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Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

 

WEDNESDAY, 14 MAY 2014

 

MIGRATION POLICIES MUST BE ROOTED IN HUMAN RIGHTS, SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS IN SWEDEN

  • The Secretary-General is in Sweden today for the Global Forum on Migration and Development. At the opening ceremony, he said that more than one in thirty people on earth is a migrant and that communities had much to gain from migration when it is managed properly and much to lose when it is not. He stressed the importance of grounding all migration policies firmly in fundamental rights.
  • The Secretary-General said he remained seriously concerned about the crises unfolding in the Mediterranean and elsewhere, adding that the loss of life is unacceptable. Migration should be a journey of hope, not a perilous gamble, he added.
  • Prior to the opening of the Global Forum, the Secretary-General had an meeting with King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden as well as Crown Princess Victoria. He also met with Sweden’s Prime Minister.
  • The Secretary-General is expected back in New York tomorrow afternoon.

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO TRAVEL TO CHINA

  • The Secretary-General will depart New York on Saturday, 17 May, for an official visit from 19-22 May to Beijing and Shanghai, China.
  • The Secretary-General will meet with President Xi Jinping, Premier of the State Council Li Keqiang, Foreign Minister Foreign Minister Wang Yi and State Councilor Yang Jiechi.
  • In Shanghai, he will attend Fourth Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA). He will hold several bilateral meetings with world leaders also attending the event.
  • The Secretary-General will also meet with representatives of the China Development Bank and the China Investment Corporation to discuss climate change.
  • He will attend an event for his Every Woman Every Child initiative, which aims to save the lives of 16 million women and children and improve the lives of millions more.
  • The Secretary-General is also scheduled to address students at Shanghai’s Fudan University.
  • He will return to New York on Thursday, 22 May.
  • Asked about the Secretary-General’s priorities during his trip, the Spokesman said that a big focus will be on the September climate change summit and the role that China can play in supporting the fight against climate change.

TURKEY: SECRETARY-GENERAL OFFERS CONDOLENCES TO THOSE AFFECTED BY MINING TRAGEDY

  • The Secretary-General will be sending a letter to the President of Turkey on the mining tragedy there.
  • He will offer condolences to the affected families and the Government of Turkey.

U.N. BURUNDI ENVOY BRIEFS SECURITY COUNCIL, NOTES TENSE POLITICAL SITUATION

  • The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Burundi, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, briefed the Security Council by video teleconference this morning. He said that the UN Peace-building Office in Burundi (BNUB) has begun a transition process towards becoming a UN country team.
  • He said that the political situation remains tense, with political space remaining restricted. He added that it is vital that Burundi’s people remain calm. The horizon may not be clear, the Special Representative said, but Burundi has a promising future. His remarks are available in my office.
  • The chair of the Burundi configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), Ambassador Paul Seger of Switzerland, also briefed the Council. The open meeting was followed by consultations.
  • Asked about armed groups in Burundi, the Spokesman said that the issue is one for the Government of Burundi to investigate and the United Nations stands ready to help as needed.

U.N. MISSION IN SOUTH SUDAN SAYS UNITY STATE TOWNS CALM, HEAVY DEPLOYMENT OF TROOPS

  • On South Sudan, the UN Mission in the country (UNMISS) reports that despite shooting this morning in Bentiu and Rubkona in Unity State, which resulted in the airport closed for a few hours, the situation has otherwise remained calm. The Mission also reports heavy deployments of government and pro-government forces in both areas.
  • A Mission patrol to Bentiu yesterday extracted five civilians and brought them back to the protection site. Currently, more than 23,000 civilians are being protected at the UN site in Bentiu.
  • The patrol also escorted UN Agency staff and partners to Bentiu Hospital. As the patrol entered the hospital, they saw armed pro-government elements looting the hospital as well as three military pick up vehicles nearby containing medicines.
  • The Mission strongly condemns the looting of medical equipment and supplies and calls on the parties to respect and protect medical facilities and personnel, and those who are sick or wounded. Such acts violate the Geneva Convention, said the Mission.
  • Other tensions within the Bentiu protection site include threats and physical assault against contractors guarding UN facilities on Monday and Tuesday. The Mission says peacekeepers were called in to defuse the situation.

SOUTH SUDAN: FACILITIES FOR CIVILIANS SEEKING PROTECTION UPGRADED AT U.N. BASES

  • UN agencies and partners continue to work on upgrading facilities to improve the conditions for people sheltering at UN bases in Juba in South Sudan. Two areas are being developed due to concerns over overcrowding and the risk of disease outbreaks.
  • A new site, which is being built close to UN House, is expected to host some 13,000 displaced people. A new space within UN Tomping is being cleared to accommodate some 2,000 people who are living in overcrowded parts of the base.
  • There are some 32,000 civilians seeking protection in the UN bases in the capital, Juba.

U.N. ENVOY, NIGERIAN PRESIDENT DISCUSS KIDNAPPED SCHOOLGIRLS

  • The High-Level Representative of the Secretary-General to Nigeria, Said Djinnit, met today with President Goodluck Jonathan.
  • On Tuesday, Mr. Djinnit met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Defence, and the Minister of Justice of Nigeria. 
  • In these meetings, Mr. Djinnit explored with his counterparts the role of the UN in supporting Nigerian efforts towards the safe release of the girls.  He explained that the UN is preparing a package to support the affected families and the girls after their release. 
  • On the broader security front, Mr. Djinnit reaffirmed the UN’s support to Nigeria within the framework of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
  • Asked about UN support to Nigeria, the Spokesman clarified that the United Nations does not have assets on the ground or the mandate for counter-terrorism operations, but he pointed to the role the United Nations can play in supporting regional cooperation.
  • Asked about the global counter-terrorism strategy, Dujarric noted that the strategy also includes respect for fundamental human rights.

TOP U.N. OFFICIAL IN IRAQ SPEAKS OUT AGAINST FLOODING OF ABU GHRAIB

  • Nickolay Mladenov, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, visited the area of Abu Ghraib today and spoke out against what he called the deliberate flooding of the area. Floods in Abu Ghraib have caused the displacement of more than 12,000 families and submerged hundreds of houses, including at least four schools
  • Mr. Mladenov also reiterated the UN’s readiness to continue working with the Ministry of Displacement and Migration and the local authorities to address the urgent humanitarian needs in Abu Ghraib, notably access to safe drinking water.
  • Mr. Mladenov called on the Government, the Iraqi Security Forces, local authorities and tribal leaders to work jointly and quickly to restore legitimate control over the flow of the river Euphrates. He said that those who are now in control of the barrage in Fallujah should understand the consequences of their actions on the lives of tens of thousands of Iraqis.
  • Asked about the use of water to flood neighbourhoods, the Spokesman pointed to the need to restore the legitimate control of the river.

U.N. OFFICIALS URGES BOLD ACTION ON LETHAL AUTONOMOUS WEAPONS

  • The Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) Meeting of Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems is under way in Geneva, which could otherwise be referred to as “killer robots”.
  • On Tuesday, Michael Møller, Acting Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that the meeting is only a first step towards addressing lethal autonomous weapons.
  • He urged delegates to take bold action, noting that all too often international law only responds to atrocities and suffering once it has happened.
  • Mr. Møller told participants that they have the opportunity to take pre-emptive action and ensure that the ultimate decision to end life remains firmly under human control.

U.N. CALLING FOR DATA-DRIVEN EVIDENCE OF CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS

  • The Big Data Climate Challenge was launched today. The Global Pulse initiative and the Secretary-General’s Climate Change Team are calling on world-class scientists, technologists and citizens from around the world to submit the best ideas that show data-driven evidence of the impacts of climate change.
  • The Big Data Climate Challenge will source projects from around the world that use Big Data and analytics to address real world impacts of climate change.
  • A high-level Advisory Board of climate and data experts has been convened to evaluate the submissions.
  • Winning projects will be showcased at the 2014 Climate Summit that the Secretary-General has convened at United Nations Headquarters around the time of the General Assembly.
  • This initiative will help build public understanding of how Big Data can reveal critical insights for strengthening resilience and mitigating emissions.
  • The Call for Submissions is open on both the Climate Summit and UN Global Pulse websites (http://www.unglobalpulse.org/bigdataclimate/).

U.N. IN TOUCH WITH UKRAINE AUTHORITIES ON CHOPPERS BEARING ORGANIZATION’S MARKINGS

  • In response to questions about helicopters with UN markings that had been seen in eastern Ukraine, the Spokesman said that the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support are in contact with the Ukrainian authorities concerning this issue.
  • It is the responsibility of Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs) that provide Contingent Owned Equipment to peacekeeping missions to remove all logos and signage bearing the UN's name once such equipment has been repatriated to the home country or is no longer being used for official UN purposes. Moreover, every Letter of Assist that is signed between the UN and troop contributing countries also clearly states that “the Government may only use such painted and marked Aircraft for flights which have been tasked by the United Nations.”
  • Their presence in eastern Ukraine has not been tasked by the United Nations.
  • In response to further questions, the Spokesman said that the United Nations contacted the Ukrainian Permanent Mission to the United Nations on Tuesday and made clear its concerns. The Ukrainian authorities were reminded of their responsibilities.

IN WAKE SYRIA ENVOY’S RESIGNATION, U.N. LOOKING INTO HOW BEST TO MOVE FORWARD ON CRISIS

  • Asked about a replacement for the Joint Special Representative for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, the Spokesman reiterated that the United Nations would look at all aspects of its work in Syria, including the status of its envoy dealing with Syria.
  • He added that the United Nations will do some soul-searching on how it can best move forwards on Syria, and that the wider international community should do the same.