HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY EDUARDO DEL BUEY,
DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
FRIDAY, 1 MARCH 2013
SECRETARY-GENERAL: U.N. DEDICATED TO FULFILLING ITS HUMANITARIAN IMPERATIVE
- The Secretary-General delivered the annual Sergio Vieira de Mello lecture in Geneva today.
- He said that as Sergio Vieira de Mello and the colleagues who died with him in Baghdad proved in their too-short lifetimes, the United Nations is dedicated to fulfilling its humanitarian imperative.
- The Secretary-General said that the effort to pursue a military solution in Syria is leading to the dissolution of Syria. He says that those with the political power to change things must answer to every mother and every girl in Syria. Inaction in the councils of peace looks like indifference in the cauldron of war.
- Earlier, he spoke at the Human Rights Council on human rights mainstreaming, and he paid tribute to Stéphane Hessel, one of the main architects of the system to protect human rights, who died earlier this week.
MALIANS FEAR RETURNING HOME IN SPITE OF SECURITY IMPROVEMENTS – U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said today that despite improvements to the security situation in some areas in Mali, fear of returning home remains widespread.
- The Agency said that there are still large numbers of internally displaced people, while in surrounding countries the numbers of refugees are still high and in some cases increasing.
- The reasons of delay of returning include continued fighting, suicide attacks, reprisal attacks against some communities, the presence of mines and unexploded ordinance in the regions of Mopti, Gao, and Timbuktu. For those outside Mali, an additional complication is ethnic make-up, as a majority of the refugees are Tuareg or Arab. Fear of reprisal attacks is widespread, as is fear of criminality.
- The Refugee Agency said that reconciliation efforts are urgently needed, together with efforts to combat impunity, to prevent Mali's displacement crisis from becoming more protracted. It said that it is planning support for reconciliation in areas of displacement and returns, as well as in refugee camps.
U.N. IRAQ ENVOY DISCUSSES CAMP LIBERTY SITUATION WITH REFUGEE CHIEF
- Martin Kobler, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, met with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Mr. António Guterres, in Geneva today and discussed the situation of Syrian refugees in Iraq, as well as the process of resettling the residents of Camp Liberty to third countries.
- Mr. Kobler said that, after the despicable attacks on Camp Liberty on 9 February, it is particularly important that we redouble our efforts to resettle the residents and find durable solutions for them outside Iraq as quickly as possible.
- The UN Mission in Iraq will continue to support the UN Refugee Agency in bringing about a quick resettlement of the residents to third countries.
U.N. DELIVERS AID TO CONFLICT-AFFECTED IN MYANMAR’S KACHIN STATE
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said that badly-needed aid has been delivered to hundreds of people affected by conflict in Myanmar’s Kachin state.
- A UN-interagency team traveled last week to Hpakant, west of the capital of Kachin, after the Government of Myanmar granted access. This marked the first time UN staff were able to reach uprooted people there since January 2012.
- The Agency says that 75,000 civilians have been displaced by fighting in Kachin and northern Shan states since fighting broke out in June 2011. An upsurge in fighting in December 2012 and January 2012 is believed to have forced thousands more to flee their homes.
SITUATION IN D.R. CONGO’S NORTH KIVU VOLATILE, U.N. MISSION REPORTS
- The UN Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) reports that the situation in Kitchanga, North Kivu, remains volatile. Yesterday, sporadic shooting continued between the Congolese Armed Forces and APCLS. More than 3,000 people have taken refuge in and around the MONUSCO military base in Kitchanga.
- The Mission adds that on 27 February, the Saint-Benoît hospital was reportedly hit by a mortar shot, resulting in up to 57 casualties, including patients and staff. The UN Mission is in the process of confirming the number and status of the victims.
- The Mission is actively working to defuse the situation, including through contacts with the Government and overflights of military helicopters. UN personnel are also assisting in the evacuation of the wounded to medical facilities and will assist in the delivery of humanitarian assistance.
U.N. MALARIA ENVOY ALSO TASKED WITH INCREASING INVESTMENT IN HEALTH TARGETS
- The Secretary-General has appointed Ray Chambers of the United States as his Special Envoy for Malaria and for the Financing of the Health-Related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
- Mr. Chambers, who has been serving as the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Malaria since 2008, has now been given additional functions relating to the MDGs.
- In his new capacity, he will collaborate with the UN agencies, funds and programmes to promote and secure increased investment by the public and private sectors to achieve the health-related MDGs by the end of December 2015.
SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES END TO VIOLENCE IN BANGLADESH
- In response to a question on protests in Bangladesh, the Deputy Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General is monitoring the situation with concern and is saddened by the loss of life. While recognising that the war crime tribunal is a national process, the Secretary-General calls on all concerned to act with respect for the rule of law, to stop the violence and to express their views peacefully.
- Asked about reports that journalists were being harassed in Bangladesh, the Deputy Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General had repeatedly affirmed the right of journalists everywhere to go about their work without interference.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
2 – 8 MARCH 2013
(This document is for planning purposes and is subject to change.)
Saturday, 2 March
The Secretary-General will attend the 9th Seminar of the Special Representatives of the Secretary-General in Mont Pelerin, Switzerland, before returning to New York the next day.
Sunday, 3 March
There are no major events scheduled for today.
Monday, 4 March
The fifty-seventh session of the Commission on the Status of Women will begin today and will be held until 15 March 2013. The opening meeting will take place at 10 a.m. in the General Assembly Hall.
At 12:30 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference by Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations and President of the Security Council for the month of March, to brief on the Council’s programme of work for the month.
From 1:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., Women’s International Forum: Meeting on “Overcoming human trafficking challenges” (sponsored by the Executive Office of the Secretary-General) will take place in Conference Room 3 (NLB).
At 2:00 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference by Ms. Michelle Bachelet, UN Women Executive Director, on the 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, which runs from 4th to 15th March.
In Geneva, the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture – Board of Trustees will meet for the 37th session. The session will end on 8 March.
In Geneva, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) will hold its monthly press briefing.
In Geneva, the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food will talk about his annual report to the Human Rights Council on the series of steps that are necessary for the empowerment of women and the realization of the right to food.
Tuesday, 5 March
At 10:00 a.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference by Ms. Najat Valaud-Belkacem, French Minister of Women’s Rights, on the 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women.
In Geneva, the Special Rapporteur on Torture will talk about his annual report to the Human Rights Council on health care settings and torture, and his reports on the two fact finding missions to Tajikistan and Morocco as well as his follow-up visit to Uruguay which he conducted in 2012.
Wednesday, 6 March
From 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., a Special Thematic Session on Water and Disasters, organized by Secretary-General and the Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB), will take place in the Economic and Social Council Chamber (NLB).
At 11:00 a.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference by the UN Department of Public Information entitled “Combating Violence against Indigenous Women and Girls”. Among the speakers will be Marthe Muhawenimana, a Batwa from Rwanda, and Shimreichon Luithui-Erni from the Northeast region of India.
Thursday, 7 March
In Geneva, the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief will talk about his annual report to the Human Rights Council on the need to respect the right to freedom of religion or belief of persons belonging to religious minorities
Friday, 8 March
Today is International Women's Day.
From 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., UN Observance of International Women’s Day 2013 “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women” will be held in Conference Room 2 (NLB). The event will be live webcast.
From 1:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., a panel discussion on “Implicit stereotypes, explicit solutions: Overcoming gender-based discrimination in the workplace” will be held in Conference Room 2 (NLB).