HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
FRIDAY, 2 MAY 2014
SECRETARY-GENERAL: DIPLOMATIC SOLUTION IS ONLY WAY OUT OF CRISIS IN UKRAINE
- The Secretary-General reiterates his grave concern over the deteriorating situation in regions of east and south Ukraine. Escalating violence and reported further loss of life in the city of Slovyansk today is a stark reminder of how dangerous the situation has become. Expansion of militia activities and ongoing seizures of public buildings by unidentified armed groups undercut the letter and spirit of the April 17 Geneva statement. He therefore urges all sides to exercise maximum restraint and appeals to those with grievances to voice them peacefully, so as to avoid more bloodshed. He calls for all parties to respect fully Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
- The Secretary-General once again calls on those responsible for the capture and detention of OSCE military monitors and accompanying Ukrainian staff to release them immediately, unconditionally and unharmed.
- The Secretary-General stresses that a diplomatic solution is the only way out of this crisis and that all sides must redouble their efforts to revive the spirit of compromise displayed during the 17 April Geneva talks.
- The Secretary-General has asked his Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, to travel to Moscow and Kiev next week. Mr. Feltman will meet with senior officials and international partners to promote de-escalation and work toward a peaceful resolution of the crisis in Ukraine. He will be carrying a strong message from the Secretary-General that all actors need to exercise utmost caution to prevent the extremely fragile situation from spinning out of control. He will stress the need for a return to diplomacy and highlight the willingness of the United Nations to play a good offices role.
SECURITY COUNCIL RECEIVES BRIEFING FROM POLITICAL CHIEF ON UKRAINE
- The Security Council held a formal meeting on Ukraine. Council members heard an update from Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs about the latest developments there, in which he noted recent violence in Slovyansk and reiterated the Secretary-General’s appeal for the release of the detained OSCE monitors.
- Security Council members also agreed on a programme of work for the month of May.
- The Council will hear from High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay and Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng on South Sudan this afternoon.
ANTHONY LAKE IS REAPPOINTED AS UNICEF EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
- Following consultations with the Executive Board of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Secretary-General reappointed today Mr. Anthony Lake as Executive Director of UNICEF.
- The Secretary-General noted his appreciation of UNICEF’s progress in effective management for results, especially for the most disadvantaged children.
U.N. REFUGEE AND FOOD AGENCIES CALL FOR SAFE ACCESS TO VULNERABLE PEOPLE IN SOUTH SUDAN
- The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the World Food Programme (WFP) are calling on the parties to the conflict in South Sudan to provide safe access to enable humanitarian assistance to reach vulnerable people.
- This includes 125,000 Sudanese refugees in camps in Maban County, Upper Nile State. Re-supplying refugee camps in Maban County has been complicated by continued insecurity and fighting along the supply routes. Roads to Maban are facing imminent closure for the duration of the rainy season, which has already started.
- WFP says it has food supplies that could reach the refugee camps within days by road, but ongoing fighting along key supply routes is preventing deliveries.
- WFP will this week distribute the last remaining food stocks in Maban County to refugees in the camps. These food rations will last the refugees less than a week, while WFP uses aircraft to bring additional food stocks to the camps within the next five days.
- Asked about reports that President Salva Kiir and Riak Machar might engage in dialogue, the Spokesman said that any dialogue between those leaders would be a positive development. He encouraged efforts at negotiation between the parties.
U.N. PEACEKEEPING CHIEF CONTINUES HIS THREE-DAY VISIT TO CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
- The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, is in Bangui, for a three-day visit to the Central African Republic (CAR), in preparation for the establishment of the United Nations Mission in the country, MINUSCA.
- This morning, he visited Kaga-Bandoro, 245 km north of Bangui, where he discussed the security situation and saw first-hand the humanitarian challenges affecting the local population. There, he also met with MISCA elements as well as with ex-Seleka members.
- And in Bangui, this afternoon, Mr. Ladsous met with the Prime Minister and other officials.
U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY APPALLED BY KILLING OF STAFF MEMBER IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in the Central African Republic says that it is shocked and appalled by the killing on Thursday in Bangui of one of its national staff members.
- The UNHCR employee was abducted in the morning from the PK16 district of the capital and his body was recovered in the afternoon of the same day.
- The Agency says that the circumstances surrounding the incident are still under investigation but that the killing can be placed in the framework of the inter-communal violence that has been tearing apart the country since December 2013.
- UNHCR extends a call to all parties of the conflict to recognize and respect the neutrality and independence of its personnel in the country.
U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF VALERIE AMOS ANNOUNCES VISIT TO CHAD
- The Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, will visit Chad from 5 to 6 May.
- This is her first visit to the country and she’ll be there to raise attention to the humanitarian situation, notably chronic food insecurity and malnutrition, and the humanitarian impact in Chad of the crisis in neighbouring Central African Republic (CAR). She will also discuss how to support a more resilience-oriented approach to address chronic malnutrition and food insecurity in the Sahel zone of Chad.
U.N. MISSION IN AFGHANISTAN CONDEMNS CAR BOMBING IN PANJSHIR
- The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) condemns the suicide car bombing which took place in the central eastern province of Panjshir yesterday, killing at least 15 people – including seven civilians. More than a dozen people were wounded, with casualties expected to rise in the coming days.
- The Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan, Mark Bowden, said that the killing of civilians is reprehensible and should be roundly condemned. He added that indiscriminate attacks which kill and injure civilians may amount to war crimes.
AFGHANISTAN: U.N. SUPPORTS RESCUE EFFORTS AFTER MASSIVE MUDSLIDE
- Following a massive landslide, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is coordinating relief efforts with local authorities to rescue those still trapped by mudslides in Afghanistan.
- Casualties are currently estimated at 350, but expected to rise, according to local officials.
- Response is being mobilised for those who survived but were displaced with some humanitarian partners already on the ground.
- Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Kyung-Wha Kang will visit Afghanistan and Pakistan from 3 to 8 May to assess the humanitarian needs and response in areas impacted by crises, including insecurity, natural disasters and malnutrition.
U.N. MISSION IN D.R. CONGO CONFIRMS MAYI-MAYI JANVIER ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR RECENT ATTACK
- The U.N. Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo confirmed that a recent attack on its base was carried out by Mayi-Mayi Janvier, part of the APCLS.
- The ACPLS attacked DRC Government positions at Birere. Heavy exchanges of fire were reported.
- MONUSCO supported the FARDC, the National Army of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with fire support to recapture Birere. Some 4,000 civilians sought safety at MONUSCO base in Nyabiondo. 6 Government soldiers were killed, 3 were wounded and 2 MONUSCO soldiers were also wounded.
- MONUSCO continues to monitor the situation, including through the use of unarmed aerial surveillance.
HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICE: SUFFERING OF OKLAHOMA INMATE DURING HIS EXECUTION MAY AMOUNT TO CRUEL, INHUMAN TREATMENT
- The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said today that the suffering of Clayton Lockett during his execution in Oklahoma on 29 April may amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment according to international human rights law.
- The UN Human Rights Committee and the Committee against Torture have both previously called on the United States to review its execution methods in order to prevent severe pain and suffering.
SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES ISRAELIS AND PALESTINIANS TO AVOID UNILATERAL STEPS
- In a statement issued Thursday afternoon on the Middle East peace process, the Secretary-General urged both Israelis and Palestinians to exercise prudence and avoid unilateral steps that would diminish the prospects for a resumption of negotiations and reach an agreement.
- It is incumbent upon the parties to convince each other anew that they are partners for peace. The international community must uphold its long-stated commitment to realizing a comprehensive peace settlement.
- The Secretary-General appeals to all concerned to use this time constructively to find a meaningful path forward.
BAN KI-MOON CONGRATULATES PEOPLE AND GOVERNMENT OF IRAQ ON HOLDING OF ELECTIONS
- In a statement on Thursday, the Secretary-General congratulated the people and Government of Iraq on the holding of the nationwide Council of Representatives elections and Governorate Council elections in the Kurdistan region. He applauded their determination to strengthen the country's democratic process.
- The Secretary-General encourages patience while the ballots are counted and complaints adjudicated.
U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF IS DEEPLY CONCERNED BY INTIMIDATION OF JOURNALISTS IN ETHIOPIA
- The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, issued a statement today, in which she says she is deeply concerned by this recent wave of arrests and the increasing climate of intimidation against journalists and bloggers prevailing in Ethiopia.
- Pillay also notes that the Ethiopian authorities continue to use the Charities and Societies Proclamation Law, the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation and the Mass Media Law to restrict the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly.
- She says that the fight against terrorism cannot serve as an excuse to intimidate and silence journalists, bloggers, human rights activists and members of civil society organizations. And that working with foreign human rights organisations cannot be considered a crime.
JOINT ENVOY FOR SYRIA LAKHDAR BRAHIMI MEETS WITH SECRETARY-GENERAL IN NEW YORK
- Asked about Joint Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi, the Spokesman said that Mr. Brahimi continues his work and met with the Secretary-General today.
- He declined to speculate on how long Mr. Brahimi would stay in his post.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
3 MAY - 9 MAY 2014
(This document is for planning purposes and is subject to change.)
Saturday, 3 May
Today is World Press Freedom Day.
The Secretary-General will arrive in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Sunday, 4 May
The Secretary-General will co-host the two-day Ascent in Abu Dhabi, bringing together governments, the private sector, civil society and other partners to discuss how to take concrete action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance resilience to climate change.
Monday, 5 May
In New York, the General assembly will hold a thematic Debate on “Culture and Sustainable Development in the Post-2015 Development Agenda” in the Trusteeship Council Chamber.
At 12:00 p.m., in the press briefing room, Ms. Celina Jaitly, actress and UN Free & Equal equality champion, and Mr. Charles Radcliffe, Chief of Global issues at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in New York, will be the guests at the Noon Briefing.
In Geneva, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement will have a press briefing to mark the six-month commemoration of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) that hit the Philippines in November 2013. Speakers will be Richard Gordon, Chairman of Philippine Red Cross; Jagan Chapagain, IFRC Under-Secretary-General, Programme Services Division; Alain Aeschlimann, ICRC Head of Operations for East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
Tuesday, 6 May
The Secretary-General will arrive in Rome, Italy, where he will chair the twice-yearly meeting of the UN System Chief Executives Board (CEB).
In New York, the Permanent Mission of Spain will organize a special event on “Developing Together: Official Development Assistance, Trade and Investment”, from 10 a.m. to 01 p.m. in Conference Room 2.
At 12:00 p.m., in the press briefing room, Mr. Yukio Takasu, Under-Secretary-General for Management, will be the guest at the Noon Briefing.
There will also be a special event, from 01:15 p.m. to 02:30 p.m. in Conference Room 2, on “Culture: a driver for economic development”, co-organized by the International Organization of la Francophonie (OIF) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
In Geneva, the World Health Organization (WHO) will launch updated estimates on maternal mortality, as well as a new study on causes of maternal death. Speakers will be Dr Marleen Temmerman, Director of the Department of Reproductive Health Research at WHO; and Dr Lale Say, Coordinator of that Department’s Adolescents and At-risk Populations Team
Wednesday, 7 May
In New York, the Security Council will hold an open debate on “Non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction”.
At 12:00 p.m., in the press briefing room, Mr. Gyan Chandra Acharya, Under-Secretary-General for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS), will be the guest at the Noon Briefing.
Thursday, 8 May
Today and tomorrow are “Time of Remembrance and Reconciliation for Those Who Lost Their Lives during the Second World War”.
Friday, 9 May
In New York, at 12:30 p.m, in the press briefing room, Ambassador Enrique Roman-Morey of Peru will brief the press about the Preparatory Commission for the 2015 Nuclear Proliferation Treaty Review Conference.