HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY, SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
TUESDAY, 3 JULY 2012
ARMS TRADE TREATY “LONG OVERDUE” SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL
- On Tuesday morning, the Secretary-General spoke at the conference on the Arms Trade Treaty.
- He noted that for the first time, Member States are gathering at the United Nations to negotiate a treaty regulating the international conventional arms trade, which he said is important, impressive and long overdue.
- The Secretary-General said that our common goal is clear: a robust and legally-binding Arms Trade Treaty that will have a real impact on the lives of those millions of people suffering from the consequences of armed conflict, repression and armed violence.
- He was also presented with a petition from civil society in support of the Treaty.
- The Secretary-General also spoke on Tuesday morning at a high-level event on the death penalty.
- He said that the United Nations system has long advocated abolition of the death penalty or – at a minimum and in the interim – moratoriums and restrictions on its use to only “the most serious crimes.”
- Yet the death penalty, the Secretary-General said, is still used for a wide range of crimes that do not meet that threshold. He called for us now to do our utmost to put a final end to this practice.
SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS SYRIA “CANNOT AFFORD MORE ATROCITIES”
- A statement was released on Monday evening on the agreement reached by the Action Group for Syria at a meeting held in Geneva on Saturday.
- The Secretary-General said it was crucial that the Action Group puts pressure on the parties in Syria to prevent further militarization of the conflict and advance the prospects of a political transition.
- He said that all parties to the conflict in Syria must take heed of international calls to engage genuinely with the Joint Special Envoy, cease all violence and recommit to the six-point plan in its entirety.
- The Secretary-General said the Syrian people and the region cannot afford more atrocities, suffering and chaos.
- Asked about the briefing on Syria by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, to the Security Council on Monday, the Spokesperson noted that the Council met in consultations.
- He said that according to Ms. Pillay's spokesperson she said in her remarks that there have been human rights abuses and violations, including torture and the use of children as human shields, which have been carried out by both Government forces and the opposition.
- Asked about refugees in Jordan, the Spokesperson said that the needs of refugees and the displaced are considerable and that their numbers have increased quite considerably.
- He added that the UN system has sharply raised its estimates for the number of Syrian refugees there will be the end of 2012.
Nesirky noted that there are already some 90,000 Syrian refugees, including in Jordan.
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO TRAVEL TO JAPAN FOR AFGHANISTAN CONFERENCE
The Secretary-General will depart New York on Friday for Tokyo, Japan.
On Sunday, the Secretary-General will attend the Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan.
- During his stay in Tokyo, he will also meet with Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba.
- The Secretary-General will return to New York on Monday.
- Asked about the Afghanistan conference, the Spokesperson said that it is part of a series of global events on the country, pointing to previous meetings in Kabul and at the NATO summit recently in Chicago.
These meetings show that the international community is pulling together to support Afghanistan and its people
U.N. ENVOY CONDEMNS ATTACKS IN IRAQ
- The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, Martin Kobler, has condemned in the strongest terms the attacks in Diwaniyah and Karbala on Tuesday, which killed and injured dozens of persons.
- In a statement, Mr Kobler said he was deeply saddened by these atrocious attacks on civilians and pilgrims and the continuing suffering inflicted on the Iraqi people.
He extended his condolences to the families of those who were killed.
PLAN TO END RECRUITMENT OF CHILD SOLDIERS IN SOMALIA BACKED BY U.N.
- The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Augustine Mahiga has welcomed an agreement to end the recruitment and use of children in the national armed forces of Somalia.
- The so-called “Action Plan”, which was signed in Rome today, outlines concrete steps to be taken by the Government of Somalia to ensure that children are not recruited into the army.
Mr. Mahiga, who signed the plan on behalf of the United Nations, said it is critical for the professionalisation of the security forces and will contribute positively to efforts to stabilise Somalia.
SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES SUDAN AND SOUTH SUDAN: On Tuesday morning the Security Council met in closed consultations to discuss their programme of work for this month and the situation in Sudan and South Sudan. On Tuesday afternoon the Council was due to meet in closed consultations to discuss the United Nation’s Mission in South Sudan.
U.N ALARM OVER SITUATION IN BLUE NILE STATE, SUDAN: Asked about reports of clashes between the Sudanese Government and a rebel group known as the SPLM-N on the Ethiopian border, the Spokesperson pointed to a statement issued by the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, earlier this week, in which she expressed her concern and alarm over the situation in Blue Nile State. She also spotlighted the need for greater access.