HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
WEDNESDAY, 27 JULY 2016
SECRETARY-GENERAL TELEPHONES ‘CONCERN’ OVER EXTENT OF STATE OF EMERGENCY IN TURKEY
· Today, the Secretary-General spoke to Mevlut Cavusoglu, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Turkey, expressing his solidarity and sympathies to the Government of Turkey and the families of the victims of the 15 July coup attempt and seeking an update on current investigations and measures to hold those responsible to account.
While recognizing the extraordinary circumstances prevailing in the country following the coup attempt, the Secretary-General expressed his expectation that Turkey adhere to its international human rights obligations, upholding fundamental rights and universal principles, including the freedom of expression, freedom of movement and peaceful assembly, independence of the judiciary and of the legal profession, right to fair trial and strict adherence to due process.
The Secretary-General also expressed his concern over the extent of the recent governmental decree regarding the implementation of the state of emergency, which enlists a number of measures restricting the full exercise of individual rights.
While welcoming the announced release of 1,200 military detainees, the Secretary-General referred to worrying reports of mistreatment and abuse of some of those who are still in custody and their detention conditions, and underscored his deep concern about the scope of continuing widespread arrests, detentions and suspensions, which reportedly cover many segments of Turkish society and Government institutions.
· Credible evidence on those under investigation has to be presented swiftly to the judicial system so that legal determination could be made before the court of law.
· Heartened by the Government and opposition rallying around upholding the Republic, the Secretary-General trusts that the Government and people of Turkey will transform this moment of uncertainty into a moment of unity, preserving Turkey's democracy.
TOP U.N. OFFICIALS UPDATE SECURITY COUNCIL ON LAKE CHAD BASIN
· The heads of the UN’s political and humanitarian sections briefed the Security Council today on the situation in the Lake Chad Basin and the disruption caused by Boko Haram’s violent attacks in the region.
· Jeffrey Feltman, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, said that Boko Haram attacks were continuing mainly in north-eastern Nigeria and southern Niger, and to a lesser extent in northern Cameroon and the Lac region of Chad. The terrorist group persists in targeting innocent civilians, including through suicide attacks, often using young children.
· Mr. Feltman noted allegations of human rights abuses in the affected countries, especially against youth belonging to Muslim communities.
· He said that to prevent the human rights situation from deteriorating further, concerned States must ensure accountability for serious violations by national forces and that the use of force is in full compliance with international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law.
· He added that the United Nations supports national and regional efforts to prevent and combat terrorism and to ensure that the perpetrators of terrorism are brought to justice. However, counter-terrorist operations must abide by the rule of law and international human rights norms.
· Stephen O’ Brien, the Emergency Relief Coordinator, informed the Security Council that across the Lake Chad Basin, the UN estimates that more than nine million people need humanitarian assistance. About 2.8 million of these people have been displaced, fleeing violent attacks in their towns and villages.
· Mr. O’Brien said that children are particularly vulnerable, especially the 1.7 million children who have been displaced across the Lake Chad Basin. Children risk being abducted and forcibly recruited by Boko Haram to take part in the violence including acting as suicide bombers.
· He added that last month, the Nigerian authorities rightly declared a nutrition emergency for Borno State. Direct reports from the field indicate that affected communities are rapidly running out of food. Mr. O’Brien warned that if we do not act now, the human suffering will only get more extreme.
U.N. STEPPING UP PATROLS TO PROTECT CIVILIANS IN SOUTH SUDAN
· The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) continues to receive deeply disturbing reports of sexual violence, including rape and gang rape, by soldiers in uniform and men in plain clothes against civilians, including minors, around UN House and in other areas of Juba.
· Since the start of the current violence in Juba, the Mission has documented at least 120 cases of sexual violence and rape against civilians. It has stepped up its patrols in and around the Protection of Civilians sites, as well as in Juba city.
· In addition, mitigating measures are in place where UNMISS force provides protection at designated times to women when they to go out of the Protection of Civilians sites to collect firewood and procure other non-food items.
· We have called on all parties to the conflict to take personal responsibility for the immediate sanctioning of their soldiers involved in these unspeakable acts of violence.
U.N. CONCERNED WITH RISING TENSIONS IN YEMEN; CALLS FOR HUMANITARIAN PAUSE IN THE WAR
The Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, concluded a two-day visit to Nouakchott yesterday, where he participated in the League of Arab States Summit.
· The Special Envoy represented the Secretary-General during the Summit and delivered his message in the opening ceremony. He also held a series of side meetings with Arab political figures in order to update them on the latest developments regarding the peace process and the escalations of hostilities in the country, especially in Al-Sarari and Taizz.
· The Special Envoy will resume his participation in the Yemeni peace talks held in Kuwait tomorrow, which had been moderated by his advisors during his short absence.
· Meanwhile, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, issued a statement expressing extreme concern at reports of rising tensions in Taizz Governorate and in particular the reinforcement of the closure on Taizz city and the escalation of hostilities in the area of Al-Sarari.
· He reminded all parties to the conflict of their obligation under international humanitarian law to allow sustained and unconditional humanitarian access to all people in need of assistance.
· He called on all parties to agree immediately to a humanitarian pause in order to protect civilians and to work with the UN and humanitarian partners to facilitate the treatment and evacuation of the war wounded, as well as the delivery of urgently needed medicine and other assistance.
U.N. CONDEMNS USE OF EXPLOSIVE DEVICES IN SYRIAN POPULATION AREAS
· The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) expressed its concern over the reports of an increase in violence in Qamishly City in Syria.
· Initial reports indicate that at least 40 people were killed, including children, and many more injured, after explosions detonated in a populated area this morning. Several residential buildings have collapsed and others are significantly damaged, with unknown numbers of civilians reportedly still trapped under the debris.
· The national hospital reports dozens of patients in critical condition and in urgent need of surgery. The hospital reports shortages of essential medical supplies, including adrenaline, syringes and antibiotics.
· The UN strongly condemns the use of explosive devices in populated areas. Such attacks are an inexcusable and abhorrent violation of human rights and humanitarian law.
THIRD ATTACK REPORTED ON DISPLACED PERSONS CAMP NEAR BAGHDAD
· The UN Refugee Agency, (UNHCR), says that another attack occurred at Al Salam camp for displaced families, south of Baghdad, earlier today. UNHCR strongly condemned the attack, which is the third such incident to occur during the past three months.
· Three mortar shells were fired into the camp, one falling in the centre of the camp and two others falling in a market area, injuring four children who have been taken to hospital for treatment.
SECRETARY-GENERAL REITERATES CALL TO CEASE ACTIONS THAT IMPERIL TWO-STATE SOLUTION
· Earlier this week, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, condemned the advancement of plans for settlement units in Gilo and efforts to re-establish an outpost near Hebron.
· The demolitions in Qalandiya and East Jerusalem on Monday night reflect Israel’s policy of denying Palestinian development in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as highlighted by the Quartet Report. The Secretary-General reiterates the Quartet’s call on Israel to cease and reverse such actions as they imperil the two-state solution.
U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF CALLS ON INDONESIA TO STOP EXECUTIONS
· He stressed that under international law, and in particular the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which Indonesia has ratified, in countries which have not abolished the death penalty, it may only be used for “the most serious crimes” which has been interpreted to mean only crimes involving intentional killing.
· Drug-related offences do not fall under this threshold.
· Indonesia suspended a four-year de facto moratorium on the death penalty in March 2013, in a decision that runs counter to an international trend towards the abolition of the death penalty.
U.N. DRUG OFFICE TO EXPAND TARGETING OF DA’ESH FUNDING
· The Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Yury Fedotov, told a security conference in St. Petersburg, Russia, today that “Terrorism is now more of a threat to international peace and security than ever.”
· He said “Challenges range from the use of information technologies to spread violent extremist ideologies, to the flow of foreign terrorist fighters across borders.”
· The rapidity of these changes could be seen in the growth of Da’esh, he said.
· · He said the UNODC is planning to expand work on countering financing of foreign fighters with a new project supporting States to specifically target Da’esh funding.