SG wraps up Latin America trip, UNHCR enhances support to IDPs in Cote d’Ivoire and more from UN Direct

SG in Peru: Today, the SG met with President Alan Garcia of Peru in Lima. Afterwards at a joint press conference, he praised Peru’s assistance in Haiti (provides military personnel) and membership in the UN Alliance of Civilizations. The SG also said the country has seen progress during the past decade in consolidating democracy and attaining the MDGs, but the challenge now is to spread these gains equally to the country’s most vulnerable people, particularly in rural areas, where the majority of indigenous peoples live.  In the Q&A, the SG spoke a bit about the situation the Middle East, reiterating that “leaders should work attentively to listen to the voices of their people”. This afternoon, the SG spoke at the National University of San Marcos, and discussed the necessity to build a more sustainable and equitable world through “de-coupling greenhouse gas emissions from economic growth through energy efficiency”. The SG will be back in New York tomorrow morning.

Côte d’Ivoire: UNHCR started a new IDP camp in Western Côte d’Ivoire, with 36,800 registered individuals uprooted from their homes. The Refugee agency is currently scouting sites now for more camps as tensions persist and continue to drive families to move closer to the border of Liberia while other cross the border to Liberia for asylum. UNHCR has already registered more than 36,000 arrivals there and is preparing for up to 100,000 refugees in Liberia total. UNICEF reported that 85% of the refugees are women and children. In a response to a measles outbreak that has killed five Liberian children, and where 97% of the refugees were hosted, UNICEF is supporting a health campaign that provides HIV/AIDS medication and other health and nutrition measures to public health centers and partners for babies and children ages 6 months to 16 years-old.

Iran: In regards to the recent developments in Iran, the SG said that leaders must listen attentively to the voices of the people. Freedoms of expression, assembly and speech are fundamental rights and protests should take place peacefully.

Flotilla Incident: In response to a question on whether the SG’s panel of inquiry into the Gaza flotilla incident will meet in March with members of the Turkish and Israeli Foreign Ministries and what the means about final report deadlines, the Spokesperson said it was vital to have in-house reports from both Turkey and Israel. He said that there was a subsequent report from Turkey just last week and that means that panel members need to take the report into account.