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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 MARTIN NESIRKY,
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

FRIDAY, 12 JULY 2013

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL LAUDS MALALA YOUSAFZAI’S COURAGE, RESILIENCE; URGES YOUTH TO KEEP MAKING A DIFFERENCE

  • This morning, the Secretary-General welcomed Malala Yousafzai and her family to the United Nations, and, together with Special Envoy on Global Education Gordon Brown, the Secretary-General addressed the Youth Assembly.
  • In his remarks, the Secretary-General noted that Malala had chosen to spend her 16th birthday at the United Nations. He praised her courage, humanity and resilience, and said that on her special day, she is calling on us to keep our promises – invest in young people – and put education first.
  • The Secretary-General said that no child should have to die for going to school, and no where should teachers fear to teach or children fear to learn.
  • By targeting Malala, extremists had shown what they feared the most: a girl with a book.
  • He told the youth assembly that they are leaders in education, and he urged them to keep speaking out, to keep raising the pressure, and to keep making a difference. 
  • This afternoon, the Secretary-General will meet with Malala again with a number of youth advocates for a round table discussion.
  • Asked about the role of Gordon Brown, Nesirky said that he was appointed by the Secretary-General as his Special Envoy on Global Education, as part of the Education First Initiative.
  • He added that the presence of Malala Yousafzai today at the United Nations was extremely powerful and that many had been inspired and moved by her speech. He also noted the attendance at the Malala Day-UN Youth Assembly event of many other young advocates for education.
  • Asked about media access to the event, the Spokesperson said that 10 tickets had been distributed. He added that the event was broadcast and webcast.

 

SYRIA: BAN HOPES VISIT REGARDING ALLEGATIONS OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS USE TAKES PLACE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE

  • Asked about the planned visit of the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Angela Kane, and the Head of the United Nations Mission to Investigate Allegations of the Use of Chemical Weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic, Dr. Åke Sellström, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General hoped that the visit would occur as soon as possible.
  • Nesirky said that the purpose of the visit will be to complete the consultations on the modalities of cooperation required for the proper, safe and efficient conduct of the Mission.
  • He added that there was no substitute for an on-site investigation at all relevant locations in the Syrian Arab Republic.
  • Asked about the submission the Russian Federation, the Spokesperson said that it had been received and seen by the Secretary-General who had in turn handed it to Dr. Sellstrom’s team. He said that the submission had been discussed during the meeting between the Secretary-General and Dr. Sellstrom on Wednesday but that given its technical nature and length it was now being studied by UN experts.

 

BAN APPOINTS CANADIAN AS SPECIAL ADVISER

  • The Secretary-General has appointed Jennifer Welsh of Canada as his Special Adviser at the Assistant Secretary-General level. She will succeed Edward Luck of the United States of America who left the position in June 2012.  Ms. Welsh will work under the overall guidance of Mr. Adama Dieng, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide.
  • Ms. Welsh is currently Professor of International Relations and Co-Director of the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict at the University of Oxford.

 

U.N. MISSION IN SOUTH SUDAN URGES RESTRAINT, RECONCILIATION IN JONGLEI

  • The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is deeply concerned about reports of a major mobilization of armed youth moving towards Pibor county in Jonglei State, as well as reported clashes.
  • The mission calls on the leaders of all Jonglei communities and their youth, as well as on national and state authorities, to exercise maximum restraint and urgently engage in reconciliation efforts.
  • UNMISS is trying to verify the information and assess population movements, including through the use of aerial reconnaissance flights. Its mobility continues to be hampered by inadequate air assets, which severely limit its capability to detect violence in inaccessible rural areas. As a result, the mission is not in an immediate position to confirm details about numbers or locations of the mobilized youth and associated clashes.
  • The mission is reinforcing its military presence in Gumuruk and Pibor, with contingency plans in place should there be attacks and civilians seek protection
  • UNMISS is in constant contact with the Government of South Sudan, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, and officials in Jonglei. It is calling on them to take urgent action to prevent an escalation of the violence.

 

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: U.N. ENVOY HOLDS FIRST TALKS WITH GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS

  • The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for the Central African Republic, Babacar Gaye, held his first meetings with Government officials yesterday after taking up his functions earlier this week. 
  • The UN envoy exchanged views with Michel Djotodia, the Head of State of the Transition, and other senior officials on subjects including the security situation, humanitarian assistance, human rights and the establishment of political institutions.
  • The Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, is wrapping up today her joint visit to the Central African Republic with European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva.

 

EASTERN D.R. CONGO: U.N. AID AGENCIES USE ARMED ESCORTS ONLY AS LAST RESORT

  • In response to a question on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations has no say in security measures employed by non-governmental organizations. UN humanitarian agencies use armed escorts in insecure areas in eastern DRC only as a last resort. The decision to use escorts in specific areas is taken by the UN-wide security management team.
  • The large-scale humanitarian response in the eastern DRC faces serious challenges in the efforts to deliver life-saving assistance to people in need due to lack of access caused by the ongoing conflict and poor infrastructure. Some 212 security incidents against humanitarian actors were reported in the DRC last year, while there were 181 registered the year before.
  • Asked about recent clashes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Spokesperson said that the UN Stabilisation Mission in the country (MONUSCO) was aware of reports about an attack attributed to an armed group known as ADF-Nalu in the village of Kamango and its surroundings, in the north-east of North Kivu province. He added that as a result of these attacks a number of civilians were reported to have fled their villages, including across the border into Uganda. He noted that the Mission also added that, according to some sources, some local figures have been abducted by the assailants. Nesirky said that the Mission was closely monitoring the situation.

 

HEAD OF WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME TO VISIT AFRICA

  • The head of the UN World Food Programme, WFP, will begin a visit to three African countries tomorrow to focus on challenges posed by hunger.
  • During her travels to South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda, Ertharin Cousin will also spotlight local initiatives supported by WFP that are helping to address under-nutrition and build sustainable food security.

 

TROPICAL CYCLONE SOULIK EXPECTED TO AFFECT MILLIONS

  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says the Tropical Cyclone Soulik is expected to make landfall this evening in Taiwan.
  • The Global Disaster Alert Coordination System (GDACS) estimates more than 11 million people will be affected.
  • The storm is expected to make landfall in Fujian Province by tomorrow and weaken to a Category 1 storm. The Global Disaster Alert Coordination System estimates that more than 17 million people may be affected.
  • OCHA’s in Bangkok is monitoring the situation closely.

 

U.N. WORKING TO ENSURE NO MORE SREBRENICAS – SECRETARY-GENERAL

  • Asked about the anniversary of Srebrenica yesterday, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General had been to the Srebrenica Memorial centre last year, on 26 July.   
  • At the time, the Secretary-General said that this was a place of profound sadness and loss and that there was perhaps nowhere in the world more difficult, more painful than that site to visit for the United Nations Secretary-General.
  • Nesirky added that the Secretary-General had also said that we needed to learn the lessons of Srebrenica and that the United Nations was doing and continues to do all that it can to ensure that there are no more Srebrenicas anytime, anywhere, to anyone.
  • “The international community failed to provide the necessary protection to many people who were killed at the time when they needed our support,” the Secretary-General also said during his visit.
  • Nesirky said that the Secretary-General had noted that, in 2005, world leaders came up with the principle of the “Responsibility to Protect” and that, in some places, for example Cote d’Ivoire, it had been possible to apply this, but in many other places there was still work to be done.

 

NEPAL BLUE HELMETS DEPLOYING TO U.N. DISENGAGEMENT OBSERVER FORCE

  • In response to a question on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), the Spokesperson said that the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) confirms that Nepal has agreed to deploy a company to this month.
  • Asked about the number of Nepalese peacekeepers joining UNDOF, Nesirky noted that a “company” consists of 100 and more troops, depending on the troop-contributing country.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
13 – 19 JUNE 2013


(This document is for planning purposes and is subject to change.)

 

Saturday, 13 July

 

There are no major events scheduled for today.

 

Sunday, 14 July

 

The Secretary-General will be in Paris, today and tomorrow. He will first attend France’s National Day military parade which this year will include peacekeepers from the newly-established United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). The Secretary-General will also have meetings with the French President, Prime Minister, Defence Minister and the President of the National Assembly.
 

Monday, 15 July

 

In the morning, the Security Council will hold consultations on Cyprus and the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA).

 

In the afternoon, the Security Council will be briefed on the Sanctions Committee concerning the Islamic Republic of Iran (1737 Committee).

 

At 10:00 a.m., in the General Assembly Hall, there will be interactive hearings on international migration and development with representatives of non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations and the private sector.

                                                               

Tuesday, 16 July

 

In the morning, the Security Council will be briefed on the Middle East, followed by consultations on the region and Syria.

 

In the afternoon, the Security Council will be briefed on the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), followed by consultations.

 

Wednesday, 17 July

 

In the morning, the Security Council will hold an Open Debate on “The protection of civilians in armed conflict: Protection of journalists.”

 

At 10:00 a.m., in Conference Room 4 (NLB), there will be the sixth session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

 

In Geneva, there will be a press conference on the mid year review of the Humanitarian Appeal  2013, by Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.

 

Thursday, 18 July

 

Today is Nelson Mandela International Day.

 

In the morning, the Security Council will be briefed on the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI), Somalia and Eritrea, and the Sanctions Committee concerning Eritrea and Somalia (751/1907 Committee).

 

Friday, 19 July

 

There are no major events scheduled for today.