HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
FRIDAY, 25 APRIL 2014
SOUTH SUDAN: SECRETARY-GENERAL DISPATCHES U.N. RIGHTS CHIEF, GENOCIDE ADVISER TO SOUTH SUDAN
- The Secretary-General has asked the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, and his Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, to travel to South Sudan this weekend to follow up on the recent brutal attacks against civilians in Bentiu, Unity States, and in Bor, Jonglei State, as well as to follow up on the use of radio to disseminate hate speech.
- The two high level officials are expected to meet with senior officials in South Sudan and also in the region to discuss concrete ways to help stop the violence, protect civilians against further violations of human rights and humanitarian law, as well as ensure accountability for violations and crimes committed.
- Asked about the number of Ghanaian UN troops in Bentiu, the Spokesman noted the need for troops to have logistical support. He added that 44 members of the Ghanaian Battalion are in Bentiu. Also, he said, some 360 peacekeeping troops from Rwanda are expected to arrive in Malakal in early May.
SECRETARY-GENERAL TROUBLED BY RHETORIC, HARDENING OF POSITIONS ON UKRAINE
- In response to questions, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General is alarmed by the continued violence and loss of life in eastern Ukraine. The instability is contributing to a climate of fear and anxiety that can lead to a dangerous cycle of escalating tensions and serious miscalculations.
- Dujarric said that the Secretary-General is deeply troubled by the escalation in rhetoric and hardening of positions. The stakes are extremely high, with potentially negative implications for international peace and security that extend far beyond eastern Ukrainian cities.
- The Secretary-General cautions all Ukrainians and their partners that the situation could spin out of control quickly, with grave and unpredictable consequences. He once again urges, in the strongest terms, that all parties honour their commitments under the Geneva Statement.
- He expects all sides to understand that time is of the essence and that they therefore must cease any unhelpful actions and, instead, re-engage diplomatically to ensure full implementation now. It would be a grave mistake, in the Secretary-General's view, for any party to turn to military means in an attempt to resolve political issues that can and must be addressed by peaceful means.
- Asked about the International Criminal Court examining a complaint on Ukraine, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General is in no way involved with the lodging of the complaint, which is under article 12 of the Rome Statute.
- Asked about a visit to the United Nations by the Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine, Dujarric said that he is not scheduled to meet with the Secretary-General.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONCERNED ABOUT ALLEGATIONS OF CHLORINE USE IN SYRIA
- Asked about reports concerning Joint Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi, the Spokesman said that he has not resigned. Mr. Brahimi will be in New York next week to meet the Secretary-General and other officials.
- Asked about allegations of chlorine use in Syria, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General is aware and very concerned about recent media reports on the use of chlorine in the Syrian Arab Republic. The international community has firmly rejected the use of toxic chemicals under any circumstances to inflict harm, as demonstrated by the overwhelming international support for the global ban on such weapons. Allegations of such use should be made subject to the procedures in terms of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which is under the purview of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
U.N. SPECIAL COORDINATOR, PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT DISCUSS INTRA-PALESTINIAN AGREEMENT ON UNITY
- Asked about the meeting on Thursday between UN Special Coordinator Robert Serry and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the Spokesman said that the Special Coordinator discussed recent developments, including the intra-Palestinian agreement on unity, and was assured that this agreement will be implemented under the leadership of the President and on the basis of the PLO commitments.
- Dujarric said that the Special Coordinator confirmed the United Nations continued support for unity on this basis as the only way to reunite the West Bank and Gaza under one legitimate Palestinian Authority, welcoming this process which includes long-overdue Palestinian elections. He also underlined the importance for the parties, at this critical juncture, to refrain from measures that run counter to creating an environment for continued meaningful negotiations.
SPOKESMAN: BURUNDI’S GOVERNMENT SHOULD INVESTIGATE ALLEGATIONS OF ARMS DISTRIBUTION
- Asked about allegations of arms distribution in Burundi, the Spokesman said that the Government’s public statements rejecting the allegations are welcome. He noted the importance of having the Government embark on a credible and transparent investigation to address the allegations.
- Dujarric said that the Government has not accepted the UN offer to assist in a credible and transparent investigation of these allegations.
SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN CONFLICT ‘DESTRUCTIVE AS ANY BOMB OR BULLET,’ SECRETARY-GENERAL TELLS SECURITY COUNCIL
- The Secretary-General spoke at the Security Council’s open debate this morning on sexual violence in conflict, which he described as a grave human rights abuse that is as destructive as any bomb or bullet.
- He noted progress in dealing with sexual violence in conflict zones, adding that the Democratic Republic of the Congo is developing new legal structures to end impunity for perpetrators. The Secretary-General said that prevention is a collective responsibility, and that the most vulnerable people can only be protected through coordination and partnership.
- The Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Bangura, also spoke to the Council about the need for justice and accountability for rape victims, and she raised the issue of children born from rape.
- This afternoon, the Secretary-General will speak to the Partnership Group on Myanmar.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL STRESSES NEED FOR RESPONSES TO TERRORISM TO COMPLY WITH RIGHTS, LEGAL NORMS
- The Deputy Secretary-General spoke at this morning’s meeting on counter-terrorism, saying that we must be resolute and unified in confronting the scourge of terrorism. He said it is important that responses to terrorism comply with norms on human rights, refugee law and international humanitarian law.
- The Deputy Secretary-General said that comprehensive strategies and clear operational measures must be developed that combat both the symptoms and the causes of terrorism. States must work together and share good practices in their own enlightened self-interest.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: U.N. RELIEF WING REPORTS THAT CLASHES, DIRECT ATTACKS CONTINUE
- The Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that confrontations between armed groups and direct attacks on villages have continued over the past week in the central part of the Central African Republic. Up to 4,500 people in the Ouaka prefecture and 800 people in the Kemo prefecture have fled their homes and taken shelter at religious sites to avoid being caught in crossfire.
- In Boda, our humanitarian colleagues say that the dire humanitarian situation has improved for some 24,000 vulnerable people. They have received food and medical assistance as well as nutrition, non-food items and water, sanitation and hygiene support.
- The World Food Programme (WFP) says its distributions are continuing in Boda to assist people who had been isolated due to violence with no means of livelihood or access to markets.
- WFP also says it continues to try to expand its operations across the country, prepositioning food and assisting vulnerable populations. WFP has now transferred over 1,800 metric tons of food to the provinces, of which more than 80 per cent was from Bangui.
- The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says that the number of children being treated for severe acute malnutrition in Bangui’s largest in-patient centre during the first quarter of 2014 has tripled compared to last year’s figures.
- John Ging, OCHA’s Director of Operations, will be visiting the CAR starting tomorrow and until to 29 April.
- Asked whether the Secretary-General would send senior officials to the Central African Republic, the Spokesman said that the country’s crisis has been a priority for the Secretary-General. He noted that the Secretary-General and High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay have each recently visited the Central African Republic, and the Secretary-General issued a message in Songo, the local language, to the country’s people.
ON WORLD MALARIA DAY, WORLD ON TRACK TO MEET GLOBAL GOAL OF REVERSING INCIDENCE OF DISEASE – BAN KI-MOON
- Today is World Malaria Day, and in a message, the Secretary-General said that this day was an opportunity to celebrate the fact that the world is on track to meet the global Millennium Development Goal target of reversing the incidence of malaria.
- However, he stressed that malaria still kills more than half a million people every year, most of them children under five, living in sub-Saharan Africa.
- The Secretary-General repeated his call for continued investment and sustained political commitment to improve malaria prevention and control.
SECRETARY-GENERAL: 28TH ANNIVERSARY OF CHERNOBYL OPPORTUNITY TO PAY TRIBUTE TO RESPONDERS, EVACUEES
- In a statement issued this morning on the 28th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which is tomorrow, the Secretary-General says that this is an opportunity to pay tribute to the emergency workers who responded.
- He said we must also remember the more than 330,000 people evacuated from contaminated regions and stand in solidarity with the millions who still live in affected areas.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
26 APRIL – 2 MAY 2014
(This document is for planning purposes and is subject to change.)
Saturday, 26 April
Today is World Intellectual Property Day.
Sunday, 27 April
There are no major events scheduled for today.
Monday, 28 April
Today is World Day for Safety and Health at Work.
In New York, the Security Council will have an open debate on the “Maintenance of international peace and security: security sector reform”.
The Committee on Information will begin its 36th session at 10 a.m., in Conference Room 1. This session will conclude on Friday, 9 May.
From 10 a.m. to 11.30 a.m., there will be a panel discussion on “Celebrating Sport for Development and Peace”, in the Economic and Social Council Chamber, followed by an exhibition of Olympic Torches, from 11:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., outside of the Chamber.
There will also be a briefing on “Non-communicable diseases and Tobacco Control in the Post-2015 Development Agenda”, from 01.15 p.m. to 02:30 p.m., in Conference Room 6. The event is co-organized by the Pacific Small Island Developing States, the Permanent Missions of Belgium and Jamaica, and the Framework Convention Alliance for Tobacco Control.
From 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., a panel discussion on “Learning about the Holocaust through the Arts” will be held in Conference Room 1, with the participation of Academy-Award winning actress Olympia Dukakis.
In Geneva, the 19th session of the Universal Periodic Review will open, until 9 May.
Still in Geneva, both the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Committee against Torture, will begin their 52nd session.
Tuesday, 29 April
Today is Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare.
The Security Council will meet on Côte d’Ivoire sanctions and have an open debate on the Middle East.
The General Assembly will hold its first structured dialogue on Technology Transfer in the Economic and Social Council Chamber.
Wednesday, 30 April
Today is International Jazz Day.
In New York, the General Assembly will hold its second structured dialogue on Technology Transfer in the Economic and Social Council Chamber.
At 10:30 a.m., in the press briefing room, there will be a press conference by Mr. Robert Serry, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.
At 12 p.m., in the press briefing room, Mr. Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), will be the guest at the Noon Briefing.
There will also be a briefing on “Preparing for deep cuts: Overcoming the gridlock in nuclear arms control”, organized from 01 p.m. to 03 p.m. by the Permanent Mission of Germany, 871 United Nations Plaza, 22nd Floor.
Thursday, 1 May
In New York, there will be a briefing from 10 a.m. to 01 p.m., in Conference Room 1, on “Media freedom for a better future: Shaping the Post-2015 Development Agenda”. It is co-organized by the Department of Public Information (DPI) and the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), to mark World Press Freedom Day (3 May).
A panel discussion will also be organized by the Permanent Mission of El Salvador, from 03 p.m. to 06 p.m. in Conference Room 4, on “The Elimination of Racial Discrimination and Racial Conflicts in the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda: Implementing human rights learning practices”.
Friday, 2 May
At 12:30 p.m., in the press briefing room, there will be a press conference by the President of the Security Council for the month of May, the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea, Ambassador Oh Joon.