HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
TUESDAY, 3 JUNE 2014
SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEW PALESTINIAN GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL CONSENSUS
- In a statement, the Secretary-General welcomes, on the basis of assurances provided both publicly and to the United Nations, the announcement on 2 June by President Mahmoud Abbas of the formation of a Government of national consensus headed by Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.
- The United Nations has long underscored the need for progress towards Palestinian unity in line with existing resolutions, within the framework of the Palestinian Authority and the commitments of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
- The Secretary-General takes note of the renewed assurances yesterday by President Abbas that the Government will continue to abide by those commitments of recognition of Israel, non-violence and adherence to previous agreements.
- The Secretary-General also notes that the Palestine Liberation Organization will remain responsible for holding peace negotiations with the State of Israel, a commitment President Abbas has reaffirmed, and hopes that new opportunities for progress toward a two-state solution will emerge soon.
- The United Nations stands ready to lend its full support to the newly formed government in its effort to reunite the West Bank and Gaza, in line with the intra-Palestinian unity agreement of 23 April, under one legitimate Palestinian authority, including by addressing the serious political, security, humanitarian and economic challenges in Gaza, and holding long overdue elections. Special Coordinator Robert Serry discussed those issues with Prime Minister Hamdallah in their meeting today.
- The Secretary-General counts on a constructive approach by regional stakeholders, and hopes the international community will not relent in its support to the development of Palestinian economy and Israeli-Palestinian peace.
- Asked about the message being conveyed to Israel, the Spokesman noted that, as discussed with the Special Coordinator, the Palestinians would continue to abide by previous commitments. He added that Mr. Serry had received assurances that the Palestinian Government would abide by past agreements, including non-violence and recognition of Israel.
RUSSIA RESUMES PRESIDENCY OF SECURITY COUNCIL
- The Russian Federation resumed presidency of the Security Council this month. The Council held consultations this morning and agreed on its programme of work.
- Tomorrow, Sigrid Kaag, the Special Coordinator of the Joint OPCW-UN Mission, is scheduled to brief Council Members during consultations. She is expected to speak to the media at the stakeout following the briefing.
CALLING RECENT VIOLENT ACTS AGAINST WOMEN DESPICABLE, SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES FULL EQUALITY FOR ALL WOMEN
- The Secretary-General spoke at the Launch of the Campaign on Ending Sexual Violence through Gender Equality event, organized by the Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom. He called violence against women a peace, security, human rights and development issue that needs to be addressed urgently on all fronts in order to achieve full equality for all women.
- He called recent acts of violence against women from Nigeria to Pakistan and from California to India were despicable, and said that he was especially appalled by the brutal rape and gruesome murder of two teenage girls in India.
- Asked about the rape cases in Minova in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Spokesman reiterated that Mr. Kobler had expressed the United Nations’ disappointment at the recent court rulings.
SECRETARY-GENERAL EXPRESSES GRATITUDE FOR MIDORI GOTO’S CONTINUED SUPPORT FOR U.N.
- Speaking at a concert by violinist and United Nations Messenger of Peace Midori Goto earlier today, the Secretary-General said that he was grateful for Midori’s role, and support for the organization’s efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
- He said that he was delighted that she has agreed to expand her efforts to include two of his key priorities: the Every Woman Every Child health initiative and the work of UN Women to end violence against women and girls.
- The Secretary-General commended on her ability to use her art and ability to inspire audiences around the world to help improve lives and empower young people in particular.
U.N. NOT INVOLVED IN SYRIA ELECTIONS, STRESSES NEED FOR POLITICAL SOLUTION TO CONFLICT
- The Secretary-General has pointed out that today’s elections in Syria are held outside of the framework of the Geneva talks, which aim to bring the Syrian sides together reach a political solution to the conflict.
- The United Nations has not been involved in the elections but has taken note of the environment in which they are being held.
IRAQ: U.N. CALLS FOR RESTRAINT FOLLOWING DEADLY VIOLENCE IN FALLUJA
- Following recent violence in Iraq’s Falluja City, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative Nickolay Mladenov issued a statement today calling on parties to the conflict to show utmost restraint and ensure the protection of civilians.
- He stressed the need for people’s unhindered access to hospitals and humanitarian aid, and urged Iraqi political leaders to find a substantial and effective solution to the crisis in Anbar.
- A recent report from the United Nations Mission in Iraq says that more than 72,000 families have been displaced by the violence in Anbar so far. UN agencies and humanitarian partners continue to provide assistance including food, water and shelter.
U.N. ASSISTANCE MISSION IN SOMALIA MARKS ONE YEAR SINCE ESTABLISHMENT
- Marking a year since the establishment of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, today reiterated the UN’s commitment to continue to work alongside with the Somalis as they rebuild their country.
- At an event in the capital, Mogadishu, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative Nicholas Kay said that much more needs to be done in the coming years as Somalia develops a federal system, reviews its provincial Constitution and prepares for elections in 2016.
U.N. ENVOY FOR GREAT LAKES WRAPS UP MISSION TO D.R. CONGO, BURUNDI
- Mary Robinson, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region, is wrapping up a visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), along with Special Envoys of the African Union, the European Union and the United States.
- Accompanied by the Head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in DRC, Martin Kobler, the Special Envoys heard first-hand about the implementation of commitments to the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework, signed by 11 African countries in February 2013.
- Prior to that visit, the Special Envoys were in Burundi, where they met with the President and other political leaders and civil society representatives.
- In a joint statement, they said they were very concerned about the constraints on political space and civil liberties in the lead up to elections in 2015.
- They added Burundi had made commendable progress in overcoming a history of conflict, but that progress risked being lost without an inclusive, transparent and peaceful election process.
SOUTH SUDAN: AID AGENCIES EXTREMELY CONCERNED ABOUT MALNUTRITION CRISIS
- On South Sudan, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs say they are extremely concerned about a malnutrition crisis in Unity State.
- They say that some 1,600 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition were treated at a health centre in Leer, in the south of the state, in a two week period - this is the number that would normally be treated over six months.
UN HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF CONCERNED OVER CHINA DETENTIONS
- The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, voiced concern today over the detention of numerous civil society activists, lawyers and journalists in China ahead of the 25th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.
- Her Office said that reports suggest that dozens of people have been detained by the authorities during the run-up to the anniversary of the protests.
- Ms. Pillay urged the Chinese authorities to immediately release those detained for exercising their human right to freedom of expression.
- Asked about the Secretary-General’s views on the anniversary, the Spokesman noted that, last month, when he visited China, the Secretary-General said that, when it comes to human rights, no country can claim a perfect human rights record.
- The Secretary-General said that all must do much more to learn from the past and honour their commitments for the future under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations.
U.N. AGENCIES URGE SUPPORT FOR CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC REFUGEES
- The Head of the World Food Programme, Ertharin Cousin, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres will be in Rome tomorrow, 4 June 2014, in a joint push to draw attention to the plight of refugees and third-country nationals fleeing Central African Republic.
- They will call for urgent increased international support to accelerate humanitarian efforts in the region. Currently, the existing Regional Refugee Response Plan for Central African Republic is only 9 percent funded.
F.A.O. CALLS FOR URGENT ACTION TO SAFEGUARD WORLD’S FORESTS
- The Food and Agriculture Organization issued a report today, urging action to safeguard genetic diversity of the world's forests.
- Half of the forest species that are used by countries to provide food, goods or services are threatened by their conversion to pastures and farmland, overexploitation, and the impacts of climate change.
NEW REPORT: 73 COUNTRIES DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH MIDWIVES
- A new report from the United Nations Population Fund, the International Confederation of Midwives and the World Health Organization reveals that 73 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, lack adequate number of midwives.
- According to the report, midwives play a crucial role in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Investments in midwifery education and training can yield a 1,600% return on investment and can reduce maternal and new-born deaths by two thirds.
- Asked about the Special Representative for South Sudan, Hilde Johnson, the Spokesman reiterated that Ms. Johnson has said she will leave that post once her current three-year term expires.
- Asked about events in Odessa, Ukraine, the Spokesman noted that the events that took place in Odessa one month ago will be mentioned in the next United Nations human rights report on Ukraine.