HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY,
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
FRIDAY, 19 JULY 2013
UNABATED VIOLENCE IN SYRIA LIMITS AID ACCESS, SAYS U.N. HUMANITARIAN ARM
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that violence continues unabated in many parts of Syria, limiting access for humanitarian aid especially in the eastern governorates, as well as in rural Damascus and Dera'a. It adds that areas known to have considerable humanitarian needs remain inaccessible.
- The Office also says that overall insecurity and a proliferation of checkpoints are slowing down movement of humanitarian goods. And bureaucratic processes continue to delay aid delivery and impede the efficiency of the emergency response.
- Nonetheless, humanitarian organizations continue to increase their assistance. The World Food Programme (WFP) is planning to increase its distributions to reach 3 million people, up from 2.5 million.
- In the past two weeks, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has reached more than 58,000 people with food assistance and 59,000 people with cash assistance.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) supported the Ministry of Health in Damascus with essential and communicable disease medicines to treat more than 90,000 people.
D.R. CONGO: U.N. MISSION SAYS SITUATION CALM BUT TENSE AROUND GOMA
- The UN Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) reports that the situation remains calm but tense around the city of Goma in North Kivu province. It says that fighting between the Congolese armed forces and the M23 armed group has stopped. The Mission’s peacekeepers in the area remain on high alert.
- In a statement issued yesterday afternoon, the Secretary-General said that he is deeply concerned about the latest round of hostilities initiated by the M23 movement north of Goma. The Secretary-General urges all parties to exercise utmost restraint and prevent an escalation of the conflict and a deeper humanitarian crisis.
- The Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), Ertharin Cousin, has called upon all armed groups to ensure that humanitarian agencies are able to safely assist all people in need, wherever they are in the country. Ms. Cousin visited the DRC this week, and underlined that UN humanitarian agencies and their partners from non-governmental organizations have only one objective, which is to provide lifesaving assistance to people in need.
- Asked about MONUSCO activities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Spokesperson said that the Mission has said its troops did not fire any weapons on the dates Rwandan authorities say shells landed on their territory.
- He added the Secretary-General has sent a letter to the Foreign Minister of Rwanda in which he noted with deep concern the allegations that meetings have taken place between senior commanders of the MONUSCO Force Intervention Brigade and the Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda (FDLR). He said that, following initial inquiries within MONUSCO, the Secretary-General has no reason to believe that senior commanders of the Force Intervention Brigade would meet with the FDLR to discuss matters related to their “tactical and strategic collaboration”. Nevertheless, Nesirky added, the Secretary-General believes it is important to ensure that these allegations are properly addressed so as not undermine the comprehensive approach being pursued by the international community to support peace in the region. He has thus requested that the Rwandan Government share as soon as possible any concrete evidence it may have to substantiate these claims. The Secretary-General has reiterated that MONUSCO will continue to work with all relevant stakeholders to implement its mandate in an impartial manner.
CALM RESTORED FOLLOWING INTERCOMMUNAL CLASHES IN GUINEA, SAYS U.N. RIGHTS OFFICE
- The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) says that calm seems to have been restored after three days of violent inter-communal clashes in Guinea.
- The Office has commended the efforts made by the government and security and defense forces to restore calm, and has also reminded them of the necessity to uphold human rights principles during law enforcement operations.
- In a statement issued yesterday, the Secretary-General urged national and community leaders to ensure the security of persons and property, to uphold the rule of law and to pursue the path of dialogue with a view to addressing any concerns among the communities.
- He also stressed the importance of maintaining conducive conditions for peaceful and democratic legislative elections on 24 September, as scheduled.
EGYPT: U.N. RIGHTS OFFICE SEEKS NAMES OF THOSE DETAINED, SEEKS TO DEPLOY TEAM
- The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has met with the Egyptian Ambassador in Geneva and requested a list of names of people against whom arrest warrants were issued in connections with the events on and after 3 July.
- Ms. Pillay also asked for information regarding the legal basis on which the former president and his team are being detained.
- Her office says it has not yet received a reply.
- Ms. Pillay has also informed Egyptian authorities that she would like to deploy a team to follow developments on the ground. A team is on standby and is ready to be deployed immediately as soon as approval is received.
U.N. OFFICIAL VISITS SOMALIA PORT CITY OF KISMAYO TO ASSESS HUMANITARIAN NEEDS FOLLOWING VIOLENCE
- The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Somalia, Philippe Lazzarini, visited the port city of Kismayo yesterday with representatives from UN agencies. The aim of his visit was to take stock of the humanitarian situation following last month’s outbreaks of violence, which killed over 70 people and injured 300 others.
- Many people are without adequate access to food, clean water and health care. Nearly half of the children have no access to education.
- Mr. Lazzarini also visited Kismayo General Hospital, where there is serious shortage of medical supplies.
- He welcomed the resumption of polio vaccinations in Kismayo targeting 38,000 children, following a temporary suspension due to the fighting. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there have been more than 70 cases of wild poliovirus in the southern and central regions of Somalia since May.
SOMALIA: U.N. RIGHTS OFFICE CONCERNED OVER DRAFT MEDIA LAW
- The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) expressed its concern today over a draft media law in Somalia and urged authorities to review it in order to ensure its conformity with international human rights standards.
- The Office said that the draft legislation contains vague language and extremely broad categories that could easily be used to curtail freedom of expression.
It also requires journalists to reveal their sources if published information stirs up public sentiments and provides for the suspension of journalists accused of violating the media legislation.
U.N. CONFIRMS NIGERIA’S INTENTION TO WITHDRAW TROOPS FROM DARFUR MISSION
- In response to a question, the Spokesperson said that the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) confirms that Nigeria has officially notified it of its intention to withdraw some of its troops from the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).
- DPKO is in contact with a number of troop-contributing countries to replace these troops.
- The Department is very appreciative of Nigeria’s continued support to UN peacekeeping.
- On the media reports about the possible withdrawal of Nigerian troops from the UN Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), DPKO has not received any official notification from Nigeria.
SOUTH SUDAN: REQUEST FOR FUEL SUBJECT TO HUMAN RIGHTS DUE DILIGENCE POLICY – U.N. MISSION
- In response to a question on South Sudan, the Spokesperson said that a request for aviation fuel to aircraft of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army would be viewed as a request for “support” and would be subject to a risk assessment on the basis of the Human Rights Due Diligence Policy.
- In the event that such a request was approved, the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) would take steps to monitor how the fuel was used to ensure that it not be diverted for other purposes.
U.N. LIAISING WITH AFRICAN UNION ON ISSUE OF OIL FLOWS BETWEEN SUDAN, SOUTH SUDAN
- Asked about the situation between Sudan and South Sudan with respect to the flow of oil, the Spokesperson said the African Union is in the lead on this and the Secretary-General's Representative to the African Union is liaising with them on this issue. He added that it is incumbent on both Sudan and South Sudan to implement the agreements they have reached and to normalise their relations.
DARFUR MISSION SAYS VEHICLE STOLEN IN RECENT DEADLY ATTACK
- Asked about reports of vehicles taken during the recent deadly attack on peacekeepers in Darfur, the Spokesperson said the joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission (UNAMID) had reported one vehicle had been stolen and three recovered after this attack. He added that there is an investigation under way.
AUSTRALIAN LEADER BRIEFED SECRETARY-GENERAL ON REFUGEE POLICY; U.N. BODY REVIEWING MEASURES
- Asked about the announcement by the Australian Government that it will no longer accept boat people refugees, the Spokesperson said that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had briefed the Secretary-General on the announcement on Thursday evening, New York time, by telephone. He added that the Office for the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is comprehensively reviewing the measures.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
20 – 26 JUNE 2013
(This document is for planning purposes and is subject to change.)
Saturday, 20 July
There are no major events scheduled for today.
Sunday, 21 July
There are no major events scheduled for today.
Monday, 22 July
In the morning, the Security Council will be briefed on the United Nations Office in Burundi (BNUB), followed by consultations.
In the afternoon, the Security Council will hold consultations on the Democratic Republic of the Congo sanctions.
At 10:00 a.m., at the National Press Club (529 14th Street, Washington DC), there will be a press conference on a new report about Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) by Geeta Rao Gupta, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director.
At 12:00 p.m., in the Press Briefing room, Leila Zerrougui, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, will be the guest at the Noon Briefing.
In Geneva, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) will hold the 7th session of the Working Group on Discrimination against Women in Law and Practice. The session ends on 26 July.
In Geneva, OHCHR will hold the 5th session of the Ad Hoc Committee on the elaboration of complementary standards to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). The session will end on 2 August.
Tuesday, 23 July
In the morning, the Security Council will hold an open debate on the Middle East.
Wednesday, 24 July
In the morning, the Security Council will adopt resolutions concerning the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI), and Somalia and Eritrea sanctions, followed by a briefing and consultations on the African Union/United Nations Hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID).
In the afternoon, the Security Council will hold consultations on Sudan and South Sudan.
Thursday, 25 July
In the morning, the Security Council will hold a debate on the situation in the Great
Lakes region: Supporting the Great Lakes Framework.
Friday, 26 July
There are no major events scheduled for today.