Europa Newswire - Editorial Image Licensing Agency

SG Outlines 2015 Goals - Europa Newswire

Jan 9, 2015 News, Secretary General, United Nations , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Ban Ki-moon addresses UN correspondents.

Stephanie Zawalski/Europa Newswire

January 8, 2015

UNITED NATIONS — The Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon addressed members of the press after and informational session of the General Assembly. There he outlined three focus areas moving forward into 2015. First, to push forward the adoption of a new development agenda, sustainable development goals and climate change agreement, claiming that with them “we can set the world on course for a better future.” Second, decrease the response time of the international community to crises. His third point focused on terrorism and societal tensions saying, “I want to make a special appeal for tolerance and understanding,” he specifically mentioning the attack on Paris and the execution of the police officer Ahmed Merabet. He described these events as “assault[s] on common humanity” and warned that “Giving in to hatred and sowing division only guarantees a spiral of violence.”

He went on to speak of the critical nature of next month’s Nigerian election. He condemned the violence against women and children in the region, urging for the release of the boys and girls, and others, who have been abducted by Boko Haram, the militant Islamist group identified as a terrorist organization by the United Nations. In response to the “Mayhem [that] has spread across the region,” the Secretary General stated that he will “continue to actively explore with Member States what more can be done.”

During a brief Q&A, Ban Ki-Moon was asked about the impact the Charlie Hebdo attacks may have on anti-defamation of religion legislation proposed by many of the member states. In his answer, Ban did not mention whether the attacks would positively or negatively impact existing talks but instead pointed to the interfaith dialogue being conducted by the Alliance of Citizens initiative and adding that “[the UN has] not been able to promote much needed tolerance and mutual dialogue.” “It is important to respect others’ religions and beliefs and traditions, but at the same time, in implementing all these initiatives it is important to promote and protect freedom of expression.”

When asked about the refusal of the Sudanese to allow UN officials to investigate accusations of the systematic rape of 200 girls and women by the armed forces in the Darfur village of Thabit, the Secretary General said that there needs to be a thorough investigation and blamed any lack of reporting on uncooperative authorities. While he made it clear that an investigation is necessary, he did not give any specifics regarding further action. Only saying, “It is important that we have to have a thorough investigation and as a matter of principle, there should be a clear accountability process and justice.”

The Secretary General also called for equal treatment of the LGBT community within the United Nations. After he was asked to clarify what he meant in his address to the General Assembly when he expressed his dissatisfaction with the inaction of the General Assembly regarding management issues he said,“This is an issue of human dignity and there should be no discrimination whatsoever for any staff, any people, on the basis of sexual orientation or religion or belief.” While he did not list specifics he did add that he has “taken some administrative measures to allow the same and equal treatment for the staff who are having that sexual orientation.”

Lastly, the Secretary General was asked to remark on the admittance of Palestine into the International Criminal Court to which Ban spoke to the right of Palestine to do so given their non-state observer status within the UN. Regarding the question of whether or not the Palestine’s ICC membership will help the Palestinian/Israeli cause, the Secretary General promoted more continued peace talks, “I am urging the two parties to address all the pending issues through dialogue.”

Photo by: Luiz Rampelotto/EuropaNewswire

© EuropaNewsWire