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United Nations Daily Highlights, 04-06-04

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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

ARCHIVES

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY FRED ECKHARD

SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Friday, June 4, 2004

UNITED NATIONS APPEALS FOR RESTORATION OF PEACE; VIOLENCE SUSPENDS

AID OPERATIONS IN MANY PARTS OF DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

The situation in the

Democratic Republic of the Congo remains tense.

Reports from the

UN mission indicate that while there is no fighting taking place in Bukavu in the eastern part of the country although sporadic looting continues. The rebel forces under Gen. Laurent Nkunda and Col. Jules Mutebutsi are less visible in the city streets of Bukavu, but the Missions assessment is that no significant withdrawal has yet taken place. About 1,000 displaced people are being taken to a nearby location where they will assisted.

There are indications that a Government team headed by Foreign Minister Antoine Ghonda that should have traveled to Bukavu today will now do so tomorrow.

In the capital, Kinshasa, the area around UN headquarters is calm today, but there are reports of looting in other parts of the city. In Kindu, there were demonstrations this morning and six UN vehicles were damaged.

The UN Mission has issued a statement deploring the attacks against UN system premises and appealing to all members of the Transitional Government to work towards restoring peace and the credibility of the transitional process.

Meanwhile, the

World Food Programme appealed for an end to looting and attacks against its offices in the DR Congo saying that the violence had forced the temporary suspension of its aid operations in many parts of the country.

AGREEMENT REACHED ON IRAQS ELECTORAL FRAMEWORK;

ELECTORAL COMMISSION MEMBERS SELECTED

Earlier this morning in Baghdad, the head of the UN electoral team, Carina Perelli, announced that an agreement had been reached on the electoral framework for

Iraq, including the eight members of the Independent Electoral Commission, including the Chief Electoral Officer.

According to Perelli, the Commission is well-balanced, and reflects the rich diversity of Iraq and its people.

Perelli said this meant that Iraq had moved further along on the road to self determination. This has been done, she added, thanks to the determination, participation and political will of the Iraqi people.

From now on, she told a press conference, the Electoral Commission would be in the lead on the electoral process, while the UN provides technical assistance.

During the press conference she outlined the procedure through which the members of the Commission were selected.

U.N. REPORT CALLS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IMPROVEMENTS IN IRAQ

A

report on human rights in

Iraq has been released today by the

UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

In it, the acting High Commissioner, Bertrand Ramcharan, said the fall of Saddam Hussein removed a government that preyed on the Iraqi people and committed shocking, systematic and criminal violations of human rights.

Ramcharan said that after the occupation of Iraq by Coalition Forces there have been some violations of human rights, and the governments concerned have condemned these violations and pledged to bring those responsible to justice.

It is imperative that this happens, Ramcharan added.

Other findings include a recommendation to reform Iraqi laws that violate international human rights standards and the designation of an Iraqi Human Rights Ombudsman as soon as possible.

REFUGEES FLEEING DARFUR REPORT NEW FIGHTING

Hundreds of new Sudanese refugees reportedly fleeing new fighting have entered eastern Chad this week,

says

UNHCR, the UN refugee agency.

At the same time, the UNHCR says heavy rains have already begun to cut off roads and make access difficult in the southernmost part of the border region.

A UNHCR emergency airlift is also continuing.

The influx began on Tuesday and shows no sign of slowing.

NUMBER ASYLUM SEEKERS IN INDUSTRIALIZED COUNTRIES FALLS

The number of people seeking asylum in industrialized countries fell sharply in the first quarter of 2004, continuing a downward trend that began in 2002.

According to

report by

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, there has been a spectacular decline in the number of Iraqi and Afghan asylum seekers, and a sharp drop in Russian claims mainly from Chechens.

During the first quarter of 2004, France was the largest asylum-seeker receiving country, followed by the United Kingdom and Germany.

COLD-WATER CORALS MORE NUMEROUS THAN THOUGHT

Cold-water corals not as well known as their warm-water cousins in the tropics are far more widespread and numerous than had previously been thought and are under serious threat.

Researchers are now discovering cold-water coral reefs in

many of the worlds seas and oceans including the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean.

Until recently, it was thought that these corals were largely confined to deep waters in the northern hemisphere off places like Canada and Scandinavia.

These

findings are detailed in a report from the

UN Environment Programme, and are being released to mark

World Environment Day which is being celebrated on or around 5 June.

The report also warns that many of the fish species found living around these corals are under threat from activities such as deep-water fishing and waste disposal.

The full report is due out in early July.

ANNAN TO HOST GLOBAL COMPACT LEADERS SUMMIT

On 24 June 2004, the

Secretary-General will host the Global Compact Leaders Summit at United Nations Headquarters in New York.

The Summit will be the largest gathering ever of chief executive officers, government officials and leaders of civil society on the topic of global corporate responsibility.

Approximately 400 participants will attend the one-day summit, including hundreds of chief executive officers and senior executives of major international corporations.

Participants will assess the progress of the Global Compact and announce new initiatives. Chief executive officers and other leaders will exchange experiences regarding the implementation of the Global Compacts principles in the areas of human rights, labour conditions and the environment.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECURITY COUNCIL TO HOLD RETREAT OVER WEEKEND: There are no scheduled meetings or consultations of the

Security Council today. The weekend Security Council retreat with the

Secretary-General is scheduled to start this evening.

DRAFT REPORT SUBMITTED ON INVESTIGATION INTO ALLEGED SEXUAL HARASSMENT: Asked about developments in the investigation into

alleged sexual harassment by

Ruud Lubbers, the

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the Spokesman said the

UN Office of Internal Oversight Services has submitted a draft report to the

Secretary-General, and he has shown that draft report with Lubbers for comments following standard procedure. "We are in the middle of a procedure here, and we won't have anything further to say until that procedure is completed," the Spokesman said. Asked if the Secretary-General had spoken to the Dutch Prime Minister, the Spokesman said they had spoken on Tuesday, 1 June.

PAYMENTS TO TROOP CONTRIBUTING COUNTRIES: Asked whether the amounts paid by the United Nations to troop contributing countries for

peacekeeping operations were considered public information, the Spokesman said he believed these were budgetary matters which would be reflected in a public document. He would follow up with the Office of the Controller.

LAST REMAINING TENTED CAMP FOR DISPLACED CHECHENS TO CLOSE: The

UN High Commissioner for Refugees,

said today that the last remaining tented camp for displaced Chechens in the neighboring republic of Ingushetia was expected to be closed in the next few days. UNHCR said it has been reassured by the Russian Federal Migration Authorities that key utility services would remain available until all the internally displaced persons had left the camp. As of 2 June, some 549 people were still registered in the camp. The camp was set up in February 2001 and once accommodated more than 5000 people.

MORE ATTENTION NEEDED ON ISSUE OF CHILD MARRIAGES: The

UN Population Fund (UNFPA) is calling for more attention to be paid to the issue of

child marriages, which violate the human rights of millions of girls by threatening their health, restricting their education and limiting their social, economic and political growth. Speaking at a special session of the Global Health Council in Washington today, Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, the Executive Director of UNFPA, noted that the perception that married status ensures girls a safe passage to adulthood could not be further from the truth.

ANNAN AWARDS BENIN AND NIGER $700,000: From his

Trust Fund to Assist States in the Settlement of Disputes through the International Court of Justice, the Secretary-General has awarded $350,000 each to Benin and Niger - both of whom sought financial assistance for the settlement of a boundary dispute, according to a press release.

MIGRATORY LABOUR TO INCREASE RAPIDLY IN COMING DECADES: The number of migrants crossing borders in search of work and security is expected to increase rapidly in the coming decades and if all international migrants were to form a single political entity, they would represent the world's fifth most populous country. Those are some of the

findings of a comprehensive new survey on labour migration by the

International Labour Organization, which provides, for the first time, detailed information on migration laws, policies and practices in 93 countries

G8 LEADERS URGED TO REMEMBER PLIGHT OF CHILDREN: While leaders of the world's richest countries gather on Sea Island, Georgia in the United States for the G8 Summit,

UNICEF

calls on them to remember the

plight of

children in many of the worlds poorest countries.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

Monday, June 7

At 11:00 a.m., the UN Environment Programme is sponsoring a press conference by the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, an alliance of global environmental organizations, concerning bottom trawl fishing in international waters.

The Swiss Government and the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East will co-host a two-day conference in Geneva on the future of humanitarian assistance for Palestinian refugees.

The Security Council will hold a private meeting with the troop contributing countries of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFYCIP).

The Secretary-Generals reports on Sudan, Cote dIvoire and Guinea Bissau are out during the week.

Tuesday, June 8

The Security Council will hold an open briefing on Cyprus, and this will be followed by consultations.

Wednesday, June 9

At 11:15 a.m., John Ruggie and Georg Kell of the Global Compact will hold a press conference to preview the Global Compact Leaders Summit, scheduled for 24 June.

The Security Council has scheduled consultations on the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission

(UNMOVIC) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Thursday, June 10

The Security Council will hold consultations on Cote dIvoire and Liberia sanctions.

The UN University Office at the United Nations in New York and the United Nations University Institute for Natural Resources in Africa are organizing on 10 June, from 2 to 4 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium a panel entitled "Harnessing the Twin Resources of Africa: People and Natural Resources for Sustainable Development".

Friday, June 11

The Security Council will hold a formal meeting on a draft resolution on UNFYCIP.

Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General

United Nations, S-378

New York, NY 10017

Tel. 212-963-7162 -

press/media only

Fax. 212-963-7055

All other inquiries to be addressed to (212)

963-4475 or by e-mail to: inquiries@un.org


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