HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY,
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
THURSDAY, 18 APRIL 2013
SECURITY COUNCIL INFORMED THAT HUMANITARIAN NEEDS IN SYRIA ARE GROWING RAPIDLY
- The Security Council heard briefings on Thursday morning from four senior UN officials on the humanitarian crisis in Syria. Valerie Amos, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, said that the parties in Syria have become increasingly entrenched, while the needs on the ground are growing rapidly.
- There are now 6.8 million people in need, 4.25 million people internally displaced and 1.3 million who have sought refuge in neighbouring countries. She noted the UN’s work on behalf of the Syrians, including the UN Relief and Works Agency’s aid to some 400,000 Palestinians, many of whom face future displacement.
- She added that about half of the $1.5 billion required for Syria’s humanitarian needs until June has been received, with the recent allocation of the $300m pledged by the Kuwaiti Government in January.
- Ms. Amos appealed to the Security Council to act, saying that the Syrian people and humanitarian workers are losing hope.
- The High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, said that the refugee situation is unsustainable, with millions more refugees expected in the coming months if nothing changes. He added that there is a risk of the crisis spilling over to other countries and said there is a need to support, in particular, Jordan and Lebanon, each of which hosts about a third of the refugee population.
- Zainab Bangura, the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, said women and children are being raped and abducted, with both Government and opposition forces allegedly involved. And Leila Zerrougui, the Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict, also pleaded for a halt to the fighting to protect Syria’s children.
- On Friday, Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi will brief the Security Council on Syria and he is expected to speak to reporters after speaking to the Council.
SECRETARY-GENERAL VISITS WASHINGTON FOR MEETINGS AT WORLD BANK
- The Secretary-General arrived in Washington, D.C. on Thursday morning. He was due to participate in a series of high-level meetings on global education this afternoon at the World Bank headquarters, including a special event to call for action on girls' education.
- The meetings, which will continue on Friday, coincide with the spring meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
- The Deputy Secretary-General is also in Washington, D.C., and he is expected to focus on sanitation and rule of law at those meetings.
- The Secretary-General is also expected to meet with the Haitian Prime Minister, Laurent Lamothe, and US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Thursday.
- On Friday morning, the Secretary-General will attend a high-level event to discuss the roles of the United Nations, the World Bank and others in ending extreme poverty.
U.N. SENIOR PEACEKEEPING OFFICIAL TO VISIT U.N. MISSION IN AFGHANISTAN
- The Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Edmond Mulet, will visit the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) for four days, starting this weekend.
- He will meet with senior representatives of the Government and civil society, and he will also meet with international partners in Afghanistan, and the heads of UN agencies, funds and programmes in the country.
U.N. MISSION IN IRAQ WELCOMES OFFER BY GERMANY FOR RESETTLEMENT OF 100 CAMP HURRIYA RESIDENTS
- The UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) welcomed the offer by the German Government for the resettlement of approximately 100 Camp Hurriya residents in Germany.
- Martin Kobler, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, expressed his gratitude to both Germany and Albania for their recent offers to relocate Camp Hurriya residents.
- Ten percent of the camp’s 3,000 residents now have firm offers to relocate safely to third countries to relocate safely to third countries. Mr. Kobler called on Camp Hurriya residents to cooperate with the UN Refugee Agency to bring about a speedy and safe resettlement outside Iraq.
U.N. ENVOY TO WEST AFRICA CALLS ON FOR RESTRAINT IN GUINEA
- The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa, Said Djinnit, has called on the parties in Guinea for restraint and for any demonstrations there to be peaceful.
- Mr. Djinnit visited the capital Conakry earlier this week, following his appointment by the Secretary General as the UN facilitator for political dialogue to ensure peaceful elections.
- To fulfil his mission, Mr. Djinnit is supported by a team of senior UN experts based in Conakry.
- Mr. Djinnit intends to return to Guinea early next week to continue his consultations.
U.N. HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR FOR SUDAN CALLS ON ALL CONCERNED TO MEET HUMANITARIAN NEEDS OF CIVILIANS
- The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan, Ali Al-Za’tari, said that he supports the African Union’s recent invitation calling on the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) to engage in direct talks as soon as possible.
He appealed to both sides to prioritize the humanitarian situation in their talks.
Mr. Al-Za’tari said that after nearly two years of fighting in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, there is a duty by all concerned to meet the immediate and critical humanitarian needs of civilians affected by the clashes. More than one million people have either been uprooted or severely affected, and more than 200,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries.
- Also on Sudan, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the Joint Special Representative of the joint African Union-UN mission in Darfur (UNAMID), met on Wednesday with Sudan’s Interior Minister.
- Mr. Chambas noted the humanitarian situation in the towns of Labado and Muhajeria in East Darfur. He urged the Government to ensure that aid convoys are able to gain access to these areas.
SECRETARY-GENERAL PRESENTED OPTIONS FOR U.N. PRESENCE IN MALI: Asked about the situation in Mali, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General has presented options to the Security Council for a UN presence, which it is considering.
SECRETARY-GENERAL AND POPE FRANCIS SHARE GOALS ON FIGHT AGAINST POVERTY: In response to a question, the Spokesperson said that, during his recent visit to the Vatican, the Secretary-General noted that he and Pope Francis had shared goals concerning the fight against poverty.
SECRETARY-GENERAL RECOGNISES ECONOMIC DIFFICULTIES ALL COUNTRIES ARE FACING: Asked about global economic problems, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has made the point that those most vulnerable to austerity measures must be protected to the extent possible. He recognises the economic difficulties that all countries are facing.