army in Pibor County.
These troops are deployed to assist the government’s civilian disarmament programme there, as part of the overall peace process.
U.N. FACILTATES GOVERNMENT MEETING WITH REBEL GROUP IN D.R. CONGO
- The United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) says there was a meeting between government officials of North Kivu province and the Mai Mai leader Janvier.
- In line with the Mission's mandate and at the request of the government officials, the Mission, MONUSCO, provided transportation for the delegation and security during the meeting, in order to facilitate a peaceful discussion between both parties. MONUSCO was not involved in the discussions.
- The Mission has also confirmed that they are not aware and have not taken part of any initiative to recruit Mai Mai.
Asked about the role of MONUSCO in a meeting held recently between the Government of the DRC and the Mai Mai, the Spokesperson said MONUSCO had provided transportation to and from the meeting, and security for the meeting, as is its mandate. However, MONUSCO did not participate in the meeting.
STRONGER GOVERNANCE IMPLEMENTED FOR U.N.’S UMOJA PROJECT
- In response to a question regarding an audit report about the UN’s UMOJA project, the Spokesperson, Martin Nesirky said that the report of the United Nations Board of Auditors covers the period from April 2011 to April 2012.
- He said corrective measures have been implemented, such as stronger governance of project leadership, which have been recognized by the Board as steps in the right direction.
The Secretariat is confident that it is on the right track, and as the Board of Auditors follows up on further progress made - and the impact of the corrective actions taken - during the 2013 audit of the project, it will be able to demonstrate significant progress on the status of project.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
25 – 31 AUGUST 2012
(This document is for planning purposes and is subject to change.)
Saturday, 25 August
The Secretary-General will be in Washington, D.C., for a reunion with friends he made 50 years ago during their visit to the United States, which was organized by the American Red Cross. He will be back in New York on 27 August.
Sunday 26 August
There are no major events scheduled for today.
Monday, 27 August
At 10:00 a.m., in Conference Room 1 of the North Lawn Building (NLB), the United Nations Conference to Review Progress Made in the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects will begin. This conference will end on 7 September.
At 11:00 a.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference sponsored by the Office for Disarmament of Affairs to launch the 2012 Small Arms Survey entitled "Moving targets". It will be moderated by Pericles Gasparini, Senior Political Affairs Officer and Deputy Chief in the Conventional Arms Branch of the Office for Disarmament Affairs.
In Geneva, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention will hold its 64th session, ending on 30 August.
In Geneva, the Working Group on Communications will hold its 11th Session, ending on 31 August.
Tuesday, 28 August
This morning, the Security Council will hold closed consultations on Somalia.
Wednesday, 29 August
Today is the International Day against Nuclear Tests.
The Secretary-General will start a visit in Tehran where he will participate in the 16th Summit the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). His visit will end on 31 August.
Thursday, 30 August
Today is the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances.
This morning, the Security Council will adopt a resolution on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). In the afternoon, the Council will hear a briefing on the Middle East.
Friday, 31 August
There are no major events scheduled for today.