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United Nations Daily Highlights, 05-07-29
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From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: firstname.lastname@example.orgARCHIVES
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SPOKESMAN'S NOON
BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC
SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Friday, July 29, 2005
UZBEK REFUGEES ARRIVE IN ROMANIA
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
reports that 439 Uzbeks who had been in Kyrgyzstan in recent weeks arrived in Romania early this morning.
They are now awaiting transfer to third countries. They include 14 Uzbeks who were in detention in Osh, Kyrgyzstan, who were released by Kyrgyz authorities in the last minute. One Uzbek said he did not want to take the flight and said he wanted to return home.
UNHCR is deeply concerned about the fate of another 15 Uzbeks still detained in Osh, and the Agency is negotiating for their release.
The Secretary-General, in a
statement we issued yesterday afternoon, called on the authorities of Kyrgyzstan to facilitate the evacuation of Uzbek refugees and asylum seekers in the country.
The Secretary-General recalled, as have the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the High Commissioner for Refugees, that returning refugees or asylum seekers to a country where they may face torture is a violation of international refugee and human rights law.
He also reminded the Kyrgyz authorities that this prohibition the principle of non-refoulement is absolute and may not be derogated from or circumvented through any other undertaking, either through a bilateral treaty or any other arrangement.
Asked whether the United Nations was working to secure the release of the 15 refugees still detained in Kyrgyzstan, the Spokesman said that the UN, including the Secretary-General, the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the High Commissioner for Refugees, are all working at different levels to obtain their release.
Meanwhile, he added in response to another question, UNHCR was working with the Romanian authorities in making arrangements for the Uzbeks who have entered that country. UNHCR, he said later, is to handle the expenses for the refugees stay.
In response to questions, the Spokesman said that the bottom line is that people should be allowed to make decisions freely on where they want to go. In accordance with international legal standards, refugees should not be returned against their will to a country where they fear they could face harassment, torture or worse.
HUMANITARIAN EFFORTS ARE STEPPED UP IN ZIMBABWE
On the humanitarian front in
Zimbabwe, the UN Childrens Fund (UNICEF) says it is now stepping up its operations in those destroyed areas that have received a sudden influx of people returning.
UNICEF is appalled by reports of deaths of children both during demolitions and as a result of the critical conditions created by Government actions and continues to press for unhindered access.
UNICEF is leading an assessment mission to five urban areas, focusing on those relocated to transit camps and churches and those who remain at demolition sites. Efforts are focusing on water being sent to transit centres, latrines being built, and the distribution of emergency items such as blankets, plastic sheeting, soap, buckets and cooking pots.
Meanwhile, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has provided support to national non-governmental organizations to assist the evicted population in a location east of Zimbabwe. In that locale, IOM has distributed some 400 blankets and food rations for one month for 350 displaced households in the same area.
Asked whether the demolitions have stopped, the Spokesman later said that Agostinho Zacarias, the UN Resident Coordinator in Harare and therefore the senior most UN official in Zimbabwe, said that as of Tuesday, he has not heard of any reports of demolitions.
According to Zacarias, the team on the ground has a network of organizations that can assist in verification.The UN team is working with a number of churches in different places, as well as the Red Cross, which has offices across the country, and non-governmental organizations, which provide the Resident Coordinator with information.
Should he hear of any new reports of demolitions, he can tap into that network to verify the information.
NIGER: U.N. AGENCY WARNS OF DISEASE FOLLOWING FOOD CRISIS
Turning to Niger, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said that it is expecting an increase in deaths there from communicable diseases because of the current food crisis. Cases of water and sanitation-related diseases as well as diarrhea,
cholera, tuberculosis and malaria are also expected to rise.
A WHO assessment mission is currently underway in Niger, and based on its preliminary findings, the agency has decided that it will be providing support to the countrys health ministry, in the areas of health coordination, early detection of communicable diseases, and the training of personnel to deal with cases of severe malnutrition.
WHO is also working with Niger on a new emergency strategy to provide drugs free of charge.
SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS PEACEKEEPING MISSIONS IN GEORGIA AND LEBANON,
SANCTIONS AGAINST AL-QAEDA & COMBATANTS IN D.R. CONGO
The Security Council this morning unanimously adopted resolutions to
extend the mandate of the
UN Observer Mission in Georgia for six months, until the end of January 2006, and to also
extend the mandate of the
UN Interim Force in Lebanon for the same amount of time.
The Council also
decided unanimously to extend arms sanctions and other measures imposed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo until 31 July 2006. It also called on the Secretary-General to re-establish the Group of Experts for that country, within 30 days from today.
Last, the Council
extended by 17 months the mandate of the monitoring group dealing with sanctions on individuals, groups or entities that are linked to al-Qaeda. Osama bin Laden or the Taliban. The resolution also defines the acts or activities that can associate such entities with al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
Today was the last scheduled day of Security Council activity under the Greek Presidency. Japan will take over the Council Presidency for August.
ANNAN NAMES NEW DEPUTY HEAD OF U.N. MISSION IN ETHIOPIA AND ERITREA
The Secretary-General has appointed Ambassador Azouz Ennifar of Tunisia as his Deputy Special Representative for the
UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Ennifar will be based in Addis Ababa. He succeeds Mr. Cheikh-Tidiane Gaye of Senegal who left the mission earlier this year.
Ennifar has a distinguished career with his countrys foreign service and most recently served as Ambassador to the Democratic Republic on Congo.
EXPERTS HEAD TO LIBERIA TO STUDY IMPACT OF SANCTIONS
The Secretary-General today
announced the appointment of a five member panel of experts to go to Liberia to assess the implementation and impact of sanctions imposed there.
The panel is charged with looking at restrictions on the diamond trade and the timber industry. It will also assess the impact of these measures on the local population, and check into the implementation of an arms embargo.
The panel is also looking into progress made towards meeting the conditions set down by the Security Council for the lifting of the sanctions.
The experts are to report back to the Council in December.
FOOD AID TO BE GIVEN TO EX-COMBATANTS IN D.R. CONGO
The World Food Programme (WFP) today
announced that it will extend the provision of food rations to demobilized combatants and their families in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Thats in addition to meeting the continuing needs of newly displaced people in the eastern part of the country.
The operation for ex-combatants, which was due to expire in December 2005, will now run through June 2006 at a total cost of $191 million. At the moment, it is only 53 percent funded.
According to WFP, the DRC is at a critical moment in its peace process, and the food aid will give tens of thousands of former fighters more time to reintegrate into civilian life.
PAKISTAN: FLOODING LEAVES PEOPLE IN NEED OF FOOD ASSISTANCE
Responding to heavy floods that have been hitting Pakistan since last month, the UN Disaster Management Team in that country has released a
report based on humanitarian needs assessments. Among other things, the Team says immediate food support is needed for a one-month period for nearly 45,000 people in northern Pakistan.
The situation in seven Afghan refugee camps hit by the flooding has also been assessed, and the UN refugee agency recommends one-time food assistance to those most affected, as well as fumigation to avert the threat of malaria.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that is also closely
following floods in neighbouring India.
SOME COUNTRIES STILL LACKING RESOURCES
TO RESPOND TO NUCLEAR TERRORISM
The International Atomic Energy Agencys latest
annual report is now available on the IAEA web site. It highlights the Agencys response to nuclear challenges in 2004.
Among other things, the report says that, since some countries still lack the resources to properly respond to the threat of nuclear and radiological terrorism, international cooperation in that field is essential.
It also notes that the IAEA has investigated and analyzed the nuclear trade activities of covert nuclear networks, in response to serious challenges to the Agencys verification activities.
On nuclear personnel, the report says that the ageing of the nuclear work force is a grave concern for a number of Member States. Therefore, the IAEA will help to expand educational networks and training opportunities for new recruits.
GENERAL ASSEMBLY DISCUSSES PROSPECTS FOR U.N. REFORM
The General Assembly is continuing today its closed informal consultations on the revised draft outcome document on UN reform for the World Summit to be held in September. The consultations are expected to resume on Monday and Tuesday.
A second revised version of the draft outcome document may be submitted by General Assembly President Jean Ping towards the end next week.
Asked about the Japanese Foreign Ministers recent comments about Security Council reform and Japans dues payment, the Spokesman said that this was a time of high stakes, as Member States negotiate on UN reform. This is, he emphasized, a membership-led negotiation.
CHILDREN URGE WORLD LEADERS TO CARE MORE ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT
In Aichi prefecture in Japan today, 600 children from around the world wrapped up their
Summit for the Environment by challenging world leaders to pay higher attention to energy, biodiversity, water and recycling.
In their closing statement, the delegates committed to saving energy and using renewable energy sources.
It is difficult but not impossible to work for a green future, said one delegate, 13-year old Marisa Tania from Indonesia.
NEGOTIATIONS RESUME ON FIRST-EVER DISABILITIES TREATY
Negotiations on the first-ever convention on the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities will
resume at a two-week session to be held at UN Headquarters, starting on Monday.
Meeting for its sixth session, the General Assemblys Ad Hoc Committee dealing with the rights of persons with disabilities will tackle such issues as children with disabilities, education, accessibility and personal mobility. More than 500 non-governmental organizations are expected to attend the session.
FORMER SECRETARY-GENERAL HAMMARSKJOLD HONORED IN SWEDEN
In Sweden today, the centenary of former Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold is being celebrated.
Former Under-Secretary-General Sir Brian Urquhart delivered a
speech on the Secretary-Generals behalf.
In it, he says that, for us at the United Nations, Hammarskjold set a standard to live up to. His capacity for work and thought, his words and actions, have done more to shape public expectations of the office of the Secretary-General and of the Organization, than those of anyone in its history.
Hammarskjölds focus on the challenges facing developing countries was far more than philanthropic, he says, it was visionary.
He understood that development, security and human rights are not only ends in themselves, but that they reinforce each other. He understood that the human family cannot enjoy security without development, cannot enjoy development without security, and cannot enjoy either without respect for human rights; and that to act on that understanding, we need a strong United Nations, and true solidarity among Governments and peoples.
REFUGEE AGENCY APPEALS FOR HUMANITARIAN ACCESS IN COLOMBIA: The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today announced that it had asked both sides in the armed struggle in the Putumayo and Narino sections of Colombia to allow people in the combat zone to move to safer areas and to permit humanitarian workers to reach people in need of assistance. The UNHCR said it was extremely concerned with the dangers to the civilian populations in the area due to a marked increase in the fighting between the irregular units and the Colombian army.
PEACEKEEPING MISSION IN COTE DIVOIRE TO START TRAINING NEW SECURITY UNIT: The
UN Operation in Cote dIvoire today announced that it will begin next week to train a 600-member auxiliary security unit made up of members of the Forces nouvelles, in accordance with the Pretoria agreement of last April. The new unit will undergo a 45-day course in aspects of human rights, international humanitarian law, penal law, and basic police techniques. Upon graduation they will help with the UN Missions security.
NOBODY HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN DARFUR: The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights today
announced the release of a new report on rape and sexual violence in the Darfur region of Sudan. It concludes that armed elements in the Sudanese region of Darfur, including law enforcement officers and the military, continue to perpetrate rape and sexual violence, with authorities seemingly unable or unwilling to hold them accountable.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
Monday, August 1
Japan will take over the Presidency of the Security Council for the month of August.
The General Assembly discussion of the draft outcome document for the September Summit will resume on Monday and Tuesday.
Negotiations on the first-ever convention on the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities will resume at a two-week session to be held at UN Headquarters, starting today.
World Breastfeeding Week begins today. A series of events is expected throughout the world, and UNICEF will issue a press release today.
Tuesday, August 2
The Security Council will hold consultations on the program of work for the month of August. The Council President, Ambassador Kenzo Oshima, will brief the press afterward.
In Geneva, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination will begin its 67th session to review anti-discrimination efforts undertaken by Venezuela, Georgia, Zambia, Barbados, Tanzania, Iceland, Turkmenistan and Nigeria.
Wednesday, August 3
Thursday, August 4
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