HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY EDUARDO DEL BUEY,
DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
WEDNESDAY, 24 JULY 2013
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO RING NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE CLOSING BELL
- This afternoon, the Secretary-General will travel to the New York Stock Exchange and ring the bell to mark the close of the day’s trading.
- While he is there, he will welcome NYSE Euronext to the United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative. Since the Secretary-General opened the first Sustainable Stock Exchanges meeting in 2009, eight exchanges have joined, with nearly 13,000 listed companies in developed and emerging markets.
- He will say that the addition of the world’s largest stock exchange to this group is a significant forward step, signalling the importance and relevance of sustainability to the private sector around the world.
SYRIA: HEAD OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS INVESTIGATION TEAM ARRIVES IN DAMASCUS
- The High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Angela Kane, and Professor Åke Sellström, Head of the United Nations Mission to Investigate Allegations of the Use of Chemical Weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic, arrived in Damascus today.
- Discussions will focus on completing the consultations on the modalities of cooperation required for the proper, safe and efficient conduct of the Mission.
- Asked about a report from Russia on chemical weapons, the Spokesperson said that the report had gone to Dr Sellström and his team.
HEAD OF MISSION IN DARFUR WORRIES ABOUT RISE IN INTERETHNIC VIOLENCE
- The Security Council heard a briefing this morning by Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the African Union–United Nations Special Representative for the joint Mission in Darfur, UNAMID.
- He said that the steady rise in interethnic violence throughout Darfur states in the first half of 2013 was very worrying. Increased militarization and proliferation of arms among civilians, accompanied by the deterioration of humanitarian conditions has meant that interethnic violence has brought more death, injury and displacement so far this year than the fighting between the Government and non-signatories of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur.
- Mr. Chambas said that UNAMID continued to do its utmost to protect civilians, including through logistic and technical support to local mediation and increased patrolling in affected areas.
- On the Doha Document, he said the signatories were working towards its implementation, “even if at an unacceptably slow pace.” He called for honoring pledges in a timely manner.
- Mr. Chambas also said he counted on the Government of Sudan to investigate the most recent attack on UNAMID, on 13 July, in which seven peacekeepers were killed.
- Also this morning, the Security Council decided to extend the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) until July 31, 2014.
- It also extended the mandate of the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group until 25 November 2014.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: U.N. MISSION CONCERNED ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN COUNTRY
- The United Nations political mission in the Central African Republic (BINUCA) is concerned about information on human rights violations in the country.
- On Tuesday, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Babacar Gaye met with local human rights NGOs, who informed him of violations perpetrated by Seleka soldiers, including the systematic killings of civilians and rape.
- They also informed the Special Representative that human rights defenders were targeted and threatened by Seleka and reported several attempts to remove evidence of abuses, looting and destruction of public property, occupation of schools and recruitment of children.
- Last week, the mission condemned violations, including extrajudicial executions and torture, which occurred in Bangui. The mission called for these violations to stop, for the authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice and to accelerate measures to improve security.
U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF IN MALI CALLS FOR ACTION TO FIGHT CHILDREN’S MALNUTRITION IN GAO, NORTHEN MALI
- A new nutrition and mortality survey conducted by Mali’s Ministry of Health and its partners, including UNICEF, revealed that over 13 per cent of the children under five are suffering from malnutrition in Gao, northern Mali.
- The Humanitarian Coordinator David Gressly said that action must be taken now, so that children who can be saved are not left to die and so that new cases can be prevented.
- According to the survey, 13.5 per cent of children in the region suffer from malnutrition. The World Health Organization (WHO) emergency threshold is 15 per cent. During the next six months, 22,730 children are expected to be at risk.
U.N. MISSION IN SOUTH SUDAN CLOSELY MONITORING SITUATION IN THE COUNTRY
- Asked about recent changes in the Government of South Sudan, the Spokesperson noted that the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is aware of the decision made by President Salva Kiir.
- The Mission notes that Vice President Riek Machar has publicly stated that he recognises the President's right to dissolve the Government and that he is willing to launch opposition through the electoral process. The Mission also notes that no actor has challenged the constitutionality of the steps taken by the President.
- UNMISS is very closely monitoring the situation.
- Asked about the status of Pagan Amum, the Spokesperson said it is the Mission’s understanding that under party's rules, the President of the party has the authority to suspend party functionaries and to launch investigation against them for violations of those rules.
GENERAL ASSEMBLY DESIGNATES 19 NOVEMBER AS WORLD TOILET DAY
- This morning, the General Assembly adopted a resolution officially designating 19 November as World Toilet Day. In a statement, the Deputy Secretary-General said that this new annual observance will go a long way toward raising awareness about the need for all human beings to have access to sanitation.
- He said that, despite progress toward the Millennium Development Goals, one in three people do not have a basic toilet. Almost 2,000 children die every day from preventable diarrhoeal diseases.
- The Deputy Secretary-General urges every country to accelerate progress towards a world in which everyone enjoys this most basic of rights and looks forward to working with all partners to make Sanitation for All a reality.
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO MEET U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: On Thursday at 9:20 a.m. the Secretary-General will meet U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry here at United Nations Headquarters. Both are expected to make some short remarks before their meeting, and these will be televised live. Accredited photographers are invited to cover this event in the 38th floor conference room.
NO MEETING SCHEDULED BETWEEN SECRETARY-GENERAL AND SYRIAN OPPOSITION FIGURES: Asked whether the Secretary-General will meet with Syrian opposition figures who are visiting the United Nations on Friday, the Spokesperson said no meetings with the Secretary-General had been scheduled.
U.N. HAS NOT RECEIVED NOTIFCATION OF NIGERIAN TROOP WITHDRAWAL FROM MALI: The Spokesperson, in response to questions, said that the United Nations had not received any notification from Nigeria about any troop withdrawal from peacekeeping in Mali.