HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
THURSDAY, 28 JULY 2016
SECRETARY GENERAL ASKS INDONESIA TO STOP EXECUTIONS
· The Secretary-General appeals to the Government of Indonesia to stop the reportedly imminent execution of a number of prisoners for alleged drug-related crimes.
· The United Nations opposes the use of capital punishment in all circumstances. Under international law, if the death penalty is to be used at all, it should only be imposed for the “most serious crimes,” namely those involving intentional killing. Drug crimes are generally not considered to meet this threshold.
· The Secretary-General urges President Joko Widodo to consider declaring a moratorium on the use of the death penalty in Indonesia and to move towards its abolition.
SOUTH SUDAN IS ‘ON THE BRINK OF AN ABYSS': SECRETARY-GENERAL
· The Secretary-General spoke at today’s Security Council debate on peacebuilding in Africa, and he said that as the meeting was taking place, South Sudan remains precariously poised on the brink of an abyss. He warned that the promises of the new State for peace, justice and opportunity have been squandered.
· The Secretary-General said that he was appalled by the scale of sexual violence documented by UN Human Rights teams, and he demanded accountability for all atrocities and urged the leaders of South Sudan to commit to the peace process.
· The Secretary-General said that instability also persists in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya and Mali, and a number of other nations. But he added that in other countries, effective institutions are being built, and he noted that inclusive and accountable institutions are the cement that bonds States and citizens.
· The Secretary-General said that, despite praise for the Peacebuilding Fund in the recent peace and security reviews, it faces a desperate funding shortfall. To deliver on the collective commitment to sustain peace, he asked governments to help the Peacebuilding Fund Pledging Conference in September to achieve the funding target of $300 million dollars.
U.N. BEGINS RELOCATIONS OF DISPLACED PERSONS IN SOUTH SUDAN
· The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) reports that the initial phase of voluntary relocations of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from the Tomping Compound to the Protection of Civilians (PoC) site 3 adjacent to UN House in Juba began today.
· The decision to relocate people was made due to inadequate humanitarian infrastructure and capacity in Tomping. It is also intended to provide them with better conditions and humanitarian services that are already in place in the Protection of Civilians site.
· This is a coordinated effort by UNMISS and humanitarian partners, including the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which is providing logistical support.
· The Mission says that it had sought security assurances from the Government, National Security Service and Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) in order to guarantee the safe passage of the displaced people from Tomping to Protection of Civilians site 3.
· UNMISS will be providing force protection to the convoy from Tomping to the final destination, while the Joint Verification Monitoring Mechanism, with support from the South Sudan National Police Service, agreed to deploy in strategic areas along the route to ensure the convoy's timely passage.
U.N. SYRIA ENVOY SAYS ALEPPO IS ‘COMPLETELY ENCIRCLED’
· The Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, spoke to reporters in Geneva today and told them that fighting on the ground is impeding humanitarian aid in the country. He is seriously concerned about Aleppo, saying that the city is de facto besieged, because it is almost completely encircled militarily.
· On the humanitarian side, the Special Envoy is urging the two co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), the Russia Federation and the United States, to expedite discussions on how to reduce violence, along the lines of the meetings in Moscow and then in Laos, particularly between Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Secretary of State John Kerry.
· Mr de Mistura said that his Deputy Special Envoy, Ramzy Ezeldine Ramzy, will head to Damascus in the next few days to discuss with the Syrian authorities some ideas that the Office of the Special Envoy has developed in order to facilitate the launch in August of the Intra-Syrian Talks.
· The Special Envoy is proceeding to Tehran to talk to the Iranian authorities.
U.N. HUMANITARIAN OFFICIAL ASKS 48 HOUR PAUSE IN SYRIAN FIGHTING
· The Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien today issued the following statement:
· The situation for people trapped in eastern Aleppo remains of the gravest concern. As I told the UN Security Council on Monday, we demand safe, regular and sustained access to the quarter of a million people trapped behind the front lines. All options must be considered.
· I am aware of the measures proposed today by the Russian Federation to set up humanitarian corridors.
· It is critical that the security of any such corridors is guaranteed by all parties and that people are able to use them voluntarily. No one can be forced to flee, by any specific route or to any particular location. Protection must be guaranteed for all according to the principles of neutrality and impartiality.
· The UN proposal for 48-hour humanitarian pauses to enable cross-line and cross-border operations is what we as humanitarians require. This is to ensure that we are able to see for ourselves the dire situation of the people, assess their needs, adjust to logistical constraints and assist people where they are now with their life-saving and protection needs.
· In any event, all parties are required and obliged, under long-established and accepted International Humanitarian Law, to allow safe, unimpeded, impartial and immediate humanitarian access for civilians to leave and for aid to come in.
UNICEF WELCOMES HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH REPORT ON CHILD ABUSE
· The UN’s Children Fund, UNICEF, welcomed today the Human Rights Watch report entitled Extreme Measures: Abuses against Children Detained as National Security Threats.
· UNICEF urges governments to prioritize the rights of children by implementing the report’s recommendations and complying with international juvenile justice standards.
U.N. FOOD AGENCY RESPONDS TO ‘RACE AGAINST TIME’ IN SOUTHERN AFRICA
· The Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO, presented today a response plan to what it describes as a race against time in drought-ravaged Southern Africa to ensure 23 million people receive farming support.
· With only a few weeks before land preparation begins for the next main cropping season, the plan aims to ensure that seeds, fertilizers, tools, and other inputs and services are provided to small-holder farmers to cope with the El Niño-induced drought in the region.
· The FAO warns that at least $109 million in funding is required to avoid these 23 million people being dependent on humanitarian assistance until mid-2018.