HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
WEDNESDAY, 16 APRIL 2014
NIGERIA: SECRETARY-GENERAL SPEAKS OUT AGAINST MASS ABDUCTION OF SCHOOLGIRLS
- In a statement, the Secretary-General condemns the shocking mass abduction of schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno state, north-eastern Nigeria on 14 April. He calls for the immediate release of all the girls abducted and their safe return to their families.
- The Secretary-General is deeply alarmed about the increasing frequency and brutality of attacks against educational institutions in the north of the country. The targeting of schools and school children is a grave violation of international humanitarian law. Schools are, and must remain, safe places where children can learn and grow in peace.
SECRETARY-GENERAL VOICES SADNESS OVER REPUBLIC OF KOREA FERRY DISASTER
- Earlier this morning, the Secretary-General sent this morning a letter to the President of the Republic of Korea to express his deep sadness at hearing of the heart-breaking ferry disaster that occurred near Jindo island.
- He extends his sincere condolences to the families of the victims and also sends his deep sympathies to the Government and people of Korea.
IN MEXICO, SECRETARY-GENERAL STRESSES NEED FOR FINANCING FOR DEVELOPMENT
- The Secretary-General is back in New York. Last night he wrapped up his visit to Mexico with a bilateral meeting with President Enrique Peña Nieto, following the opening session of the first High-level meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation.
- In his remarks at that event, the Secretary-General reiterated the need to ensure that the financing for development matches the ambition of the international community. He added that the effectiveness of development aid is just as important as the levels of aid, and that much greater progress was needed to increase country ownership, accountability, predictability and flexibility in how aid is provided.
- His full statement is available online. Also available online are the readouts of the bilateral meetings he conducted in Mexico City with Mexico's President, the Foreign Ministers of Australia and Slovakia, and the Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands.
MARKING ANNIVERSARY OF RWANDA, SECURITY COUNCIL URGES RECOMMITMENT TO PREVENT GENOCIDE
- This morning, the Security Council held a meeting to mark the 20th commemoration of the genocide in Rwanda.
- The Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, said that we remember the victims and the survivors as we continue to work to achieve justice for them and to prevent genocide and other mass atrocities anywhere in the world.
- He noted that the United Nations has progressively placed the promotion and protection of human rights at the core of our prevention work, pointing to the recently launched Rights Up Front initiative.
- The Council passed a resolution this morning calling for the recommitment to prevent and fight against genocide.
- This evening, the Secretary-General will attend a memorial ceremony commemorating the Rwanda genocide. He is expected to speak about his participation in the commemoration that were held in Kigali last week and to stress how we can draw real hope and inspiration from Rwanda’s remarkable progress over the last 20 years.
- On the Security Council, this afternoon, the Council members will hear from Ivan Simonovic, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, and he will be briefing on Ukraine.
- Asked about UN monitors in Ukraine, the Spokesman said that the human rights mission in Ukraine now has all nine international staff members deployed, with field offices established in Lviv, Odessa, Donetsk and Kharkiv, in addition to the presence in Kiev.
LIBYA: U.N. MISSION WORKING WITH AUTHORITIES FOR RELEASE OF JORDANIAN DIPLOMAT
- Regarding the abduction of the Jordanian ambassador to Libya, the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) says it is in contact with local national authorities as well as others and is urging all influential sides to work for the swift release of the ambassador. The Mission will spare no effort to assist the Libyan authorities in bringing this matter to a positive conclusion.
- Yesterday afternoon, the Security Council issued a statement to the press condemning in the strongest terms the attack on the Jordanian diplomatic convoy which resulted in the abduction of the ambassador and injuries to his driver.
OPPOSITION TAKES CONTROL OF MORE TOWNS IN SOUTH SUDAN’S UNITY STATE – U.N. MISSION
- The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has received reports that in addition to the takeover yesterday of the state capital, Bentiu, Opposition also now control Guit and Rubkona Counties in Unity State.
- The Mission conducted a number of patrols yesterday, including in Bentiu and Rubkona, and observed that the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) headquarters in Rubkona was empty with a few SPLA soldiers deployed in Bentiu town. Looting of shops by civilians in the state capital was also observed. The patrol also witnessed some 40 bodies on the streets in Bentiu.
- The numbers of internally displaced persons currently sheltered at the UNMISS protection of civilians site in Bentiu are swelling. More than 12,000 civilians are currently seeking refuge there, mostly women and children.
- UN military patrols also identified thousands of displaced civilians gathered in the vicinity of Bentiu Hospital and the compound of the World Food Programme (WFP). Some of those civilians arrived at the gates of the UNMISS site after nightfall and were granted entry.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: U.N., PARTNERS LAUNCH $274 MILLION HUMANITARIAN APPEAL
- Regarding the Central African Republic, fourteen humanitarian agencies, including the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), UNICEF, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO), have launched today a joint appeal to fund emergency operations for refugees from the Central African Republic. The agencies are seeking $274 million for the Central African Republic Regional Response Plan to fund this year’s operations.
- Nearly 200,000 Central Africans, third country nationals and returnees who escaped violence in the Central African Republic over the past four months are now struggling to restart their lives in Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo as well as the Republic of Congo.
- The money is needed to cover pressing needs for shelter, food, water and sanitation, health, education and basic needs. In addition, humanitarian agencies appealing for funds today will be carrying out registration and building reception facilities and camps across the region.
SOMALIA: U.N. ENVOY URGES CALM BETWEEN SOMALILAND, PUTNLAND FORCES
- The Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Somalia, Nicholas Kay, has called for calm as tensions mount between forces from Somaliland and Puntland in the northern region of Sool, and in particular the town of Taleh.
- He said the situation will not be resolved by military means. He asked all parties to refrain from violent actions, and to make immediate efforts to de-escalate the situation and resolve their differences through peaceful dialogue and compromise.
AFGHANISTAN ENVOY EMPHASIZES NEED TO SUPPORT NATIONAL ELECTORAL BODIES
- On Afghanistan, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Ján Kubiš, underlined the need to support the country’s two national electoral institutions and to safeguard the impartiality and transparency of their work.
- Mr. Kubiš and the head of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission today discussed the enthusiastic participation of Afghans who voted in the presidential elections earlier this month.
- They agreed that Afghan voters expect no less than for due process to be followed, meaning that their votes will be counted; complaints will be resolved; and that the valid final results will be respected by all candidates.
- Asked about the report on the Secretary-General’s report on the situation concerning Western Sahara, the Spokesman said that there was only one official report and that it has been translated into all six official languages. He said all other versions were drafts, advanced or provisional copies.
- Asked about journalists detained in Egypt, Dujarric said that the Secretary-General had raised this issue in his meeting with the Foreign Minister of Egypt during his recent trip to Brussels.
- In response to question on accountability in Syria, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General had made clear that those who commit crimes against humanity and violate international humanitarian law should be brought to account. He also noted that the Secretary-General had repeatedly spoken out against abuse and torture in Syria.
Asked whether the Secretary-General believes the Middle East Peace Process is at an impasse, Dujarric said that the United Nations did not believe there was no solution. He added that the Secretary-General had spoken to Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas earlier this week and had expressed his hope that both leaders will seize the current opening created by US efforts to find a way forward to achieve the two-State solution.