HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY EDUARDO DEL BUEY, DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON
FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
FRIDAY, 16 AUGUST 2013
SECRETARY-GENERAL MEETS ISRAELI PRESIDENT AND PRIME MINISTER, WRAPS UP MIDDLE EAST VISIT
- The Secretary-General is wrapping up his Middle East visit and will be back in New York on Saturday.
- He started the day by meeting the Israeli President, Shimon Peres, and he also held talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Justice Minister, the Defence Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. As in Ramallah yesterday, the main focus has been on the Middle East Peace Process.
The Secretary-General spoke to reporters about his meetings, stressing his full support for the direct negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians and praising the courage of their leaders for starting these talks.
The Secretary-General also took part in an Israeli Model UN event at the UN headquarters in Jerusalem. He attended a similar event with Palestinian students in Ramallah on Thursday. He said students everywhere should have both passion and compassion, and lift their vision beyond boundaries.
- While at the UN headquarters, the Secretary-General met the new head of mission of the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), Major-General Michael Finn.
- He also visited Yitzhak Rabin's grave site on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.
LEBANON: SECRETARY-GENERAL, SECURITY COUNCIL CONDEMN BEIRUT SUBURBS CAR BOMBING
- The Secretary-General and the members of the Security Council have both strongly condemned the car bomb explosion in the southern Beirut suburbs on Thursday.
- In a statement, the Secretary-General said that such acts of violence are completely unacceptable and only reinforce the determination of the international community to continue to support Lebanon’s security and stability at a time of severe regional turbulence.
- During this period of heightened tensions, the Secretary-General urges all Lebanese to remain united, to rally around their State institutions and to focus on safeguarding Lebanon’s security and stability. He hopes that the perpetrators will be brought to justice as soon as possible.
- The members of the Security Council, in a press statement, stressed the importance for all Lebanese parties to respect Lebanon’s policy of disassociation and to refrain from any involvement in the Syrian crisis, consistent with their commitment in the Baabda Declaration.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL BRIEFS SECURITY COUNCIL ON EGYPT
- The Security Council received a briefing on Egypt from Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson in consultations on Thursday afternoon.
- Following that briefing, Ambassador Maria Cristina Perceval, the Security Council President, said that Council members expressed their condolences to the victims in Egypt and regretted the loss of lives. She said that Council members believe that the parties should exercise maximum restraint, stop the violence and advance national reconciliation.
- Asked whether the Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs would visit Egypt, the Spokesperson said that Jeffrey Feltman has been asked by the Secretary-General to conduct some regional consultations in several countries after the conclusion of the Secretary-General's current trip to the Middle East. While some of the stops are still pending, Mr. Feltman does hope to meet Egyptian interlocutors in Cairo next week.
- Asked whether the League of Arab States has been in contact with the United Nations, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has been in touch with a number of leaders in the region to discuss Egypt.
THOUSANDS OF SYRIAN REFUGEES CROSS INTO NORTHERN IRAQ
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says that thousands of Syrians crossed into northern Iraq on Thursday in a sudden, massive movement.
- Refugee Agency field officers present described waves of people "streaming" over the recently constructed bridge at Peshkhabour. The first group of Syrians, some 750 people, crossed over the pontoon bridge at Peshkhabour at the Tigris River before noon. Later in the afternoon, a much larger group of 5,000 to 7,000 people followed.
- The vast majority of the new arrivals are women, children and elderly persons, mainly from Aleppo, Efrin, Hassake and Qamishly.
- As of today nearly 2 million Syrians have fled the war and registered as refugees or applied for registration. Two-thirds of these have arrived this year.
- There are now more than 684,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon, 516,000 in Jordan, 434,000 in Turkey, 154,000 in Iraq (not including the latest arrivals) and 107,000 in Egypt.
SOMALIA: 800 CASES OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE REPORTED SINCE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that during the first half of this year, there were some 800 cases of sexual and gender-based violence reported in the Somalia capital, Mogadishu.
- The Office said that rape continues to be perpetrated by unknown armed men and men wearing military uniform and that the internally displaced continue to be the most affected by sexual and gender-based violence.
- The Office said that survivors were provided with medical assistance, psycho-social support, and legal counseling by humanitarian partners.
- The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said that some one-third of the victims of sexual violence are children.
D.P.R.K.: HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION OF INQUIRY TO START HEARINGS IN SEOUL NEXT WEEK
- A United Nations-mandated commission looking into the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) will begin a series of public hearings in Seoul next week. The hearings are aimed at gathering information from a variety of witnesses, including those who recently fled the DPRK.
- Michael Kirby, chairman of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the DPRK, said the panel decided to take public testimony to help raise international awareness of conditions in the country. The public hearings in Seoul will be held from 20-24 August. He also added that the DPRK Government has not responded to the requests of the UN team to be allowed into the DPRK.
- Mr. Kirby said that the inquiry will be impartial with no preconceptions.
CHEMICAL WEAPONS TEAM’S DEPARTURE TO SYRIA IMMINENT: Asked about the visit by the chemical weapons team to Syria, the Spokesperson said that their departure to Syria is imminent.
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO HOLD PRESS ENCOUNTER ON MONDAY: On Monday at 12:30 p.m., the Secretary-General will have a press encounter here on his recent travels. As a result, there will be no noon briefing on Monday.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
17 - 23 AUGUST 2013
(This document is for planning purposes and is subject to change.)
Saturday, 17 August
There are no major events scheduled for today.
Sunday, 18 August
There are no major events scheduled for today.
Monday, 19 August
Today is World Humanitarian Day.
At 9:30 a.m., in the South Lobby of the Secretariat Building, there will be a wreath-laying ceremony to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Baghdad bombing, organized by the United Nations Staff Union.
At 9:45 a.m., in the Trusteeship Council Chamber in the Conference Building (CB), there will be an annual memorial service hosted by the Secretary-General in memory of the United Nations personnel who lost their lives in the line of duty between September 2012 and June 2013, with special tribute to fallen staff and survivors of the Canal Hotel bombing in Baghdad.
At 10:30 a.m., the Security Council will hold an open debate on “The Protection of civilians in armed conflict”.
At 12:30 p.m., in the Press Briefing Room (S-237), the Secretary-General will have a press encounter on his recent travels.
In Geneva, the Human Rights Council Working Group on communications will begin its 13th session. The session will end on 23 August.
Tuesday, 20 August
In the morning, the Security Council will be briefed on the Middle East, followed by consultations.
At 8:00 a.m., in Conference Room 6 in the North Lawn Building (NLB), there will be a briefing on “The areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ)” organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
Wednesday, 21 August
At 1:15 p.m., in Conference Room 7 (NLB), there will be a panel discussion on “Humanitarian law, peacekeeping/intervention forces and troop–contributing countries: Issues and challenges”, organized by the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization (AALCO).
Thursday, 22 August
In the morning, the Security Council Troop-Contributing Countries (TCC) will hold a meeting on the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
At 11:00 a.m., the Security Council will hold consultations on Sudan and South Sudan.
In the afternoon, the Security Council will hold consultations on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and Sudan sanctions.
Friday, 23 August
Today is International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and Its Abolition.