HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY EDUARDO DEL BUEY,
DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
TUESDAY, 17 JULY 2012
SECRETARY-GENERAL SPEAKS WITH CHINESE YOUTH IN ONLINE FORUM
- The Secretary-General arrived in Beijing on Tuesday.
- He took part in a social media conversation with young people through the UN's "Weibo" microblogging site with the help of Sina Weibo, China's largest network of that kind.
- The Secretary-General took questions on a wide range of topics from peacekeeping to youth unemployment and from Syria to sustainable development.
- On Wednesday, the Secretary-General will be meeting the Chinese leadership.
- He will also take part in an event to recognize the contribution Chinese people have made to the "Future We Want" campaign for sustainable development.
- On Thursday, the Secretary-General will take part in a major conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and will then travel on to Southeastern Europe.
Asked about the Secretary-General’s visit to China, the Deputy Spokesperson said that the country plays an important role at the United Nations, including as a permanent member of the Security Council. He added that China serves as a model both for economic growth and for South-South cooperation.
JOINT SPECIAL ENVOY FOR SYRIA MEETS RUSSIAN LEADER
- The Joint Special Envoy, Kofi Annan, met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.
- Mr. Annan reports that he had a very good discussion with the President, discussing the situation and the crisis in Syria, focusing on what measures need to be taken to end the violence and the killing and how we move on to the political transition.
- He said that the discussions in the Security Council regarding the resolution also came up. And he would hope that the Council will continue its discussions and hopefully find language that will pull everybody together to move us forward on this critical issue.
- He noted that we need to do whatever we can to stop the violence, to stop the killing, and the Council, he expects, will be sending a message out, that the killing must stop and the situation on the ground is unacceptable. He said that hopefully, the Council will come together in a united manner and press ahead in search of peace.
- Asked about Deputy Joint Special Envoy Jean-Marie Guéhenno, the Deputy Spokesperson said that Mr. Guéhenno has been offered a post by the French Government and that he will be leaving his position shortly.
SECRETARY-GENERAL DISCUSSES SYRIA WITH FOREIGN MINISTER OF RUSSIA
- On Monday, the Secretary-General spoke with Foreign Minister Lavrov.
- During their call, the Secretary-General expressed his condolences for the recent loss of life following the flash floods in the Krasnodar Region of the Russian Federation.
- They also discussed the situation in Syria and the imperative need for the violence to stop at once.
- The Secretary-General called on Russia to use its influence to ensure the full and immediate implementation of the six-point plan and the Action Group communiqué, as well as resolutions 2042 and 2043 of the Security Council.
- The Secretary-General also referred to his note to the Security Council from 13 July 2012, and the letter of the same date to the Council from the United Nations-League of Arab States Joint Special Envoy, Kofi Annan.
- The Secretary-General noted that the Joint Special Envoy was in Moscow for talks and stressed the importance of these discussions, given the escalating and alarming situation in Syria.
HEAD OF U.N. BODY SOUNDS ALARM AT KILLING OF SYRIAN CIVILIAN JOURNALISTS
- The Director-General of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Educational Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova, on Tuesday voiced alarm at the killing of seven Syrian citizen journalists between 10 June and 4 July. The Director-General stressed the need for the authorities to investigate these cases and take steps to ensure the safety of journalists in Syria.
- In total, at least 22 journalists – local and international – have been killed while covering events in Syria since the start of 2012.
NUMBER OF SYRIAN REFUGEES HAS TRIPLED SINCE APRIL – U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY
- The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Tuesday that the number of Syrian refugees that it has registered or assisted in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey has almost tripled since April to 112,000. These are mostly women and children. The actual number of Syrian refugees is thought to be significantly higher, as many people seek to be registered only when they run out of resources.
- UNHCR is grateful that Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Turkey have maintained open borders and that refugees are being welcomed.
- However, two weeks after the launch of the Regional Response Plan for Syrian Refugees, only 26 per cent is funded. UNHCR and its partners warn that this low level of funding is having a profound impact on the humanitarian support being offered in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey.
U.N.: SOMALI REFUGEES IN HORN OF AFRICA TOPS ONE MILLION
- The UN refugee office (UNHCR) said on Tuesday that the number of Somali refugees in the Horn of Africa has now exceeded one million
- The most recent arrivals continue to cite insecurity and dwindling food resources as the main reasons for their flight, the office said.
- Despite last week passing the one million mark for the first time since Somalia descended into violence in 1991, data compiled by the office for the main arrival countries of Kenya and Ethiopia also shows lower but steady numbers of people leaving Somalia.
- The Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Mark Bowden, said today that Friday, 20 July, marks the first anniversary of the declaration of famine in Somalia.
- He said that tens of thousands died in the crisis, but the situation would have been far worse without the extraordinary response from the international community.
- Famine conditions are no longer present but people are still in crisis, with 2.5 million people in urgent need of aid. Malnutrition and mortality rates are still among the highest in the world.
SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES LEBANON, YEMEN
- On Tuesday morning, the Security Council met in closed consultations to discuss the 1701 report on Lebanon, the situation in Yemen and other matters.
- In the afternoon, the Council will also meet in closed consultations to discuss the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and other matters.
PAKISTAN: WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION STAFFERS INJURED
- The World Health Organization (WHO) said that a staff member and international consultant were injured when their vehicle was shot at by armed men on Tuesday in Karachi, Pakistan.
- The two men, who were supporting a national polio immunization campaign, are in stable condition.
- The World Health Organization is grateful to the Pakistani medical professionals for the rapid and high-quality medical aid they provided.
- The World Health Organization said that this incident will not distract from the progress Pakistan is making this year, as the country is closer than ever to eradication.
D.R. CONGO: TRIAL OF SLAIN RIGHTS DEFENDER MUST RESPECT DUE PROCESS – TOP U.N. OFFICIAL
- The High Commissioner for Human Rights called on Tuesday for the appeal trial in the case of murdered Congolese human rights defender Floribert Chebeya Bahizire and the disappearance of his driver to fully respect international standards of due process.
- Navi Pillay said that the importance of this trial cannot overstated, adding that the murder was a devastating blow to human rights defenders across the country.
SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS NEW SPECIAL ADVISER ON PREVENTION OF GENOCIDE
- The Secretary-General has appointed of Adama Dieng of Senegal as Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide. Mr. Dieng will replace Francis Deng, to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for his dedicated service and achievements within a challenging mandate.
- Mr. Dieng is currently serving his third term as Registrar of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and was appointed in 2001.