HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
THURSDAY, 10 JULY 2014
SECRETARY-GENERAL BRIEFS SECURITY COUNCIL ON RISK OF ESCALATION IN ISRAEL, GAZA
- The Secretary-General briefed the Security Council this morning on the recent situation in Israel and Gaza, in which more than 550 rockets and mortars have been fired from Gaza into Israel, while the Israel Defence Forces have launched more than 500 airstrikes on Gaza. He said that 88 Palestinians, many of them civilians, are reported to have been killed.
- The Secretary-General warned that we face the risk of an all-out escalation in Israel and Gaza, with the threat of a ground offensive still palpable -- and preventable only if Hamas stops firing rockets. He said that he has consistently condemned indiscriminate rocket fire from Gaza into Israel. At the same time, the excessive use of force and endangering of civilian lives are also intolerable. It is unacceptable for citizens on both sides to permanently live in fear of the next aerial attack.
- Also, later this afternoon the Security Council will hold closed consultations at 3 p.m. on Burundi and the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Ivan Simonovic, will brief on that.
HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR VISITS NORTH-EASTERN LEBANON TO REVIEW CONDITIONS OF DISPLACED SYRIANS
- From Lebanon, Ross Mountain, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator and Deputy Special Coordinator for Lebanon, visited Hermel and Arsal in north-eastern Lebanon today to review the conditions of displaced Syrians and the Lebanese communities hosting them there. There are more than 376,000 Syrians registered with the UN Refugee Agency are living throughout the Bekaa.
- Mr. Mountain met with the local authorities in Hermel and in the border town of Arsal, who briefed him on the humanitarian needs and socio-economic conditions and some of the difficulties these communities have been facing with the influx of displaced people from Syria.
- Mr. Mountain praised the generosity extended by the Lebanese Government and people to the Syrian displaced during the past three years. He said that the United Nations will continue to encourage additional international assistance to help in sharing this burden with Lebanon.
UNDER-SECRETARY-GENERAL FOR PEACEKEEPING VISITS GAO REGION IN MALI
- The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, is in Mali’s Gao region to tour the UN Mission’s facilities in the northern part of the country.
- Mr. Ladsous arrived in Mali on Wednesday and has held meetings with the country’s authorities and with the Mission’s personnel. He said the meetings provided an opportunity to discuss the implementation of the Security Council’s renewed mandate for the UN Mission, known as MINUSMA. He is scheduled to speak to the press in Bamako on Friday.
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONER EXPRESSES CONCERN ABOUT TREATMENT OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN SAUDI ARABIA
- The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, expressed concern today about the arbitrary arrest, trial and detention of human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia, including the recent conviction and harsh sentencing of human rights defender Waleed Abu Al-Khair.
- Ms. Pillay said she was deeply dismayed over the conviction of Abu Al-Khair, who was sentenced on 6 July to 15 years in prison. She said that his case is a clear illustration of the continuing trend of harassment of Saudi human rights defenders, several of whom have been convicted for peacefully promoting human rights. She urged the Saudi authorities to immediately release all human rights defenders held in connection with their peaceful advocacy of human rights.
TYPHOON IS EXPECTED TO REACH EASTERN JAPAN ON FRIDAY
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) made landfall on the Japanese island of Kyushu on Wednesday. Typhoon Neoguri is expected to reach eastern Japan, including Tokyo, on Friday.
- The risk of flooding and landslides remains, with a landslide having killed a 12-year-old boy yesterday. OCHA’s regional office in Bangkok has been in close contact with Japanese authorities on the typhoon.