HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ, DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
WEDNESDAY, 25 MAY 2016
DIPLOMACY ONLY WAY FORWARD TO RESOLVE COMPLEX SITUATION IN KOREAN PENINSULA – SECRETARY-GENERAL
- The Secretary-General arrived on Jeju Island in the Republic of Korea today, coming directly from Istanbul, Turkey, where he had attended the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS).
- The Secretary-General attended an official dinner this evening hosted by Hong Yong-pyo, Minister of Unification of the Republic of Korea. In his remarks at the dinner, he underscored that diplomacy is the only way forward to resolve the complex and dangerous situation on the Korean Peninsula.
- At the same time, he said, diplomacy must be firmly based on respect by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) for international law, particularly the decisions of the Security Council. Tomorrow, the Secretary-General will deliver opening remarks at the Jeju Forum before traveling onward to Japan.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR MORE SUPPORT FOR DEVELOPMENT GOALS AND AFRICA’S AGENDA 2063 ON INTERNATIONAL DAY
- In his message for Africa Day 2016, the Secretary-General urged all stakeholders to rally behind the transformative vision set out in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
- Highlighting the theme of this year’s commemoration, which focuses on the rights of women, the Secretary-General said that this shows the commitment of Africa’s leaders to place women – as key drivers and enablers – at the front and centre of all efforts to implement the development goals.
- He also called on Africa’s leaders to use its economic gains to address rising social and economic inequalities, and ensure that no African is left behind, adding that this will be crucial for tackling the root causes of conflicts, terrorism and violent extremism, as well as for fostering peace and stability in the continent.
LIBERIA: SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION TERMINATING SANCTIONS
- The Secretary-General today welcomed the Security Council resolution terminating the sanctions on Liberia. He noted that targeted sanctions measures have accompanied the consolidation of peace and the rebuilding of State institutions in the country since 2003. He added that these measures have been progressively adjusted as Liberia has met the benchmarks set out by the Council.
Today’s lifting by the Security Council of the remaining arms embargo on non-state actors further signals the significant progress made by Liberia and the sub-region in maintaining stability. The Secretary-General echoed the call in resolution 2288 (2016) on the Government of Liberia to ensure that all appropriate steps are taken to establish the necessary legal and administrative framework to combat the illicit trafficking of arms and ammunition.
- Following the adoption of the resolution, Security Council members also held a briefing on their recent mission to the Horn of Africa.
- This afternoon, the United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, will brief the Security Council by video teleconference on the progress of the talks taking place in Kuwait. Yesterday, Mr. Ould Cheikh Ahmed convened two bilateral meetings with the Government of Yemen delegation.
- Following those meetings, the Special Envoy said that we are moving towards a general understanding that encompasses the expectations and visions of the parties.
- He said that he is now working on overcoming various obstacles and addressing the specific details of an implementation mechanism. The discussions are complex and difficult, he said, but bring us closer to a comprehensive agreement.
GAZA: U.N. RIGHTS OFFICE CONCERNCED OVER INTENTIONS TO IMPLEMENT DEATH SENTENCES
- The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has expressed deep concern over the recent statements made by the authorities in Gaza, including by the Attorney General, of their intention to implement a number of death sentences, and it fears that the first executions may be imminent.
- The Human Rights Office reiterates that death sentences may only be carried out in extremely limited circumstances, and pursuant to a trial and appeals that scrupulously follow fair trial standards.
- The High Commissioner’s Office has serious doubts as to whether capital trials in Gaza meet these standards. It is also concerned about reports indicating that these executions will be implemented without the approval of the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, which is required under Palestinian law.
SPECIAL ADVISER URGES BURUNDIAN PARTIES TO WORK DILIGENTLY TO START VIABLE POLITICAL PROCESS FOLLOWING TALKS IN ARUSHA
- The Special Adviser to the Secretary-General, Jamal Benomar, is traveling to Bujumbura, Burundi, today following the conclusion of talks on Burundi that took place in Arusha, Tanzania.
- The Special Adviser hopes that the talks in Arusha were a first step towards genuine and inclusive dialogue. He welcomed the meetings and stressed the undeniable challenge of starting a viable political process. He urged all of those involved to work diligently in order for that to happen as soon as possible.
- Mr. Benomar has been consulting with various stakeholders who attended the talks and will continue to reach out to and consult with others who did not attend. During his visit to Arusha, he reiterated to former President Benjamin Mkapa that he and his team are ready to assist and support the facilitator in moving the process forward.
SOUTH SUDAN: HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR CONDEMNS RECENT KILLING OF AID WORKERS
- The Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, Eugene Owusu, has strongly condemned the killing of a Slovakian nun and medical doctor who was shot on 15 May 2016 in Yei, while on a humanitarian mission, and later died.
- He has welcomed the steps being taken by the authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice and is urging them to act swiftly.
- The nun, Sister Racková, was driving an ambulance when she was attacked. Her death brings the number of aid workers killed in South Sudan since the beginning of the conflict in December 2013 to 54.
- The Humanitarian Coordinator said that urged the Transitional Government of National Unity to strengthen the safety and security environment for aid workers.
HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR CALLS FOR SAFE ACCESS TO PEOPLE IN NEED FOLLLOWING KILLING OF MÉDECINS SANS FRONTIÈRES STAFF
- The acting Humanitarian Coordinator for the Central African Republic, Kouassi Lazare Etien, has condemned the killing of a Médecins Sans Frontières staff member who was shot dead on 18 April in an armed ambush in the area of Kouki, Ouham Province.
- He is urging all parties to ensure that those providing humanitarian assistance can safely access people in need and conduct their activities without hindrance.
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that humanitarian access in Central African Republic continues to be impeded by persisting insecurity and violent attacks.
- An increase in the number of violent incidents against humanitarian organizations in May has led to the suspension of some activities and even the relocation of staff to Bangui from some deep field locations.
UNPRECEDENTED FLOWS OF PEOPLE GENERATES NEW CRIMINAL OPPORTUNITIES, WARNS HEAD OF DRUGS AND CRIME OFFICE
- A high-level event was held today in Vienna, Austria, on the recently launched Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT).
- The four-year initiative marks a significant milestone in the global fight against trafficking and smuggling, and brings together the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the European Union in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF).
- Speaking at the event, the Executive Director of UNODC, Yury Fedotov, noted that for all of the positive effects of migration, these unprecedented flows of people are generating new criminal opportunities, particularly for migrant smugglers and human traffickers.
- By identifying proven good practices and lessons learned, GLO.ACT aims to prevent and address the two crimes within 13 strategically selected countries.
U.N. ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME LAUNCHES NEW CAMPAIGN TO MOBILIZE SUPPORT TO END ILLEGAL TRADE IN WILDLIFE
- The United Nations Environment Agency (UNEP) today launched a campaign ‘Wild for Life’ to mobilize millions to end illegal trade in wildlife.
- The Secretary-General said on the launch of the campaign that each year, thousands of wild animals are illegally killed, often by organized criminal networks motivated by profit and greed.
- "I call on all Governments and people everywhere to support the new United Nations campaign, Wild for Life, which aims to mobilize the world to end this destructive trade. Preserving wildlife is crucial for the well-being of people and planet alike," the Secretary-General said.
- UNEP Goodwill Ambassadors are lending their weight to the cause. Among them are Brazilian model Gisele Bündchen, who is fighting for sea turtles; four-time African Footballer of the Year Yaya Touré (Manchester City, Ivory Coast), who is backing elephants; and actor Ian Somerhalder (Vampire Diaries, Lost), who is rooting for pangolins.