HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY EDUARDO DEL BUEY,
DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
THURSDAY, 27 JUNE 2013
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO TRAVEL TO SWITZERLAND, ICELAND AND DENMARK
- The Secretary-General will depart New York for Geneva on Sunday, where he will participate in the opening of the high-level segment of the annual meeting of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations on Monday, 1 July.
- While in Geneva, he will also participate in the launch of the 2013 Global Innovation Index of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which ranks world economies innovation capabilities and results.
- The same day, the Secretary-General will travel to Reykjavik, Iceland, where he will meet senior Government officials, including the President, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. He will also meet members of the Parliament and give a speech at the University of Iceland.
- While in Iceland, the Secretary-General will also visit a geothermal power plant and Thingvellir National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- On Wednesday 3 July, the Secretary-General will travel to Copenhagen, Denmark, where he will inaugurate the UN-City, which gathers UN organizations under one roof.
- While in Copenhagen, he will also meet with senior Government officials, including Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Minister of Development Cooperation.
- The Secretary-General will depart Copenhagen on 5 July.
SECURITY COUNCIL ENDS SANCTIONS
- The Security Council voted unanimously this morning to terminate sanctions measures that had been in effect under Chapter VII since 1991, concerning Iraq’s obligations to Kuwait. The Council requested that the head of the UN Assistance Mission to Iraq (UNAMI) promote, support and facilitate efforts concerning the return of Kuwaiti and third-country nationals and of Kuwaiti property that has been seized by Iraq.
- The Security Council also voted unanimously to extend the mandate of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in Golan by six months, until the end of 2013.
- The Council will wrap up its work for June this afternoon.
IRAQ: HUMAN RIGHTS THREATENED BY RISING VIOLENCE, SAYS NEW U.N. REPORT
- The United Nations has released the latest report on human rights in Iraq, which says that, despite some progress, human rights in Iraq are under further threat from mounting violence.
- The report says that at least 3,238 civilians were killed and 10,379 injured in 2012, in a worrying reversal of the trend that had seen violence decline in recent years.
- Martin Kobler, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, said that the return to high casualty figures means that much more needs to be done to protect civilians. He once more urged Iraqi leaders to engage in dialogue and develop policies that address the root causes of the problem.
U.N. CONCERNED ABOUT RECENT RAPES OF YOUNG GIRLS IN D.R. CONGO
- The Secretary-General’s Special Representative in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Roger Meece, and the Country Representative of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in the country, Barbara Bentein, have expressed their deep concern about recent cases of rape of young girls, in Kavumu-Lwiro axis, in South Kivu Province.
- Over the past two months, nine young girls aged between eighteen months and twelve years old have been admitted to Panzi Hospital in South Kivu with marks of violence on their bodies and very serious internal wounds, resulting in the death of two girls.
- According to the UN Mission in the country and UNICEF, these abuses are said to be related to harmful traditional practices perpetrated by individuals who kidnap young children from their communities.
- UNICEF and the Mission are mindful of the steps that have been taken by the Congolese authorities to arrest two suspects implicated in the cases. But they note that these steps must be accompanied by concrete measures to conduct full investigations and prosecution of all perpetrators involved in this despicable practice. The relevant authorities are urged to take the necessary steps in this regard in line with the State’s obligations under national and international law.
IN WAKE OF DEADLY ATTACK, U.N. POLITICAL CHIEF VISITS SOMALIA TO REAFFIRM SUPPORT
- The Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs visited Somalia today to reaffirm the United Nations’ resolve to support the Somali Government and people following the attack on a UN compound last week.
- This marks Jeffrey Feltman’s second visit to the country this year.
- He met with President Sheikh Hassan and diplomats, as well as UN staff affected by last week’s attack.
- Paying tribute to colleagues who died, Mr. Feltman said that the United Nations will not be deterred by the attack and that our commitment is to stay and work together with the Somali people for a brighter future for their country.
TWENTY YEARS AFTER LANDMARK HUMAN RIGHTS CONFERENCE, SENIOR U.N. OFFICIALS URGE GREATER EFFORTS
- The Deputy Secretary-General is in Vienna today, where he spoke at the opening of an event to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the World Conference on Human Rights, which was held in the Austrian capital.
- He said that the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action adopted 20 years ago at the Conference was a turning point and that the event generated momentum for the cause of human rights.
- The Deputy Secretary-General said there is still work to do today, noting the situations in Syria, Mali and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He also referred to the recruitment of child soldiers, human trafficking and the persecution of people based on their ethnic or religious background or sexual orientation.
- Also speaking at the event today was the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
- Navi Pillay described the Vienna Declaration as the most significant human rights document produced in the last quarter of a century and one of the strongest human rights documents of the past hundred years.
- She said that it is essential that it is viewed as a living document that can and should continue to guide our actions and goals.
U.N.: DESPITE PROGRESS, CHILDREN STILL FACE BARRIERS TO ACCESSING JUSTICE IN CENTRAL/EASTERN EUROPE, CENTRAL ASIA
- While there have been steady and positive reforms in children’s rights in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, children there still face huge barriers in accessing justice, according to a new report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the European Union, which found that across the region, fewer children are being put into prison but that ill treatment – sometimes amounting to torture – takes place in all countries surveyed.
- The report welcomed moves by Governments in the region, including in countries set to join the EU, to widen the scope of reforms towards systematically protecting the rights of all children in the justice system.