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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 THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

WEDNESDAY, 28 NOVEMBER 2012

U.N. MISSION REPORTS SIGNS OF M23 PREPARING WITHDRAWAL FROM GOMA, DR CONGO

  • The UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) reports that there are signs that the M23 are preparing to withdraw from Goma, in accordance with terms of the communiqué from the weekend meeting of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region. However, the Mission reports that there is not yet any major movement by M23 out of Goma.
  • The situation in Goma on Wednesday is relatively calm. MONUSCO peacekeepers are engaged in three main activities in Goma: peacekeepers are conducting 84 patrols around the clock each day; quick reaction teams are sent to areas when the Mission receives reports of incidents; and peacekeepers will monitor the withdrawal of M23 from Goma to the 20 kilometer neutral zone.
  • MONUSCO is monitoring the human rights, including reports of human rights violations by M23 and the Congolese Armed Forces.
  • The Department for Peacekeeping Operations has sent the senior military adviser, General Babacar Gaye, to the Great Lakes region on Wednesday in order to assess with all the relevant stakeholders, and especially with MONUSCO, mechanisms and procedures for the successful implementation of the 20km Neutral Zone. He will also work on the concept of the International Neutral Force with stakeholders.
  • Under Secretary-General Hervé Ladsous and Chef de Cabinet Susana Malcorra briefed the Security Council on Tuesday night on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • Asked about the human rights situation following reported sexual abuse by the Congolese army in Minova, in Eastern DRC, Del Buey said that the UN Mission there was monitoring the situation and would report on allegations of human rights violations.
  • He added that access to many areas has been difficult in the fluid conflict situation of the past week, and that the Mission is continuing to gather information on allegations.

U.N. NOTES LACK OF PROGRESS BETWEEN SUDAN AND SOUTH SUDAN

  • The Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, presented the Secretary-General’s latest report on South Sudan to the Security Council on Wednesday morning.
  • He said that the lack of progress in solving security, economic and political problems between Sudan and South Sudan continued to have consequences on South Sudan. He said that the slow implementation of the agreements signed in September could have a negative impact on the country’s economic stability.
  • Concerning inter-communal violence in Jonglei state, Mr. Ladsous said reconciliation and peace building have been slow following the All Jonglei Peace Conference of last May. He said that a comprehensive and inclusive political process led by the Government that addresses the core grievance of the disgruntled constituencies remains an urgent need.
  • He noted that the recent activities of militias led by David Yau Yau are a serious cause of concern.
  • The Council also held consultations on Sudan and South Sudan.
  • Earlier, the Security Council adopted a resolution on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In the afternoon, the Security Council was scheduled to hold consultations on Sierra Leone as well as on Western Sahara.

U.N. ENVOY EXPRESSES DISMAY FOLLOWING ATTACKS IN IRAQ

  • The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Martin Kobler, has expressed his dismay following a series of attacks against innocent victims, including worshippers, in several locations throughout Iraq.
  • He said that these inhuman acts only add to the senseless suffering of innocent people and their families.
  • Mr. Kobler also expressed his profound sympathy to the families of the victims, to whom he extends his sincere condolences. He wishes a speedy recovery to the wounded.

U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF VISITS LEBANON AND JORDAN, CALLS FOR SUPPORT FOR SYRIA’S NEIGHBOURS

  • At the end of a three-day visit to Jordan and Lebanon, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, called on the international community to tackle the consequences of the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria, and support surrounding countries in their efforts to deal with a worsening refugee crisis.
  • During her visit to Jordan, Ms. Amos met with His Majesty King Abdullah, Prime Minister Abdallah Ensour, senior Government officials, UN agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). She praised the generosity of the people of Jordan for hosting some 240,000 Syrians, and the work of the national and international relief agencies.
  • In Lebanon, she met Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Minister of Social Affairs, Wael Abu Faour and thanked them for the support the Lebanese people and Government are providing to more than 130,000 refugees from Syria, and for keeping the borders open.
  • She said the plight of the refugees, and the possibility that thousands more will follow them, underlines the need for a comprehensive, region-wide response to end the crisis. She said that we need to redouble our efforts to support neighbouring states in absorbing the costs of addressing the daily needs of a large refugee population.

SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IS ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST PERVASIVE HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS

  • The Secretary-General is participating on Wednesday afternoon in the Official Commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women at UN headquarters.
  • In his remarks at the event, the Secretary-General said that violence against women is one of the world’s most pervasive human rights violations and that it is critical to tackle structural patterns of discrimination and to redouble our efforts to empower women.
  • He also applauded the General Assembly’s Third Committee for its action this week in passing its first-ever resolution on eliminating the harmful practice of female genital mutilation.
  • The theme of the commemoration is “A promise is a promise”. It is a call from the United Nations to Governments and leaders to translate international promises into concrete national action.

ARCHBISHOP TUTU DESIGNATED LAUREATE OF UNESCO/BILBAO PRIZE FOR THE PROMOTION OF A CULTURE OF HUMAN RIGHTS

  • UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, has designated Archbishop Desmond Tutu from South Africa as laureate of the 2012 UNESCO/Bilbao Prize for the Promotion of a Culture of Human Rights.
  • Archbishop Tutu was selected by an International Jury in recognition of his exceptional contribution to building a universal culture of human rights at the national, regional and international levels.
  • Ms. Bokova will award the Prize at UNESCO’s Paris Headquarters on 10 December, Human Rights Day.

SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS HUMANITARIAN ENVOY FOR KUWAIT, FORCE COMMANDER FOR LIBERIA MISSION

  • The Secretary-General has appointed Mr. Abdullah Al Matouq of Kuwait as his Humanitarian Envoy for Kuwait. He looks forward to Mr. Al Matouq working closely with the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs to build stronger partnerships in Kuwait and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region.
  • The Secretary-General has also appointed Major General Leonard Muriuki Ngondi of Kenya as the Force Commander for the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
  • Major General Ngondi succeeds Major General Muhammad Khalid of Pakistan, who completed his assignment on 9 November this year.

U.N. METEOROLOGICAL AGENCY SAYS THAT YEARS 2001-2011 AMONG WARMEST ON RECORD

  • The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released on Wednesday its provisional annual statement on the state of the global climate, where it says that the years 2001–2011 were all among the warmest on record.
  • The UN Agency says also that the first ten months indicate that 2012 will most likely be no exception despite the cooling influence of La Niña early in the year.
  • The World Meteorological Organization also highlighted the unprecedented melt of the Arctic sea ice and multiple weather and climate extremes which affected many parts of the world.
  • The statement was released on Wednesday to inform negotiators at the United Nations Climate Change Conference which started in Doha, Qatar, on Monday.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

JOINT SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR SYRIA TO BRIEF SECURITY COUNCIL, GENERAL ASSEMBLY: Asked about the situation in Syria, the Deputy Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General had meet with Lakhdar Brahimi, the Joint Special Representative on Syria, this morning. He added that Mr. Brahimi would brief both the Security Council and the General Assembly this week, after visiting the region and meeting with a series of leaders. The Deputy Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General had repeatedly stated that there was no military solution to the situation in Syria.

SECRETARY-GENERAL HAS CONDEMNED DISCRIMINATION BASED ON SEXUAL PREFERENCE: Asked about gay rights in Uganda, the Deputy Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General had very strongly condemned any attempt to stigmatize or discriminate on the basis of sexual preference.