HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY EDUARDO DEL BUEY,
DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
FRIDAY, 31 MAY 2013
SECRETARY-GENERAL ARRIVES IN JAPAN WHERE HE WILL ATTEND A CONFERENCE ON AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT
- The Secretary-General arrived in Japan on Friday, where he will attend the 5th Tokyo International Conference on African Development, known as TICAD V, in the city of Yokohama.
- On Saturday, the Secretary-General will deliver one of the keynote speeches at the Conference’s opening, which will commemorate the 20th anniversary of TICAD and the 50th anniversary of the Organization of African Unity.
- In his remarks, the Secretary-General will spotlight the progress Africa has made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, as well as the need to address the links between peace, security and development to find lasting solutions to problems.
- On Sunday, the Secretary-General will take part in TICAD V sessions on themes including the post-2015 development agenda and peace and stability.
- He will also take part in a high-level event – hosted by the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Japan – on the theme, “Building Climate and Disaster Resilience for African Development.”
- The Secretary-General will return to New York on Monday, 3 June.
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO TRAVEL TO DENVER, COLORADO, NEXT WEEK
- The Secretary-General will travel to Denver, Colorado, next week. On Friday, he will be the University of Denver's graduate commencement speaker, and will receive an honorary degree during the ceremony.
- The Secretary-General will also visit in Boulder, Colorado, the National Center for Atmospheric Research -- a leading research and development center on atmospheric and related sciences, including climate change, which is sponsored by the National Science Foundation. He will speak to the Denver Forum, a public forum of prominent leaders in politics, business and academia.
MORE THAN 1.6 MILLION SYRIAN REFUGEES IN NEIGHBOURING COUNTRIES, U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY SAYS
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says that the number of Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries passed 1.6 million this week.
- On Wednesday, an inter-agency team, including the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Refugee Agency, the World Food Programme (WFP), UNICEF, and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, visited the town of Hasiya in central-western Syria in order to assess the situation and needs of Syrian families that had been forcibly displaced from Al-Qusair.
- Since the intensification of the fighting in Al-Qusair three weeks ago, at least 700 families or 3,500 people have arrived in Hasiya. Meanwhile, some 3,000 refugees from Al-Qusair were registered by the Refugee Agency in Lebanon, although the actual number of refugees fleeing is likely to be higher.
- The inter-agency team visited various sites that are now home to an estimated 150 families. Due to the poor sanitation and hygiene conditions in which people were living, many people, especially children, were suffering from diarrhoea, respiratory problems, high fevers, ear infections and skin diseases.
- Asked about the decision to include Jabhat al-Nusra on the list of entities affiliated with al-Qaeda, the Spokesperson noted that was a decision taken by the Security Council.
U.N. TO PARTICIPATE IN A THREE-WAY MEETING IN GENEVA NEXT WEEK TO PREPARE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON SYRIA
- On 5 June in Geneva, US, Russian and UN officials will hold a three-way meeting to further the preparations for the international conference on Syria envisioned under the U.S.-Russian initiative.
- The senior United Nations officials for this meeting are Lakhdar Brahimi, the Joint Special Representative for Syria, and Jeffrey Feltman, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs.
- Asked about the purpose of the meeting, the Spokesperson said the intention is to get the parties to the table for an international conference on Syria, in line with the US-Russian initiative.
U.N. SPECIAL COORDINATOR FOR LEBANON REAFFIRMS U.N. SUPPORT FOR ELECTORAL PROCESS
- Derek Plumbly, the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, today reaffirmed the United Nations’ continued support for the electoral process in Lebanon.
- Mr. Plumbly regretted that no agreement had been reached on elections, while noting the importance of ensuring the continuity of institutions. He added that the United Nations would continue to encourage all parties in Lebanon to work for the expeditious conduct of parliamentary elections in line with the country’s longstanding democratic tradition.
SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES AGREEMENT IN MYANMAR BETWEEN GOVERNMENT AND KACHIN INDEPENDENCE ORGANISATION
- In a statement, the Secretary-General welcomed the agreement reached on Thursday between the Government of Myanmar and the Kachin Independence Organisation, after their first meeting inside Myanmar since the conflict broke out in June 2011.
- His Special Adviser, Vijay Nambiar, was present as Observer at the talks on behalf of the United Nations, together with representatives from the Chinese Embassy and Myanmar's ethnic nationality groups.
- The Secretary-General notes the seven point agreement as a significant achievement that could lay the basis for a genuine process of national reconciliation in the country. He commends the leaders of both delegations for their courage and perseverance. He also hopes this agreement will allow the two parties to address the concerns and needs of the people of Kachin State.
- The Secretary-General underlines the continued support of the United Nations and his Special Adviser to the parties as they continue to work towards de-escalating the conflict and toward a comprehensive political dialogue that could bring lasting peace to Myanmar.
U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICE CONCERNED FOR NINE NORTH KOREAN DEFECTORS WHO WERE RETURNED TO D.P. R.K.
- The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has received credible information that nine young North Korean defectors have been returned to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) via China. The Human Rights Office is extremely concerned for the protection of this group, which includes up to five minors, who are at risk of severe punishment and ill-treatment upon their return.
- The High Commissioner’s Office is dismayed that the Governments of Laos and China appeared to have abrogated their non-refoulement obligations, especially given the vulnerability of that group, all of whom are reported to be orphans. It urges the Chinese and Laotian authorities to publicly clarify the fate of the nine young North Koreans, as well as the conditions under which they were returned, and request the DPRK Government to provide immediate access to the group by independent actors to verify their status and treatment.
TWO SENIOR U.N. OFFICIALS APPOINTED
- The Secretary-General has appointed Ms. Sandra Honoré of Trinidad and Tobago as his Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).
- Ms. Honoré, who is expected to take up her functions on 15 July 2013, succeeds Mr. Mariano Fernández Amunátegui of Chile
- The Secretary-General has also appointed Thomas Gass of Switzerland as Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs. He will replace Thomas Stelzer.
UNITED KINGDOM TO ASSUME PRESIDENCY OF SECURITY COUNCIL FOR JUNE: Friday was the last day of Togo’s Presidency of the Security Council. The United Kingdom will assume the rotating Presidency of the Council for the month of June. A briefing by the new Council President on the programme of work for the month is expected next Tuesday.
SECRETARY-GENERAL SUPPORTS RIGHT OF JOURNALISTS TO WORK WITHOUT FEAR: Asked about the raiding of a newspaper in South Sudan, the Spokesperson reaffirmed that the Secretary-General supports the right of journalists everywhere to go about their work without fear or intimidation.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
1 – 7 JUNE 2013
(This document is for planning purposes and is subject to change.)
Saturday, 1 June
Today is Global Day of Parents.
Today, United Kingdom will assume the rotating Presidency of the Security Council for June.
The Secretary-General will attend the 5th Tokyo International Conference on African Development, known as TICAD V, in Yokohama, Japan.
Sunday, 2 June
There are no major events scheduled for today.
Monday, 3 June
At 10:00 am, in Conference Room 3 of the Conference Building (CB), the twenty-fifth meeting of States Parties of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination will take place.
At 1:15 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which opens for signature that day. Speakers will include Angela Kane, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs; Ambassador Peter Woolcott, President of the UN Final Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty and Christine Beerli, Permanent Vice-President of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
In Geneva, there will be a press conference by the International Labour Organization (ILO) to launch its World of Work Report 2013. Speakers will include Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General and Raymond Torres, Director of the ILO International Institute for Labour Studies and main author of the report.
In Geneva, there will be a press conference by the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic to present their latest report to the Human Rights Council. Speakers will include Paulo Pinheiro, Commission Chairperson; Karen Koning Abuzayd, Commission member; Carla del Ponte, Commission member; and Vitit Muntarbhorn, Commission member.
Tuesday, 4 June
Today is the International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression.
At 1:15 pm, in the Trusteeship Council Chamber, there will be a panel discussion on “Women and peacebuilding in the Great Lakes region”. The Special Envoy of the
Secretary-General on the Great Lakes Region, Mary Robinson, and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Bangura, will attend. It will be organized by the Permanent Mission of Ireland.
At 1:15 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference by Sir Mark Lyall Grant, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations.
In Geneva, there will be a press conference by the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, about his annual report to the Human Rights Council and his report on his country visit to the United Kingdom conducted in January 2013.
Wednesday, 5 June
Today is World Environment Day.
At 1:15 pm, in Conference Room 1 of the North Lawn Building (NLB), there will be a special event on the occasion of World Environment Day on the theme “Think. Eat. Save –– Reduce Your Foodprint”. It will be co-organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Permanent Mission of Mongolia.
At 1:15 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference on the occasion of the 3rd International Forum on Sport for Peace and Development. Speakers will include Wilfried Lemke, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace, and Dr. Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee.
In Geneva, there will be a press conference by Dr. Francesco Branca, Director of the Department of Nutrition for Health and Development at the World Health Organisation (WHO) about WHO consolidated package of guidance to address both under-nutrition and obesity.
In Geneva, there will be a press conference by the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Eritrea, Sheila B. Keetharuth, about her first report to the Human Rights Council.
Thursday, 6 June
The Secretary-General will be in Denver, Colorado, where he will be the University of Denver's graduate commencement speaker. He will also visit in Boulder the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
At 10:00 am, in the Economic and Social Council Chamber (CB), there will be a DPI/NGO panel discussion on “Determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”. It will be organized by the Department of Public Information (DPI), in cooperation with the Permanent Mission of Switzerland.
Friday, 7 June
At 10:00 am, in Conference Room 3 (CB), there will be a round table on “International and regional labour mobility and its impact on development”. It will be co-organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in collaboration with the Permanent Missions of Canada and the United Arab Emirates.
At 1:15 pm, in the Trusteeship Council Chamber, there will be a lecture series on Women, peace and security. It will be organized by the Permanent Mission of Liechtenstein, in cooperation with the Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination (LISD), Princeton University, and the PeaceWomen Project of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
In Geneva, the 102nd session of the International Labour Conference will begin. It will end on 21 June.