PRESS BRIEFING BY BRENDEN VARMA, SPOKESPERSON FOR GENERAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT VOLKAN BOZKIR
PRESIDENT SHOCKED BY KIDNAPPING OF NIGERIAN GIRLS
- The President said this morning that he was shocked by today’s kidnapping of 317 girls from their school in northwest Nigeria. He noted that this is the 3rd mass abduction of children since December in the country.
- He stressed that no child anywhere should be afraid to go to school.
- And he expressed hope that the girls were unharmed and would be freed soon.
MYANMAR: PRESIDENT CALLS ON MILITARY TO EXERCISE RESTRAINT AS SPECIAL ENVOY BRIEFS ASSEMBLY
- The General Assembly is currently meeting to hear a briefing by the UN’s Special Envoy on Myanmar.
- The envoy, Christine Schraner Burgener, briefed the Assembly virtually from Switzerland, and now Member States are taking the floor in the General Assembly Hall.
- In his opening remarks, the President reiterated his deep concern over developments in Myanmar – and his strong condemnation of the military coup and its worrying impact on the democratic process and civilian rule.
- He said the use of lethal force against peaceful demonstrators was particularly alarming – and that he was saddened that these actions had already led to the loss of innocent lives.
- He added that he was also troubled by the mass arrests of those involved in organizing peaceful protests.
- The President noted with concern the growing consolidation of power by the military in state organs, which risked pushing Myanmar back towards isolation from the international community.
- He said, “It is not too late for the military to reverse the negative trajectory on the ground and respect the will of its people. The military must exercise restraint and help foster a path back to civilian rule in line with the outcome of the recent elections.”
- He also called on all leaders to act in the interest of Myanmar’s democratic reform, engage in meaningful dialogue, refrain from violence, fully respect human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, and immediately release political detainees.
- And he called on the military authorities to grant the UN Special Envoy access to Myanmar to assess the situation firsthand.
- The President stressed that the international community must continue to stand united and speak with one voice in support of the democratic transition, human rights and the rule of law.
- He also said we must not forget about the plight of the Rohingya Muslims and other minorities.
ASSEMBLY TO CONSIDER HUMAN RIGHTS IN SYRIA NEXT WEEK
- The President will convene an informal plenary meeting this coming Tuesday, 2 March, on the situation of human rights in Syria.
- A high-level panel will brief the General Assembly on the human rights situation and also focus on: violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights; and recommendations to facilitate improvements in civilian protection and accountability measures.
- That panel will be comprised of six individuals from the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic (COI), as well as civil society.
SPOKESPERSON PROVIDES UPDATES ON SECRETARY-GENERAL SELECTION & APPOINTMENT PROCESS
- Asked for updates on the selection and appointment process for the position of Secretary-General, the Spokesperson confirmed that the President had received a letter from the Prime Minister of Portugal, nominating António Guterres for a second term.
- Asked if other regional groups should have a chance to present candidates, the Spokesperson said that was entirely up to Member States. In their joint letter to Member States on this topic, the Presidents of the General Assembly and Security Council noted that any Member States presenting candidates should do so in line with General Assembly resolution 69/321.