ACCESSIBILITY AT UNOG A A A A The United Nations in the Heart of Europe

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REGULAR PRESS BRIEFING BY THE INFORMATION SERVICE
27 June 2014

Corinne Momal-Vanian, Director, United Nations Information Service in Geneva, chaired the briefing which was also attended by the Spokespersons for the Human Rights Council, International Labour Organization, Inter-Parliamentary Union, International Organization for Migration, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations Refugee Agency, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, World Food Programme, World Health Organization and World Trade Organization and the President of the Executive Board of United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Population Fund and United Nations Office for Project Services.

Ebola Outbreak in West Africa

Glenn Thomas, for World Health Organization (WHO), said a media advisory had been issued with information on a meeting taking place next week in Accra, Ghana on the ongoing Ebola virus outbreak. Mr. Thomas then introduced his colleague Dr Pierre Formenty, who could inform on the situation and the response to address the outbreak.

Dr Pierre Formenty, for World Health Organization (WHO), took questions from journalists. Responding to a question on whether the situation had ‘got out of hand’ Dr. Formenty replied that the situation was not out of hand, and a lot of work had been done in the three affected countries - Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia – to tackle the situation and stop the transmission of Ebola virus. WHO had been supporting the three countries and their Ministries of Health staff, and were working with them on a daily basis to try to contain the outbreak.

However, there were difficulties, notably in the forests of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, in identifying cases, tracing the point of contact and delivering the message to the population about the infection, particularly during care at home and unsafe funerals, he said.

WHO would continue to deploy staff and to support the three countries. However, given the recent outbreak of the virus in Sierra Leone, and with people travelling to Liberia and elsewhere, WHO needed to address the possibility of continuous transmission between countries, so other West African border countries, such as Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Senegal and Guinea-Bissau and others, would be prepared in case people infected with the disease travelled to them, as seen in the last two months.

A second question was asked about the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) declaration earlier this week that the situation was out of control – what was the WHO point of view on that declaration? Dr. Formenty replied that he did not want to start an argument about vocabulary, although he understood MSF frustration, as he had himself worked in the field and could share some of them. WHO had been able to control the outbreak in different places, for example Télimélé and Dabola, whereas in other places it had been more difficult. There were places where WHO was not totally successful, but other places where it had been successful in stopping the chain of transmission.

Dr. Formenty added that to be effective, WHO had to continue a dialogue with the population, the affected families and the patients to make them understand the mode of transmission of the disease, and how to change their behaviour in order to stop the chain of transmission and the outbreak.

A journalist asked about risky behaviour, including certain burial practices. Furthermore, was WHO recommending any travel restrictions? Dr. Formenty replied that WHO was not advocating restrictions to stop people traveling from one place to another, but rather favoured dialogue with affected families, cities and districts rather than to be a sort of ‘sanitary police’ controlling any movement of the population. WHO along with the Member States affected by the outbreak were favouring dialogue and diplomacy, he emphasized.

Regarding dangerous behaviours such as burial practices, Dr. Formenty said he really understood and felt empathy for the families because of the importance of funerals in family life, and in West Africa in particular. WHO had not yet managed to explain to people the dangers to their lives in conducting an unsafe funeral during an Ebola outbreak, and it continued to work to rectify that, he said.

A journalist asked why it was so difficult to educate people about the dangers and whether WHO need a new strategy. Dr. Formenty replied that it was sometimes more efficient to concentrate on the right strategy rather than try to create a new one. During the first month of the outbreak, in March to April, the disease propagated because adequate control measures were not put in place. The current situation could be explained by that failure and must be rectified, while respecting people’s human rights. If restrictive measures were imposed, it would only fuel the outbreak, he said.

Regarding the possibility of the Ebola virus spreading, Dr. Formenty said that was a possibility, including via international travel, but it was difficult to control porous borders.

Finally, Dr. Formenty read out recent statistics, which were last updated yesterday. In Guinea, 386 cases had been reported, including 280 deaths. Sierra Leone had reported 176 cases including 78 deaths. Liberia had reported 63 cases including 41 deaths. Those figures were probably underestimates, he said, but World Health Organization hoped to have more precise statistics as it became more confident with the control operation in the field.

Iraq

Melissa Fleming for the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said UNHCR was concerned that in northern Iraq, thousands of people from the predominately Christian communities of Qaraqosh (also known as Hamdaniya) had fled their homes since Wednesday evening, following violence close to their community. Displaced people had told UNHCR that the exodus was prompted after mortar rounds landed close to Qaraqosh. Qaraqosh is an historic Assyrian town of 50,000 people, approximately 30 kilometres southeast of Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul, where armed opposition groups seized control two weeks ago, she noted.

Community leaders said as many as 10,000 people fled by bus, car and taxi into Iraq’s northern Kurdistan region on Wednesday night. Many were women and children, said Ms. Fleming and were now staying with families, relatives and in schools and community centres, mostly in Erbil. The people said they fled in a rush, with little time to bring belongings with them, which was a sign of how afraid they were, Ms. Fleming said.

Although there was a huge and growing pressure on resources UNHCR was responding as well as it could. There were housing and fuel shortages, and indeed funding shortages, said Ms. Fleming. UNHCR was hoping very much for a response to the UNOCHA appeal which so far was only eight percent funded, which was $5.1 million of the $312 million appeal launched this earlier this week, Ms. Fleming concluded.

Christiane Berthiaume for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said IOM was calling for humanitarian corridors to access tens of thousands of displaced Iraqis who fled fighting in northern parts of Iraq. The situation was very difficult, Ms. Berthiaume emphasized, saying that IOM was not only asking for the creation of humanitarian corridors but also for the schools, mosques and hospitals where displaced people had found refuge to be declared neutral and secure spaces, in order to enable access and assistance to the people in need. Several mosques had been the target of gunfire and the two main hospitals in Mosul had been completed destroyed, added Ms. Berthiaume.

To date, IOM had delivered non-food assistance and assistance on behalf of WFP and UNICEF to 10,000 people, said Ms. Berthiaume, but that was not enough and there were still thousands of people who had no access to assistance whatsoever. Many had left their homes with nothing but the clothes that they were wearing. Ms. Berthiaume repeated that it was very difficult to access displaced people because of insecurity, the hundreds of roadblocks, damaged infrastructure and lines of communication, as there was an almost total shut-down of telephone lines, the internet and social media.

The roadblocks were problematic not only because they prevented IOM from accessing and assisting people, but also because they prevented displaced people from leaving to travel to a better location. There was not freedom of movement, said Ms. Berthiaume.

IOM had 250 national and international employees on the ground in Iraq, and when security conditions allowed, evaluation teams visited displaced people to identify them as such and understand their needs. Ms. Berthiaume reminded journalists about the IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix. It was an important system not only for IOM but also the rest of the global humanitarian community, as it could not only help identify the location of displaced people but also evaluate their needs. The Displacement Tracking Matrix so far had helped IOM evaluate the needs of 240,000 people displaced in 240 different places. The date showed that displacement movements were essentially concentrated in the Governorates of Nineveh, Salah al-Din and Diyala, but displaced persons were mostly concentrated in the former.

Most of the people who had fled beyond the borders of those three Governorates had gone to the Kurdish regions of Al-Sulaimaniyah, Dahuk and Erbil, said Ms. Berthiaume. There were also a small number of families who had fled as far as some southern regions of Iraq, near Basra. Ms. Berthiaume noted that it was difficult to collect data on movements, as IOM staff posted to Mosul or elsewhere were working in very difficult situations, with poor communications and concerning security situations.

The hardships had been compounded by sky-rocketing prices of basic commodities, such as food, Ms. Berthiaume said. There were also fuel shortages, which had pushed up the price of transport. Furthermore, the banking system had more or less ceased to function, so aid agencies were finding in-country procurement increasingly difficult.

In conclusion, Ms. Berthiaume read out a statement by IOM Baghdad Emergency Coordinator Mandie Alexander, who had said: “Iraq is no longer is the country that we knew and the Iraq we knew will never exist again. It is now a total different country. We have turned back the clock to the emergencies of 2003 and 2006. What we have now is a very complex humanitarian emergency and huge obstacle to overcome.”

Elisabeth Byrs, for the World Food Programme (WFP), said on 24 and 26 June, WFP distributed in Sinjar food rations to 3,000 displaced families from Tal Afar. A total amount of 98,000 metric tonnes was distributed. Each ration contained different food items, including one bag of wheat flour and one bag of rice.

In ensuing questions, a journalist asked whether Christians who were fleeing fighting in Iraq had been targeted directly because of their religion, and whether any Christian sites had been destroyed. Ms. Fleming replied that people said they were fleeing pre-emptively in the latest displacement. There was certainly widespread fear among the Christian community of being targeted, as there were accounts of incidents involving Christians who were told they had to convert or die, said Ms. Fleming.

Rupert Colville for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), answered a question about the issue of sectarian targeting, and noted that ISIS had issued a statement which clearly incited the destruction of property belonging to people of other religions or other branches of religions.

Ukraine

Melissa Fleming for the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), said, UNHCR was seeing a sharp rise in displacement in Ukraine. It now estimated that 54,400 people were internally displaced in Ukraine. Of those 12,000 were from Crimea and the rest were from the Eastern region. Over the past week, the number of internally displaced increased by over 16,400.

Increases were also being seen in the numbers of Ukrainians in Russia and other countries, although so far only a small number had applied for refugee status. Since the start of the year, around 110,000 Ukrainians had arrived in Russia, and over 700 had requested asylum in Poland, Belarus, Czech Republic and Romania. Of those 110,000 in Russia only 9,600 had requested asylum. Most people were seeking other forms of legal stay, often, UNHCR was told, because of concerns about complications or reprisals in case of return to Ukraine.

Arrivals of the past few days were mainly clustered in Rostov-On-Don (12,900 people, including 5,000 children) and Byransk. In Rostov, people were being accommodated in public buildings and some in tented camps. In Bryansk the majority were staying with relatives and friends. UNHCR was also seeing unconfirmed reports of other recent arrivals in Russia from eastern regions of Ukraine and Crimea.

The rise in numbers of the past week coincided with a recent deterioration of the situation in Eastern Ukraine. Displaced people cited worsening law and order, fear of abductions, human rights violations and the disruption of state services.
Some also reported they had lost their livelihoods and they feared they would not be able to continue working with Ukrainian professional licences. Others said they feared the implications of being forced to acquire Russian citizenship. And some said they had received personal threats on account of their political opinion or ethnic or linguistic background. There was a complex myriad of reasons for fleeing, said Ms. Fleming.

Currently UNHCR were unable to verify all information on displacement and was relying on local and central authorities, partners and civil society organizations. Insecurity in some areas of Ukraine was hampering access to many areas where displaced people were located, Ms. Fleming added.

In Ukraine the main challenges currently faced by displaced people were access to social services, long-term shelter and employment, and difficulties transferring residence registration.

Most people were provided with temporary shelter and assistance from local authorities, NGOs and with donations of private citizens. UNHCR had begun to distribute humanitarian assistance to displaced people in the East, and had delivered assistance in support of efforts by the local authorities to the town of Sviatohorsk, where the largest concentration of internally displaced people was found.

In the ensuing questions, a journalist asked whether the agreement the Ukrainian President intended to sign with the European Union today could trigger further flight. She also asked whether there any validity to reports that people who had arrived in Russia had said that people were being killed for speaking Russian.

Ms. Fleming answered that the reasons for displacement were sporadic fighting, armed groups, people afraid, people unable to work, human rights violations and people feeling threatened because of their ethnic background, she said.

Israel / occupied Palestinian territory

Rupert Colville for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said OHCHR were following with increasing concern the human rights situation in the context of the ongoing operations by Israeli security forces after three Israeli teenagers went missing close to the city of Hebron in the West Bank over two weeks ago, on 12 June.

The Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Flavia Pansieri, met this week in Geneva with the mothers of the three missing Israelis and expressed her sincere sympathy with them. As a mother herself, she expressed her understanding of their deep anxiety about the fate of their sons, said Mr. Colville. OHCHR was concerned that the three teenagers had still not been located, after being missing for 15 days. OHCHR hoped for their immediate safe return.

OHCHR’s heartfelt sympathy also went out to the mothers and loved ones of the six Palestinians, including two teenagers, who had been killed by Israeli forces, in addition to the many others who had been injured, during these past two weeks, Mr. Colville said.

OHCHR was alarmed about the loss of life, and the sharp increase in tension in the occupied West Bank, especially in and around Hebron, as a result of the Israeli operations. It called for prompt and thorough investigations, and prosecution of the perpetrators in cases where there had been excessive use of force. Since 12 June, around 500 Palestinians had reportedly been detained, hundreds of homes searched; media offices, universities and welfare organizations had been raided; at least 13 Palestinian structures had been demolished and several water cisterns had reportedly been drained or damaged. OHCHR was also concerned about reports of damage to property and theft during those operations, especially house-to-house searches, and their traumatic effect on children and families.

OHCHR reiterated its call for strict adherence to international law by all relevant actors and joined others in their call for restraint, concluded Mr. Colville.

Answering a question as to whether OHCHR found the Israeli actions to be disproportionate or a form of collective punishment, Mr. Colville quoted Jeffrey Feltman, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, who said very clearly that the Israelis should avoid punishing people for offences they had not personally committed. So yes, there seemed to be a very excessive reaction, said Mr. Colville. Clearly those boys needed to be found and that was totally understandable, he continued, but the scale of the operations and the number of the people they were affecting was deeply disturbing.

China

Rupert Colville for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said OHCHR welcomed news that the Supreme People’s Court in China had recently overturned the death sentence imposed on Li Yan, who, after suffering many months of abuse, killed her husband, Tan Yong, in 2010. OHCHR understood that the case had been sent back to the Sichuan High People’s Court for a retrial.

That important ruling by the Supreme People’s Court was made possible due to the reforms introduced in China in 2007, which allowed for a stricter review of death sentences by the higher echelons of the judiciary. OHCHR welcomed those developments, as the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights opposed the use of the death penalty in all cases.

OHCHR also hoped that China would expedite the adoption of a draft law on domestic violence, which was currently pending in the National People’s Congress, as recommended by the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice during its visit to China from 12 to 19 December 2013.

OHCHR also encouraged China to ensure that all cases of violence against women, including domestic violence, were promptly, impartially and effectively investigated, and that perpetrators were prosecuted.

Libya

Rupert Colville for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said OHCHR was deeply concerned about the emerging pattern of direct targeting of human rights defenders, humanitarian workers, and media professionals in Libya in relation to their work. In particular OHCHR condemned the murder last Wednesday (25 June) of Salwa Bugaighis, a human rights defender and Vice-President of the Preparatory Committee for National Dialogue in Benghazi. Mr. Colville said there was more information in the briefing note.

Venezuela

Rupert Colville for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said OHCHR remained concerned about the continuing violations of due process and the situation of young people in detention in Venezuela in the context of recent demonstrations. Recently, a number of reports by reputable organizations had been published into those violations, and OHCHR considered them important and supported their findings. More information was available in the briefing note.

Central African Republic

Melissa Fleming for the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) briefed on how renewed conflict in Central African Republic town Bambari had displaced thousands of people. At least 45 people had been killed this week and scores wounded in new violence and reprisal attacks in and around Bambari, said Ms. Fleming. The troubles had resulted in thousands more people fleeing to displacement sites around the town, which lay some 380 kilometres northeast of the capital Bangui.

The violence began early on Monday when armed elements attacked a camp just south of Bambari housing Muslims from the Peul ethnic group. The attack prompted retaliation inside Bambari against other armed elements and the civilian population, said Ms. Fleming.

UNHCR staff said that by Wednesday Bambari had been reduced to a ghost city, reported Ms. Fleming. Christian neighbourhoods had been emptied of residents from previous fighting, while displacement sites were packed with people struggling to get by amid the rainy season. People urgently needed better protection, shelter, water and sanitation, as well as food and other items. UNHCR and its non-governmental organizations partners was doing its best to accommodate them, but it was very difficult to operate because the security situation remained volatile and there were fears that the cycle of revenge would pick up again soon.

Elisabeth Byrs, for the World Food Programme (WFP), briefing on the humanitarian situation in Central African Republic, said WFP was deeply concerned about the delivery of humanitarian assistance there as the continuing violence was making it difficult to reach those in dire need of humanitarian assistance. WFP was also worried about insecurity in the region, and the vicious cycle of retaliation and killings in Bambari.

Widespread insecurity and banditry continue to threaten security and humanitarian operations, briefed Ms. Byrs. On 4 June, a humanitarian convoy escorted by MISCA (the African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic) was attacked while en route from Bangui to Bambari – the first such attack, she said. The following day a truck subcontracted by WFP was looted by villagers when it broke down near the town of Bossembele en route to Paoua.

Violence continued to explode in certain communities and villages but despite logistical and insecurity challenges WFP had been able to reach around 270,000 people in May. Some 80 per cent of those people were outside Bangui, and received assistance at 118 distribution points. In May, 70 per cent of the food reached ‘emergency food insecurity’ areas, she added. On 25 June, WFP started distributions to PK5 district in Bangui, where 4,500 people have been assisted, said Ms. Byrs. Rations of rice, pulses, oil and sugar were being distributed in an operation that would be completed today.

A journalist asked Ms. Fleming about the meaning of the term ‘armed elements’ and why those people were becoming less and less distinct. Ms. Fleming replied that the ‘anti-Balaka’ and ‘anti-Seleka’ groups were still there, but because of the splintering of certain armed elements, it was difficult for humanitarians to say who the perpetrators were. The ‘armed elements’ were attacking one or the other religious group, but it was hard to say more, said Ms. Fleming.

Were people fleeing Central African Republic externally as well as internally, a journalist asked. Ms. Fleming replied that yes, people continued to flee the country, and since December 2013 almost 140,000 people had sought refuge in Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Chad and the Republic of Congo. Just last week over 3,000 people were registered coming into Cameroon.

Ms. Fleming said that the condition people were in as they arrived in neighbouring countries was just absolutely despicable, in terms of human frailty and what had been done to them – there were people with machete wounds and huge numbers of malnourished people. It was a reflection of the truly horrific situation inside Central African Republic where the State was not in control and the fighting continued unabated, said Ms. Fleming.

A journalist also asked about Sudanese refugees as the situation in Darfur was heating up. Did UNHCR see any movements in terms of people from Darfur planning to flee to Central African Republic or elsewhere, she asked?

Responding, Ms. Fleming said it was painful to see a group of refugees who had fled from Darfur and were receiving shelter in a UNHCR refugee camp in Central African Republic, then who had once again been caught up in terrible violence and were terrified as the conflict moved close to their refugee camp. Those people were stuck, she said, and meanwhile, things were getting worse again in Darfur. No mass exodus from Darfur had been seen, but UNHCR was certainly very concerned about the renewed violence and the implications for the people there.

Social protection for people living with HIV

Jean-Luc Martinage for the International Labour Organization (ILO), spoke about a recent study on the importance of social protection for people living with HIV in four countries: Guatemala, Indonesia, Rwanda and Ukraine. The study showed that people living with HIV, who worked and had sufficient social coverage, had a much higher probability of keeping their job, keeping their children in school, and accessing anti-retroviral treatments. The study set out obstacles for accessing social protection for people living with HIV, either because of lack of information or problems related to discrimination.

Mr. Martinage said the report’s essential message for ILO was to continue to invest in social protection programs, leaving no one lagging behind, including persons living with HIV and those particularly exposed to the risk of HIV. Mr. Martinage reminded journalists of two ILO recommendations that provided frameworks on the subject to Governments. The study was not under embargo, but it would not be published on ILO’s website until Monday 30 June which was the institutional launch day.

Anniversary of the Inter-Parliamentary Union

Ms. Momal-Vanian announced that on 30 June, UNOG and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) would co-host an event entitled, “Driving democratic change – IPU at 125 and beyond” to mark the anniversary of the IPU. The event would take place from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room (Room XX) at the Palais des Nations. Correspondents are welcome to attend but registration was required by emailing politicalaffairs@unog.ch.

Fernando Puchol, for the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) said the event aimed to look at how IPU has served as a global platform for parliaments to work together for peace and democracy, making a real difference in the lives of individuals across the world. Against that background, the special anniversary event would focus on how to drive democratic change in an interconnected world. The programme would also discuss challenges, such as how parliamentarians and parliaments could address the growth of street protests across the globe. The programme would feature three separate events on challenges to democracy, gender participation and democracy, and the personal testimonies of people across the world who had suffered human rights abuses and had been assisted by the IPU in trying to redress their situation.

Additionally, 30 June would also mark the end of Anders B. Johnsson’s tenure as IPU Secretary-General after 16 years, during which the organization had achieved great success in all regions to promote and build democracy. Cameroonian Mr. Martin Chungong would take over as IPU’s eighth Secretary-General and the first non-European to hold the post.

The programme was available on UNOG's website as well as at the back of the room, Mr. Puchol added.

UNECE Aarhus Convention

Jean Rodriguez for the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, (UNECE) said that next week the organization would focus on environmental democracy and the fifth session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention (MOP-5), which would consider access to information, public participation and access to justice concerning environmental issues. It would be a joint meeting with the second session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (PRTR). The meeting would last all week from Monday to Friday, and it would take place in Maastricht, in the Netherlands.

There were 47 States Parties to the Aarhus Convention and 33 Parties to the Protocol on PRTRs. Since the last meeting, several new States had become party to the Convention – namely Iceland, Ireland and Switzerland. The Protocol on the PRTRs had gained eight new Parties: Cyprus, Ireland, Israel, Poland, Moldova, Serbia, Slovenia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The meeting would be opened by Acting Director-General Michael Møller, in his capacity as Acting Executive Secretary of UNECE. Mr. Rodriguez said also that the representatives of several Latin American countries would make an update on the progress of their initiative to replicate a similar Convention in their region, as seen in the declaration adopted at the Rio+20 Conference two years ago.

Geneva Activities

Ms. Momal-Vanian announced a press stakeout, saying that Ambassador Keith Harper, United States Representative to the Human Rights Council, will address the press today, Friday 27 June 2014, at 1:00 p.m., at the stakeout area outside Room XX.

Ms. Momal-Vanian announced that the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women would start its fifty-eighth session at the Palais des Nations in Geneva on Monday 30 June. During the three week session the Committee would review reports presented by the Central African Republic, Georgia, India, Lithuania, Mauritania, Peru, Swaziland and Syria.

Ambassador Peter Thomson, President of the Executive Board of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and United Nations (UNOPS) and Permanent Representative of Fiji to the United Nations, briefed on the outcome of the annual meeting of the Executive Board which took place in Geneva this week (23 to 27 June) and wound up today. The Board oversaw US$7 billion worth of funding that went to those three agencies UNDP, UNFPA and UNOPS. The Board included 36 Members – representing 36 States. The Ambassador gave an example of areas discussed by the Board, including key topics affecting UNFPA such as how to decrease maternal mortality, increase access of sexual and reproductive rights and services for young people in particular, and reducing gender-based violence by working on gender-equity issues.

Rolando Gomez for the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) said the Human Rights Council would today continue taking action on remaining draft resolutions before it. More than half of the 34 resolutions – a total of 19 – were adopted yesterday and a remaining 15 remained to be considered today. The consideration of the texts on Syria and Eritrea would likely be considered later morning today, and the text on Ukraine would probably be considered this afternoon. A revised chart of the draft resolutions had been circulated. Once action had been taken on all draft resolutions, the President of the Council would announce the appointment of six mandates – the list of candidates was public and available online. Before concluding the session this afternoon the Council would convene a short ceremony to pay tribute to the High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay who would step down from her office at the end of August. Statements by States and NGOs would be delivered and a short video of highlights of Ms. Pillay’s tenure as High Commissioner would be screened. Finally, Mr. Gomez noted that the next session of the Human Rights Council would take place from 8 to 26 September 2014.

Melissa Begag, for the World Trade Organization (WTO), briefed on the WTO meetings and the Director-General’s agenda for next week. On Monday 30 June Director-General Robert Azevêdo would meet the Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister of Azerbaijan, Chief WTO Accession Negotiator Ambassador Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev and China's Assistant Minister Mr Shouwen Wang. On Tuesday 01 July the Director-General would meet the Seychelles' Minister for Finance, Trade and Investment Mr. Pierre Laporte and the Bahamas' Minister of Financial Services Mr Ryan Pinder.

Ms. Begag also announced that on Monday 30 June the Committee on Trade and Environment and the Sub-Committee on Least-Developed Countries would meet at 10 a.m. The Trade Policy Review Body for China would meet at 10 a.m. on Tuesday 1 July and Thursday 3 July. From Wednesday 2 to Friday 4 July there would be meetings of the Preparatory Committee on Trade Facilitation and the Working Party on the Accession of Seychelles, all commencing at 10 a.m. A briefing by the Trade Policy Review Body on China, and an informal briefing on agriculture negotiations, would also take place next week, with details of the time and place to be announced.

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The spokespersons for United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the United Nations Children’s Fund also attended the briefing but did not speak.
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The webcast for this briefing is available here: http://bit.ly/1yUkMTh