HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
THURSDAY, 29 MAY 2014
SPEAKING OUT AGAINST ATTACKS IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC, SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES END TO CYCLE OF VIOLENCE
- In a statement, the Secretary-General strongly condemns the recent attacks in the Central African Republic, including yesterday at the Church of Notre Dame de Fatima in Bangui in which an unknown number of people, including the priest, were killed and others were abducted.
- The attack follows violence in the capital earlier in the week during which three Muslim youths were brutally killed by suspected anti-Balaka elements on their way to an inter-communal reconciliation football match.
- The Secretary-General encourages the Central African Republic’s Transitional Authority to do everything within its means to prevent further violence in the capital and throughout the country, and to take concrete measures to ensure that perpetrators are held accountable. He calls on the international forces present in the Central African Republic to take all necessary measures in support of these efforts.
- The Secretary-General calls for an immediate end to the cycle of violence and retaliatory attacks. He encourages the Central African Republic’s leaders and partners in the sub-region to work with MINUSCA to facilitate progress toward meaningful national dialogue and reconciliation in order to chart a sustainable path to peace.
MARKING U.N. PEACEKEEPERS DAY, SECRETARY-GENERAL PAYS TRIBUTE TO FALLEN BLUE HELMETS
- Today is International Day of UN Peacekeepers.
- At a ceremony earlier this morning, the Secretary-General laid a wreath in memory of all fallen peacekeepers. Awarded posthumously the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal were the 106 military, police and civilian personnel who lost their lives while serving in peacekeeping operations in 2013.
- The Secretary-General said today was a day to recommit to ensure that their contributions to the cause of peace will never be forgotten.
- He also said that UN peacekeeping is modernizing to ensure that it can tackle tomorrow’s peace and security challenges. Our goal is to ensure that peacekeeping is a cost effective, valuable investment that brings enormous benefits and, above all, saves lives, he added.
SECRETARY-GENERAL TRAVELING TO CANADA TO ATTEND GLOBAL MEETING ON MATERNAL, CHILD HEALTH
- The Secretary-General is traveling today to Toronto, Canada, where he will speak tomorrow at the Global Summit in support of the Every Woman Every Child initiative on maternal, newborn and child health.
- This afternoon, he will meet with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is chairing that summit. He also expects to meet with President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania.
SECRETARY-GENERAL HOPES NEW EGYPTIAN LEADER WILL BRING SOCIETY TOGETHER IN SPIRIT OF DIALOGUE, INCLUSION
- In response to questions on Egypt, the Spokesman said that the United Nations is aware of reports that official results will not be released until next week. Whatever the official outcome, the Secretary-General considers it very important that the new President devotes early and full attention to bringing Egyptian society together in a spirit of dialogue and inclusion in his efforts to achieve stability and prosperity in Egypt.
- The Secretary-General and the United Nations look forward to supporting all efforts in that direction.
SECRETARY-GENERAL PAYS TRIBUTE TO MAYA ANGELOU, NOTING HOW HER WORKS GENERATED COMPASSION, EMPOWERMENT
- The Secretary-General wrote a letter of condolence today for Maya Angelou’s family and friends following her passing yesterday.
- He said that her moving works generated compassion and empowerment in her country and around the world. He recalled the poem that she wrote for the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations, “A Brave and Startling Truth”, in which she said that all “have the power to fashion for this earth a climate where every man and every woman can live freely”.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL SPOTLIGHTS NEED TO IMPROVE SANITATION GLOBALLY
- This morning, the Deputy Secretary-General addressed the Social Innovation Summit in the Trusteeship Council chamber.
- In his remarks, he challenged the innovators and business people in the room to find a solution to the problems of sanitation, especially open defecation which a billion people around the world are forced to practice every day.
- He encouraged them to find sustainable solutions to tackle the world’s sanitation problems. “Gone are the days when you could use toilets that flush away litres of clean water, “ he said, adding that “in a world of rapid urbanization, climate change and environmental degradation, we need solutions that will last, and solutions that are community based.”
SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATES OF U.N. ENTITIES IN ABYEI, GUINEA-BISSAU AND SYRIA; DISCUSSES SYRIA
- The Security Council passed three resolutions this morning extending the mandates of the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS) and the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM).
- The Council then held consultations on Syria, and its members heard a briefing from Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Kyung-wha Kang.
FIRST VISIT TO MOROCCO BY U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF CONCLUDES
- The High Commissioner for Human Rights wrapped her up first official visit to Morocco, the first by someone in her position for 13 years.
- Speaking to reporters in the capital, Rabat, today, she said that Morocco is undergoing an important transition and is setting high standards through its Constitution and laws.
- Through her meetings with the authorities, including His Majesty King Mohamed VI and various ministers, Ms. Pillay said that it was clear that there is the political will at the highest levels to continue efforts to set a firm human rights foundation for Moroccan society.
- She noted, however, that old habits and harmful traditional practices can never justify violations of human rights and should not trump international law and the country’s constitution and laws.
- On the issue of torture, the High Commissioner said that she was informed by the King that he will not tolerate torture, though he could not rule out that there are isolated cases.
- She underscored the need for accountability, stressing that impunity is the most powerful fuel for human rights violations.
SENIOR U.N. OFFICIAL SPOTLIGHTS CLOSE COOPERATION BETWEEN WORLD BODY, NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT
- Speaking in Algiers today at the Ministerial Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement, Susana Malcorra, the United Nations Chef de Cabinet, noted the close cooperation between the two organizations.
- She said that the Non-Aligned Movement was established during a time of ideological polarity, but that today, the interdependence among peoples, nations and issues requires that we overcome rivalries.
- Ms. Malcorra said that the Bandung Declaration, rooted in solidarity and cooperation, still resonates today, and that it is in the same spirit that the Secretary-General has called for a life of dignity for all.
U.N. AFGHANISTAN ENVOY VISITS HERAT PROVINCE AHEAD OF PRESIDENTIAL RUN-OFF POLLS
- The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Ján Kubiš, visited Herat province yesterday to see first-hand how the region is preparing for the presidential run-off elections.
- He met the Provincial Governor, the two heads of the elections commissions – the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) – and the Chief of Police.
- Mr. Kubiš told reporters that among the topics discussed in these meetings were how to provide a secure environment for the elections, as well as how to learn from the lessons from the first round.
- He also stressed that beyond the end of 2016, when all international forces will leave Afghanistan, the United Nations seeks to assist and support the people of Afghanistan for years to come.
SOUTH SUDAN: NEARLY 85,000 PEOPLE HAVE FLED TO SUDAN, U.N. AID WING REPORTS
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that aid groups have reported that nearly 85,000 people have fled the violence in South Sudan to Sudan since mid-December 2013.
- More than one third of them are at the Kilo 10 site in Sudan’s White Nile State, many with limited access to clean water and sanitation. With the onset of the rainy season, humanitarian organizations are concerned about access and conditions at Kilo 10, which is prone to flooding. They are working with the Government of Sudan to help relocate the South Sudanese to safer areas.
- Humanitarian organizations continue to provide assistance to the South Sudanese arrivals in Sudan. They have reached over 50,000 people with aid, including food and water, since mid-December. The humanitarian appeal to help the South Sudanese in Sudan is just 36 per cent funded.
- In response to a question, the Spokesman said that the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has not carried out joint missions with the country’s police force since the start of the current crisis.
***The guests at today’s noon briefing were the Under-Secretaries-General for Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support, Herve Ladsous and Ameerah Haq. They briefed reporters on the occasion of International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers.