HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY, SPOKESPERSON FOR
SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
WEDNESDAY, 16 MAY 2012
SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS PROFOUND SECURITY CHALLENGES REMAIN IN CENTRAL AMERICA
- The Secretary-General spoke at the General Assembly’s thematic debate on security in Central America on Wednesday morning, and he welcomed the recent progress in the region.
- He noted that the armed conflicts that once burned through the region are no more, that political violence has been greatly reduced, and that democratic processes are being consolidated.
- But profound challenges remain, he added. Countries in the region, especially in the Northern triangle of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, face rising levels of violence fuelled by transnational organized crime and drug trafficking.
- The region is now home to the highest homicide rates in the world. The homicide rate in Honduras, for example, is 10 times the global average.
INTERNATIONAL COURT PROSECUTOR BRIEFS SECURITY COUNCIL ON LIBYA CASES
- The Security Council held a formal meeting on Libya, to hear from the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo.
- Mr. Moreno-Ocampo provided an update on the cases his office has developed concerning Seif al-Islam al-Qadhafi and Abdullah al-Senoussi.
U.N. OBSERVERS PICKED UP IN SYRIA
- The UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) reported on Wednesday that it has picked up the six UN Military Observers who had to stay overnight in Khan Cheikhoun after vehicles in their convoy were damaged following an explosion. They have returned to their Team Site in Hama.
- Three UN vehicles were damaged in Tuesday’s incident. No UN personnel were injured.
- Asked about responsibility for security for UNSMIS, the Spokesperson said that, if the Mission personnel are patrolling in Government-held areas, they have a security escort from the Government. They also roam freely to other areas, and if they are in those areas, they travel without official Syrian escorts.
- He said that there were 236 military observers and 71 civilian staff deployed on the ground as of Wednesday, with 25 more observers are en route to Syria. They have been doing an excellent job in dealing with the circumstances on the ground, he added.
- Nesirky said that the UN Mission patrols widely in many locations, in an extremely risky effort to try to ensure that the pain and suffering endured by the Syrian people in recent months can come to an end.
U.N. EXPRESSES ALARM OVER REFUGEES FLEEING D.R. CONGO
- The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, expressed his alarm on Wednesday at new inflows of refugees into Rwanda and Uganda from fighting in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) staff in Rwanda report that more than 8,000 refugees have crossed from the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 27 April. These are in addition to the 55,000 Congolese refugees that Rwanda is already hosting. In Uganda, Government officials say 30,000 refugees have arrived this month. Prior to this new influx, Uganda was already host to some 175,000 refugees, including about 100,000 from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- Mr. Guterres says the displacement level in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo is disastrous. Conflict there, coupled with very limited access for humanitarian workers, means that many thousands of people are without protection and help.
- The situation in the South and North Kivu areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has worsened in recent months amid fighting between Government forces and soldiers loyal to former rebel commander Bosco Ntaganda.
- According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the number of internally displaced people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has now reached more than two million as of the end of March.
HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICE CONDEMNS ATTACK IN COLOMBIA
- The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Colombia has condemned the attack which took place Tuesday morning in Bogota, in which at least two people died and 39 more were injured.
- Todd Howland, the Representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights there, said the attack violated the human rights of those who suffered the consequences. He added that he was deeply saddened by the death of the Colombians.
Mr. Howland called on the authorities to quickly identify the people responsible for the attack and for them to be brought to justice.
WORLD HEALTH STATISTICS REPORT PUTS SPOTLIGHT ON BURDEN OF NON-COMMUNICABLE DISEASES
- The World Health Statistics 2012 report, released on Wednesday in Geneva by the World Health Organization (WHO), puts the spotlight on the growing problem of non-communicable diseases, which currently cause almost two thirds of all deaths worldwide.
- Containing data from 194 countries, the annual report notes that one in three adults worldwide has raised blood pressure – a condition that causes around half of all deaths from stroke and heart disease. One in ten adults has diabetes.
- Another major issue is obesity. According to the report, half a billion people today or 12% of the world’s population, are considered obese. In all parts of the world, women are more likely to be obese than men, and thus at greater risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.
- The World Health Assembly, to be held in Geneva from 21 May, will review progress made since the 2011 United Nations high-level meeting on non-communicable diseases in New York and agree on next steps.
- Work is underway to develop a global monitoring framework and a set of voluntary targets for prevention and control of these diseases.
JUDGE RESIGNS FROM UN-BACKED CAMBODIA COURT
- Judge Motoo Noguchi from Japan, an international judge of the Supreme Court Chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), tendered today a letter of resignation to the Secretary-General.
- His resignation will take effect in 60 days, on 15 July. After leaving the Extraordinary Chambers, he is going to return to serving the Ministry of Justice of Japan.
“SMALL FIVE” WITHDRAW DRAFT: Asked about the draft resolution sponsored by the “Small Five” group, the Spokesperson noted that the co-sponsors of the draft resolution have withdrawn the draft. He therefore declined to comment on any procedural considerations that were discussed over the course of the last couple of days.
CYPRUS TALKS TO CONTINUE: Asked about talks regarding Cyprus, the Spokesperson said that the process of talks for Cyprus has been going on for some time and is likely to continue.
GOVERNMENTS EXPECTED TO ACT ON YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT AT RIO+20 SUMMIT: Asked about unemployment, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General has pushed for action, particularly to deal with youth unemployment, and expects Governments to act on that issue at the Rio plus 20 Conference. Everyone has the right to work with dignity, he said.
DISPUTE TRIBUNAL ISSUE CLOSED: Asked about a UN Dispute Tribunal's judgments involving Under-Secretary-General Muhammed Shaaban, the Spokesperson informed the reporter that the Dispute Tribunal referred the matter of Mr. Shaaban's conduct to the Secretary-General for possible accountability pursuant to Article 10.8 of its Statute. Action was taken on this referral and the matter is now closed. The outcome of the action taken is confidential, as it pertains to a staff member.