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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

FRIDAY, 29 MAY 2015

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL HONOURS FALLEN PEACEKEEPERS, SAYS MISSIONS IN MALI AND SUDAN MOST HAZARDOUS

  • At a wreath-laying ceremony for Peacekeepers Day at the UN Headquarters today, the Secretary-General honoured the 126 heroes from 38 countries who died while serving under the UN flag in 2014 – and the 3,366 who have lost their lives in the history of UN Peacekeeping. He said last year was the seventh year in a row that more than 100 peacekeepers lost their lives.
  • The conditions were especially hazardous in Mali, he said, as well as in Darfur. In Liberia, for the first time we lost peacekeeping personnel, he added, saying dangers are all too prevalent in the course of the peacekeepers’ life-saving work.
  • The Secretary-General said today’s solemn remembrance is not just a look back but a time to look ahead with resolve. He recalled that the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations is preparing its report and said he looked forward to their recommendations.

SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS NEW DEPUTY SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR SOUTH SUDAN

  • The Secretary-General has appointed Eugene Owusu of Ghana as his Deputy Special Representative in the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS).
  • He will also serve as United Nations Resident Coordinator, Humanitarian Coordinator, and Resident Representative of UN Development Programme (UNDP).
  • He will succeed Toby Lanzer of the United Kingdom, who will be taking up the post of Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel region. The Secretary-General is grateful for Mr. Lanzer’s dedicated service to the UN and the Republic of South Sudan.
  • Mr. Owusu brings to the position extensive experience in international development and humanitarian affairs. He is currently the UN Resident Coordinator, Humanitarian Coordinator in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, a position he has held since August 2010.

NO COUNTRY CAN TACKLE TERRORISM ALONE, SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL AT SECURITY COUNCIL

  • The Secretary-General spoke at the Security Council’s open meeting on the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters and said that the flow of such fighters that have joined the ranks of Da’esh and other terrorist groups continues to grow. There has been an estimated 70 per cent increase in foreign terrorist fighters worldwide between the middle of 2014 and March 2015.
  • He said that no country can tackle this challenge alone. Member States have to enhance their cooperation and exchange information, develop effective border controls and strengthen their criminal justice systems, in accordance with the rule of law and human rights standards. Full compliance with international law is central to success.
  • The Secretary-General added that we have to address the conditions conducive to young men and women being lured by violent extremism.
  • Radicalization is the essential precursor to individuals becoming foreign terrorist fighters. Building effective, accountable and inclusive governance and institutions is an important element of these preventive efforts.

SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES YOUTH TO LEAD AND ACT WITH COURAGE

  • In his remarks at a high-event commemorative event marking the 20th anniversary of the World Programme of Action for Youth, the Secretary-General said that 2015 represents an opportunity for transformation and that as the largest generation of youth the world has ever known, young people are in the driving seat of this change.
  • He also asked Governments to put young people at the centre of national development plans and called on young people across the world to lead and act with courage.
  • The Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi, also addressed the General Assembly.

RENEWED FIGHTING DISPLACES OVER 50,000 PEOPLE IN MALI

  • The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reported today that renewed fighting between armed groups in northern Mali in the past four weeks has led to some 57,000 people fleeing their homes, according to Malian authorities.
  • The newly-displaced join the ranks of over 43,000 internally displaced people throughout the country who have not yet returned to their homes since the conflict in 2012 between governmental forces and various rebel groups.
  • The total number of displaced people in Mali stands now at just over 100,000, mainly in the northern part of the country.
  • In a statement issued yesterday, the Secretary-General expressed his sincere condolences to the family of a peacekeeper of Bangladesh who was killed in a shooting incident in Bamako earlier.

U.N. ENVOY HOPES EAST AFRICAN SUMMIT WILL HELP REINFORCE NEED FOR DIALOGUE IN BURUNDI

  • The Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region and facilitator of the political dialogue, Said Djinnit, spoke to the press today in Bujumbura, Burundi.
  • Despite persisting divergences on the core issue of the presidential term, he said the parties agreed to pursue their dialogue and have exchanged views on confidence building measures and mutual commitments regarding the management of the electoral calendar, guarantees and measures for the holding of free, transparent, inclusive and peaceful elections, and Constitutional political rights and freedoms.
  • Said Djinnit is travelling to Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania today, to participate in the East African community Summit that takes place on Sunday. He said he hoped this summit will provide further guidance and impetus to reinforce the Burundian dialogue. 
  • Finally, he called on all Burundian parties to exercise restraint and to refrain from any action that could generate violence and increase tension.

U.N. ENVOY FOR SYRIA CONTINUES TO HOLD CONSULTATIONS WITH SYRIAN STAKEHOLDERS IN GENEVA

  • The Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, continued his meetings within the framework of the Geneva Consultations today. He met with a delegation of Civil Society organizations in the United States working on the Syrian crisis.
  • He said afterward that listening to Civil Society organisations - especially those who work on advocacy and the medical doctors who put their lives at risk every day to save the victims of chemical attacks or shelling- was yet another reminder of the daily realities of the Syrian civilians who pay the highest toll of this conflict. He said it was also an opportunity to reflect on the aspirations of the diaspora.
  • The Special Envoy also met with delegations of European countries, namely Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.
  • Outgoing Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, whose last day is today, gave her last briefing to the Security Council, concerning Syria. She noted that it was fitting that she was talking about the Syrian crisis since it has taken more of her time and attention than any other crisis in the world.

U.N. ENVOY FOR LIBYA FACILITATES MEETING WITH MAYORS ACROSS THE COUNTRY

  • In the framework of the ongoing political dialogue to end the country’s crisis, the UN Support Mission for Libya (UNSMIL) today is facilitating a meeting of about 40 mayors and representatives from cities across the country today and tomorrow.
  • Participants will be briefed on the developments in the Libyan political dialogue and will discuss other items on the agenda, including the follow-up on the previous meetings and updates on the confidence-building measures of significance to municipalities and their communities.
  • The Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Bernardino Leon, and the Foreign Minister of Tunisia also addressed the meeting.

IRAQ: U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY DEEPLY CONCERNED ABOUT PEOPLE FLEEING VIOLENCE IN RAMADI

  • The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) today said it was deeply concerned about the desperate situation for thousands of people fleeing the central Iraqi city of Ramadi who continue to face challenges reaching safe areas.
  • According to the the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 85,000 people have fled Ramadi since the fighting began in mid-May. About 85 per cent of those remain in Anbar governorate and more than 180,000 people are estimated to have been displaced by the fighting.

THAILAND: U.N. OFFICIAL STRESSES SAVING LIVES MUST BE A PRIORITY AT REGIONAL MEETING ON MIGRATION

  • The UN Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Volker Türk, addressed the special meeting on irregular migration in the Indian Ocean, which took place in Bangkok today.
  • He stressed that saving lives must be the number one priority and that there is an urgent need to reach a common understanding about more effective and predictable disembarkation options in the region.
  • Ahead of the meeting, UNHCR, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) shared a 10-point plan of action with concerned Governments. It included proposals to strengthen search and rescue operations, and ensure timely disembarkation, identify and seek solutions for refugees, and support the return of economic migrants. 

SECRETARY CONCERNED ABOUT URGENT HUMANITARIAN NEEDS IN D.P.R.K.

  • In a statement issued yesterday, the Secretary-General noted with concern the 2015 Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Needs and Priorities that was presented today in Geneva by the UN Country Team in the DPRK. He appreciates the engagement between the DPRK authorities and the UN in its preparation.
  • Urgent humanitarian priorities remain in the country this year in the areas of food and agriculture, health and nutrition, water and sanitation, as well as disaster preparedness.

U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICE WELCOMES ABOLITION OF DEATH PENALTY IN NEBRASKA

  • The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) earlier today welcomed the abolition of the death penalty in the state of Nebraska on Wednesday, making it the nineteenth state in the US to have done so. Nebraska has not executed anyone since 1997.

U.N. CALLS FOR ACTION AGAINST ILLICIT TOBACCO TRADE

  • The World Health Organization calls for action against illicit tobacco trade ahead of World No Tobacco Day which will be commemorated on 31 May.
  • So far, only 8 countries have ratified the Protocol to Eliminate the Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products, short of the target of 40 needed to become international law.

92 MEMBERS PAY THEIR DUES IN FULL

  • Today Ukraine became the 92nd Member State to have paid its regular budget dues in full. 

 

***The guests at the noon briefing were Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations and Atul Khare, Under-Secretary-General for Field Support.