HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY,
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
FRIDAY, 8 MARCH 2013
MARKING INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY, SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES END TO VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
- This morning, the Secretary-General participated in the official commemoration of International Women’s Day at UN Headquarters in New York, calling for action to end violence against women.
- In his remarks, he said that women and girls are subjected to shocking attacks and abuse and that the violence is mostly committed by husbands, fathers, colleagues and others whom women should be able to trust.
- The Secretary-General said that no country is immune, but violence against women is not inevitable. He said that all of us must wage this struggle, women and men, girls and boys.
- Executive Director of UN Women Michelle Bachelet announced today that 50 governments and the European Commission have committed to take concrete action to end violence against girls and women.
- Ms. Bachelet said that UN Women applauds these commitments, but that we must do even more. She said that it is what we owe to millions of women fighting for their rights around the world.
- At the commemoration, a song written for UN Women had its worldwide debut. This song, “One Woman,” features 25 artists from more than 20 countries across the globe and celebrates acts of courage and determination by ordinary women.
- Also today, Mrs. Ban Soon-taek, the wife of the Secretary-General, will lead a UN Women for Peace march.
U.N. PEACEKEEPING CHIEF BRIEFS SECURITY COUNCIL ON PLIGHT OF DETAINED BLUE HELMETS IN SYRIA
- The Security Council received a briefing in consultations this morning on the detention of the 21 UN peacekeepers in Syria.
- The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, provided an update on the peacekeepers who are from the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF).
- Asked about UNDOF’s operations, the Spokesperson said that the Mission needs to evaluate its security situation in Golan in light of changing circumstances. Night patrols, for example, are no longer being carried out.
CONGOLESE BATTALIONS INVOLVED IN MASS RAPES – U.N. MISSION
- The UN Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic Of Congo (MONUSCO) says that following several human rights investigation missions to Minova and surrounding villages conducted from December last year to February this year, the it has gathered information showing the involvement of two battalions of the Congolese armed forces (FARDC) in mass rapes and other human rights violations committed in late November last year.
- As a result, in line with the Human Rights Due Diligence Policy, on 4 February, the Mission addressed a letter to the Congolese armed forces Chief of Staff to initiate the formal suspension of support to these units.
- In line with its policy, the mission has sent a second and final injunction to the Chief of Staff on 18 February 2013.
- The UN Mission is in touch with Congolese authorities at the highest level to ensure that the alleged perpetrators, including Congolese armed forces commanders, be brought to justice and held accountable. The Mission will maintain, together with other partners, its support to Congolese judicial authorities to pursue their investigations and will offer its support for any trial to be held.
- The Spokesperson noted that letters have been sent to initiate a formal suspension; cooperation with the battalions has not been suspended yet.
- The United Nations Joint Human Rights Office is also preparing a report on the human rights violations committed in the Minova and Goma areas in November 2012, which is intended for publication.
- The Spokesperson added that the Mission is aware that eleven FARDC soldiers were arrested in late 2012 in connection with the case, but only two on rape charges. Despite the high number of testimonies (400 out of which 200 for sexual violence), no further arrests have been carried out.
- Asked how the information on the Minova follow-up was conveyed, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) regularly organizes interviews and briefings, either actively or at the request of journalists.
HEAD OF U.N. CHILDREN’S FUND URGES PROTECTION OF CHILDREN AHEAD OF ZIMBABWE POLLS
- The Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, wrapped up a two-day visit to Zimbabwe today, urging Zimbabweans to protect children ahead of a constitutional referendum and elections expected this year.
- Anthony Lake said that at times of great uncertainty, it is important that homes, communities and schools continue to be havens of safety for children.
- He added that children must be sheltered – in all countries – from political turbulence.
FIJI: U.N. SHOCKED BY VIDEO SHOWING APPARENT TORTURE
- The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights today said it is shocked by the content of a video showing the apparent torture and inhuman and degrading treatment of two men in Fiji.
- The Office said that the acts being carried out in the video are clearly illegal and it condemns in the strongest terms.
- It welcomed the commitment by the Fijian police to establish the facts in the case. The Office also urged authorities to ensure that the apparent serious human rights violations are swiftly and effectively investigated by an impartial and competent authority, and that the findings are made public.
- Asked about the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), the Spokesperson said that the court has faced considerable financial difficulties. The United Nations hopes that the funding that the court needs, including from the Cambodian authorities, will be forthcoming.
- The United Nations today stressed the need to implement policies to combat drought, one of the world’s most destructive natural hazards, which causes more deaths and displacement than cyclones, floods and earthquakes combined. The Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Luc Gnacadja, said that despite being predictable, drought is the most costly and the deadliest disaster of our time.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
9 – 15 MARCH 2013
(This document is for planning purposes and is subject to change.)
Saturday, 9 March
There are no major events scheduled for today.
Sunday, 10 March
There are no major events scheduled for today.
Monday, 11 March
At 10 a.m., in Conference Room E of the North Lawn Building (NLB), there will be a seminar entitled “Developing and implementing effective strategies for corporate social responsibility for sustainable development”, organized by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).
At 11:00 a.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference, entitled “Palestine Refugees in a Turbulent Middle East – A Forgotten Population”, by Filippo Grandi, the Commissioner General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
At 1:15 p.m., in Conference Room 3 (NLB), there will be a briefing on “The global thematic consultation on energy in the post-2015 development agenda”, co-organized by the Permanent Missions of Mexico, Norway and the United Republic of Tanzania.
At 6:30 p.m., in Conference Room 4 (NLB), there will be a screening of the film “The Importance of Tying Your Own Shoes” in commemoration of World Down Syndrome Day on 21 March.
In Vienna, the 56th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs will begin. It will end on 15 March.
In Geneva, the 99th session of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) will begin. It will end on 15 March.
In Geneva, the 18th session of the Working Group on the use of mercenaries will begin. It will end on 15 March.
In Geneva, the 107th session of the Human Rights Committee will begin. It will end on 28 March.
In Geneva, the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic will hold a press conference following the presentation of their latest report and update to the Human Rights Council.
In Geneva, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran will hold a press conference about the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran and his second report to the Human Rights Council.
Tuesday, 12 March
In the morning, the Security Council will hold consultations on Sudan/South Sudan and Somalia/Eritrea. In the afternoon, the Security Council will be briefed on the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone, followed by consultations.
At 10:30 a.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be an embargoed press briefing by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on the launch of the 2013 Human Development Report. The speakers from the UNDP will include Khalid Malik, Head of Human Development Report, and Bill Orme, Chief of Communications for Human Development Report.
At 12:00 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, Olav Kjørven, Assistant Secretary-General and the director of policy at UNDP, Claire Melamed, Head of the Growth, Poverty and Inequality Programme at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), and Corinne Woods, Director of the United Nations Millennium Campaign, will be the guests at the Noon Briefing. They will brief the press on the new MY World survey and the United Nations initiative to engage global citizens in shaping the Post-2015 agenda.
In Geneva, the Special Rapporteur on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea will hold a press conference on his annual report to the Human Rights Council.
In Geneva, there will be an embargoed press briefing on the UNDP Human Development Report 2013: The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World.
Wednesday, 13 March
At 1:15 p.m., in Conference Room 6 (NLB), there will be a briefing on “The outcomes of the first universal membership session of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).”
This evening, the Secretary-General will speak at the Global Colloquium of University Presidents being convened at New York University. The theme of this year's colloquium is the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
In Geneva, the global status report on road safety 2013 (under embargo for Thursday 14 March 2013 at 10:00 Geneva time) will be released by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Thursday, 14 March
This morning, the Security Council will hold a formal meeting on the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and Libya sanctions, followed by consultations. In the afternoon, the Security Council will hold consultations on the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 report concerning Lebanon.
At 10 a.m., in the General Assembly Hall, there will be the first session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals.
At 1:00 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference on the Presentation of the Outcome Statement of the Global Network on Safer Cities. The speakers will include Joan Clos, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), and Marcelo Ebrard Casaubon, Chairman of the Steering Committee of the Global Network on Safer Cities and former Mayor of Mexico City.
In Mexico City, the UNDP 2013 Human Development Report, The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World, will be launched by UNDP Administrator Helen Clark and the President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto.
Friday, 15 March
There are no major events scheduled for today.