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United Nations Daily Highlights, 06-05-05

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 SPOKESMAN'S NOON BRIEFING

BY FARHAN HAQ

ASSOCIATE SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Friday, May 5, 2006

ANNAN URGES PARTIES TO SEIZE OPPORTUNITY FOR SAKE OF PEOPLE IN DARFUR

Secretary-General Kofi Annan was at George Washington Universitys Elliott School of International Affairs in Washington, D.C. right now, where he delivered the first of a series of annual lectures on the relationship between the United States and United Nations.

In that

speech, he underscored how urgent it was that we all do more to help the people of Darfur, whose human rights have been violated in the most appalling way.

The Secretary-General said that he still hopes that, within the next day or two, we may have an agreement embracing all the parties in Darfur. He appealed to all of them to seize this opportunity and come to a peace agreement for the sake of their people, who have suffered so much.

Even if an agreement is reached, he said, we should not imagine that the problem is solved. The humanitarian agencies urgently need financial support, and humanitarian workers need a more secure environment.

On Thursday night, the Secretary-General

addressed the centennial dinner of the American Jewish Committee, telling them that the United Nations is fully engaged in the struggle against anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination.

He mentioned in particular last years General Assembly special session marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camps, and the observance this year of what will now be an annual international day of remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust. In addition, he said, the United Nations is an organization in which the State of Israel increasingly enjoys the same rights and responsibilities as every other member.

Prior to that dinner, the Secretary-General met in Washington with the Secretary-General of the Organization of American States, Josť Miguel Insulza. They discussed common issues of cooperation between their organizations, including Haiti.

Asked about comments the Secretary-General made on Thursday about contacts between the United States and Iran, and whether the Secretary-General was meeting officials in Washington to discuss U.S.-Iran contacts, the Spokesman referred to a media interview the Secretary-General gave yesterday, and said that the Secretary-General had not had any formal meetings with U.S. officials and had wrapped up his programme in Washington.

Asked whether the Secretary-General had met with U.S. President George W. Bush at the Thursday night dinner of the American Jewish Committee, the Spokesman said that they did not have any bilateral meeting, although the Secretary-General, President Bush and German Chancellor Angela Merkel all spoke at the Committees centennial dinner.

SECURITY COUNCIL TO HEAR UPDATE ON ABUJA PEACE TALKS ON DARFUR

The Security Council is taking up

Sudan this afternoon at 3 p.m. in consultations.

An update on the Abuja peace talks on Darfur is expected then.

HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN DARFUR WORSE THAN BEFORE

The High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour is wrapping up her one-week visit to Sudan.

In a

statement issued at the end of her visit, which took her to Darfur and South Sudan, she notes that situation in Darfur is just as critical, and in some respects worse, than her visit in September 2004.

Despite a number of measures taken by the authorities, notably the establishment of special courts and committees, impunity remains the norm in most cases of human rights violations in Darfur, she says.

She goes on to say the responsibility to protect entails not only putting an immediate stop to violations: it also means prevention and prosecution. Where impunity is allowed to prevail, protection will remain elusive.

She also urges the international community should wholeheartedly support the efforts of southern Sudan and NGOs to strengthen the judiciary.

TIMOR-LESTE: U.N. PRESENCE IMPORTANT FOR PEACE AND STABILITY

Sukehiro Hasegawa, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for

Timor-Leste, today told the Security Council that, following the completion of the mandate of the current UN Office in that country, the presence of a small integrated UN office would be of utmost importance in helping the country maintain peace and stability.

In an open meeting of the Council, the Special Representative said that while significant advances have been made in the past five years, recent developments have reminded us that democracy in Timor-Leste is still fragile.

He told the Council about the demonstration last week in which some youth and political elements attacked a Timorese Government building and the Government deployed the military in response. The UN Office estimates that five people were killed and at least 60 injured in the ensuing rioting.

He added that the psychological impact of these events was immense, with as many as 14,000 people seeking refuge in parts of Dili, and more than 1,000 people yesterday coming to seek a haven in the UN Headquarters compound there.

GAZA HUMANITARIAN CRISIS ON OUR DOORSTEP

In a statement issued today, John Ging, the Director of Operations in Gaza of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), said that, while two weeks ago we were counting down to a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, today that crisis is on our doorstep.

Ging said that there are now shortages of medical supplies in the public hospitals in the Gaza Strip and UNRWA has seen a large increase in the number of refugees coming to its centers seeking food aid and cash assistance.

Furthermore, at a time when money is in short supply, UNRWA is paying $78,000 a month in surcharges, because its empty food containers are stuck in Gaza as a result of the refusal to allow exports at Karni commercial crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

Asked whether UNRWA has received any response to its recent protests, the Spokesman said that the Agency was awaiting responses to the protests that it had made concerning recent restrictions, both in Gaza and in the West Bank.

COMMON GROUND FOUND IN KOSOVO STATUS TALKS

Regarding Kosovo status talks, delegations from Pristina and Belgrade today

wrapped up their fourth round of direct negotiations on decentralization in Vienna.

The delegations discussed the criteria to be applied to the creation of new municipalities, including those which would have Kosovo Serb majorities. The Secretary-Generals Deputy Special Envoy for the Kosovo status talks, Albert Rohan,

said that while it was true that there had been no agreement on the entire range of issues at hand, common ground had indeed been found.

The next round of direct talks will take place in Vienna on 23 May and will focus on the protection of cultural and religious sites.

A COLOMBIAN INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY FACES EXTINCTION

The Colombia office of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

says that the Nukak Maku, an indigenous community of Colombia, is at risk of extinction.

In the last 20 years, the population has declined by almost 60%, and today they have less than 500 members, of whom more than half have been forcibly displaced from their homes.

Since their first contact with outsiders in 1988, the Nukak population has been devastated by malaria and flu, and now their lands have been occupied by coca growers and parties to the conflict.

REFUGEE AGENCY STILL REACHING OUT TO PAKISTAN QUAKE SURVIORS

The Office of the high Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

reports that quake survivors are continuing to return home at a steady pace. But although some 100,000 camp dwellers have returned to rebuild their homes in the last month, about 55,000 people remain in nearly 100 camps.

UNHCR is providing cars, office equipment and camp management training to the civilian authorities in charge of those camps.

UNHCR has also given $2.25 million to the International Organization for Migration, which is working to facilitate the voluntary and safe return of quake survivors to their home villages.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

CHOLERA OUTBREAK HITS ANGOLA: UNICEF is appealing for $1 million to fight a serious cholera outbreak in Angola. Despite efforts by UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Angolan Government and other partners to get care and medication to the sick, the ongoing rainy season has made it likely that the epidemic will spread. According to WHO, the outbreak, which has already claimed over 1,000 lives, is Angolas biggest since 1988.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

Saturday, May 6

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland arrives in Sudan today. He is scheduled to visit South Darfur during his visit.

Monday, May 8

The Security Council will be holding a private meeting in the morning with troop contributing countries to the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea, followed by consultations on the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea.

At 3:00 p.m., the General Assembly Plenary will take action on Fifth Committee reports, including on management reform, and on a draft resolution on the election of the Organizational Committee of the Peacebuilding Commission.

Tuesday, May 9

The members of the Middle East Quartet will meet at the principals level here at UN Headquarters, and will also be joined for part of the day by several foreign ministers from the Middle East. From 5:00 to 5:30, the Quartet principals are expected to give a press conference in Conference Room Three.

At 10:00 a.m., the General Assembly Plenary will hold elections for the Human Rights Council members. The elections are expected to continue into the afternoon.

Some 300 representatives from 32 African countries will gather in Kigali, Rwanda, from 9-11 May, for a forum on implementing the African Peer Review Mechanism, which will allow nations in the region to evaluate one anothers democratic performance. The UN Development Programmes Regional Director for Africa, Gilbert Houngbo, will attend.

Wednesday, May 10

The Security Council will be holding consultations in the morning, followed by a meeting, on the Somalia Monitoring Group.

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland heads to Chad today.

Thursday, May 11

The guest at the noon briefing will be Tunku Abdul Aziz, Special Advisor for the Ethics Office, who will brief on the work of the Ethics Office and its scope.

Friday, May 12

The Security Council will be meeting in the morning to discuss a draft resolution on the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea, as well as a draft resolution on the UN Office in Timor-Leste.

At 11:00, Richard Kinley, acting head of the Climate Change Secretariat, will hold a press conference on climate change and sustainable development.

Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General

United Nations, S-378

New York, NY 100178

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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