HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY EDUARDO DEL BUEY, DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR
SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
FRIDAY, 6 JULY 2012
SECRETARY-GENERAL ON WAY TO JAPAN FOR AFGHANISTAN CONFERENCE
- The Secretary-General is on his way to Japan, where he will attend the Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan on Sunday.
- The Secretary-General will have a range of bilateral meetings on the margins of that conference with Japanese leaders and other leaders, including Prime Minister (Yoshihiko) Noda and Foreign Minister (Koichiro) Gemba.
- The Secretary-General is due back in New York on Monday.
SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS 1.5 MILLION PEOPLE IN NEED OF HUMANITARIAN AID IN SYRIA
- In a message to the third meeting of Friends of the Syrian People being held in Paris, France on Friday, the Secretary-General said the conflict in Syria is at a critical stage.
- He said the situation on the ground has deteriorated dramatically and has become more militarized.
- He added that according to UN assessments, at least 1.5 million people are in need of urgent humanitarian aid, but that violence is impeding United Nations efforts to deliver much-needed assistance.
- The Secretary-General said that killings, abductions and kidnappings have also become increasingly inter-communal, threatening to erode the very fabric of Syrian society. A sectarian civil war in Syria would be devastating for Syria and for the region.
U.N. MISSION IN D.R. CONGO CONCERNED ABOUT SECURITY FOLLOWING ATTACK ON EASTERN TOWN
- The United Nations peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) says it is doing its utmost to protect civilians in and around the town of Bunagana in the east of the country.
- Last night Bunagana, which is located near the border with Uganda, came under attack from a well-equipped and sizable force of mutineers from the M23 group.
- The Congolese national army, FARDC, reportedly sustained significant casualties and the M23 has at this stage infiltrated the town.
- Large numbers of residents have reportedly fled Bunagana.
- MONUSCO is very concerned about the general security of civilians in the area, and while there are significant numbers of displaced in the locality, there is no information at this stage about civilian casualties.
- MONUSCO is in close contact with the FARDC command regarding next steps to contain the threat posed by the M23 group.
UNICEF SAYS CHILD SOLDIERS RECRUITED IN MALI
- The UN Children’s fund, UNICEF, says that armed rebel groups controlling large parts of northern Mali are recruiting child soldiers into their ranks.
- It says at least 175 boys aged between 12 to 18 years have been recruited.
- The agency says insecurity in the region has forced nearly 300,000 children out of school leaving them vulnerable to recruitment, violence and exploitation.
- And the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says at least 24 suspected cases of cholera have been reported in the city of Gao in northern Mali.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has dispatched cholera response kits to the region and is partnering with local aid agencies to sensitize the local communities on cholera prevention and treatment measures.
HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL TO INVESTIGATE ISRAEL SETTLEMENTS
- The United Nations Human Rights Council has been meeting in Geneva and has made a number of key decisions.
- The Council is to investigate the implications of Israeli settlements on the rights of the Palestinian people. It has appointed a three member fact finding mission which will undertake the investigations in the occupied Palestinian territory including East Jerusalem.
- The Council also passed a new resolution on Syria condemning the violence there and demanding all sides abide by envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan. Forty-one of the 47 members of the council voted in favour of the resolution tabled by the United States and Turkey.
- The Council also said it will appoint a Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus.
- And The Human Rights Council has named John Knox as the Independent Expert on Human Rights and the Environment.
- Mr. Knox , who is from the US, was selected for his extensive expertise in the fields of human rights, international environmental law, climate change and the interrelation between these issues.
- Asked about the whether the Secretary-General could do anything to stop the building of illegal settlements by Israel, the Deputy Spokesperson said the Secretary-General has raised the issue of illegal settlements on numerous occasions with Israel.
- The Israeli authorities know what the position of the international community is and it is now up to the leaders of Israel and the Palestinians to get together and discuss the issues that divide them in order to move the peace process forward.
SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS NEW FORCE COMMANDER FOR DISENGAGEMENT OBSERVER FORCE
- The Secretary-General has appointed Major General Iqbal Singh Singha of India as the Head of Mission and Force Commander of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF).
- Major General Singha succeeds Major General Natalio C. Ecarma of the Philippines, who will complete his assignment on 13 August 2012.
- The Secretary-General is grateful to Major General Ecarma for his dedication and effective leadership of UNDOF over the past two and a half years
U.N. MISSION CHIEF IN SYRIA TO DECIDE WHEN OBSERVERS CAN RESTART WORK
- Asked about a proposal to arm the United Nations mission in Syria (UNSMIS), the Deputy Spokesperson said that any decision to change the nature of the force will depend on the Security Council.
Asked about when the observers would start work again, del Buey said that would depend on the assessment of General Mood on how safe it is for the unarmed peacekeepers to carry out their work.
U.N. STAFF STILL BEING QUESTIONED IN MYANMAR: Asked about the detention of 10 people, including UN staff, in Myanmar, the Deputy Spokesperson confirmed that they are are still being detained for questioning by authorities in Rakhine State. He added that Myanymar is in a state of flux and that the authorities are moving forward on a broad range of issues.
SECRETARY-GENERAL SUPPORTS RIGHT TO PROTEST IN SUDAN: Asked about protests in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, the Deputy Spokesperson said the Secretary-General supports the right of people to democratic protest.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
7-13 JULY 2012
(This document is for planning purposes and is subject to change.)
Saturday, 7 July
The Secretary-General arrives in Japan.
Today is International Day of Cooperatives.
Sunday, 8 July
The Secretary-General delivers his remarks to the Opening Session of the Afghanistan Conference in Tokyo. The Secretary-General will also hold a press conference today.
Monday, 9 July
The Secretary-General returns to New York.
At 11:00 a.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference by Ian Martin, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) following Libya's elections. This briefing will take place via video link.
At 3 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be an interactive dialogue organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, entitled "Global Dialogue: Bringing the Law Closer to the People”. Panellists will include: Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General; Mr. Festus Mogae, Commissioner & Former President of Botswana; Congresswoman Barbara Lee (Commissioner); Mr. Charles Chauvel (Commissioner); Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator; Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS; and members of civil society.
Tuesday, 10 July
In the morning, the Security Council holds consultations on Cyprus and Sudan/South Sudan
Wednesday, 11 July
Today is World Population Day
In the morning, the Security Council holds consultations on the UN Mission in Syria with a briefing by the Joint Special Envoy for Syria, Kofi Annan.
In the afternoon, the Council holds a briefing on the UN Office for West Africa.
At 12:00 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, Robert Pulver, Chief, Criminal Law and Judicial Advisory Service of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, will be the guest at the Noon Briefing.
Thursday, 12 July
The Security Council holds an open debate on ‘Post-Conflict Peacebuilding’, chaired by the Foreign Minister of Colombia, H. E. Ms. María Ángela Holguín Cuéllar.
Friday, 13 July
The Deputy Secretary-General arrives in Addis Ababa for the African Union Summit.