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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 STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

MONDAY, 9 JUNE 2014

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS RECENT TERRORISTS ATTACKS IN PAKISTAN

  • The Secretary-General strongly condemned the 8 June terrorist attacks in Pakistan, including the assault on Jinnah International Airport in Karachi in which reportedly at least 29 people died, and the suicide attacks targeting Shia pilgrims in Taftan, Baluchistan, which reportedly left at least 25 people dead and many more injured.
  • The Secretary-General is deeply concerned by this upsurge of violence across Pakistan. While acknowledging the measures already taken to maintain security, he urges the Government of Pakistan to further increase its efforts to address terrorism and religious extremism, including with a view to protecting the rights of all people to safely practice their religion, and to bring the perpetrators of such attacks to justice.
  • The Secretary-General expressed his solidarity with the Government and the people of Pakistan and extends his deepest condolences to the families of the victims.

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO VISIT BRAZIL, BOLIVIA AND SWITZERLAND

  • The Secretary-General will travel to Brazil, on Wednesday 11 June, to attend the opening match of the FIFA World Cup in Sao Paulo.
  • Following the game, he will leave for Bolivia on 12 June, to participate in the Commemorative Summit on the 50th Anniversary of the Group of 77, to be held in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, on 14 and 15 June. The Plurinational State of Bolivia chairs the Group for 2014.
  • The Group of 77 is the largest intergovernmental organization of developing countries in the United Nations. It provides the means to articulate and promote their collective economic interests and enhance their joint negotiating capacity on all major international economic issues within the United Nations system.
  • While in Bolivia, the Secretary-General will meet with the country’s President, Evo Morales, as well as other Bolivian officials, and visit local communities and engage with indigenous peoples.
  • Following the Summit, the Secretary-General will leave Bolivia for Geneva, to attend the opening on 17 June of the Special Session of the Trade and Development Board of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), in celebration of its 50th Anniversary. UNCTAD is the United Nations body responsible for dealing with development issues, particularly international trade.
  • While in Switzerland, the Secretary-General will also meet with the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, and visit the IOC headquarters in Lausanne.
  • On Wednesday 18 June, he will speak at an event in Geneva organized by the International Labour Organization on Youth Employment, before flying back to New York, where he is expected in the afternoon.
  • Asked about the Secretary-General’s meetings in Brazil, the Spokesman said that he would be there for the World Cup opening, but would meet with President Dilma Roussef and possibly with other leaders present in Sao Paulo.

SECRETARY-GENERAL: HUMAN RIGHTS CENTRAL TO ERADICATING EXTREME POVERTY

  • Earlier today, the Secretary-General spoke at the General Assembly event on the contributions of Human Rights and the rule of law in the post-2015 development agenda. He said human rights and the rule of law will be central to eradicate extreme poverty and closing social and economic gaps – both as a means and an end.
  • The Secretary-General stressed that all human rights are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. That is why the new agenda must be universal and underpinned by existing human rights obligations, norms and standards.
  • He added that the rule of law, at the national and international levels, is both a development outcome in its own right and an enabler of other outcomes.

SECRETARY-GENERAL NOTES UNIQUE ABILITY OF SPORTS TO UNITE PEOPLE AHEAD OF WORLD CUP

  • At the Woodrow Wilson room in the United Nations library, the Secretary-General and the Permanent Representatives of the 32 countries competing in the World Cup, as well as some local schoolchildren, took part in a special event to mark the start of the World Cup tournament. They wore national team jerseys and the Secretary-General suited up in his own jersey. He also made remarks on the unique ability of sports to unite us, and to show us what we have in common. 
  • Meanwhile, the UNAIDSProtect the Goal campaign was officially launched at a special event in Salvador, Brazil, today. Michel Sidibé, the Executive Director of UNAIDS, said that UNAIDS wants to harness the passion and solidarity of the World Cup to engage everyone involved in efforts to ensure that young people around the world protect themselves against HIV and have access to lifesaving HIV services.

U.N. SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR LIBYA CALLS FOR PEACEFUL MEANS TO RESOLVE POLITICAL IMPASSE

  • The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya, Tarek Mitri, briefed the Security Council today on the work of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya. He said that the crisis in Libya continues to pose a threat to the country’s political transition and stressed the need for all parties to resolve the political impasse through peaceful means. 
  • He added that the resort to use of force will only have disastrous consequences, and reiterated the United Nations Mission’s condemnation of attacks against civilians.
  • He also noted today’s ruling by Libya’s Supreme Court calling the election of Ahmed Meiteeg, who was appointed by the Congress as interim Prime Minister, unconstitutional. He said that the respect for the ruling should be affirmed. Mr. Mitri is expected at the stakeout following consultations.
  • The Permanent Representative of Rwanda, who is the current chair of the Security Council’s Committee established to oversee sanctions on Libya, also briefed the Council today.

SOMALIA: U.N. SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE END TO HOSTILITIES IN THE SOUTH

  • The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, Nicolas Kay, issued a statement today calling for an immediate end to the hostilities in southern Somalia.
  • Recent clashes between clan-based militia groups in the Lower Shabelle region has led to a number of casualties.
  • Mr. Kay urged all parties to make efforts to immediately de-escalate the situation and to fully cooperate with the ministerial delegation sent by the Somali Government to the region to help diffuse tensions. 

U.N. OFFICIAL FOR WEST AFRICA WRAPS UP MISSION TO NIGERIA

  • Said Djinnit, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for West Africa, concluded today his second visit to Nigeria as the High-Level Representative of the Secretary-General to Nigeria.
  • During the visit, he continued his consultations on the abduction of schoolgirls and related issues with government officials, prominent Nigerian personalities including former Heads of State, civil society organizations, as well as regional and international partners.
  • Mr. Djinnit stressed the pivotal role that Nigeria has played in promoting regional peace and security and reaffirmed the commitment of the United Nations to its stability and the consolidation of its democratic achievements.
  • He urged all national stakeholders to close ranks and work together to overcome the challenge of the threat of terrorism and insecurity posed by the activities of Boko Haram.

SOUTH SUDAN: NEARLY 1,500 CHOLERA CASES REPORTED SO FAR

  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that a total of 1,459 cholera cases, including 31 deaths, have been reported in South Sudan of 7 June. The outbreak is spreading to Yei and Kajo Keji in Central Equatoria State.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that seven cases have been confirmed in the Juba Protection of Civilians areas as of Sunday, with additional suspected cases under investigation.
  • On the Protection of Civilians sites, OCHA says that the relocation of 13,500 internally displaced persons from Tomping is expected to start on 16 June. 
  • In Malakal, Upper Nile State, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for South Sudan, Hilde F. Johnson, today inaugurated a new protection-of-civilians site. The new facility can accommodate between 8,000 and 9,000 internally displaced persons. The relocations have already started in Malakal. As of 7 June, some 3,100 had moved to the new site.

SUDAN: U.N. MISSION INCREASES PATROLS IN NORTH DARFUR FOLLOWING ATTACKS

  • The African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) is verifying reports of attacks on at least 19 villages in North Darfur by Arab militia groups last week.
  • According to the information received, the attacks led to an unconfirmed number of civilian casualties and destruction of property and to hundreds of newly-displaced persons arriving at the Korma camp for displaced people.
  • The Mission is providing protection to the internally displaced persons at Korma camp. UNAMID has increased confidence-building patrols in the area and is working with humanitarian agencies to address the needs of those displaced.

D.R. CONGO: RECENT CLASHES KILL AT LEAST 30 PEOPLE IN SOUTH KIVU

  • From the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the UN Mission says that inter-ethnic clashes in South Kivu over the weekend, related to stolen cattle, have killed at least 30 people.
  • United Nations peacekeepers have been sent to the area of Mutarule to evacuate the wounded and help the local authorities and the Congolese army restore calm to the area. 

U.N. DEPUTY HUMANITARIAN CHIEF TO VISIT MYANMAR THIS WEEK

  • United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Kyung-wha Kang will visit Myanmar this week, from 10 to 14 June. That visit coincides with the second anniversary of the inter-communal violence in Rakhine State, which displaced more than 140,000 people, and three years of the conflict in Kachin, in which more than 100,000 people have been displaced.
  • Ms. Kang is expected to meet senior Government officials in Nay Pyi Taw, including the First Vice President, and to travel to Sittwe and Pauktaw in Rakhine State, to visit camps for internally displaced people and communities affected by inter-communal violence and to evaluate progress in the humanitarian response there.
  • She is expected to brief the media upon her return to New York.

MIDDLE EAST: U.N. READY TO INCREASE DEVELOPMENT WORK IN GAZA

  • The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, visited Gaza on Sunday, for the first time since the formation of a Palestinian government of national consensus. 
  • While in Gaza, Mr. Serry held a joint meeting with the new Ministers for Women's Affairs, for Labor, for Public Works and Housing and for Justice. 
  • He assured them of the full support of the United Nations. And he added that the United Nations is ready to increase its considerable programme of work in Gaza, including in the priority areas of water and energy.
  • Mr. Serry also expressed hope that the obstacles on the Ministers' travel would soon be removed so that the new Government could carry out its duties unimpeded both in Gaza and in the West Bank. 
  • 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. 
  • Asked about the meeting that Pope Francis had with the Israeli and Palestinian Presidents, the Spokesman said that any initiative that could bring the parties together for reflection and discussion is to be welcomed.

SECRETARY-GENERAL INFORMS GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF INTENTION TO APPOINT NEW HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

  • Late on 6 June, the Secretary-General, following consultations with the Chairmen of the regional groups of Member States, informed the General Assembly of his intention to appoint Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein of Jordan as the new United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
  • If the General Assembly agrees to that step, Prince Zeid would replace Navi Pillay, whose term as High Commissioner for Human Rights lasts until the end of August.
  • Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein is currently Jordan's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, a post he also held previously for six and a half years, from 2000 to 2007. 

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Asked about the next President of the General Assembly, the Spokesman clarified that the President would be chosen by the United Nations Member States, not by the Secretary-General. He noted that the President of the General Assembly is not a United Nations staff member.
  • Asked about an interview by the former Joint Special Representative for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, the Spokesman said that the interview was done after Mr. Brahimi had ended his tenure as Joint Special Representative. The Secretary-General has made clear following Mr. Brahimi’s departure that there will be a period of stock-taking to see how best to pursue a peaceful settlement to the Syrian conflict.
  • Asked about a recent incident in which migrants died off the coast of Italy in the Mediterranean Sea, the Spokesman recalled that the Secretary-General has raised the issue with officials in the region and the High Commissioner for Refugees has called for regional efforts to resolve the many problems faced my migrants on the high seas.