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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, 11 JUNE 2014

 

IRAQ: SECRETARY-GENERAL SHOCKED OVER KIDNAPPING OF TURKISH DIPLOMATS IN MOSUL

  • Speaking at General Assembly interactive dialogue this morning on addressing terrorism, the Secretary-General expressed his shock over the kidnapping of Turkish diplomats in the Iraqi town of Mosul.
  • Calling the incident totally unacceptable, he said that no such terrorist attack against diplomatic officers and civilians can be justified under any circumstances.
  • The Secretary-General urged the Government of Iraq, as well as the regional countries and the whole international community, to unite to bring the perpetrators to justice.
  • He said that nothing can justify terrorism, and that our shared challenge is to ensure that terrorists do not find fertile ground to promote hate and intolerance. Any balanced and comprehensive strategy for combating terrorism must recognize that victims of terrorism are entitled to our support. 
  • The Secretary-General noted that the UN Victims of Terrorism Support Portal aims to promote understanding of the diverse needs of victims, and to offer guidance for addressing those needs effectively and comprehensively.
  • In response to questions on the situation in Iraq, Dujarric added that the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, and the Mission in Iraq, UNAMI, were following the situation closely and were in constant communication with the authorities and the diplomatic community in Iraq regarding the rapidly evolving situation.
  • The Spokesman also said that UN staff was present in Mosul and that the United Nations was following the situation there closely to ensure the safety of its staff.
  • Asked about the possible use of unarmed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in Iraq, Dujarric said that UAVs were deployed within the context of one peacekeeping mission and that there were no plans to use them in Iraq.

NEW WAVE OF DISPLACEMENT EXACERBATES SEVERE CRISIS IN IRAQ

  • Iraqi authorities have informed the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) that thousands of families have fled Mosul to safe areas surrounding the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. As of 10 June, more than 2,500 families remain displaced inside Mosul, mostly living in schools and mosques.
  • An estimated 100,000 displaced people have entered Erbil, where UNHCR is mobilizing tents and distributing other essential relief items. UNICEF and partners are providing water and sanitation support in the area.
  • Another 200,000 people have fled to Dohuk, where UN agencies and humanitarian partners are preparing to deliver food, water and shelter. 
  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that the new wave of displacement from Mosul exacerbates an already severe displacement crisis in the area. Since January this year, hundreds of thousands people have been displaced by months of unrest in the Anbar province. Aid organizations have been assisting displaced communities but resources are extremely limited.
  • Donor funding for aid to the displaced families has so far reached only around 10 per cent of the required US$ 103.7 million.

SECRETARY-GENERAL: U.N. FACES HUGE PEACEKEEPING CHALLENGES

  • The Secretary-General addressed the Security Council this morning at its open debate on new trends in peacekeeping, and he said that this is a key moment in which the United Nations faces huge peacekeeping challenges. He said that UN peacekeeping operations are increasingly mandated to operate where there is no peace to keep.
  • In some cases, UN peacekeeping operations are being authorized in the absence of clearly identifiable parties to the conflict or a viable political process.  And he added that, increasingly, UN peacekeeping operations are operating in more complex environments that feature asymmetric and unconventional threats.
  • The Secretary-General noted that it has been nearly 15 years since the Brahimi report on peacekeeping was published. He said that it may be necessary to again take stock of evolving expectations of UN peacekeeping and how the Organization can work toward a shared view of the way forward. To this end, he said, he has asked the Secretariat to initiate work on a review of UN peacekeeping. 

U.N. OFFICIALS LAUNCH GUIDANCE ON REPARATION FOR VICTIMS OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE

  • Earlier today, UN Women and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights launched the Secretary-General’s Guidance Note on Reparations for Conflict-related Sexual Violence at the Global Summit in London. 
  • The Guidance Note calls on the international community to usher in transformative reparations for affected individuals and communities.
  • The head of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, said that reparations are routinely left out of peace negotiations or side-lined in funding priorities. But they are of utmost importance to survivors, especially those facing social and economic discrimination.
  • Reparations could range from specialized healthcare and education programmes to land restitution, formal apologies and victim commemoration days.

SOUTH SUDAN: U.N. MISSION ENCOURAGES VICTIMS, CIVILIANS UNDER THREAT TO REPORT ALL INCIDENTS

  • Regarding allegations of rapes in South Sudan, the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) says that it has not received any complaints or reports from internally displaced persons in the Tomping site to confirm such allegations.
  • The Mission encourages victims and civilians under threat to report all incidents so that appropriate action can be taken. It takes all allegations of rape in and around its camps seriously.
  • The UN Mission conducts patrols both in the vicinity of its camps and beyond, and interacts with internally displaced persons, community leaders and locals to gather information relevant to its efforts to protect civilians more effectively. The Mission continues to protect more than 93,000 displaced civilians around the country.

U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF: SAFETY OF JOURNALISTS IS ESSENTIAL TO RIGHTS OF ALL

  • Speaking at a Human Rights Council panel discussion in Geneva on the safety of journalists, the High Commissioner for Human Rights said sound, bold and independent journalism is vital in any democratic society.
  • Navi Pillay stressed that the safety of journalists is quite simply essential to the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of all of us, as well as to the right to development.
  • But she said that to her consternation, more than 1,000 journalists have been killed in since 1992 as a direct result of their profession, with 2012 and 2013 being among the deadliest years.
  • Ms. Pillay said that in recent years, there has been increased international awareness of the frequency with which journalists are attacked because of their work, and the need to ensure greater protection.
  • She emphasized that there must be unequivocal political commitment to ensuring that journalists can carry out their work safely.

    COLOMBIA: SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES PEACE TALKS BETWEEN GOVERNMENT AND NATIONAL LIBERATION ARMY

  • In a statement, the Secretary-General welcomed the start of peace talks between the Government of Colombia and representatives of the National Liberation Army (ELN).
  • Combined with the progress already achieved in the ongoing talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the Secretary-General hopes that this new development will contribute to ending the hemisphere's longest armed conflict and to building sustainable peace for the Colombian people.
  • The Secretary-General encourages all concerned parties to remain committed to the pursuit of peace in Colombia. He reiterates the willingness of the United Nations to support the peace process.

SPECIAL ADVISER ON YEMEN DRAWS LESSONS FROM THE COUNTRY’S NATIONAL DIALOGUE

  • The Office of the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Yemen, Jamal Benomar, concluded a retreat near Rabat today on lessons learned from Yemen's National Dialogue Conference (NDC). Mr. Benomar facilitated the two-day retreat.
  • Mr. Benomar said that key elements to the success of Yemen’s national dialogue included the popular and political will of the Yemenis, the leadership of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, and the support of the international community and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). He commended Yemeni women and men for presenting a unique model for international mediation and transition processes around the world.

NEW PROTOCOL ON FORCED LABOUR TO HELP ELIMINATE CONTEMPORARY FORMS OF SLAVERY

  • The International Labour Organization (ILO) adopted today a new Protocol on Forced Labour.
  • It aims at advancing prevention, protection and compensation measures against forced labour. Its objective is also to intensify efforts to eliminate contemporary forms of slavery.
  • The Protocol creates new obligations to prevent forced labour.  It requires governments to take measures to better protect workers, in particular migrant labourers, from fraudulent and abusive recruitment practices and emphasizes the role of employers and workers in the fight against forced labour. 
  • There are currently an estimated 21 million forced labour victims worldwide. A recent ILO report estimates that US$ 150 billion in illegal profits are made in the private economy each year through modern forms of slavery. 

IN D.R. CONGO, U.N. MISSION TO ORGANIZE PUBLIC SCREENINGS OF WORLD CUP GAMES

  • The United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, MONUSCO, will organize public screenings of all games during the FIFA World Cup, starting with Brazil-Croatia on Thursday, in two public areas of DRC’s capital, Kinshasa.
  • The operation “Mundial pour tous” or “World Cup for all” will also be an opportunity for the Mission to raise awareness on several issues, from human rights to HIV/AIDS prevention.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Asked about Syria, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General was in favour of any contacts that would lead to a peaceful political solution there. He added that Member States that have an influence on the parties in Syria should use it towards a peaceful solution.
  • Asked about the upcoming election of the President of the General Assembly, the Spokesman said that the choice and role of the President was the sole decision of Member States. Dujarric added that the Secretary-General’s position on LGBT was very clear and underlined remarks he had made in several speeches and video messages, both at Headquarters and throughout his travels, including in Africa and at the recent Sochi Olympics, in which the Secretary-General called for all people, including LGBT, to enjoy human rights and the protection of the rule of law.