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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 FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

THURSDAY, 27 MARCH 2014

 

DARFUR: U.N. DEEPLY CONCERN BY INCREASING VIOLENCE, CONSTRAINTS ON ASSISTANCE

  • The Deputy Joint African Union-United Nations Special Representative for Darfur, Joseph Mutaboba, and the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Ali Al-Za’tari, have expressed their deep concern at the increasing violence in Darfur.
  • They are also calling on the Government of Sudan, all actors and parties involved in the conflict and the international community to take robust measures to ensure the protection of civilians and unimpeded access of aid workers in Darfur.
  • In a joint statement issued today, the Deputy Head of the A.U.- U.N. Mission in Darfur and the Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, said that in the last month, a wave of violence has been underway in Darfur, affecting tens of thousands of people. Since the beginning of 2014, more than 215,000 people in Darfur have been displaced from their homes.
  • They add that it is particularly troubling that, in the face of this violence, the UN and the humanitarian community at large are being increasingly constrained from helping the majority of those affected. Due to the access restrictions and security constraints placed upon humanitarian agencies, even monitoring the numbers of people who have been displaced from their homes is increasingly challenging.

U.N. MISSION IN SOUTH SUDAN CALLS ON ALL PARTIES TO ENSURE FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT TO ITS STAFF AND HUMANITARIAN WORKERS

  • On South Sudan, the UN Mission in the country, UNMISS, reports a large presence of Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) troops in the vicinity of its site in Malakal, in Upper Nile State, where peacekeepers continue to protect some 21,000 displaced civilians.
  • Elsewhere in the State, the Mission has received reports of fighting between SPLA and Opposition forces in Kaka in Manyo County.
  • Meanwhile, the Mission continues to report recurring violations of the Status of Forces Agreement, as signed between the UN and the Government of South Sudan, including restrictions of movement of UN personnel.
  • The Mission calls on all parties to ensure unhindered freedom of movement of UNMISS and humanitarian workers, so that it can carry out its mandated tasks in support of the South Sudanese people.

SECRETARY-GENERAL WRAPS UP TRIP TO GREENLAND WITH VISIT TO WORLD HERITAGE SITE

  • The Secretary-General wrapped up his visit to Greenland this morning.
  • Due to inclement weather, he was unable to take a boat tour on Wednesday of the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage site. He did that very early this morning before departing Greenland.
  • The Secretary-General returns to New York this evening.

SECRETARY-GENERAL INCREASINGLY CONCERNED ABOUT NEW LAUNCHES OF MISSILES BY D.P.R.K.

  • In note issued on Wednesday evening, the Secretary-General said he was increasingly concerned about the successive reports on new launches of ballistic missiles by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). Such launches are contrary to building trust in the region.
  • The Secretary-General urges the DPRK to cease its ballistic missile activities and focus, together with other countries concerned, on the dialogue and diplomacy necessary to maintain regional peace and security.

SECURITY COUNCIL TO MEET ON D.R.CONGO, IRAQ AND D.P.R.K.

  • This afternoon at 3:00, the Security Council will hold a formal meeting on the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • Council members will then hold another meeting, followed by consultations, to discuss the work of the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI). Nickolay Mladenov, the head of that Mission, will brief Council members.
  • And the Security Council has also scheduled consultations on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

AFGHANISTAN: PROGRESS MADE IN CREATING CONDITIONS FOR VOTING NEXT ELECTIONS

  • The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) says that progress is being made by the country's security forces in creating conditions for citizens to exercise their right to vote, a week before elections.
  • The Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan, Nicholas Haysom, said that the Afghan security forces have demonstrated their increased capabilities in the extensive preparations undertaken to give those Afghans who wish to vote the opportunity to do so.
  • He emphasized that Afghans should not be intimidated or denied their right to choose their leaders and shape the country's future by the enemies of democracy.
  • The UN Mission also noted that the Afghan security forces also have a responsibility to remain politically impartial in discharging their duties. This would include remaining completely impartial between candidates and allowing access to the electoral process by independent observers and candidate and political party agents.

MYANMAR: HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR CONCERNED ABOUT ATTACKS ON U.N., NGO PREMISES

  • The Humanitarian Coordinator for Myanmar, Toily Kurbanov, is deeply concerned about recent attacks on UN and non-governmental organization premises in Sittwe, Rakhine, by unidentified groups of demonstrators.
  • In a statement issued today, he called on the Government of Myanmar to ensure the protection of the international community present in Rakhine.
  • Despite the insecurity, the UN and its humanitarian partners are determined to continue providing life-saving assistance to communities in need.

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO TRAVEL TO BRUSSELS, PRAGUE AND KIGALI

  • The Secretary-General will travel to Brussels, Prague and Kigali next week.
  • On Tuesday 1 April, in Brussels, he will participate in the International Conference for the Prevention of Genocide. The next day he will attend the European Union-Africa Summit as well as a High-Level meeting on the Central African Republic.
  • While in Brussels, the Secretary-General will meet, among others, with the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
  • He will also hold discussions with the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Belgium as well as King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium.
  • On Thursday, 4 April, the Secretary-General will travel to Prague where he will, on Friday, give a lecture at Charles University on the topic “The Czech Republic and the UN: Peace, Development and Human Rights in a Changing World.”
  • He will also see how the city has been dealing with the changing weather patterns and adapting to climate change by visiting a mobile flood barrier system which protects homes and businesses and prevents the consequences of floods which have frequently threatened Prague in the last two decades.
  • The Secretary-General will also meet with the President, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic and other officials.
  • Finally, the Secretary-General will travel to Kigali to participate in the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda – which will be marked on 7 April. In addition to the ceremony and events marking this occasion, the Secretary-General will visit a project by genocide survivors, and meet with President Paul Kagame, as well as other officials who will be in Rwanda at that time.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

GENERAL ASSEMBLY ADOPTS RESOLUTION ON UKRAINE: In response to questions, the Spokesperson noted that the General Assembly had just adopted a resolution on Ukraine, with 100 votes in favour, 11 against and 58 abstentions. That resolution and its effects would now be assessed.

SECRETARY-GENERAL HAS ASKED ALL COUNTRIES TO AVOID FURTHER MILITARIZATION OF SYRIAN CONFLICT: Asked about Turkey’s role in Syria, the Spokesperson reiterated that the Secretary-General has called on all States, including those in the region, to play a positive role and prevent the further militarization of the conflict.