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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, SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

FRIDAY, 01 JULY 2016

 

MIDDLE EAST: SECRETARY-GENERAL STRESSES NEED FOR AFFIRMATIVE STEPS TO REVERSE NEGATIVE TRENDS

  • In a statement issued today, the Secretary-General said that he is pleased that, in collaboration with his counterparts from the Russian Federation, the United States and the European Union, the Quartet has today released its report highlighting the major threats to the two-state solution and providing recommendations on how to preserve and advance this goal.
  • He underscored the report’s finding that there is a strong need for affirmative steps to reverse negative trends on the ground.
  • These trends risk entrenching a one-state reality of perpetual occupation and conflict which is incompatible with realising the national aspirations of both peoples.
  • The Secretary-General reiterated the Quartet’s pledge to actively support an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the basis of United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973). 
  • He also reiterated that a negotiated two-state outcome that meets Israeli security needs and creates a sovereign Palestinian state, ends the occupation that began in 1967, and resolves all permanent status issues is the only way to achieve an enduring peace.
  • He strongly encouraged the parties to engage with the Quartet on implementing the report recommendations so as to rebuild hope among Palestinians and Israelis in a political solution and to create the conditions to return to meaningful negotiations.
  • The Secretary-General is also concerned by what appears to be a spike in violence over the past two days. He condemned all acts of terror and violence.

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO VISIT CHINA

  • On Wednesday, 6 July, the Secretary-General will arrive in Beijing, China, from New York. The following day, he will meet with President Xi Jinping as well as other senior officials, including Premier Li Keqiang, State Councillor Yang Jiechi and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
  • The Secretary-General is expected to visit the China Helicopter Centre for Peacekeeping Operations and the Beijing Red Cross Emergency Rescue Centre.
  • He will attend the 10th Anniversary Commemorative Meeting of the Adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. He is scheduled to meet with Chinese philanthropists in support of the global development agenda.
  • On 9 July, he will travel to Hangzhou, where he will attend the Inaugural Xin Philanthropy Conference, highlighting the role of the private sector in promoting sustainable development.
  • He is also planning to visit the city’s International Centre on Small Hydro Power, which was established by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Chinese government to develop renewable energy sources and promote south-south cooperation on climate change.
  • On 10 July, he is expected to travel to Suzhou, where he will visit the city’s Industrial Park, before leaving for New York. The Secretary-General will be back in New York later that day.  

U.N. CONTINUES TO INVESTIGATE ALLEGATIONS OF SEXUAL EXPLOITATION AND ABUSE IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

  • The Spokesman provided an update on the ongoing investigations being conducted jointly with the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) on the allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse in the Kemo prefecture in the Central African Republic (CAR).
  • The Mission has received information on two new allegations in the area involving two minors. The United Nations will notify the concerned Member State and request for national investigators in order to look into those allegations.  Furthermore, the Mission has received additional information of possible further historic allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse.
  • The information is receiving preliminary review and assessment by OIOS to determine its credibility. All subsequent actions are to be taken as required in an expeditious manner.
  • As for an update on the other allegations already reported, OIOS has said that all complainants have been interviewed by the joint teams. Approximately 50 witnesses have been identified, and are also being interviewed in order to corroborate the testimonies.
  • An additional OIOS senior investigative manager has been deployed to help in completing the investigation. Those investigations are being conducted jointly with Burundi and Gabon. Most of those allegations date back to 2014 and 2015, which makes the investigations more complex.
  • On a separate issue, Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, Atul Khare, has arrived in the Central African Republic today. During his visit, he will also look into issues of conduct and discipline, among other issues. 

U.N. AND PARTNERS CALL FOR SUPPORT FOR SYRIANS STRANDED ALONG BORDER WITH JORDAN

  • The United Nations and its partners continue to call for the immediate provision of life-saving assistance, including water, food and basic health care, to more than 85,000 Syrians estimated to be stranded along the Syrian and Jordanian border area in makeshift tented settlements.
  • As of 1 July, the northern border with Syria remained sealed following the 21 June terrorist attack on a border command post in north-east Jordan that killed seven soldiers and injured over a dozen. 
  • The provision of water through a partner of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is the only assistance that has been provided since the attack, but due to disruptions within the community and insecurity, water has not been delivered consistently enough to keep pace with needs. In the extreme heat, delivery of life-saving water, food and basic medical care is absolutely critical.
  • The United Nations and its partners are calling for immediate facilitation to provide life-saving assistance to 62,000 people besieged in the Syrian towns of Zabadani, Foah, Madaya and Kefraya, most of whom are women and children.
  • While the Government of Syria has approved the delivery, differences between the parties to the so-called "four towns agreement" continue to bar our teams from delivering assistance.

OVER 600 PEOPLE KILLED DURING VIOLENCE AND ARMED CONFLICT IN IRAQ – WARNS U.N.

  • A total of 662 Iraqis were killed and another 1,457 were injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in Iraq in June, according to casualty figures recorded by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI). Those numbers include 382 civilian deaths and 1,145 wounded civilians.
  • The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Ján Kubiš, said that although there had been hope for a period of calm during Ramadan, unfortunately the violence continued to take its toll on civilians.
  • He said that the terrorists did not spare an occasion to strike at markets, mosques and areas where people gathered in order to exact maximum casualties among civilians, in total disregard of the values of Islam.
  • In a statement yesterday, Mr. Kubiš strongly condemned the terrorist suicide bombing at a popular market in a southwest neighbourhood of Baghdad in which a number of civilians were killed or wounded.
  • UNAMI is also concerned about other violence which left a number of people killed or wounded in two separate gun attacks recently in central Baghdad.

LIBYA: U.N. MISSION RELEASES LATEST CASUALTY FIGURES

  • The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) today issued casualty figures for June – there have been an estimated 49 civilian casualties, including 18 deaths and 31 injuries, because of hostilities across Libya.   
  • The majority of civilian deaths were caused by vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices, followed by air strikes.

U.N. SPECIAL COORDINATOR AND LEBANESE PRIME MINISTER DISCUSS IMPORTANCE OF NATIONAL UNITY

  • The United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Sigrid Kaag, met with Lebanese Prime Minister Tamam Salam today in advance of her visit to Washington and New York. She reiterated her condolences to the families of the victims of the recent terrorist attacks.
  • She said that they had discussed the importance of national unity, vigilance to secure and stabilize Lebanon in this very volatile and challenging period.
  • She praised the work of the Lebanese Armed Forces, saying that very few countries could continue to provide this level of security against the threats the country has faced.

HAITI: PEACEKEEPING CHIEF STARTS VISIT TO ASSESS POLITICAL AND SECURITY SITUATION

  • The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, arrived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, yesterday for a three-day visit at the request of the United Nations Security Council.
  • The objective of the visit is to assess the political security situation, and seek the views of the Haitian authorities and other stakeholders on current issues, political electoral challenges as well as the future United Nations’ presence in Haiti.
  • Mr. Ladsous is carrying the Secretary-General and the Security Council's message to the National Assembly to urgently take a decision and determine a viable arrangement for provisional governance that can ensure the completion of the electoral process and a return to full constitutional order without further delays.
  • Mr. Ladsous will meet with representatives of the national institutions, political actors, the private sector, civil society and human right organizations.

U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY SUPPORTS EFFORTS IN GREECE TO PRE-REGISTER ASYLUM SEEKERS

  • The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said today that over 15,500 asylum seekers were pre-registered on mainland Greece in a large-scale effort launched by the Greek Asylum Service with UNHCR’s support. 
  • The exercise helps to identify those eligible for family reunification or relocation to another EU country and will also identify persons with specific needs.
  • The asylum seekers residing in open temporary accommodation structures have received cards, valid for one year, allowing them to reside legally in Greece and have the right to access services, pending the full lodging of their asylum application.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENT

  • In response to questions regarding the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) vote yesterday appointing a new Independent Expert, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General believes that the Human Rights Council marked another important step forward when it decided to appoint a UN Independent Expert to monitor and report on levels of violence and discrimination against LGBT people globally.
  • He added that it is clear that there’s still so much that needs to be done to protect people from violence, tackle discrimination at work, end bullying in schools and ensure access to healthcare, housing and essential services.