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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 MARTIN NESIRKY,
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

TUESDAY, 6 AUGUST 2013

SECRETARY-GENERAL SPEAKS WITH EGYPTIAN FOREIGN MINISTER ABOUT TRANSITION

  • The Secretary-General spoke today with Egyptian Minister for Foreign Affairs Nabil Fahmy regarding Egypt’s transition. The Secretary-General stressed that an inclusive and peaceful political process is the only viable way forward in Egypt.
  • He called for an end to all violence and urged the interim authorities to ensure protection of the fundamental human rights of all Egyptians, including freedom of speech and assembly. He reiterated his call for the release of Mr. Mohammed Morsy.
  • The Secretary-General urged Egypt's leaders to launch a genuine and credible reconciliation process.  He reminds them of their responsibility to determine the direction of Egypt's future.

CHEMICAL WEAPONS TEAM FOR SYRIA REASSEMBLES IN THE HAGUE

  • In response to questions, the Spokesperson said that the Head of the Mission looking into chemical weapons in Syria, Professor Åke Sellström, and his team have reassembled in The Hague, where they are now completing their preparations prior to their departure to Syria.
  • At the same time, UN Headquarters is working to finalize the legal and logistical modalities for the investigations on the basis of the agreement reached last month with Syria. It is anticipated that these preparations will be completed within the next days, following which the date of the Mission in Syria will be announced.

U.N., REGIONAL AND SUB-REGIONAL ORGANIZATIONS LEARN FROM COLLABORATION, SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL

  • The Secretary-General spoke this morning at a Security Council open debate on cooperation between United Nations and regional and sub-regional organizations. He said that it was a welcome opportunity to explore the nature of challenges faced when working together and consider how to improve cooperation.
  • In his remarks, the Secretary-General also said that the UN and regional and sub-regional organizations need to learn from the lessons of their collaborations to build ever more innovative and flexible partnership arrangements that draw on their respective strengths.
  • He said that regional and sub-regional organizations have deep knowledge, unique insights and strong local networks. He said that the United Nations adds to this equation its universal membership and legitimacy, long experience and operational capacity in the area of international peace and security.
  • The President of the Security Council issued a statement. In that, the Council expressed its intention to consider further steps to promote closer cooperation between the United Nations and regional and sub-regional organizations.

HUMANITARIAN EFFORTS FOR DISPLACED PEOPLE IN DARFUR AFFECTED BY WORK PERMIT ISSUES – U.N. ENVOYS

  • The Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan, Ali Al-Za’tari, and the Representative of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in the country, Kai Nielsen, said on Tuesday in a joint statement that humanitarian efforts for displaced people in Darfur have had to be reduced because the Government has not renewed the work permits for many of the Refugee Agency’s international staff.
  • Of the 37 Refugee Agency international staff based in Darfur, only 17 have valid permits to continue their work. Permits in the other twenty cases have not been renewed, despite follow-up by the Agency with the relevant Government authorities.
  • The humanitarian situation in Darfur remains critical, especially for displaced communities.
  • The Humanitarian Coordinator and the Refugee Agency say that the lack of work permits will directly impact projects related to health, education, basic services, livelihood support and the provision of emergency shelter. They called on the Government to renew permits for all Refugee Agency staff so that they could resume their work in Darfur.  

SUDAN: U.N. RELIEF OFFICE COORDINATES HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE AFTER FLOODS

  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA, says that it is working with the national flood task force and Sudanese Red Crescent Society to coordinate the humanitarian response after heavy rains and flash floods in the country. Some assistance is already being provided to affected communities.
  • The Government of Sudan has reported that, in the last few days, 98,500 people have been affected by the heavy rains. Khartoum and River Nile state have been the worst-affected.

BAHRAIN: U.N. RIGHTS CHIEF CONCERNED OVER RECOMMENDATIONS TO TOUGHEN PUNISHMENTS UNDER 2006 LAW

  • The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has expressed concern about the recommendations made recently to toughen punishments under a 2006 law in Bahrain dealing with terrorism. That law was amended by royal decree on 31 July in accordance with the recommendations.
  • While recognizing the responsibility of States to maintain law and order, the Human Rights Office said that any measure should respect international human rights standards.
  • Among other things, it reiterates that the right to nationality is a fundamental right protected by article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which provides that no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his or her nationality. Any deprivation of nationality provided for by law must comply with procedural and substantive standards, including the principle of proportionality.

PAKISTAN: LOCAL AUTHORITIES CONTINUE RESCUE IN AREAS AFFECTED BY FLOODING, SAY U.N. RELIEF OFFICE

  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that local authorities in Pakistan continue rescue and relief efforts in areas affected by flash flooding following recent monsoon rains. The authorities informed the UN humanitarian office that the monsoon rains have killed an estimated 80 people, injured 36 others and displaced more than 81,000 people so far.
  • The World Health Organization will provide emergency health and diarrhoeal disease kits, water purification tablets and malaria medicine for 5,000 people. Other humanitarian agencies have offered their support and stand ready to assist.
  • Meanwhile, UN agencies and partners are working with local authorities to reach people with live-saving aid in neighbouring Afghanistan.
  • The World Food Programme will provide food distribution and two months of food rations. UNICEF is working with the International Organization for Migration to provide water and sanitation support.

YEMEN: U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY RECORDS ARRIVAL OF MORE THAN 46,000 REFUGEES DURING FIRST SIX MONTHS OF 2013

  • In Yemen, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has so far recorded the arrival of more than 46,000 refugees and migrants during the first six months of this year. The Agency remains concerned about the increasingly high numbers of people making the dangerous trip by boat from the Horn of Africa.
  • The number of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants in Yemen has been rising for the past six years. Previously, Somali refugees made up between one-third and one-quarter of the total arrivals. But during the first six months of this year, more than 80 percent came from Ethiopia.

U.N. CULTURAL CHIEF CONDEMNS KILLING OF JOURNALISTS IN THE PHILIPPINES

  • The Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), has condemned the killing of Mario Sy, who is the third journalist killed in the Philippines in two days.
  • Irina. Bokova described the killing as very alarming and urged the authorities to bring the culprits of these crimes to justice.
  • Mario Sy, a freelance contributor to Sapol News Bulletin newspaper, was shot by an unidentified man who entered his house in the province of South Cotabato.

SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR RENEWED COMMITMENT TO CREATE WORLD FREE OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS

  • The Secretary-General has called for renewed commitment to create a world free of nuclear weapons in his message to commemorate the victims of a nuclear attack in Hiroshima, Japan.
  • He thanked the survivors for their efforts to educate the public about the horrors of nuclear war and the importance of nuclear disarmament. He said that they have helped to transform the city of Nagasaki from a scene of devastation into a symbol of peace.
  • He also appealed for universal adherence to the United Nations Charter, which emphasizes peace, disarmament, a prohibition on threats or use of force, and social and economic development.

INVESTIGATIONS CONCERNING U.N. ENVOY FOR HIV/AIDS ENDED, SAYS SPOKEPSPERSON

  • Asked about investigations concerning the Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, the Spokesperson said that it is the UN's understanding that those investigations have ended.