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United Nations Daily Highlights, 98-01-05

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From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org

DAILY HIGHLIGHTS

Monday, 5 January 1998


This document is prepared by the Central News Section of the Department of Public Information and is updated every week-day at approximately 6:00 PM.

HEADLINES

  • United Nations Secretary-General recommends a six month extension of the mandate of the mission in Prevlaka.
  • United Nations Secretary-General expresses continued regret at the loss of life in Algeria in the wake of reports of latest massacres.
  • The Secretary-General appoints Enrique ter Horst of Venezuela as Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights.
  • The trial of Zlatko Aleksovski of Croatia, accused of war crimes is scheduled to begin on Tuesday.
  • Finland becomes the first Member State to pay its assessed contribution to the United Nations budget for 1998.
  • The Committee on the Rights of the Child discusses the promotion of children's rights in four member states.


United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has recommended a six month extension of the United Nations Mission of Observers in Prevlaka (UNMOP) until 15 July 1998.

In his latest report on UNMOP, the Secretary-General says that the situation in the mission's area of responsibility has remained stable since the establishment of the mission on 1 February 1996.

The mission, which consists of 28 military observers, is monitoring the demilitarization of the Prevlaka peninsula and the neighbouring areas in Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

The Secretary-General points out that although there have been occasional violations of the demilitarization regime by Croatian Army and Yugoslav personnel, such violations have been fewer in number and of lesser significance than those reported in the past. However, the Secretary- General adds, substantive negotiations have not started and, in discussions with UNMOP, Croatian and Yugoslav officials have held out no prospect for an end to the long-term violations in the United Nations controlled zone.

Mr. Annan says that the two parties have continued to indicate that they retain their divergent interpretations of the Prevlaka dispute. "For Croatia, it is a security issue, whereas the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia regards it as a territorial issue".

These divergent interpretations of the dispute and the violations of the demilitarization regime are "a constant irritant" which should be removed in the relations between UNMOP and the local authorities, the Secretary- General says in his report.

He once again appealed to Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to start substantive talks to resolve their dispute.


United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has expressed his continued regret at the loss of life in Algeria in the wake of reports of latest massacres.

United Nations Spokesman Juan Carlos Brandt told the press on Monday that the Secretary-General maintained that tolerance must prevail over the forces of violence.

Mr. Brandt was responding to a question from the press regarding reports of the continuing massacres in Algeria which last week claimed the lives of 400 in a carnage perpetrated in a remote village.

Spokesman Brandt recalled the words of the Secretary-General when he attended the recent Summit of the Organization of Islamic Conference in Teheran. Mr. Annan expressed his distress at increased violence by extremist groups in the name of Islam. He said that those extremist elements were "sullying the image of a religion whose very name signifies peace and whose almighty is the compassionate, the merciful".

The Secretary-General said that it was up to the Government of Algeria to seek international assistance and to deal with this problem.


The United Nations Secretary-General on Monday appointed Enrique ter Horst of Venezuela as Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Mr. ter Horst who will assume his responsibilities on 1 February, will serve at the level of Assistant Secretary-General. He will deputize Mary Robinson who started to work as High Commissioner in September 1997.

He was the Secretary-General's special Representative for Haiti from March 1996 to December 1997. Prior to that, Mr. Horst who was an ambassador of his country, has served the United Nations in various capacities, including as Special Representative of the Secretary-General in El Salvador and Chief of the United Nations Observer Mission in El Salvador (ONUSAL), and subsequently of the Mission of the United Nations in El Salvador (MINUSAL).


Zlatko Aleksovski of Croatia is scheduled to appear before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia on Tuesday.

Aleksovski who is charged with war crimes, was arrested by the Croatian police in Split on 8 June 1996 and turned over to the Tribunal on 28 April 1997.

According to the indictment, Zlatko Aleksovski became the commander of the detention facility at Kaonik, near Busovaca in January 1993 before becoming the Head of the District Prison in Mostar. He is charged with two counts of Grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions (inhumane treatment and wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health) and one count of Violation of the law or customs of war, for the unlawful treatment of Bosnian Muslim detainees as a commander of the Kaonik detention facility.

He is one of the accused named in the indictment known as "Kordic and Others", along with Dario Kordic and Mario Cerkez. The indictment was issued by the Tribunal on 10 November 1995 following an investigation into the persecution of the Bosnian Muslim population of the Lasva Valley in Central Bosnia between May 1992 and May 1993.

Zlatko Aleksovski first appeared before the Tribunal on 29 April 1997 and pleaded not guilty.


Finland has become the first Member State to pay in full its assessed contribution to the regular budget of the United Nations for 1998.

A United Nations Spokesman announced on Monday that Finland has paid $5.6 million to the United Nations.

By this date last year, two Member States had paid in full their assessed contributions to the United Nations.

The outstanding contributions to the United Nations is over $3.1 billion. Of that amount roughly $1.6 billion is for the regular budget, and over $1.5 billion for peacekeeping, according to Spokesman Juan Carlos Brandt.


The Committee on the Rights of the Child on Monday started its 17th session in Geneva to discuss the promotion of children's rights in four member states.

The ten-member panel of independent experts will deliberate on the promotion and protection of children's rights in the Maldives, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Ireland and the Federated States of Micronesia.

Formed in 1991, the Committee monitors the implementation of the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child and can make suggestions and recommendations to Governments and the General Assembly on ways to meet the obligations of the Convention.

Only two countries, the United States of America and Somalia have not ratified or acceded to the Convention. According to a United Nations Spokesman, the United States has indicated its intention to do so.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is a widely accepted instrument for the protection of approximately 2 billion children throughout the world.


For information purposes only - - not an official record

From the United Nations home page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org


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