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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 SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

WEDNESDAY, 13 MARCH 2013

 

U.N. REFUGEE CHIEF URGES DONORS TO HELP SYRIAN REFUGEES AND HOST COUNTRIES

  • The UN High Commissioner for Refugees is in Jordan on Wednesday, where he urged donor nations to approve extraordinary funds to help Syrian refugees and host countries.
  • António Guterres warned of devastating consequences – for both the Syrian people and for regional stability – if funding levels do not rise.
  • While in Jordan, the High Commissioner has held meetings with King Abdullah II Bin Al Hussein, the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister.
  • The country hosts more than 450,000 Syrian refugees. Guterres said that even though the growing refugee population was straining Jordan socially and economically, it had been a pillar of regional stability and had a remarkable record of helping refugees prior to this current crisis.
  • There is more information on the website of the UN Refugee Agency.
  • Asked about the plight of Syrian refugees, the Deputy Spokesperson said that overall combined funding for aid inside Syria and the Regional Refugee Appeal is currently reported at 20% in committed funding, not pledges. Today, that figure includes 21% funding for aid inside Syria – $107.4 million out of requested $519.6 million. The Regional Refugee Appeal is 19% funded, with $200.3 million out of the requested $1.04 billion. The U.N. continues to work proactively with countries to find out how their pledges are being directed.

SECURITY COUNCIL TO BE BRIEFED ON PEACEBUILDING OFFICE IN SIERRA LEONE

  • On Wednesday at 3 pm the Executive Representative of the Secretary-General for Sierra Leone, Jens Toyberg-Frandzen, will present the Tenth Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) to the Security Council, followed by consultations.

DEATHS IN D.R.CONGO DETENTION CENTRES DOUBLED IN 2012, SAYS U.N. REPORT

  • Research by human rights officers working for the UN Joint Human Rights Office in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) indicates that the number of deaths in detention almost doubled in 2012, and that conditions remain extremely poor in the vast majority of detention centres.
  • The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said that people deprived of their liberty should never be allowed to die of hunger or ill-treatment.
  • The report reminds the Government of its obligations to protect and take care of people in detention, and points out that it is the state’s responsibility to ensure that their basic needs are satisfied, particularly those that, if neglected, might result in loss of life.
  • The report placed much of the blame on the rampant corruption and lack of transparency affecting the management of prisons in the DRC.
  • The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for the DRC, Roger Meece, welcomed practical measures taken by the Government to remedy the situation, including the suspension of high-ranking officials suspected of corruption.

U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF ADDRESSES ON NEGATIVE IMPACT OF CORRUPTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS

  • The High Commissioner for Human Rights Navy Pillay addressed the Human Rights Council on Wednesday on what she called the profoundly negative impact of corruption on human rights.
  • She noted that the money stolen through corruption every year is enough to feed the world’s hungry 80 times over.
  • The High Commissioner said that corruption in the administration of justice – which permits perpetrators to go unpunished so long as they pay bribes – creates a vicious cycle of crime.
  • It denies access to justice for victims; it exacerbates inequality, weakens governance and institutions, erodes public trust, fuels impunity and undermines the rule of law.
  • Her full remarks are available on the website of the UN Human Rights Office.

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO SPEAK ON ACHIEVING DEVELOPMENT GOALS FOR GLOBAL HEALTH

  • On Wednesday afternoon, the Secretary-General will speak at the Global Colloquium of University Presidents, which is being held at New York University this year on the theme of global health.
  • In his remarks, the Secretary-General is expected to say that the United Nations is working on all fronts to accelerate progress to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, including the three that are devoted to health. He will say that the Organization is leading efforts to define a future development agenda that will attend to unfinished business, as well as meet tomorrow’s needs.
  • The Secretary-General is also expected to say that chronic non-communicable diseases have now overtaken infectious diseases as the leading cause of mortality worldwide and that the United Nations and the international community should consider the emerging threat they pose for development.

U.N. HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR IN SUDAN LAUNCHES $1 BILLION APPEAL

  • The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan launched an appeal for nearly $1 billion on Wednesday to help some 4.3 million people the country.
  • Some 1.4 million people are receiving assistance in camps in Darfur. Three million children between four and fifteen are not in full time education. Child malnutrition rates for the whole country are above global emergency levels.
  • Nearly sixty per cent of the plan will be devoted to meeting needs in Darfur, where more than 3.5 million people will be targeted with aid.

U.N. MISSION IN SOUTH SUDAN STRONGLY CONDEMNS ATTACK AGAINST PERSONNEL IN JONGLEI STATE

  • Asked about the shooting of a blue helmet in South Sudan, the Deputy Spokesperson said that the UN Mission in South Sudan confirms that a UN peacekeeper was wounded when an unidentified armed group fired on a mission patrol that was moving from Gurmuk to Pibor in Jonglei State. The peacekeeper has been evacuated to Juba for further medical treatment.  His situation is stable. The Mission strongly condemns this attack against its personnel and calls on all parties to respect the freedom of movement of UN personnel carrying out their mandate and to cooperate with the peacekeepers in their efforts to protect civilians and help establish a stable security environment in Jonglei State.
  • Asked about the situation involving rebel groups in South Sudan, the UN Mission in the country is aware that the SPLA has confirmed is that it redeploying its troops in Jonglei State to prepare for military operations in the event that a peaceful solution to the David Yau Yau problem does not materialize. The mission has observed significant SPLA miltary movements in the area and is also aware of ongoing efforts by the Murle leaders, with Government support, to find a peaceful solution. The mission cannot speak for the SPLA and is not in a position to confirm that the military operations have begun.

 

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR PEACEFUL RESOLUTION OF TENSIONS IN KASHMIR: Asked about tensions in Kashmir, the Deputy Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General is aware of reports of violence and that he has repeatedly called on all concerned to exercise restraint and solve issues peacefully.

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL EMPHASIZES NEED FOR DUE PROCESS ABOUT EXECUTIONS IN SAUDI ARABIA: Asked about reported executions in Saudi Arabia, the Deputy Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General underscores the need for people to receive due process.

 

U.N. SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR IRAQ URGES RESTRAINT OF VIOLENCE: Asked about violence in Iraq, the Deputy Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Martin Kobler, has continuously spoken out against this. He has also urged maximum restraint and for differences to be addressed peacefully. There is no justification for terrorist attacks.

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR PEACEFUL RESOLUTION OF INCIDENT BETWEEN ITALY AND INDIA: Asked about an incident between Italy and India, the Deputy Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General calls on both parties to resolve issues peacefully and in accordance with international law.