HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
TUESDAY, 13 SEPTEMBER 2016
PAYING TRIBUTE TO DAG HAMMARSKJOLD, SECRETARY-GENERAL REITERATES CALL FOR REVIEW OF NEW INFORMATION ON HIS DEATH
The Secretary-General this afternoon will speak at the closing of the 70th session of the General Assembly and the opening of the 71st session.
In his remarks this afternoon, he will highlight that the 71st session of the Assembly will begin work in earnest on Monday with a Summit on the plight of refugees and migrants. The Secretary-General looks forward to working with all Member States to make the most of the presence of world leaders next week.
This morning, the Secretary-General laid a wreath in remembrance of the second Secretary-General, Dag Hammarskjöld, who died 55 years ago. At the wreath-laying, the Secretary-General renewed his call to the General Assembly to appoint an Eminent Person or Persons to review new information which may exist regarding the circumstances around his death and the loss of 15 others in their mission of peace.
The Secretary-General will hold a press conference in New York at noon tomorrow.
SENIOR U.N. OFFICIAL VOICES CONCERN OVER MEMBER STATES’ REFUSAL TO COOPERATE ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein spotlighted his concern over what he called the growing refusal on the part of an increasing number of Member States to grant his office or the Human Rights Council mechanisms access.
He stressed that human rights violations will not disappear if a government blocks access to international observers and then invests in a public relations campaign to offset any unwanted publicity.
The High Commissioner said that the States may shut his Office out, but they will not shut him up.
He noted that some States, such as the Republic of Congo, are fully cooperating, while others – such as Syria and Venezuela – are not.
The High Commissioner stressed that even where the powerful might seek to deflect his Office’s work and evade its scrutiny, it and other human rights actors will always continue to speak the truth and stand up for the rights of all people.
U.N. TEAMS INVESTIGATING ALLEGATIONS OF SEXUAL ABUSE IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
Regarding the ongoing investigations into sexual exploitation and abuse in the Central African Republic, the Spokesman said that the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) had been conducting investigations into the allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation in the Kemo prefecture.
The OIOS mission left Kemo on 2 September. In total, 31 OIOS staff members were deployed to the area over 137 days. They were supported by interpreters and UN Police seconded to OIOS by the Peacekeeping Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA). The investigators interviewed 435 complainants and witnesses in extremely austere and at times insecure conditions.
The investigations were conducted jointly with the Burundian and Gabonese National Investigative Officers, to whom OIOS is very grateful for their close and high-level cooperation.
OIOS is now reviewing the evidence and preparing final reports for transmission to Troop Contributing Countries for them to take appropriate action, to ensure accountability, within their respective judicial processes.
U.N. MISSION CONTINUES TO EXTRACT SOUTH SUDANESE CROSSING INTO D.R. CONGO
Regarding armed individuals and civilians from South Sudan who have crossed into the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) along with former Vice-President Riek Machar, the Spokesman said that the UN Peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) has continued to extract this group of individuals from the Garamba National Park in the DRC.
Yesterday, the Mission extracted an additional 118 persons on humanitarian grounds. To date 752 individuals affiliated with the SPLM/A-IO have been extracted. Among those extracted, 631 are in UN-run facilities in three locations receiving medical treatment or recovering. Security arrangements are in place in all locations.
The UN continues to engage with both the DRC and the South Sudan authorities as well as regional actors to encourage them to find a solution to the presence of South Sudanese armed individuals in the territory of the DRC. Authorities of both countries are regularly informed of actions taken on the ground.
ATTACKS ON OIL TERMINALS THREATENS LIBYA’S STABILITY – U.N. ENVOY
Yesterday, Martin Kobler, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya, expressed grave concern over the fighting in the Oil Crescent area. He urged military forces that moved into the area to immediately stop fighting and to refrain from further military escalation. He said that attacks on the oil terminals threaten the stability of the country and lead to greater divisions.
Mr. Kobler will brief the Security Council this afternoon and will speak to reporters afterwards.
YEMEN: U.N. ENVOY ‘DEEPLY DISTURBED’ BY CONTINUED ATTACKS ON CIVILIANS
Local sources from Yemen report that on September 10, on the eve of Eid Al Adha, 30 people were killed and 17 others wounded, including first responders and two children, as a result of several air strikes on a water well in Beit Saadan village, north of Sana’a Governorate. These events follow weeks of intensified air strikes and ground fighting across the country, including missile attacks from the direction of Yemen toward Saudi Arabia.
The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, in a statement said that he remains deeply disturbed by the unrelenting attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure throughout Yemen by all parties to the conflict.He calls on all parties to uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law and human rights law, to recommit to the April 10 Cessation of Hostilities and to support the initiatives of the UN Special Envoy for Yemen.
WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME DELIVERS AID TO MORE THAN 140,000 FLOOD-STRUCK PEOPLE IN D.P.R. KOREA
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Government has confirmed that 138 people have been killed, 400 missing and approximately 68,000 still displaced.
A Government-led needs assessment was conducted, which included UN agencies, the DPRK Red Cross, and the International Federation of Red Crescent and international NGOs.
WFP is concerned about the continued vulnerability of people as extreme cold winter weather is approaching and the country has been affected by some of the worst floods in recent history.
The agency says that the number of people impacted by the floods is likely to increase since some of the areas hit by flooding have not yet been reached.
U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY CALLS FOR STEPPED UP SUPPORT FOR ASYLUM-SEEKERS IN EUROPE
One year after the European Union and Member States agreed on a plan to relocate 160,000 asylum-seekers, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) today called for increased support pledges, faster registration and for people of more nationalities to have access to the scheme.
The agency calls the number of pledges woefully inadequate and said that the implementation of the plan has been unnecessarily slow and challenging.
4,776 asylum-seekers – 3 per cent of the original target – have been relocated from Greece and Italy.
FIJI: SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES RELEASE OF DETAINEES, URGES GOVERNMENT TO PROTECT FREEDOM OF OPINION
In response to questions I received on Fiji, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General welcomes the release in Fiji of the representatives of political parties, trade unions and civil society who had been detained over their participation in a discussion on constitutional issues. He urges the Government of Fiji to fully respect and protect the rights of freedom of opinion, expression, and association and create an atmosphere conducive to the exercise of these rights, which are fundamental to democracy.
***The guest at the noon briefing was Gyan Chandra Acharya, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.