HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY, SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
TUESDAY, 19 JUNE 2012
SECRETARY-GENERAL ATTENDS G-20 SUMMIT IN MEXICO
- The Secretary-General has been participating in the G-20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, on Tuesday.
- On Monday, on the margins of the summit, he met with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. And the Secretary-General shared with President Yudhoyono his concerns about the situation in Syria, and they exchanged views on the next steps regarding the work of the High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
- On Tuesday morning at the G-20 summit, the Secretary-General attended a session on Strengthening the International Financial Architecture and Promoting Financial Inclusion, and one on Development, Green Growth, Infrastructure and Food Security.
- The Secretary-General is scheduled to leave on Tuesday afternoon for Rio de Janeiro, to attend the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, and he is expected to arrive there on Wednesday morning.
SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS TRANSITION SHOULD MEET EXPECTATIONS OF EGYPTIAN PEOPLE
- Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, discussed the situation in the Middle East in an open briefing of the Security Council on Tuesday morning. He said that there are intensive efforts to avoid a renewed deadlock in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
- Regarding Syria, he said that the Secretary-General remains gravely concerned about the intensification of violence and the rising death toll, as well as continued human rights abuses and unmet humanitarian needs. The cessation of armed violence in all its forms is an obligation for all sides.
- On Egypt, Mr. Fernandez-Taranco said that the Secretary-General looks forward to the early handover of full authority to a civilian government there.
- The Secretary-General underscores his concern that the country’s transition should meet the legitimate expectations of the Egyptian people and of the international community for the establishment of strong, representative, democratic institutions and for the popular will to be respected, both in the elections and in the drafting of the new Constitution.
SECURITY COUNCIL TO HOLD CONSULTATIONS ON SYRIA
- On Tuesday afternoon, the Security Council will hold consultations on Syria. The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, and Major-General Robert Mood, the head of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS), will provide an update on the latest developments and the UN Mission’s work.
- After that, Mr. Ladsous and General Mood are scheduled to speak to reporters at the Security Council stakeout.
- Asked about remarks by the Secretary-General concerning the Contact Group for Syria, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General had spoken about the need for broad participation in that Contact Group. When asked by reporters whether that would include Iran, he had said, “Yes.”
- In response to questions, Nesirky said that the Secretary-General and the Joint Special Envoy have said that further militarization in Syria is not desirable.
U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF CONCERNED ABOUT SAFETY OF CIVILIANS IN EASTERN CONGO
- The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has expressed deep concern about the safety of the civilian population in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
- Fighting in North Kivu province between the Congolese army and the M23 movement has driven some 218,000 people to flee their homes since April of this year.
- Ms. Pillay said that the leaders of the M23 movement figure among the worst perpetrators of human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and across the world.
- She added that many of them have what she called “appalling track records”, including allegations of mass rape, massacres and the recruitment of child soldiers.
- The senior leadership of M23 includes Bosco Ntaganda, an army general already wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of war crimes.
U.N. LAUNCHES REVISED HUMANITARIAN APPEAL FOR SAHEL
- The United Nations and its humanitarian partners launched a revised humanitarian appeal for the Sahel region of West Africa on Tuesday.
- They are requesting US$1.6 billion for food, nutrition, health services, sanitation and other urgent assistance for 18.7 million people.
- The humanitarian situation in the Sahel region has deteriorated dramatically this year due to a combination of drought, poor harvests, rising food prices, displacement and insecurity.
- Cereal production, for example, has dwindled 27 per cent compared with last year.
U.N. AGENCIES PROVIDE AID TO PEOPLE AFFECTED BY VIOLENCE IN MYANMAR
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) will provide shelter material and other items, such as blankets and mattresses, to all communities affected by the violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.
- It said that the Government is running more than 40 temporary relief camps in six townships in Rakhine State and has asked for humanitarian assistance to help people at these sites.
- The Refugee Agency continues to monitor developments along the border between Myanmar and Bangladesh.
- The Agency said that the Government of Bangladesh has maintained its position of keeping the borders closed and pushed back more than 100 people on Monday.
- The World Food Programme (WFP) has expanded its distributions of emergency supplies to people displaced by violence in Rakhine State.
- In the past week, the Programme has reached more than 66,000 people with rice, beans and cooking oil, and it estimates that there are some 90,000 displaced people in need of assistance as a result of the recent clashes we were referring to just now.
U.N. SUPPORTS CRITICAL ROLE OF SHELTERS TO PROTECT WOMEN IN AFGHANISTAN
- The United Nations Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has come out with a statement strongly supporting the critical role that women’s protection shelters play in providing support and safety for vulnerable Afghan women and girls, especially victims of domestic abuse and other violence.
- These shelters are an essential, life-saving service and play a critical role in the legal framework for eliminating violence against women.
U.N. CALLS FOR RELEASE OF LEBANESE KIDNAPPED IN SYRIA: Asked about the 11 Lebanese nationals kidnapped in Syria, the Spokesperson noted that UN officials have repeatedly called for their release.
SECRETARY-GENERAL KEEN FOR PROGRESS IN TALKS ON IRAN IN MOSCOW: Asked about the talks concerning Iran’s nuclear programme, the Spokesperson reiterated that the Secretary-General was keen for there to be progress in the talks taking place in Moscow.
***The guest today was Khaled Hosseini, Afghan author and Goodwill Envoy for UNHCR, who briefed reporters on his work with UNHCR in Afghanistan.