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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 EDUARDO DEL BUEY,
DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

FRIDAY, 26 JULY 2013

U.N. LAUNCHES FREE AND EQUAL CAMPAIGN TO ADDRESS HOMOPHOBIC VIOLENCE AND DISCRIMINATION

  • On Friday in Capetown, South Africa, High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay joined Archbishop Desmond Tutu and other officials to launch the United Nations Free & Equal Campaign. This unprecedented global public information initiative aims to raise awareness of homophobic violence and discrimination, and to promote greater respect for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people everywhere.
  • The Secretary-General has consistently called on world leaders to address violence against LGBT members of our human family. The Secretary-General commends the campaign’s core messages: human rights are universal and we can change attitudes for the better. He is personally committed to championing this cause.

EGYPT: SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR RESTRAINT AND MEANINGFUL NATIONAL DIALOGUE

  • In a statement issued Thursday night on Egypt, the Secretary-General once again urged all sides to act with maximum restraint. He calls on the interim authorities to ensure law and order along with guaranteeing the safety and security of all Egyptians.
  • The Secretary-General renewed his calls for a meaningful national dialogue and an inclusive reconciliation process.  The aim must be to chart a peaceful path towards a full return of civilian control, constitutional order, and democratic governance. And the Secretary-General urged the interim authorities to end arbitrary arrests and other reported forms of harassment..
  • Also, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is concerned that Egyptian military and security personnel have been arbitrarily arresting and detaining an increasing number of Syrians, including several minors and people registered with UNHCR, amid growing anti-Syrian sentiment. The Agency has requested access to 85 detained Syrians and assurances that they are not returned to Syria, stressing that they should be afforded fair and due process of law in Egypt.

TUNISIA: U.N. RIGHTS CHIEF CONDEMNS ASSASSINATION OF OPPOSITION POLITICIAN

  • The Secretary-General and High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay have each issued statements condemning the assassination on Thursday of Mohamed Brahmi, an opposition politician and member of Tunisia's National Constituent Assembly.
  • In his statement, the Secretary-General called for calm and stressed that acts of political violence weaken legitimate state institutions which underpin the democratic process. He said that the killing must not be allowed to derail the progress that Tunisia continues to make in its democratic transition, including on the Constitution, and in meeting the social and economic aspirations of the Tunisian people.
  • In her statement, Ms. Pillay called upon the authorities to immediately launch a prompt and transparent investigation to ensure that the people who carried out this crime are held accountable. The Tunisian authorities must take very serious measures to investigate these assassinations, identify the culprits and bring them to justice.

SYRIA: U.N. RELIEF AGENCY CONCERNED OVER RISKS POSED TO PALESTINE REFUGEES IN CAMPS

  • The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) says that it is gravely concerned about the risks posed to Palestine refugee civilians in several camps in Syria’s Damascus Governorate, particularly in Yarmouk, where the armed conflict is reaching new peaks of intensity.
  • The Agency says that credible reports point to a sharp escalation in the armed confrontation in Yarmouk.
  • Some 130,000 Palestine refugees have fled Yarmouk since December 2012. The Relief and Works Agency is now providing humanitarian assistance to around 25,000 civilians who choose to remain in or lack the means to leave Yarmouk.
  • The Agency strongly reiterates its appeal to all concerned parties to end the suffering, comply with their obligations under international law and resolve the conflict in Syria through dialogue and negotiations.

D.P.R.K.: HEAVY RAINS CAUSE MASSIVE FLOODING AND DAMAGES

  • Heavy rains over the past two weeks have caused massive flooding in many parts of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
  • Some 46,000 people have lost their homes across the country. In North and South Pyongan, there has been extensive damage to buildings, infrastructure and crops. Over 11,000 buildings have been destroyed or damaged and more than 10,000 hectares of farmland has been affected.
  • UN agencies that have conducted assessment missions in North Pyongan have warned that homeless families do not have enough fuel and food stocks.
  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is monitoring the situation.
  • Local health authorities are providing primary health care for people exposed to contaminated water. Humanitarian partners have distributed diarrhoea treatment kits for 1,200 patients. The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has released over 1,000 hygiene kits to displaced women and adolescent girls.

SECRETARY-GENERAL AND U.N. REMAIN FULLY COMMITTED TO FIGHTING CHOLERA IN HAITI

  • Asked about a report from four doctors concerning the introduction of cholera into Haiti, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General and the United Nations remain fully committed to fighting cholera in Haiti.
  • He noted some progress, saying that infection rates and mortality rates have been brought down and that vaccines have been distributed. The United Nations has been educating Haitians on how to avoid the spread of cholera.
  • The Secretary-General has been pressing Members States and philanthropic organizations to contribute the funding required to meet this year’s target for operations. So far, contributions received are only 23 percent of what was requested.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
27 JULY – 2 AUGUST 2013

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

 

Saturday, 27 July

There are no major events scheduled for today.

Sunday, 28 July

Today is World Hepatitis Day.

Monday, 29 July

At 10:00 a.m. in the Trusteeship Council Chamber in the Conference Building, there will be the General Assembly informal plenary briefing on Syria and human rights by the Chair of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry, Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro.

In Geneva, the third part of the Conference on Disarmament will begin today. It will end on 13 September.

Tuesday, 30 July

Today is International Day of Friendship.

In the morning, the Security Council will adopt resolutions concerning the African Union - United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), and United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI).

At 10:00 a.m., in Conference Room 6 in the North Lawn Building (NLB), there will be an informational briefing on “The latest developments in the United Nations air charter requirements”, co-organized by of the Department of Management and the Department of Field Support.

Wednesday, 31 July

There are no major events scheduled for today.

Thursday, 1 August

Today, Argentina will assume the rotating Presidency of the Security Council for August.

At 1:30 p.m., in the Press Briefing room, there will be a press conference by United Nations Working Group on the use of mercenaries.

Friday, 2 August

At 12:30 p.m., in the Press Briefing room, there will be a press conference by H.E. Ms. Maria Cristina Perceval, Permanent Representative of Argentina to the United Nations and President of the Security Council for the month of August.