HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY, SPOKESPERSON FOR
SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
TUESDAY, 7 AUGUST 2012
SECRETARY-GENERAL VOICES DEEP CONCERN OVER SECURITY CONDITIONS IN EASTERN D.R. CONGO
- The Secretary-General has conveyed a message to the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, which is meeting in Kampala on Tuesday to discuss the situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
- In his message, the Secretary-General says that he is deeply concerned about the security conditions in eastern DRC, particularly caused by the violent activities of the M23 group of mutineers and other national and foreign armed groups. He says that the humanitarian consequences for civilians have been grave and that the worsening situation also poses a threat to stability in the wider Great Lakes region.
- The Secretary-General noted a decrease in M23 military operations since late July, and he called for the group to halt immediately all destabilizing activities. He condemned the violence and serious human rights violations committed by the M23, as well as other armed groups, against civilians, adding that all persons responsible must be held accountable. He is also deeply concerned at the continuing reports of external support to the M23, and he called for an end to all such support without delay.
- Valerie Amos, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, has arrived in Goma, in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- She is expected to visit a camp for recently displaced people in Kibati, which is north of Goma.
SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS ON CENTRAL ASIA
- The Security Council held consultations on Tuesday morning on the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA). The head of the Regional Centre, Miroslav Jenca, briefed Council members.
- In the afternoon, the Security Council will hold consultations to discuss a wide range of developments with the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman.
SYRIA FACING MEDICINE SHORTAGE, SAYS WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION
- The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday that Syria is experiencing shortages in medicines and pharmaceutical products. The country had previously produced 90 per cent of its medicines and drugs locally. However, output has slowed considerably because of the violence and the damage to pharmaceutical plants.
- To ensure access to essential health services, the WHO has been delivering medicines and trauma kits since the beginning of the crisis. However, it has called on the international community for urgent support to cover the growing critical gaps in drugs and medicines inside Syria.
- The World Food Programme (WFP) has sent enough food for 28,000 people to be distributed over the next few days in Syria’s largest city, Aleppo.
- Since clashes started there in July, the Programme has reached close to 46,000 people in the city with urgent food assistance.
- However, following the recent escalation of fighting in Damascus, it has become extremely difficult to secure trucks for deliveries and labour for packaging. Yet, despite these challenges, the Programme has managed to dispatch food for some 228,000 people in Aleppo, Damascus and other areas.
- This month, WFP aims to reach 850,000 people inside Syria, but says that it faces a shortfall of nearly $60 million for its operations in the country.
- Asked about the pullout of UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) observers from Aleppo, the Spokesperson said that the UN team there had been temporarily relocated due to security reasons. He added that, as soon as it is feasible to return, the observers will go back.
- In response to questions, the Spokesperson noted the difficulties of getting trucks to distribute food for the WFP, again because of security constraints.
- Asked about the fate of UNSMIS, he said that was a matter for the Security Council to decide. The United Nations would plan for different scenarios. The Secretary-General has not yet presented a report to the Security Council.
- Asked about the six-point peace plan, Nesirky said that the plan had been approved by the Security Council and was widely accepted by the international community. The principles of the plan continue to have credibility as the building blocks for peace.
- Asked about the kidnapping of Iranians in Syria, the Spokesperson said it was a serious situation and added that all people being held against their will should be freed.
- Asked whether the United Nations believes that Syria is in a civil war, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations is guided by the determination made by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
SOMALIA: U.N., TRANSITIONAL FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SIGN ACTION PLAN
- The Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia signed an action plan with the United Nations on Monday, committing the national army and allied groups under its control to end the killing and maiming of children in armed conflict.
- The action plan came in response to the UN Security Council’s call in Resolution 1882 from 2009 for concrete and time-bound action plans to halt and prevent the killing and maiming of children by parties listed in the Secretary-General’s Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict.
U.N.REFUGEE AGENCY APPEALS TO BANGLADESH TO ALLOW AID AGENCIES TO ACCESS THOSE FLEEING MYANMAR
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is appealing to the Government of Bangladesh to ensure that assistance from non-governmental organizations continues to be provided to some 40,000 unregistered people who have fled Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
- Last week, Bangladeshi authorities ordered three non-governmental organizations to stop their activities in and around unofficial camps near Cox’s Bazaar in south-east Bangladesh.
- The Agency is urging the Government of Bangladesh to reconsider its decision in line with its long tradition of hospitality towards people who fled Myanmar over the years.
- It is also watching developments in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state, following reports of renewed violence over the weekend.
- The UN and its humanitarian partners have drawn up a response plan to assist some 80,000 people who have been displaced or are otherwise affected in Rakhine state since inter-communal clashes broke out in early June.
- For its part, the World Food Programme (WFP) says that its food aid was distributed to nearly 103,000 people in June and 80,000 people in July in Rakhine state.