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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 STEPHANE DUJARRIC,

SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

TUESDAY, 7 JULY 2015

 

IN NORWAY, SECRETARY-GENERAL SPOTLIGHTS NEED TO STEP UP FUNDING TO ACHIEVE UNIVERSAL EDUCATION

  • The Secretary-General continues his visit to Norway today. Earlier in the day, he addressed the opening of the Oslo Summit on Education for Development.  In his remarks, the Secretary-General noted that this Summit was organized just six days before the International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa. These two meetings are not just linked on the calendar, he said -- they are here to secure commitments to deliver on the promises of the sustainable development agenda.
  • The Secretary-General stressed the need to increase funding to achieve universal education, and at the same time, to improve the coordination of financing. In that regard, he welcomed the launch of a Global Commission on Financing Education, at a time when less than 2 percent of humanitarian aid goes to education.
  • He also held a joint press conference with the Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg, and met with Julia Gillard, the former Australian Prime Minister and Chair of Board of Directors of the Global Partnership for Education, and Gordon Brown, the UN Special Envoy for Global Education.
  • The Secretary-General is traveling to the high Norwegian Arctic, to board a research vessel RV Lance. In the run-up to the Paris Conference, the Secretary-General will be briefed by scientists and observe first-hand the effects of climate change on the region, which he previously visited in 2009. This visit will include an excursion to a Norwegian glacier Blomstrandbreen to see the dramatic changes to the ice, as well as briefings at the Kings Bay Marine Lab and the Svalbard Satellite Station.

SECURITY COUNCIL TO DISCUSS BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA, WEST AFRICA

  • The Security Council is meeting this afternoon on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Deputy Secretary-Secretary-General will address the Council, as will the High Commissioner for Human Rights by video conference.
  • Following that meeting, it will receive a briefing from Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for West Africa.

U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICE VOICES CONCERN OVER WORSENING SITUATION IN YEMEN, URGES PROTECTION OF CIVILIANS

  • The UN Human Rights Office says that it is deeply concerned about the worsening human rights and humanitarian situation in Yemen, where civilians continue to bear the brunt of the conflict. The Office says that the total number of civilians reportedly killed and injured since 27 March is 1,528 and 3,605, respectively.
  • Over the past few weeks, the Human Rights Office’s team on the ground has been able to document human rights violations and abuses and violations of international humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict. These include violations of the right to life, abduction, ill-treatment, restrictions on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, attacks against humanitarian workers, medical staff and facilities, as well as journalists and media organisations. Dozens of civilians have been abducted and subjected to arbitrary detention in Sana’a.
  • The Human Rights Office has also received worrying reports that local Popular Resistance committees affiliated with exiled President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi have summarily executed at least six people perceived to be loyal to the Houthi-Saleh coalition and committed acts of ill-treatment.
  • The High Commissioner’s Office once more urges all sides to the conflict to ensure that international human rights law and international humanitarian law are respected, and to ensure that all feasible measures are taken to ensure civilians are protected.

PACE OF RECONSTRUCTION IN GAZA TOO SLOW – U.N. HUMANITARIAN OFFICIAL

  • One year after the escalation of hostilities in Gaza, the Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Robert Piper, expressed continuing concern over the humanitarian situation and the slow pace of reconstruction.
  • The 51-day hostilities left $1.4 billion in direct and indirect damages and $1.7 billion in economic losses to Gaza. More than 1,400 civilians were killed and many thousands injured.
  • Aid agencies have supported close to 90,000 families in Gaza with temporary shelter, food assistance has been provided to over 1.4 million Palestinians and some 85,000 children have received psychosocial support. But despite these efforts, today some 100,000 people remain internally displaced; 120,000 people are still waiting to be reconnected to the city water supply. The humanitarian appeal for Gaza remains 70 per cent under-funded.

AS SOUTH SUDAN APPROACHES 4TH ANNIVERSARY, NUMBER OF CIVILIANS IN PROTECTIONS CONTINUES TO CLIMB – U.N. MISSION

  • As South Sudan this week marks the 4th anniversary of its independence, the numbers of people in protection sites and who have been displaced by the conflict continue to rise.
  • The UN Mission in the country (UNMISS) says that the estimated number of civilians seeking safety in six of its protection sites has now topped 150,000.
  • Meanwhile, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says that more than 730,000 South Sudanese are refugees and some 1.5 million have become internally displaced.
  • UNHCR says that recent weeks have seen an escalation in violence in Unity and Upper Nile states, with heavy fighting forcing tens of thousands of people to flee to the bush and swamplands -- areas that are difficult to reach.
  • The agency also says that assistance programmes across the region are severely underfunded – with an inter-agency appeal is only funded at 13 per cent.
  • UNMISS has condemned a fatal shooting of an internally displaced person that took place in the Bentiu protection of civilian site on Sunday. According to eyewitnesses, two armed men in military uniforms were seen inside the site and fired the shot that killed the displaced person.
  • The UN Mission says that any attack on a protection-of-civilians site constitutes a direct assault against the United Nations and may constitute a war crime.

U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF DEEPLY CONCERNED OVER IMPLICATION OF NEW CHINA NATIONAL SECURITY LAW

  • The High Commissioner for Human Rights voiced his deep concern over the human rights implications of a new Law on National Security adopted in China on 1 July.
  • The High Commissioner said that the law is of concern due to its very broad scope coupled with the vagueness of its terminology and definitions. The High Commissioner also stressed that the law should clearly and narrowly define what constitutes a threat to national security, and identify proper mechanisms to address such threats in a proportionate manner.

CURRENT NATIONAL TARGETS INSUFFICIENT TO CURB GLOBAL TEMPERATURE RISE, SECRETARY-GENERAL WARNS

  • In a message to an international scientific conference hosted by UNESCO in Paris today, the Secretary-General said that world leaders have an historic opportunity this year to adopt a new sustainable development agenda and to reach a global agreement on climate change. 
  • Both will have enormous consequences for this and future generations, he said.
  • The Secretary-General said that the world is at a critical crossroads and that all countries must be part of the solution. He noted that it is already clear that current Intended Nationally Determined Contributions submitted by countries will not be sufficient to meet the target of a maximum temperature rise of 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
  • Clearly, strong action still needs to be taken, the Secretary-General emphasized.

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION URGES GOVERNMENT LEVY ON CIGARETTES TO CURB TOBACCO EPIDEMIC

  • At the launch of its latest report on the global tobacco epidemic 2015, World Health Organization (WHO) stresses the need for appropriate levels of government tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products to curb tobacco epidemic.
  • The report says that such action is a proven, low-cost measure to control demand for tobacco that saves lives and generate funds for stronger health services.

U.N. HEALTH BODY WELCOMES NEW EBOLA REPORT

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) today welcomed the report from the Ebola Interim Assessment Panel. The report focused on three areas - the International Health Regulations, WHO’s health emergency response capacity, and its role and cooperation with the wider health and humanitarian systems.
  • In August, the Director-General of WHO is expected to convene a Review Committee of the International Health Regulations, and is already moving ahead with some of the panel’s recommendations, including the development of the global health emergency workforce and a contingency fund to ensure that necessary resources are available to mount an initial response.
  • The Secretary-General will host the high-level International Ebola Recovery Conference in New York this Friday.