Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world.

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,

SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

WEDNESDAY, 13 AUGUST 2014

 

IRAQ: U.N. OFFICIALS VOICES GRAVE CONCERN OVER VIOLENCE

  • The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov and the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura, jointly expressed their grave concern today at the continuing reports of acts of violence, including sexual violence against women and teenage girls and boys belonging to Iraqi minorities.
  • They say that they have received atrocious accounts on the abduction and detention of Yazidi, Christian, Turkomen and Shabak women, girls and boys, and reports of savage rapes.  Some 1,500 Yazidis and Christians may have been forced into sexual slavery.  
  • Ms. Bangura condemned, in the strongest terms, the explicit targeting of women and children and the barbaric acts the ‘Islamic State’ has perpetrated on minorities in areas under its control. Mr. Mladenov called on regional governments and the wider international community to help the immediate release of the women and girls held in captivity, and to support the Government of Iraq’s efforts to protect its citizens. 

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION HELPING DELIVER HEALTH SERVICES TO THOSE TRAPPED BY VIOLENCE IN IRAQ

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) is supporting the delivery of urgently needed health services to people affected by insecurity in northern Iraq, including tens of thousands of children, women and men trapped on Sinjar Mountain and many more who have escaped to safer areas.
  • The humanitarian situation of the civilian population on Sinjar Mountain is alarming, due to the narrow corridors for transporting essentials such as medicines, food and water. The people stranded on Sinjar Mountain also have to face soaring temperatures, which are reaching up to 111 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • The WHO supported health services include the deployment of two mobile medical teams to Sinjar Mountain to provide essential health services and the distribution of high-protein biscuits to civilians still stranded there. The two teams will stay there until the evacuation of all the displaced people from the mountain. Supplies used by the teams are being replenished by helicopters.

IN MEETING WITH LEBANESE PRESIDENT, U.N. ENVOY WELCOMES CALM IN BORDER TOWN

  • Derek Plumbly, the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, met today in Beirut with Prime Minister Tamam Salam, and he welcomed the calm that has been restored in the border town of Arsal.
  • Mr. Plumbly said that he and the Prime Minister discussed the assistance that is needed by Lebanon and the efforts of the International Support Group. He warmly welcomed the generous grant of $1 billion from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to support Lebanon’s counter terrorism efforts.

SECRETARY-GENERAL SPOTLIGHTS NEED FOR U.N. SYSTEM-WIDE SUPPORT TO WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION’S EFFORTS TO FIGHT EBOLA

  • This morning the Secretary-General chaired a UN system-wide coordination on Ebola. He stressed the need for the entire UN system to support the World Health Organization's efforts in combatting the outbreak.
  • Yesterday, the Secretary-General announced the designation of Dr. David Nabarro as Senior United Nations System Coordinator for Ebola, in support of the work done by Dr. Margaret Chan and her team.
  • He will be responsible for ensuring that the United Nations system makes an effective and coordinated contribution to the global effort to control the outbreak of Ebola.

SECURITY COUNCIL VISITS SOMALIA

  • Members of the United Nations Security Council arrived in Mogadishu this morning on a landmark visit to Somalia to review progress made by the Federal Government with assistance from the international community. Council members demonstrated their continued support for the country’s efforts to ensure a sustainable peace.
  • The visit is led by the UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Mark Lyall-Grant, and Ambassador Usman Sarki of Nigeria. During the visit the Council members met with Somalia’s President and Prime Minister, and with senior members of the Government and the Federal Parliament, among others. They also held discussions with the senior leadership of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and members of Somalia’s civil society.

U.N. MISSION IN SOUTH SUDAN REPORTS ARMS FIRING

  • In Nassir, Upper Nile State, the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) reported small arms fire and mortar fire from the direction of the Sudan People's Liberation Army military camp towards the Sobat River as well as Nassir market yesterday.
  • The Mission, meanwhile, reports the situation in Bunj in Maban County to be calm, where aid workers were killed last week. UNMISS continues to carry out daily patrols close to refugee camps and in Bunj town. Yesterday, UNMISS extracted a humanitarian aid worker from Kaya refugee camp.
  • UN humanitarian staff say that aid agencies are still operating with minimal staff due to the tense security environment, but essential humanitarian operations are continuing in the four camps. 
  • During a recent visit to Bunj, the Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, Toby Lanzer, said the humanitarian community was committed to staying in Maban, and in other areas affected by the conflict, but that aid workers had to be able to do their work in safety.
  • Finally, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) also says that aid agencies are sending a rapid response team to provide food, health and other emergency assistance to people in Longochuk County – which is also in Upper Nile State – in response to reports of exceptionally high levels of malnutrition there. Upper Nile State has the highest annual number of acute malnutrition cases in South Sudan.

U.N.: 30 AID WORKERS KILLED IN RECENT GAZA VIOLENCE

  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that 30 aid workers were killed in Gaza between 8 July and 12 August. That number includes 11 staff of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), 7 medical staff killed while on duty, 4 other medical staff killed in their homes or while travelling, and 8 firefighters.
  • In addition, 74 aid workers were injured, including 38 medical staff injured at work and 34 civil defence workers.

SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS NEW DEPUTY HEAD OF U.N. MISSION IN GUINEA-BISSAU

  • The Secretary-General has appointed Maria do Valle Ribeiro of Ireland as his Deputy Special Representative in Guinea-Bissau, where she will also serve as United Nations Resident Coordinator in that country. 
  • Ms. do Valle Ribeiro will succeed Mr. Gana Fofang of Cameroon, who has served as Deputy Special Representative since February 2011.  The Secretary-General is grateful for Mr. Fofang’s commitment and dedicated service during his tenure in Guinea-Bissau.
  • Ms. do Valle Ribeiro is currently United Nations Resident Coordinator in Angola.

SECRETARY-GENERAL CONCERNED BY VIOLENCE ON ARMENIA-AZERBAIJAN BORDER, URGES PEACEFUL SOLUTION

  • In response to a question about the situation between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General shares the deep concern expressed by the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group and other international partners regarding the upsurge in tension and violence along the Line of Contact and the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. 
  • He urges all parties to respect the ceasefire agreement, refrain from further violence and commit themselves to immediate de-escalation and continuing dialogue in the pursuit of a rapid and peaceful political solution.

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO RECEIVE $100 MILLLION DONATION FROM SAUDI ARABIA FOR U.N. COUNTER-TERRORISM CENTRE

  • Today, the Secretary-General will meet the Permanent Representative of Saudi Arabia, and will receive from him a donation by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of $100 million for the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre. We expect him to make some brief remarks to the press about that donation but he will not take any questions.
  • The United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre was launched in 2011 with an initial $10 million contribution by Saudi Arabia. The Centre is located within the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) in the UN Department of Political Affairs.