BY EDUARDO DEL BUEY, DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
WEDNESDAY, 7 MARCH 2012
SECRETARY-GENERAL: WOMEN'S RIGHTS ARE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS
- The Secretary-General spoke at an event on Wednesday morning marking International Women's Day.
- He said that there is a long way to go before women and girls can be said to enjoy the fundamental freedoms, rights and dignity that are their birthright.
- Nowhere is this more apparent than in the world’s rural areas, he said.
- Rural women and girls – for whom this year’s International Women’s Day is devoted – make up one-quarter of the global population, yet routinely figure at the bottom of every economic, social and political indicator, from income and education to health to participation in decision-making.
- The Secretary-General urged governments, civil society and the private sector to commit to gender equality and the empowerment of women, as the energy, talent and strength of women and girls represent humankind’s most valuable untapped natural resource.
SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS ON YEMEN AND LIBYA
- On Wednesday morning the Security Council held consultations on Yemen.
- On Wednesday afternoon, the Libyan Prime Minister Abdurrahim El-Keib and the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Libya Mr. Ian Martin were due to brief the Council.
PROTECT RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER PEOPLE SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL
- In a video message to a Human Rights Council meeting on violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, the Secretary-General said that like many of his generation, he did not grow up talking about these issues.
- But he learned to speak out because lives are at stake and because it is our duty under the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to protect the rights of everyone, everywhere.
- The Secretary-General pointed out that a historic shift is under way and that more States are seeing the gravity of the problem.
- For her part, the High Commissioner for Human Rights presented a new report and said that it is time to acknowledge that terrible violence and discrimination have been perpetrated against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
U.N. TEAM TO PROVIDE SUPPORT FOLLOWING EXPLOSION IN THE REPUBLIC OF CONGO
- The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says it has deployed a four-member United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination team (UNDAC) to the Republic of Congo. It will support the authorities and the UN team there, after explosions at an ammunition depot near Brazzaville killed at least 200 people and injured some 1,500 more on March 4th.
- The team, composed of experienced humanitarian and environmental emergency responders, plans to undertake a comprehensive site assessment, which will include sampling and analysis to determine possible exposure.
- MISSING U.N. STAFF MEMBER: Asked about reports of a United Nations staff member missing in Darfur, the Deputy Spokesperson said that the Organization is aware of the situation and is looking into the matter.
- IRAN NUCLEAR TALKS: Asked about reports of talks between Iran and other countries, the Deputy Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has long called for a peaceful resolution and for dialogue to prevail. He added that the United Nations is looking forward to Iran proving to the international community that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes.
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