PRESS BRIEFING BY BRENDEN VARMA, SPOKESPERSON FOR GENERAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT VOLKAN BOZKIR
MYANMAR: PRESIDENT CONCERNED BY COUP’S HUMANITARIAN IMPLICATIONS AS ASSEMBLY PLANS FOR BRIEFING BY SPECIAL ENVOY
- The President said this morning that he is deeply concerned that the military coup in Myanmar could further exacerbate the problems of the most vulnerable, including Rohingya Muslims. He condemned the coup once again and called for unrestricted humanitarian access to Rakhine State and other parts of the country.
- He also expressed his concern last Sunday about developments in Myanmar, calling for the immediate release of detained political leaders. He said that attempts to undermine democracy and rule of law are unacceptable.
- And he stressed that military leaders must adhere to democratic norms and respect public institutions and civilian authority.
- In General Assembly resolution A/RES/75/238, entitled “Situation of human rights of Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar”, the Assembly requested the Secretary-General “to provide all assistance necessary to enable the Special Envoy on Myanmar to… report to Member States every six months, or as warranted by the situation on the ground.”
- Given recent developments and strong interest of the membership, the President’s office is looking to schedule this briefing as soon as practically possible – in consultation with the Special Envoy.
- Asked whether the President was holding meetings on Myanmar, in addition to issuing statements, the Spokesperson said the President’s office was currently focused on the envisioned briefing to the General Assembly by the Special Envoy. At the same time, he added, it was possible that Myanmar would be raised during the President’s regular coordination meeting with the Secretary-General and Security Council President this Friday afternoon.
PRESIDENT TO GET COVID-19 VACCINE THIS SUNDAY
- The President was supposed to get the first dose of his COVID-19 vaccine through the New York State Department of Health this morning. But because of snowy conditions, the Javits Center’s vaccination site is closed today.
- The President’s appointment has therefore been rescheduled for this Sunday, 7 February.
- He is scheduled to get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
URGENT MULTILATERAL ACTION NEEDED TO COMBAT HUMAN TRAFFICKING
- The President sent a video message to an event in Vienna today to launch the 2020 UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Global Report on Trafficking in Persons.
- He welcomed the latest report, which draws on data from 148 countries. He said it offers valuable insights into how we can strengthen trafficking prevention by examining the socioeconomic conditions that create trafficking risks.
- Calling human trafficking an odious crime, he called for urgent multilateral action to protect those at risk.
PRESIDENT WELCOMES EFFORTS TO PROMOTE CREATIVE ECONOMY
- The President sent a video message yesterday to an event launching UNESCO’s Roadmap for the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development.
- He said that, while often underestimated, the creative economy contributes to 3% of global GDP and employs 30 million people, including more young people than any other sector.
- He noted that he would host a General Assembly High-level event on culture and sustainable development this May, which will focus on how best to leverage cultural and creative industries for pandemic relief and recovery plans.
JOINT LETTER BY PRESIDENTS OF GENERAL ASSEMBLY & SECURITY COUNCIL TO LAUNCH SECRETARY-GENERAL SELECTION PROCESS
- The Spokesperson was asked about the Secretary-General selection and appointment process – specifically about whether any candidates had been presented for the position of Secretary-General.
- The Spokesperson responded that the President was still waiting to hear back from his Security Council counterpart on the draft joint letter that the two Presidents would send out to Member States. He said he understood that Council members were currently consulting with each other on the draft.
- The letter from the two Presidents would launch the process, and at that point, candidates might be presented by Member States – if that is what Member States wished.