HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
THURSDAY, 13 MARCH 2014
SYRIA ENVOY UPDATES SECURITY COUNCIL ON DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS
- Lakhdar Brahimi, the Joint Special Representative for Syria, is briefing the Security Council in its consultations this morning on the diplomatic efforts involving the Syrian parties.
- Tomorrow morning, the Secretary-General and Mr. Brahimi will brief the Member States, again on Syria in an informal plenary of the General.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: SECRETARY-GENERAL TO MEET RELIGIOUS LEADERS
- This afternoon, the Secretary-General will meet religious leaders from the Central African Republic. Those leaders are the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bangui, the President of the Islamic Council in the Central African Republic, and the President of the country’s Evangelical Alliance.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES OPEN EXCHANGE ON ADDRESSING ISSUE OF DRUGS
- The Deputy Secretary-General spoke today at the High Level Review of the 57th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, in Vienna.
- He noted that there are genuine differences between countries on how to address the drug problem, but urged them to have a comprehensive and open-minded exchange of ideas on what has worked and what has not worked in dealing with the drug scourge.
- The Deputy Secretary-General said that the international community must not shy away from discussing innovative ideas and perspectives. He added that an integrated and balanced response to the drug problem should consider alternatives to incarceration of drug users. He said that the serious criminals are the traffickers and the syndicates that control them.
U.N. RIGHTS ENVOY MEETS OFFICIALS IN WESTERN UKRAINE
- Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonovic continued his mission to Ukraine today.
- He was in Lviv, a city in western Ukraine, where yesterday he met with the head of the regional council, and where they discussed the hosting of displaced people from Crimea now living in the Lviv region. He also held talks with the regional Ombudsperson.
- Mr. Šimonovic then met with representatives of local non-governmental organizations, including Crimean Tatars, and they discussed the human rights situation in Ukraine.
- He also had a meeting with the originator of a grassroots campaign to speak Russian in Lviv for one day in solidarity with Russian speakers in Ukraine alarmed by the decision of the country’s Parliament to repeal the language law.
- Mr. Šimonovic returned to Kiev today, where he will meet with ministers and other officials.
SOUTH SUDAN: CLASHES FORCING PEOPLE FROM HOMES, HAMPERING AID DELIVERY – U.N. RELIEF WING
- On South Sudan, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that continued fighting in Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile states is forcing more people from their homes and making it difficult to reach people in need of humanitarian aid.
- Our humanitarian colleagues continue to negotiate with all sides to facilitate humanitarian operations, to recover looted assets and to ensure the safety of national and international aid workers.
- The UN Mission in the country and our humanitarian colleagues in the country and our humanitarian colleagues say that heavy rain in Juba continues to cause problems at the UNMISS Tomping compound. The transfers of displaced people from that base began slowly yesterday.
IN WAKE OF OPERATIONS AGAINST REBELS, PEOPLE RETURNING TO VILLAGES IN EASTERN D.R. CONGO, U.N. REPORTS
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that there is an increased return of residents to several villages in North Kivu, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, following recent operations against rebel groups.
- As previously announced, the UN Mission in the Congo (MONUSCO) supports and is directly engaged alongside the Congolese Army in operations against armed groups in the country.
- Targeted groups include the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). The Mission stresses that all steps will be taken in order to protect civilians and restore State authority all across DRC, especially in its Eastern part.
- In a press conference yesterday, the Head of the UN Mission in Goma, Ray Torres said that armed groups should not be given any legitimacy, or considered as representatives of any ethnic group or tribe.
- The Mission reiterated its calls to all groups to disarm and surrender without delay.
SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS NEW FORCE COMMANDER FOR HAITI MISSION
- The Secretary-General has appointed Lieutenant General Jose Luiz Jaborandy Jr., Brazil, as Force Commander of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).
- Lieutenant General Jaborandy Jr. will replace the outgoing Force Commander Lieutenant General Edson Leal Pujol, also from Brazil, on 15 March 2014.
BAN KI-MOON SPEAKS OUT AGAINST ROCKET ATTACKS ON ISRAEL FROM GAZA, DEPLORES SEVERE ESCALATION OF VIOLENCE
- In a statement issued yesterday afternoon, the Secretary-General strongly condemned the multiple rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza, for which Islamic Jihad has claimed responsibility.
- The Secretary-General deplored the severe escalation of violence and urged all actors to exercise maximum restraint to prevent further incidents that could bring greater escalation and destabilisation in the region.
U.N. CONDUCTS THOROUGH ASSESSMENTS BEFORE ACCEPTING PERSONNEL FOR PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS
- In answer to a question on a possible contribution by Myanmar to UN peacekeeping, Dujarric said that the UN peacekeeping enters into technical discussions with any Member State that expresses interest in contributing personnel to its operations.
- He added that UN forces are accountable to the highest standards in training and conduct and that thorough assessments are carried out prior to the acceptance of any uniformed personnel.
- The Spokesman noted that Member States are also responsible for ensuring human rights vetting prior to any deployment.
- Dujarric further added that the discussions on peacekeeping between the Secretary-General’s Special Advisor on Myanmar and the Commander in Chief of Myanmar’s Defence Services were part of a much broader conversation about the role of Myanmar in the international community. He said that many issues were raised and that peacekeeping was touched on in a in a general way. He noted that like any other Member States, Myanmar would have to more formally discuss its interest in peacekeeping operations with the UN and, obviously, meet the necessary criteria.