BY MARTIN NESIRKY, SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
MONDAY, 12 MARCH 2012
U.N. MISSION IN AFGANISTAN EXPRESSES CONDOLENCES OVER CIVILIAN CASUALTIES
- On Sunday, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan issued a statement saying it was shocked and saddened by the tragic incident in Kandahar that reportedly resulted in the loss of civilian lives including of women and children.
- The statement said the Mission expected that an investigation will rapidly establish the facts, that those responsible will be held accountable and that the public will be fully informed.
- The Mission expressed its deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their lives, and wishes a speedy recovery to those wounded.
- Separately, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan, Michael Keating, issued a statement on last Friday expressing sympathy to the families of 50 Afghans who died and four who were injured as a result of an avalanche that occurred on 4th March in Dispay village in Badakhshan province, on the Tajikistan border.
- The humanitarian community including the Afghan National Disaster Management Authority, UN agencies, non-governmental organizations and the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement are focusing on the search for 145 villagers who remain missing and are presumed dead.
- Asked about the killings of civilians in Afghanistan this past weekend, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General echoes the sentiments expressed by the Mission in Afghanistan.
SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS ON CHANGES IN THE MIDDLE EAST
- On Monday, the Security Council held a meeting on changes in the Middle East. The Secretary-General noted in his remarks that people across the region – women and youth in the vanguard – continue to call for freedom, human rights, dignity, opportunity, accountable government and an end to corruption.
- He added his voice to that of the Joint UN-League of Arab States Envoy for Syria Kofi Annan in urging President Assad to act swiftly, within the next few days, in response to proposals put forward by the Joint Special Envoy.
- On the Middle East Peace Process, the Secretary-General said we must create the conditions for meaningful negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians that will resolve the core permanent status issues and end the occupation that started in 1967.
- The Council also adopted a resolution extending the mandate of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya for 12 months.
JOINT SPECIAL ENVOY KOFI ANNAN CONCERED ABOUT DEVELOPMENTS IN SYRIA
- · On Monday, the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States on the Syrian Crisis, Kofi Annan, spoke to reporters in Ankara.
- · Mr. Annan said that he was concerned about developments in Syria and the killing of civilians must stop. There are grave and appalling reports of atrocities and abuses. The world has to send a clear and united message in this regard, he added.
- · Concerning humanitarian access, the Joint Special Envoy said that he would press to get such access, but this was a very complex situation. He also said he would press to ensure the killings of civilians would stop, and to work out a political solution.
· U.N. RIGHTS PANEL: SYRIAN CIVILIANS CONTINUE TO BEAR BRUNT OF VIOLENCE
- On Monday, Paulo Pinheiro, the Chairperson of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, delivered his second report to the Human Rights Council.
- · In his statement, he noted that civilians continue to bear the brunt of the violence. More than 500 children have been killed since March of last year and the toll is mounting. Children continue to be injured, detained and tortured. In many cases they are treated as adults, in disregard of the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Impunity for human rights violations must come to an end.
- · The Chairperson said the reliable body of evidence from the Commission’s investigations indicates that particular individuals may reasonably be suspected of bearing responsibility for international crimes.
- · The Commission is not a judicial body and cannot make final determination as to criminal guilt. However, the findings may assist future independent and credible investigations by competent authorities.
MIDDLE EAST QUARTET MEETING CALLS ON ISRAELIS AND PALESTINIANS TO STAY ENGAGED
- The Middle East Quartet (United Nations, Russian Federation, United States, and European Union) held informal consultations on Monday to assess developments since its statement of 23 September 2011.
- The Quartet Principals remain committed to the overall objectives of the statement. In this regard, they welcome the important effort led by Jordan, which began in early January, as part of the shared commitment to reach a negotiated agreement by the end of this year.
- The Quartet also discussed the grave situation in Gaza and southern Israel, expressed serious concern about the recent escalation and called for calm.
- The Quartet reiterates its call on the parties to remain engaged and to refrain from provocative actions.
- Finally, the Quartet decided to meet in Washington in April.
U.N. MISSION IN SOUTH SUDAN PROVIDES SUPPORT FOR CIVILIAN DISARMAMENT PROCESS
- On Monday, the Government of the Republic of South Sudan is launching the process of civilian disarmament in Jonglei state.
- The UN Mission in the country, UNMISS, says that it supports the principle of collecting weapons held illegally within communities. It adds that without addressing this issue, the cycle of violence in Jonglei will never end.
- But the Mission also stresses that the process will only be successful if it is carried out as part of a comprehensive approach to peace, justice and reconciliation, including protection of the communities by security forces.
- The Mission will have both its peacekeepers and civilian teams present in Jonglei state to monitor developments during the disarmament process.
- The Secretary-General’s Special Representative to South Sudan, Hilde F. Johnson, has urged the communities to work with the Peace Committee for Jonglei to bring an end to the violence.
- Asked about the attacks this past weekend in South Sudan, the Spokesperson said the U.N. Mission to South Sudan has sent a team to investigate.
SOUTH SUDAN COMMITS TO MAKING THE NATIONAL ARMY CHILD-FREE
- On Monday, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, witnessed the signing of an action plan in Juba which commits the government to ensure there are no children within the ranks of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).
- According to a press release from her office, although this action plan is a renewal of commitments made in 2009, the SPLA, as a national army, is signing for the first time.
- This plan not only ensures the orderly release of all children still associated with SPLA, but that a transparent system is in place for disciplinary action against those in command who recruit children within the SPLA.
- It also improves communication among commanders to make sure that the practice of child recruitment is halted and responsibility for child protection is understood on all levels. And the new agreement institutionalizes child protection within the SPLA.
SECRETARY-GENERAL ADDRESSES HIGH-LEVEL MEETING ON JOB CREATION AND FINANCING OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
- On Monday afternoon, the Secretary-General is scheduled to speak at a Special High-Level meeting of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) with the Bretton Woods Institutions, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
- The Secretary-General says declining prospects for economic growth, particularly in developed countries, are threatening the fragile recovery from the world financial and economic crisis. At the same time, there is little improvement in global labour markets.
- At this time of global uncertainty, by investing in people and clean technologies, we can create jobs and finance sustainable development.
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