HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY EDUARDO DEL BUEY, DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR
SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
FRIDAY, 27 APRIL 2012
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONTINUES ASIA TRIP IN NEW DEHLI
- The Secretary-General was in New Delhi on Friday, where he received an honorary doctorate degree from Jamia Islamia University.
- In his remarks there, the Secretary-General said that we are in a period of great transition, with people rising up to shape their own destiny, starting with the Arab Spring.
- He noted that India is a beacon for the world, proving that democracy and development are one and the same patch. He also said that as the world’s third largest troop contributor to UN peacekeeping, India is the backbone of the UN’s efforts to prevent conflict and keep peace worldwide.
- He met with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh; Minister for External Affairs S.M. Krishna; and Speaker of the Lok Sabha, or Lower House of Parliament, Meira Kumar.
- The Secretary-General’s last meeting of the day was with Madame Sonja Gandhi, Chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance.
- On Saturday, the Secretary-General will travel to Mumbai, where he will meet with Prithviraj Chavan, Chief Minister of Maharashtra State, and meet with business leaders committed to utilizing their expertise to promote the health of women and children.
- He will also visit health facilities where he will have the opportunity to witness first-hand the progress being made on the health front.
U.N. EXPECTS 30 SYRIA CEASEFIRE MONITORS BE IN PLACE BY MONDAY
- Asked whether the UN has pledges for 300 members of the UN ceasefire monitor team for Syria, the Deputy Spokesperson said the UN is working hard on the issue and expects the initial team of 30 monitors to be in place by Monday.
- He added the UN is currently negotiating with Member States for troops, but the countries contributing troops would not be identified at this time.
U.N. ELECTS DALVEER BHANDARI AS ICJ JUDGE
- On Friday morning, the Security Council and the General Assembly elected Dalveer Bhandari of India as a member of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
U.N. SPECIAL ENVOY FOR CYPRUS DOWNER MEETS CYPRIOT LEADERS
- The Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Cyprus, Alexander Downer, met with the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders on Friday in Nicosia, to brief them in more detail about his discussions with the Secretary-General on 20 April on the status of the Cyprus negotiations and the way forward.
- Mr. Downer held a press conference on this topic earlier in Cyprus.
U.N. SENIOR OFFICIAL COMMENTS ON HUMAN RIGHTS DEVELOPMENTS IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA, BRAZIL AND THE U.S
- The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, expressed concern on Friday about the situation in Papua New Guinea, where the Government has taken a number of measures in recent months that undermine the rule of law, breach international human rights standards, impinge on the independence of the judiciary, and could lead to serious instability in the country.
- Navi Pillay says the judiciary must be allowed to operate free from external pressures, threats or executive or legislative interference – international law is clear on this matter.
- On Brazil, the Human Rights Office was alarmed that yet another journalist has been killed in the country, bringing to at least four the number of journalists murdered so far this year.
- Mr. Décio Sá, an investigative journalist reporting on local politics, corruption and organized crime, was gunned down in a bar on Monday, 23 April.
- OHCHR condemned his murder and was concerned at what appeared to be a disturbing trend of killing journalists that was damaging the exercise of freedom of expression in Brazil.
- Concerning the United States, the Human Rights Office welcomed the signing of a law in the State of Connecticut that abolishes the death penalty.
- Including Connecticut, 17 states in the United States had now formally repealed capital punishment. OHCHR encourages other states, as well as the Federal authorities, to move towards the abolition of capital punishment altogether.
U.N.: SOMALI REFUGEES IN ETHIOPIA’S ADOLLO ADO CAMP EXCEED 150,000
- The number of Somali refugees at the Adollo Ado camp in southern Ethiopia has now past the 150,000 mark, according to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR).
- In recent weeks, the camp has been receiving a weekly average of 450 new Somali refugees as insecurity, potential revenge killings, fear of forced recruitment, combined with last year’s famine, continues to push more Somalis across the border to seek asylum.
- Meanwhile, UNHCR says refugee camps in both Kenya and Ethiopia have been hit hard by heavy rains which have caused extensive flooding and damaged roads and hundreds of temporary shelters; Delivery of humanitarian aid and services to the refugees, including water provision, has also been severely disrupted.
- UNHCR staff has begun distributing plastic sheets, and are providing replacement tents to a smaller number of families whose shelters were completely destroyed by the wind and rain.
- In anticipation of malaria cases, UNHCR’s health partners have started distributing insecticide-treated mosquito nets. 220,000 nets will be handed out in the next four weeks, accompanied by demonstrations and information sessions on their use and care.
SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS NORWEGIAN GENERAL MOOD TO HEAD U.N. OBSERVER MISSION IN SYRIA
- The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday announced the appointment of Major General Robert Mood of Norway as the Chief Military Observer and Head of Mission of the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS).
- Major General Mood brings to his new position extensive command experience and knowledge of peacekeeping attained through service at the national and international levels, including in United Nations peacekeeping operations.
- Prior to his appointment, Major General Mood was the Inspector General Veteran Affairs of the Norwegian Armed Forces, a position he held since 2011.
- Previously, Major General Mood served as the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) Head of Mission and Chief of Staff from 2009 to 2011.
- From 2005 to the time of his appointment to UNTSO, Major General Mood was Chief of Staff of the Norwegian Army.
- From 1989 to 1990, Major General Mood served as the Operations Officer with the Norwegian Battalion within the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). He was the Chief Joint Implementation Commission with KFOR Command Group and Commanding Officer of the Norwegian Army Transformation and Doctrine Command.
- Major General Mood holds a Masters of Military Studies from the United States Marine Corps University. He also attended a number of military institutions, including the Norwegian Army Staff College and the NATO Defence College in Rome.
- Born in Norway in 1958, Major General Mood is married and has one son.
SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS KARIN LANDGREN AS SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR LIBERIA
- The United Nations Secretary-General BAN Ki-moon has appointed Ms. Karin Landgren of Sweden as his Special Representative for Liberia and Head of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
- She will replace Ms. Ellen Margrethe Løj of Denmark, who completed her assignment in January 2012. The Secretary-General is grateful for Ms. Løj’s dedicated service and important contribution to the Liberian peace process over the past four years.
- Ms. Landgren is currently the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Burundi and Head of the United Nations Mission in Burundi (BNUB).
- Until January 2011, she served as Representative of the Secretary-General to Nepal, where she oversaw the implementation of the mandate and eventual closure of the special political mission.
- Ms Landgren brings to the position many years of political, development, resource-mobilization, managerial and international law experience with the United Nations.
- She worked extensively on humanitarian and refugee issues as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) representative in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Eritrea and Singapore, and during postings to India and the Philippines, before serving as the organization’s legal adviser in 1994-1998.
- Between 1998 and 2008, she served as the first head of child protection for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
- Ms. Landgren has published and lectured on post-conflict, humanitarian, refugee and child-protection issues, and holds a Bachelor of Science (Economics) in international relations and a master’s degree in international law from the London School of Economics.
- Born in 1957, she has two children.
U.N. APPLIES ALL REGULATIONS REGARDING ASBESTOS ABATEMENT
- In response to a question about asbestos abatement during the renovation of the Secretariat buildings, the Deputy Spokesperson said on Friday that the handling and abatement of asbestos is among the mostly strictly regulated areas of any industry in the United States.
- It is regulated by a number of authorities from City to Federal level.
- The UN is applying all the regulations regarding asbestos abatement.
- An area in which asbestos is to be abated has to be marked by warning signs seven days before the work commences.
- The abatement is being performed by a licensed contractor employing certified workers.
- As required, all steps in the abatement process are monitored by a certified independent environmental consultant.
U.N.: BUDGET FOR THE OFFICE OF THE JOINT SPECIAL ENVOY FOR SYRIA CONTRIBUTED BY MEMBER STATES
- In response to a question about a budget document relating to the “Office of the Joint United Nations - League of Arab States Special Envoy for Syria”, the Deputy Spokesperson said that the references to extra budgetary funding in the estimates relate to contributions by Member States received by the Department of Political Affairs (DPA) under its Multi Year Donor Appeal mechanism, more specifically for Rapid Response.
U.N. MAKING EVERY EFFORT TO SECURE SAFE RELEASE OF DETAINED STAFF IN DARFUR
- On detained UN staff members mentioned on Thursday by Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, during a briefing at the Security Council on the situation in Darfur, the Deputy Spokesperson said there’s nothing further to add on these matters than what has already been shared with the media.
- The United Nations is making every effort within its capacity to secure the safe release of the staff members.
- A World Food Programme (WFP) staff member was kidnapped from Nyala on 6 March. Two United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) personnel have been detained since 24 February.
U.N: PNG’D STAFF MEMBER REMAINS EMPLOYED
- With respect to Hawa Haidal, an international staff member of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), the Deputy Spokesperson said that as previously stated an explanation from the Government of Sudan for its decision to declare the staff member persona non-grata has been sought via Note Verbale and we are pursuing a response.
- The staff member remains employed by the United Nations.
- del Buey also noted that it wouldn't be appropriate for the Organisation to comment further on an individual staff member's situation.
U.N SPECIAL ENVOY WORKING WITH ALL SIDES TO RESOLVE THE SITUATION OF MILITARY SHAKE-UP: Asked about Yemen, the Deputy Spokesperson said Mr. Jamal Benomar, Special Advisor on Yemen has been working with all sides to resolve the situation of military appointments made by President Hadi. He will continue doing so with his team in Yemen.
SENIOR HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICIAL TO VISIT BURUNDI AND DRC: United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Ivan Šimonovic, will visit Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo starting next Monday, to strengthen cooperation on human rights with the two countries. During his three-day mission to Burundi, Šimonovic will encourage national efforts to establish a truth and reconciliation commission in line with international standards and practices. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Šimonovic will seek stronger cooperation between the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the new government, national and international actors to promote and protect human rights throughout the country.
U.N. CRIME MEETING CLOSES WITH SEVERAL RESOLUTIONS: Speaking at the closure of the 21st Session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Yury Fedotov, congratulated the Commission and delegates on the strength of the resolutions on migrants, piracy, and private security services, amongst others. Mr. Fedotov closed by saying: “For one week, we have discussed crime. However, this is not the end. It is only the beginning. The Commission has been the source of mandates, and we must now become the source of practical action.” Over the previous five days, the Commission had discussed 11 agenda items and held 27 major side events. The 21st Session was attended by 824 people, 116 states, and some 43 NGOs.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
28 APRIL – 4 MAY 2012
(This document is for planning purposes and is subject to change.)
Saturday, 28 April
Today is World Day for Safety and Health at Work. [ILO]
Sunday, 29 April
Today is Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare.
Monday, 30 April
Today is International Jazz Day [UNESCO]
Tuesday, 1 May
Day of Vesak is observed this month. (A/RES/54/115)
Today, Azerbaijan assumes the monthly rotating Presidency of the Security Council.
At 12:00 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, Sir John Sulston, Nobel Laureate and Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), will be guests at the Noon Briefing.
Wednesday, 2 May
At 1:00 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference to launch “Born Too Soon: The Global Action Report on Preterm Birth". Speakers include H.E. Ambassador Li Baodong, Permanent Representative of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations; Dr. Flavia Bustreo, Assistant Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO); Dr. Carole Presern, Director of WHO’s Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health; Dr. Joy Lawn from the Save the Children organization.
Thursday, 3 May
Today is World Press Freedom Day. [A/DEC/48/432]
At 3 p.m., the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) will hold a special event on “Harnessing the contributions of civil society to sustainable development”, in the ECOSOC Chamber of the North Lawn Building (NLB).
At 3 p.m., there will be a Round-table Discussion on “Protecting journalists: Lessons learned and prospects five years after resolution 1738”, co-organized by the Permanent Missions of France and Greece, in cooperation with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in Conference Room 2 (NLB).
Friday, 4 May
There are no major events scheduled for today.
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