HIGHLIGHTS OF THE PRESS BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY,
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
FRIDAY, 27 SEPTEMBER 2013
SECURITY COUNCIL TO HOLD FORMAL MEETING ON SYRIA
- The President of the Security Council announced that a formal meeting will be held on the situation in the Middle East at 8:00 on Friday evening. That meeting will concern Syria.
- The Secretary-General and the Joint Special Representative for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, will hold a high-level preparatory meeting for the International Conference for Syria at 6:30 Friday evening.
- Asked whether the Secretary-General is pleased about the developments in the Security Council on Syria, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has been calling for a long time for Security Council unity on Syria. He is closely engaged on the topic and would await the Security Council meeting later Friday.
- He added that the Secretary-General also continues to focus on holding an international conference on Syria in Geneva.
U.N. CHEMICAL WEAPONS TEAM RESUMES FACT-FINDING ACTIVITIES IN SYRIA
- Since its return to Syria on 25 September, the Mission under Prof. ?ke Sellström has been able to resume its fact-finding activities related to all pending credible allegations of the use of chemical weapons. Those allegations include the 19 March incident at Khan al-Asal, reported first by Syria and subsequently by other Member States. As previously agreed with Syria, the other allegations include the 13 April incident at Sheikh Maqsud, reported by the United States, and the 29 April incident at Saraqueb, reported by France and the United Kingdom.
- In addition, the Mission has continued to follow up with Syria and to evaluate information it has provided on three additional allegations it reported, including the incidents at Bahhariyeh on 22 August, at Jobar on 24 August, and at Sahnaya on 25 August.
- In light of the proximity of these locations to Damascus, the Mission has undertaken preliminary visits to a field hospital in relation to the Jobar and Sahnaya incidents, where it has collected blood and DNA samples.
- It should be recalled that the decision to proceed with an investigation for any given allegation is made on the basis of the Mission’s technical and scientific assessment of the available information.
- In any event, under the General Assembly-approved guidelines, the Mission is obliged to evaluate all available information related to all allegations reported by Member States, for the purpose of preparing its final report. In this sense, and as the Secretary-General has previously stated, the final report of the Mission will be comprehensive.
- The Mission expects to finalise its activities in the country early next week.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONCERNED ABOUT FINDINGS OF NEW U.N. CLIMATE CHANGE REPORT
- The Secretary-General welcomes the report of the Fifth Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and is deeply concerned by its conclusions. The report clearly demonstrates that human influence on the climate system is now evident in most regions of the globe and it is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.
- Limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. The Secretary-General urges all countries to make every effort needed to reach a global legal climate agreement by 2015, and to take action swiftly in order to limit the effects of climate change.
SECRETARY-GENERAL SPEAKS ON CLIMATE CHANGE, RULE OF LAW AND COMPREHENSIVE NUCLEAR-TEST-BAN-TREATY
- The Secretary-General began his day by attending a meeting of leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum, at which he underscored how climate change is the greatest single threat to our sustainable development agenda and to our long-term security.
- He noted that Pacific Islands are among those that contribute least to global warming, yet suffer the most.
- The Secretary-General also addressed a ministerial meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement on cooperation for the rule of law at the international level.
- He said that in these turbulent times, the UN Charter must guide all of our efforts to keep peace between our nations.
- At a conference on facilitating the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty, the Secretary-General called on all members of the international community to break the stagnation in the disarmament process.
- He said that we must secure the Treaty’s entry into force, enforce a complete ban on nuclear testing and take further concrete steps towards achieving and creating a world without nuclear weapons.
- The Secretary-General also addressed the closing session of the UN Alliance of Civilizations’ Group of Friends ministerial meeting.
- On Friday afternoon, at 3 p.m., the Secretary-General will host a meeting of the principals of the Middle East Quartet.
- The Deputy Secretary-General has also been attending a number of events, including one on the Sudan/South Sudan consultative forum meeting and a meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
D.R.CONGO: U.N. COORDINATOR CONCERNED ABOUT DETERIORATING HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN ITURI DISTRICT
- The Humanitarian Coordinator in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Moustapha Soumaré, has expressed his concern about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Ituri district in the north-eastern Orientale province of the country.
- He also condemned the killing this week of 10 civilians, including three health workers. These are the latest victims in a month-long escalation of violence.
- The United Nations and humanitarian partners have delivered 1.8 tons of medicine, 80 tons of food and essential household items to the affected area. However, much more is needed to be done as most of the 100,000 people in need have not yet been reached because of the security situation.
- The Spokesperson also issued a statement on the death of a peacekeeper from the Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- In response to earlier questions, the Spokesperson said that fighting had broken out in Mabenga, north of Goma, when patrols of the M23 and the Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC) ran into each other.
- The UN Mission reports that two M23 were killed in the clash and one FARDC soldier was wounded. The fighting has since stopped. The Mission is closely monitoring the situation and stands ready to protect civilians at risk in the area.
- The Mission said on Friday that there has been no more fighting in regard to this specific incident.
SUDAN: U.N. RIGHTS OFFICE CONCERNED OVER NUMBER OF PEOPLE KILLED DURING DEMONSTRATIONS
- The UN Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Friday that it is deeply concerned about reports that a significant number of people have been killed during demonstrations taking place across the country since this past Monday.
- The Office has called on all parties to refrain from resorting to violence and on protesters to maintain the peaceful nature of their demonstrations.
U.N. RIGHTS CHIEF WARNS OF CONTINUED EXCLUSION, SEGREGATION OF ROMA IN EUROPE
- In response to questions about reports regarding the Roma community in France, the Spokesperson said that the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has expressed her concern over the continued social exclusion and segregation of Roma in many European States.
- Ms. Pillay has also said that alongside worrying reports about Roma increasingly becoming the targets of hate speech, demonstrations and violence by non-State actors, the authorities themselves have in some cases adopted policies that increase the vulnerability of Roma populations.
- She has also noted with concern that forced evictions of Roma in France were taking place in ways that were incompatible with international standards and national legislation.
- She also stressed that this issue needs to be resolved with full respect for human rights.
- The Secretary-General has often spoken out in support of marginalized and vulnerable groups and he is monitoring these developments closely.
SECRETARY-GENERAL HAS NOTED IMPORTANCE OF INTERNAL REPORT ON SRI LANKA: Asked about the internal review panel on Sri Lanka, the Spokesperson noted that the report and its findings are important. The Secretary-General had said at the General Assembly that an internal review of UN action at the end of the war in Sri Lanka identified a systemic failure: Member States did not provide the United Nations system with support to meet the tasks they themselves had set; and the system itself unfortunately did not adapt properly or deliver fully.
SECRETARY-GENERAL MEETS WITH IRANIAN PRESIDENT: Asked about the Secretary-General’s meeting on Thursday with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the Spokesperson noted that they had discussed human rights, among other subjects, including the recent release of Nasrine Setoudeh and other human rights activists.
** The guests at today’s Noon Briefing were Mr. Gyan Chandra Acharya, the Under-Secretary-General for Least Developed Countries (LDC), Landlocked and Small Island Developing States and Mr. Nassirou Bako Arifari, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Benin. They discussed the launch of a new LDC report entitled “Productive Capacity Building in the Least Developed Countries and the Post 2015 Development Agenda”.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
28 SEPTEMBER – 4 OCTOBER 2013
(This document is for planning purposes and is subject to change.)
Saturday, 28 September
Today is World Rabies Day.
Today is World Heart Day.
At 4:00 p.m., at the Great Lawn in Central Park, there will be a Global Citizen Festival, organized by the Global Citizen and the United Nations.
Sunday, 29 September
There are no major events scheduled for today.
Monday, 30 September
At 10:00 a.m., in the Economic and Social Council Chamber (CB), there will be a meeting of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries (Twelfth Annual Ministerial Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs).
At 11:00 a.m., in Conference Room 2 (CB), there will be an informal meeting on the “Preparatory process for the High-level Dialogue on International Migration and
Development”, organized by the Permanent Mission of Mexico.
At 3:00 p.m., in the Press briefing room, there will be an end-of-presidency press briefing by Mr. Gary Quinlan, Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations and President of the Security Council for the month of September.
In Geneva, at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there will be the 64th session of the Executive Committee. It will end on 4 October.
In Geneva, at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), there will be the 8th session of the Human Rights Council Working Group on Discrimination against Women in Law. It will end on 4 October.
In Geneva, at the OHCHR, the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture will hold the 38th session of the Board of Trustees. It will end on 4 October.
In Geneva, at the OHCHR, there will be the 56th session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). It will end on 18 October.
Tuesday, 1 October
Today is International Day of Older Persons.
The General Debate of the sixty-eighth session of the General Assembly will end.
At 9:30 a.m., in the ECOSOC Chamber (CB), there will be a briefing on “Building the resilience and capacity of African countries, regional and sub-regional institutions to pre-empt, and respond to humanitarian crises and disasters” (by the African regional economic communities, co-organized by the Permanent Observer Mission of the African Union, the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA) and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
In Geneva, there will be a press conference by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the Chair of the UNHCR Executive Committee at the end of the High-Level Segment on the Syria situation.
In Geneva, at the OHCHR, there will be the 14th session of the Meeting of States Parties to the Convention Against Torture (CAT).
Wednesday, 2 October
Today is International Day of Non-Violence.
At 11:00 a.m., there will be a press conference on High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development.
At 11:15 a.m., in Conference Room 2 (CB), there will be a special event on the occasion of the International Day of Non-Violence, organized by the Permanent Mission of India.
At 3:00 p.m., in Conference Room 7 (NLB), there will be a briefing on the “10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns”, organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Thursday, 3 October
At 9:00 a.m., in the General Assembly Hall (NLB), there will be a High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development.
At 11:00 a.m., in the Press briefing room, there will be a press conference on the General Assembly High Level Dialogue on Migration. Speakers will be Mr. Abdelhamid El Jamri, Chair of the Committee on Migrant Workers and Mr. Francois Crepeau, Special Rapporteur on the protection of migrants.
In Geneva, at the OHCHR, there will be a seminar on the right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications. It will end on 4 October.
Friday, 4 October
At 10:00 a.m., in the Economic and Social Council Chamber (CB), there will be a high-level discussion on the theme “Resilient Design for Sustainable Urbanization” (on the occasion of World Habitat Day, organized by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), in collaboration with the Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization, the Center for Resilient Design at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter.