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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
4 May 2009


Spokesperson's Noon Briefing

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York



DAILY PRESS BRIEFING BY THE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL


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** Gaza -- Human Rights Council

And on Gaza, many of you have been asking for updates on the independent fact-finding mission, which the Human Rights Council is setting up to investigate international human rights and humanitarian law violations related to the recent conflict there.

The four-member fact-finding team is in Geneva this week to plan its work before heading to the region.  While in Geneva, the members plan to hold a wide range of discussions, including with representatives of the concerned parties, Israel and Palestine; other Member States; civil society; and UN agencies.  This is the first time the members are meeting collectively, face to face, since they were appointed in early April by the President of the Human Rights Council.

You’ll recall that the team is being led by Richard Goldstone, former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

We don’t have further details on the upcoming mission yet, but our colleagues in Geneva are trying to organize a press encounter for the team towards the end of the week there in Geneva.

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**Questions and Answers

Question:  When does the Secretary-General plan to brief the Security Council on the report of the Gaza Board of Inquiry?

Deputy Spokesperson:  I have nothing further on that yet.  As soon as I have an update, I will let you know.

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Question:  The meeting with the Human Rights Council this week, do we have a list of any of the confirmed people, NGOs, members of Government that they will be meeting with when they undertake their mission to Gaza?

Deputy Spokesperson:  I just read you an update on their meetings there and for further details I think you probably need to contact them directly.  But, they are just starting this week and towards the end of the week they will have a press briefing there.  So you’ll probably get a readout of all the contacts that they’ve had throughout the week.

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Question:  [Inaudible] my question.  I heard over the weekend that there hasn’t been the possibility of rebuilding or dealing with the devastation in Gaza and what was pledged because of the closure of the border crossings.  I wonder if there is any thought being given to doing an airlift, or doing something, because I wondered if there is precedence to having such devastation and then leaving it the way this is being left.  So, is there anything going on with regard to the Secretary-General, with regard to dealing with figuring out some way to deal with this problem?

Deputy Spokesperson:  I don’t have anything on any proposal for an airlift.  I think these questions have been posed to John Ging in the past, he has answered them.  All I can tell you is the repeated reports that we give you about the situation on the ground, in which we do flag the same concerns that you do, and that our agency partners are doing everything they can on the ground to help the people.  And on the political front, the Secretary-General and others are fully engaged to try to bring an end to the humanitarian suffering on the ground.

Question:  When the Security Council takes this up, will there be some effort by the Secretary-General to bring this to the Security Council debate on the issue?

Deputy Spokesperson:  The Secretary-General’s envoys, when they brief the Security Council on the Middle East, every time they brief the Council, vast portions of the briefing have focused on the humanitarian situation on the ground and ways forward and to try to alleviate their plight.  So, I think that effort will continue.

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For information media • not an official record

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