HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
FRIDAY, 6 JUNE 2014
SECRETARY-GENERAL: PALESTINIAN DETAINEES SHOULD BE CHARGED OR RELEASED WITHOUT DELAY
- The Secretary-General said he was concerned about reports regarding the deteriorating health of Palestinian administrative detainees who have been on hunger strike for over a month. He reiterated his long-standing position that administrative detainees should be charged or released without delay.
- The United Nations on the ground is closely following the overall situation of Palestinian detainees.
- The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights recently reiterated to the Government of Israel the Secretary-General’s concerns on these issues. She also expressed concerns regarding a legislative amendment before the Israeli Knesset that, if passed, would permit force-feeding and medical treatment of prisoners on hunger strike against their will under certain conditions, in contravention of international standards.
- The Secretary-General has taken note of the related concerns raised recently by various human rights organizations and has responded, reiterating the United Nations well known positions.
- Asked about Israeli settlement activity, the Spokesman said that the building of settlements on occupied territory is illegal under international law. In his statement on Thursday, the Secretary-General called on Israel to heed the calls of the international community to freeze settlement activity and abide by its commitments under international law and the Road Map.
- The Spokesman added that the Secretary-General had spoken by phone today with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
SECRETARY-GENERAL WARNS NOT TO LET CONFIDENCE TURN TO COMPLACENCY IN FIGHT AGAINTS AIDS
- The Secretary-General spoke at a General Assembly meeting on reviewing progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS and he said that, between 2011 and 2012 alone, the number of people accessing HIV treatment globally increased nearly 20%.
- He added that we are on track to providing antiretroviral therapy to 15 million people by 2015 and to eliminating mother-to-child transmission in just a few years.
- The Secretary-General warned against letting confidence turn to complacency. He said that progress remains uneven. Two out of three children who need treatment do not get it. Death rates among adolescents are increasing. Epidemics in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa are getting worse.
SOUTH SUDAN: INTENSE FIGHTING ONGOING IN UPPER NILE STATE
- From South Sudan, the UN Mission in the country, UNMISS, reported intense small arms fire and shelling this morning close to its base in Renk, Upper Nile State.
- On Thursday, a Mission patrol to Baliet observed that most houses as well as a hospital have been destroyed and looted.
- The Mission continues to call on all parties to respect the work and inviolability of UN premises and protection of civilian sites, where more than 93,000 civilians are sheltering across the country.
- The Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, Toby Lanzer, visited Unity State this week and raised concerns over issues regarding the protection of civilians in meetings with Government and security officials.
- Mr. Lanzer also visited a hospital in the town of Leer and met community representatives and humanitarian partners. Much of the town, including the market and hospital, have been looted and destroyed, and Mr. Lanzer heard accounts of incidents of sexual and gender-based violence.
IN IRAQ, NUMBER OF DISPLACED CIVILIANS ON THE RISE IN ANBAR PROVINCE
- The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, says that number of civilians displaced by violence in Iraq's Anbar province continues to climb. With a deteriorating security situation, it is also becoming harder for humanitarian workers to reach people in need.
- As of today, the Iraqi Government says that 434,000 men, women and children have fled their homes since fighting escalated in January this year. However, the Iraqi authorities have had to suspend registration over the past month because of insecurity. The Refugee Agency believes the current figure is now close to 480,000.
- A UNHCR Special Appeal for $26.4 million, launched in March, is currently only 12% funded. Better funding is critical to help those who are displaced now, and when they return home in the future.
U.N. MISSION LIBYA ANNOUNCES POLITICAL DIALOGUE INITIATIVE AHEAD OF ELECTIONS
- The UN Support Mission in Libya has announced a political dialogue initiative ahead of Libya’s parliamentary elections scheduled for 25 June.
- The initiative will support discussions aimed at fostering agreements on urgent and divisive issues. The Mission hopes that it will help to pave the way towards concluding the political transitional period, following elections.
U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF DEEPLY CONCERNED BY VIOLENCE IN LIBYA
- The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights says that it is deeply concerned by the violence in Libya that has led to a number of people being killed and injured in the east of the country, particularly in Benghazi, including people not directly involved in armed clashes.
- The Office urges all sides to exercise the utmost restraint to avoid further escalation and engage in peaceful dialogue. It calls upon the authorities to renew their efforts to meet their obligations under international human rights law, specifically with respect to protecting the right to life.
- The Human Rights Office also deplores the detention of staff members of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) in recent weeks. Most recently, on 4 June, four staff members of the Mission were temporarily detained upon arriving at Tripoli airport. The Office calls on all parties in Libya to ensure that UN officials and aid workers can perform their impartial human rights and other work without harassment or intimidation.
YEMEN: 20,000 PEOPLE DISPLACED BY HEAVY FIGHTING BETWEEN GOVERNMENT AND REBELS
- Humanitarian organizations in Yemen are concerned about the new displacement of as many as 20,000 people in the northern Amran governorate, due to heavy fighting between Government forces and armed rebels in the last two weeks.
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that a ceasefire in Amran came into effect two days ago and is reportedly holding. But it adds that the main road from the capital Sana'a to Amran remains closed. This closure has also interrupted delivery of assistance to another group of 40,000 people who have been displaced since 2011. The affected people reportedly need food, water and healthcare.
- A number of humanitarian partners continue to operate in Amran city, but all operations outside the city have been suspended. A needs assessment will be carried out as soon as security conditions allow.
U.N. ENVOY IN KOSOVO CALLS FOR MAXIMUM PARTICIPATION TO UPCOMING ELECTIONS
- The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Kosovo is stressing the critical importance of maximum participation of all communities throughout Kosovo in Sunday’s Assembly elections.
- Farid Zarif underlined that the need for a free and fair process, voicing hope that Assembly members will be chosen through broad voter participation and a clean and credible vote.
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO MARK WORLD CUP START WITH U.N. REPRESENTATIVES FOR COMPETING COUNTRIES
- To mark the start of the World Cup tournament, the Secretary-General, the Permanent Representatives of all 32 competing countries and some local schoolchildren will take part in a special photo op at UN Headquarters on Monday.
- The ambassadors will be wearing their national team jerseys and the Secretary-General will be suiting up in a jersey of his own.
- The Secretary-General and the Permanent Representative of Brazil will also say a few words about the World Cup and the power of sports to unite and entertain people across the globe.
- The event will take place on the lawn on the north side of the Rose Garden at 12:45 p.m. If it rains, it will be moved to another venue, and all accredited press are invited.
- The Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous is wrapping up his visit in Haiti today. He gave a press conference in Port-au-Prince.
- Asked whether Ukraine could ask to have Russia’s membership in the United Nations suspended, the Spokesman noted that all decisions on UN membership are in the hands of the Member States. He added that he did not believe the issue had been brought before the UN membership.
- Asked about the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General fully supports the Tribunal’s work and believes it should have the time it needs to complete that work. The Tribunal is in dialogue with the Security Council over the completion of its activities.
- Asked about the next High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General was seeking a successor and added that, once a candidate has been found, that name would be presented to the General Assembly. He declined to provide details on the candidates but said that the next High Commissioner could come from any region.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
7 JUNE – 13 JUNE 2014
(This document is for planning purposes and is subject to change.)
Sunday, 8 June
Today is World Oceans Day.
Monday, 9 June
Today is an official holiday in Geneva (Whit Monday).
In New York, the Security Council will vote on Resolution 1929 (on Iran) and meet on the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and on Libya sanctions. In the afternoon, there will be a Troop-Contributing Countries meeting on the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (ONUCI).
At 10 a.m., the General Assembly will begin a two-day high-level event on “Contribution of Human Rights and the Rule of Law in the Post-2015 Development Agenda” in the Trusteeship Council.
At 11:00 a.m., there will be a press conference on “Expanding the Rights of Persons with Disabilities- Implementing the UN Convention”, with Ambassador Macharia Kamau, President of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD); Daniela Bas, Director of the UN Division for Social Policy and Development; and Zahra Nemati, Iran’s Paralympic archery gold medallist.
At the Henry Labouisse Hall, UNICEF House, there will be a special event from 1:15 to 2:45 p.m., on “The intersection of human rights and development within the context of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”.
From 3:30 to 5:30, in Conference Room 9, there will be a panel discussion on the “Consequences of the disastrous floods and presentation of needs assessment for the affected regions in Bosnia and Herzegovina”.
Tuesday, 10 June
In New York, the Security Council will hold consultations on Sudan and South Sudan.
From 8:30 to 9:45 a.m., in Conference Room 3, the Permanent Missions of Brazil and the Netherlands will organize an event on “Soccer and Sports for Peace and Development.”
From 3 to 6 p.m., there will be an event in Conference Room 3 on “Criminal Justice Systems-Counter-Terrorism capacity building”.
In Geneva, the Human Rights Council will begin its 26th Session until 27 June.
Also in Geneva, at 11.30 a.m., there will be a briefing in the lead-up to World Blood Donor Day (14 June) by Dr Neelam Dhingra and Dr Yetmgeta Abdella, Coordinator and Technical Officer for Blood Transfusion Safety at the World Health Organization.
Wednesday, 11 June
In New York, at 9:30 a.m., the Security Council will hold an open debate on new trends in peacekeeping operations.
From 9:30 to 10 a.m., in the Trusteeship Council, the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force Office will make a presentation on the “UN Victims of Terrorism Support Portal”, followed by a General Assembly interactive dialogue on “Addressing Conditions Conducive to the Spread of Terrorism”.
From 1:15 to 2:30 p.m., in Conference Room 3, there will be an interactive dialogue with interfaith leaders on “Towards Zero Exploitation of Women and Children 2030 Agenda”.
At 3 p.m., the General Assembly will hold a plenary meeting in the General Assembly Hall, to elect its President at its 69th session.
Thursday, 12 June
Today is World Day Against Child Labour.
The General Assembly will hold a two-day meeting on the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
At 8:45 a.m., the Permanent Missions of Honduras and Spain will hold an event on “Security and sustainable tourism: The experience of Central America”, in Conference Room 7.
From 11 to 12:30 p.m., in Conference Room 2, there will be a briefing on “Global violence: Psychological perspectives, prevention, intervention and future trends”, organized by the NGO Relations Section of the UN.
From 5 to 6 p.m., in the Trusteeship Council Chamber, there will be a ceremony in honour of the laureates of the 2014 UN Population Award, Father Dr. Aldo Marchesini of Italy and NGO Jhpiego (USA).
In Geneva, at 11 a.m., there will be a background briefing on works at the Palais des Nations and on the Strategic Heritage Plan, by Clemens Adams, Director of UNOG’s Division of Administration, and Francesco Savarese, Interim Leader of the Strategic Heritage Plan.
Still in Geneva, at 2:30 p.m., the Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Mukhisa Kituyi, will give a press conference for UNCTAD’s 50th Anniversary.
Friday, 13 June
In New York, from 1:15 to 2:30 p.m., in Conference Room 7, there will be an event and a panel discussion on “Tourism as a potential tool for peace-building efforts”.