HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
WEDNESDAY, 28 SEPTEMBER 2016
DELIBERATE ATTACKS ON HEALTHCARE FACILITIES IN SYRIA AMOUNT TO WAR CRIMES – SECRETARY-GENERAL
- The Secretary-General spoke at the Security Council open debate today on healthcare in armed conflict, telling Council members that this morning we awoke to reports of airstrikes on two more hospitals in Aleppo.
- The Secretary-General said that those in Syria using ever more destructive weapons know exactly what they are doing. They know they are committing war crimes.
- He also said that even a slaughterhouse is more humane, adding that hospitals, clinics, ambulances and medical staff in Aleppo are under attack around the clock.
- The Secretary-General also pointed to attacks on healthcare workers and facilities in Yemen and Pakistan, and told the Council that there must be action and accountability.
- International law is clear, he added: medical workers, facilities and transport must be protected. The wounded and sick, civilians and fighters alike, must be spared. Deliberate attacks on hospitals are war crimes. Denying people access to essential health care violates international humanitarian law.
ANNOUNCEMENT OF SECRETARY-GENERAL’S UPCOMING TRIP TO EUROPE
- The Secretary-General will leave for Geneva on 1 October to meet with representatives from the World Economic Forum, the International Committee of the Red Cross and with UN staff. He will also be meeting with officials of the City of Geneva, as well as the State Council of the Republic and the Canton of Geneva.
- On 3 October, the Secretary-General will hold a press conference and give a major address to the students and faculty of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (HEID) in Geneva. He will also be addressing the Executive Committee of UNHCR and will then travel to Bern on 4 October, where he will meet with the Federal Council of Switzerland.
- Also that day, the Secretary-General will travel to Belgium to attend the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan hosted by the European Union and the Government of Afghanistan, which will take place on 5 October.
- From Brussels, he will travel on to the Vatican, where he will participate in the First Global Conference on Faith and Sport. He is also expected to have a private audience with His Holiness Pope Francis.
- On 6 October, in Rome, the Secretary-General will meet with President Sergio Mattarella of Italy, as well as with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and other Italian officials.
- On 7 October, he will be in Hamburg, Germany, to attend the 20th Anniversary of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the independent judicial body established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to adjudicate disputes arising out of the interpretation and application of the Convention.
- While in Hamburg, he is also scheduled to receive the National German Sustainability Award and meet with Joachim Gauck, Federal President of Germany, and other senior officials.
- The next day, the Secretary-General will be in Reykjavik, Iceland, to address the Assembly of the Arctic Circle, the largest network of international dialogue and cooperation on the future of the Arctic with participation from governments, NGOs, corporations, universities, environmental associations and indigenous communities. The Secretary-General will receive an award on behalf of the Assembly for his work in the fight against climate change.
- The Secretary-General will also deliver a speech at the University of Iceland on international peace and security on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the 1986 Gorbachev-Reagan Summit, and meet with President Jóhannesson of Iceland, as well as the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister of Iceland.
- The Secretary-General is expected to return to New York on 9 October.
SECRETARY-GENERAL REFLECTS ON CONTRIBUTIONS OF FORMER ISRAELI PRESIDENT, SHIMON PERES
- In a statement issued last night, the Secretary-General expressed his sadness at the passing of Shimon Peres, the former President of the State of Israel and offered condolences to his family and friends, as well as to the people of Israel.
- The Secretary-General said Shimon Peres played a central role in Israel’s founding and worked tirelessly for a two-State solution that would enable Israel to live securely and harmoniously with the Palestinians and the wider region, a commitment duly recognized when he received the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat.
- The Secretary-General added that he had met Mr. Peres on many occasions, and always benefitted from his views. Even in the most difficult hours, Mr. Peres remained an optimist about the prospects for reconciliation and peace.
INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT’S JUDGEMENT IN AL MAHDI CASE IMPORTANT STEP FORWARD FOR MALI – SECRETARY-GENERAL
- The Secretary-General has welcomed the judgement of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Al Mahdi case.
- The Secretary-General noted that this judgement represents an important step forward in the fight against impunity in Mali. He further noted that the path to healing wounds between communities in the country must be premised in greater accountability, justice and the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali.
- The Secretary-General expressed his appreciation for the efforts undertaken by UNESCO and the UN Mission in Mali in support of national authorities, to protect and reconstruct Mali’s heritage and to preserve cultural diversity in the county.
WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME DELIVERS URGENTLY-NEEDED FOOD TO IRAQI TOWN FOR FIRST TIME IN TWO YEARS
- For the first time in more than two years, the World Food Programme (WFP) has distributed urgently-needed food for people in and around the northern Iraqi town of Shirqat, 80 kilometres south of Mosul. Until this month, the town was under siege and cut off from humanitarian aid since 2014.
- Through its local partner Muslim Aid, WFP distributed a one-month supply of food for families in the Khadhraniya area of Shirqat.
- The people of the town have been living under very harsh conditions, struggling to obtain water, food, medical services and a functioning local market.
- More than 3 million Iraqis have been displaced by conflict since mid-June 2014. In response, WFP has provided food assistance to more than 1 million vulnerable, displaced Iraqis across all 18 governorates.