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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 FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

THURSDAY, 12 JUNE 2014

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL ARRIVES IN BRAZIL FOR WORLD CUP OPENING GAME

  • The Secretary-General arrived early this morning in São Paulo, Brazil, to attend the opening game of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He said he was excited to be in Brazil and added that the shared passion during the World Cup is a great demonstration of how sport can unite people around shared values: teamwork, fair play and mutual respect.
  • Before heading to the Itaquera stadium, where the national teams of Brazil and Croatia will play the first match of the World Cup, the Secretary-General participated in a lunch offered by Brazil’s President, Dilma Rousseff, for the foreign dignitaries who gathered in São Paulo for the occasion.
  • In Brazil, the United Nations is carrying out a number of projects and activities related to the World Cup. For instance, UNICEF launched a campaign against trafficking and exploitation of children. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) is awarding environmental-friendly hotels in Brazil with the “Green Passport” seal; UN Women is coordinating a campaign against violence against women – an initiative launched by the Secretary-General; and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) is assisting the Brazilian Government in compensating the carbon footprint of the whole World Cup.

SECRETARY-GENERAL STRESSES IMPORTANCE OF PEACEFUL AND TIMELY ELECTIONS IN LIBYA

  • The Secretary-General continues to follow closely the situation in Libya and stresses the importance of the peaceful and timely holding of elections on 25 June. 
  • The Secretary-General reaffirms the important role of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) in providing technical assistance in support of building and reforming State institutions. He also commends UNSMIL’s work in the areas of good offices and facilitation of dialogue, which it carries out with impartiality and openness to all national parties concerned. He encourages all Libyans to remain engaged in the search for political solutions that would respond to the legitimate aspirations of the Libyan people.
  • The Secretary-General reiterates his full support for his Special Representative, Tarek Mitri, as he leads UNSMIL’s work.
  • The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has also stressed the importance of holding a national dialogue meeting irrespective of differences and divisions seen among representatives of the Libyan political parties.
  • The mission understands some of the concerns and emphasizes respect for different opinions but continues to urge all parties to work together to ensure a suitable political, and security environment to conduct the upcoming parliamentary elections. In the meantime, it has postponed the dialogue meeting schedule for 18 and 19 June.
  • It reiterates its commitment to work for the stability of Libya and to ensure progress in the transitional process.

IRAQ: ONGOING VIOLENCE IS THE MOST SEVERE THREAT IN YEARS

  • The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, Nikolay Mladenov, met with Speaker Osama Nujeifi of the Iraqi Council of Representatives today. He expressed his concern for the grave situation saying that the ongoing violence in parts of Iraq is the most severe threat to its security in years.
  • He reiterated the UN’s support for the Iraqi Government in its efforts to fight against terrorist organizations. 
  • Mr. Mladenov briefed the Security Council during consultations via video conference this morning.
  • Asked about UN support for Iraq, the Spokesperson noted that the United Nations was trying to provide political support through the work of the UN Mission there, as well as the humanitarian efforts being undertaken by UN agencies on the ground.
  • Asked about insecurity, he said that the United Nations would continue to assess security conditions on the ground, as it does for all duty stations.

SECRETARY-GENERAL: TERRORISM MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO SUCCEED IN IRAQ

  • In a statement issued Wednesday afternoon, the Secretary-General strongly condemned the upsurge in violence in Iraq at the hands of terrorist groups. He said that terrorism must not be allowed to succeed in undoing the path towards democracy in Iraq as determined by the will of the Iraqi people.
  • The Secretary-General urges the international community to unite in showing solidarity with Iraq as it confronts this serious security challenge. He calls for full respect for international humanitarian law and human rights law in efforts to counter terrorism and violence in Iraq.
  • In a separate statement, the Secretary-General strongly condemned the seizure of the Turkish consulate in Mosul by extremist groups and the abduction of the Consul General along with several staff members and other Turkish citizens. He recalled the fundamental principle of the inviolability of consular premises and called for the immediate, unconditional, and safe release of those abducted.
  • The members of the Security Council also deplored the recent events in Mosul in a press statement Wednesday evening.

U.N. AGENCIES SCALING UP EFFORTS TO PROVIDE HELP TO MASSIVE NEW DISPLACEMENT AROUND IRAQ

  • On the humanitarian front, UN agencies are scaling up efforts meet the increasing needs caused by the violence in Mosul. UNICEF says that up to half of the estimated 500,000 people, who have fled since the 5th of June, are children. UNICEF and partners are prioritizing the delivery of emergency aid, including immunizations to help prevent diseases such as polio and measles.      
  • The World Food Programme reported that in parts of the disputed areas between Iraq and Kurdistan there is no food available in the shops nor are there services such as electricity and water.
  • It is providing food assistance to some 42,000 of the most vulnerable displaced people. An airlift of emergency food and other supplies is planned from the WFP-run UN Humanitarian Response Depot in Dubai and another flight with more emergency relief supplies is planned from Italy.
  • The UN Refugee Agency has immediately stepped up its efforts to provide shelter, protection and emergency supplies to displaced families. Preparations for displacement camp in the Dohuk Governorate are under way. Some 1,000 UNHCR tents have been delivered, and UNICEF and partners are coordinating emergency water and sanitation activities for the camp.
  • UN agencies are also providing assistance at transit areas near checkpoints into Erbil. They are mobilizing tents and basic life-saving supplies. 
  • Humanitarian agencies continue to call for the protection of civilians caught up in the fighting. They are also appealing for additional support to respond to the crisis.

D.R. CONGO: HEAD OF U.N. MISSION CALLS FOR CALM AFTER BORDER FIGHTS WITH RWANDA

  • From the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the UN Mission said that sporadic exchanges of fire along the border with Rwanda have now stopped.
  • Five Congolese soldiers have reportedly been killed in clashes on Wednesday between the Congolese and the Rwandan army, and one Rwandan civilian was injured.
  • Both the DRC and Rwanda have asked the Joint Verification Mechanism to investigate the incident.
  • The Head of the MONUSCO, Martin Kobler, is in contact with Congolese and Rwandan authorities to help defuse the situation.
  • Efforts are underway to avoid any unnecessary tensions and to encourage the DRC and Rwanda to remain engaged in the implementation of the Peace and Security Cooperation Framework and continue furthering good neighbourly relations, which had improved recently.

MALI: SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS DEADLY CAR-BOMB ATTACK AGAINST PEACEKEEPERS’ CAMP

  • The Secretary-General condemned in the strongest terms the Wednesday car bomb attack on a MINUSMA camp in Aguelhok, Mali, which killed four United Nations peacekeepers from Chad and injured six other UN peacekeepers. A number of soldiers from the Malian Armed Forces were also reportedly wounded in the attack.
  • The Secretary-General extends his deepest condolences to the families of the victims and the Governments and people of Chad and Mali.  He wishes a speedy and full recovery to the injured.
  • This attack will not diminish the resolve of the United Nations to support the Malian people in their efforts to achieve peace and stability for all of Mali. The Secretary-General calls on all parties not to be deterred by spoilers who, through their criminal acts, seek to prevent the establishment of a sustainable peace in Mali.

AT LONDON SUMMIT ON SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN CONFLICT, U.N. ENVOY CALLS FOR STRENGHTENED COLLECTIVE ACTION

  • Earlier today in London, UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zainab Bangura addressed the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict on behalf of the Secretary-General.
  • She said that the Summit is an important vehicle to strengthen collective action to end impunity, improve global response, and ensure women’s participation and empowerment. It can also help to enhance the role of military and other security sector actors, including UN peacekeepers to prevent conflict-related sexual violence. 
  • She called on the international community to continue supporting Governments as they exercise their primary legal and moral responsibility to protect their citizens.

U.N. CHIEF IN AFGHANISTAN URGES POPULATION TO VOTE IN SECOND ROUND OF PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS

  • The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Jan Kubis, today called on Afghans to take part in this Saturday’s second round run-off in the country’s presidential elections.
  • In a press conference in Kabul, he called on the two candidates vying for the presidency to urge their supporters to not commit fraud and respect the work of the country’s independent electoral institutions in managing the election process.
    Mr. Kubis also recommended that the two candidates work together in addressing and finding solutions to any problems that could arise.

MIDDLE EAST: U.N. CONSISTENTLY HAS CONDEMNED ROCKET FIRE INTO ISRAEL

  • Asked about Palestinian responsibility for rocket fire into Israel, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations has consistently condemned indiscriminate rocket fire from the Gaza Strip into Israel. Palestinian factions in Gaza should respect and enforce the cease-fire understanding reached in Cairo in November 2012.
  • He added that President Abbas’s prompt and strong condemnation of the Wednesday rocket incident was welcome. The Spokesperson expressed the hope that the Palestinian Authority will soon be able to take up security functions in Gaza and unify the security forces under one legitimate authority.
  • Haq added that Israel is also expected to remain committed to the cease-fire understanding and act with restraint.

SOCIAL PROTECTION CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE AGAINST CHILD LABOUR

  • Today is World Day Against Child Labour.
  • To mark the Day, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said that well-designed social protection policies can make a real difference in the fight to eradicate child labour.
  • According to their latest estimates, the total number of child labourers fell from 215 to 168 million between 2008 and 2012.
  • The head of the ILO stressed the need for social protection, along with universal compulsory, formal, quality education at least up to the minimum age for work; decent work for adults and youth of working age; effective laws; and strong social dialogue.

U.N. AGENCY SAYS WORLD MANUFACTURING ENTERED STEADY GROWTH PHASE AFTER YEARS OF RECESSION

  • A report from the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) shows that world manufacturing has entered a phase of steady growth after a prolonged period of recession, with a 5.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2014.
  • That is the highest rate in several years.
  • The current growth can be attributed mainly to the improving financial condition of industrialized countries, especially in Europe.
  • However, emerging industrial economies, except for China, are still experiencing low growth.
  • Manufacturing output in Argentina fell by 1.8 per cent, in Brazil by 0.2 per cent and in India by 1.6 per cent.