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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 MARTIN NESIRKY,
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

MONDAY, 11 MARCH 2013

D.R. CONGO MISSION REPORTS HELICOPTER MISSING IN SOUTH KIVU

  • The UN Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) reports that this past Saturday, one of its helicopters, with four crew members on board, went missing between Bukavu and Shabunda, South Kivu province.
  • The helicopter’s wreckage has been located and a rescue team has arrived a few kilometres away from it.
  • However, due to bad weather restrictions and the difficult terrain, the team has not yet been able to reach the crash site.
  • Asked when UN peacekeepers would get to the crash site, the Spokesperson noted that there was bad weather at the site.
  • Asked about rapes in Minova, the Spokesperson noted that there is a process under way to identify those responsible and hold them accountable.

U.N. COMMISSION ON SYRIA SAYS INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY HAS BORNE WITNESS TO SYRIA’S WAR

  • The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria on Monday told the Human Rights Council in Geneva that the international community has been able only to bear witness to the country’s slide into an increasingly destructive civil war.
  • The Commission noted that conflict continues to be waged by both Government forces and anti-Government armed groups with insufficient respect for the protection of the civilian population. The parties must take all feasible precautions to protect civilians, it added.
  • The Commission also said that the urgent need for a political solution cannot be overstated. A failure to resolve this increasingly violent conflict will condemn Syria, the region and the millions of civilians caught in the crossfire to an unimaginably bleak future.

SYRIA: U.N. REFUGEE CHIEF PRAISES TURKEY FOR SUPPORT

  • The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, is in Turkey on Monday, and he praised the Turkish Government for its assistance and policy towards tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, including the launch of a Government operation to register refugees in urban areas.
  • Some 40,000 refugees in urban areas have been registered to date under a new policy, with a further 30,000 waiting for appointments to register.

SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES RELEASE OF 21 PEACEKEEPERS

  • On Saturday, the Secretary-General welcomed the release of 21 United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) peacekeepers who had been seized three days earlier. He emphasized once more to all parties the impartiality of United Nations peacekeepers and called on all parties to respect the mission’s freedom of movement and the safety and security of its personnel.  He also called on them to respect and uphold the protection of civilians.
  • Following the release of the 21 peacekeepers, arrangements were made to secure their return to Camp Ziouani via a special entry procedure into Israel.
  • Asked whether UNDOF security policy would be reviewed, the Spokesperson said it was being reviewed in light of recent developments, including another shooting incident at a UN observation post over the weekend.
  • Asked about action by the international community, the Spokesperson pointed to the work being done by the Joint Special Representative for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, to promote dialogue among the parties, as well as the continuing humanitarian efforts.

HAITI: HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR CONCERNED OVER EVICTIONS OF INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS FROM CAMPS

  • The acting Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Haiti, Ross Mountain, has expressed the grave concern of the humanitarian community there regarding recent incidents of forced evictions of internally displaced persons from camps in Port-au-Prince.
  • He visited the Acra 2 camp in Port-au-Prince and then met with the Minister of Human Rights and the Fight against Extreme Poverty to discuss the issue.
  • Mountain stressed that these families have suffered intimidation, physical violence and the destruction of their shelters, including through arson. While recognizing the right of owners to enjoy their property, Mountain recalled that the practice of forced eviction often results in violations of human rights, such as the right to life and security of the individual.

U.N. DRUGS AND CRIME CHIEF SAYS ILLICIT DRUGS AND CRIME BLOCK RULE OF LAW AND DEMOCRACY

  • The Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said on Monday that illicit drugs and crime are roadblocks to the rule of law and to democracy.
  • As such, they clearly threaten the stability and security of entire regions as well as economic and social development, Yury Fedotov said at the opening of the 56th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.
  • More than 1,000 representatives from Member States and civil society are in Vienna attending the session, which wraps up on Friday.

D.P.R.K.: SECRETARY-GENERAL EMPHASIZES VALIDITY OF 1953 ARMISTICE AGREEMENT

  • Asked about statements from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) indicating its renunciation of the 1953 Armistice Agreement, the Spokesperson said that the Armistice Agreement is still valid and in force.  The terms of the Armistice Agreement do not allow either side unilaterally to free themselves from it. 
  • The Secretary-General reiterates the validity and importance of this critical agreement, on the 60th anniversary of the 1953 Armistice Agreement of the Korean War.
  • The Secretary-General calls on the DPRK to continue to respect the terms of the Armistice Agreement, as it was approved by the General Assembly.
  • In response to further questions, Nesirky noted that the Secretary-General has repeatedly called on Pyongyang to give up its nuclear programme and focus on providing a better standard of life for its people by addressing the dire humanitarian and human rights situation.

KENYA: U.N. SPOKESPERSON NOTES POLICY FOR INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT ARREST WARRANTS AND SUMMONSES

  • Asked about investigations concerning Kenyan leaders, the Spokesperson said that there is an established policy on contact with persons who are subject to International Criminal Court arrest warrants and summonses.
  • Since they were charged, Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto have cooperated with the International Criminal Court. The Spokesperson said that we trust that they will continue to do so, regardless of the outcome of the elections.
  • Asked when the new leadership of Kenya would be congratulated, the Spokesperson said that congratulatory letters to Heads of State or Government normally go out when they are inaugurated.