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United Nations Daily Highlights, 06-05-08
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SPOKESMAN'S NOON BRIEFING
BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC
SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Monday, May 8, 2006
ANNAN CONDEMNS ATTACKS ON WORKERS IN SUDAN AND CHAD
Secretary-General Kofi Annan
condemns in the strongest terms the recent attacks on staff of the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS), and of international humanitarian organizations working both in Darfur, Sudan, and in Chad.
He particularly deplores the killing of an AMIS staff member, as well as the earlier attack against a national staff member of an international non-governmental organization, in Kalma camp, and the critical wounding of a UNICEF international staff member in Abéché in eastern Chad.
While expressing his condolences to the victims and their families, the Secretary-General calls on all parties to adhere to, and abide by, the Darfur Peace Agreement of 5 May 2006, and to refrain from any further violence.
ATTACKS CUT SHORT HUMANITARIAN CHIEFS VISIT TO DARFUR CAMP
marred Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egelands visit to Kalma camp in South Darfur.
Shortly after Egelands arrival in Kalma camp, violence erupted as residents of the camp attacked a national staff member of an international non-governmental organization (NGO) serving as translator for Egeland. The attack prompted Egeland and his party to depart Kalma camp immediately.
It is totally unacceptable what happened, Egeland said as his convoy left Kalma camp. The African Union are our friends, and we need them in this critical moment, Egeland stressed, adding We need the population to support and not attack them.
After departing Kalma camp, Egeland returned to Nyala, where he met with the Wali of South Darfur. He then proceeded to the Sudanese capital of Khartoum, where he is expected to meet with the UN country team.
Egeland arrived in Sudan on Saturday, 6 May. Since his arrival, he has visited the capital of South Darfur, Nyala, as well as Gereida and Kalma camps, where those who have been internally displaced by the conflict in Darfur. Egeland is also scheduled to visit neighbouring Chad, where some 200,000 refugees from Darfur have sought shelter.
Asked about the humanitarian players in Darfur, the Spokesman noted the roles played by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the World Food Programme (WFP). He said that WFPs activities had been curtailed by the recent funding shortfall, adding his hope that the problem would be addressed.
U.N. CALLS ON CHAD TO ENSURE SAFETY OF CIVILIANS & HUMANITARIAN WORKERS
The UN country team in Chad has
condemned and expressed regret over the increase of violence in that country, which led to the serious wounding of a UNICEF worker in the eastern town of Abéché last Friday.
The UN employee, who was driving a clearly-marked UNICEF vehicle, was shot twice at close range by a man in military uniform and then thrown from the car by the perpetrator, who then drove off with the UNICEF vehicle. She has since been evacuated to Paris, France, for intensive care.
The country team notes that this is the 24th case of carjacking humanitarian vehicles in Chad and that, so far, no one has been arrested. In that context, the UN calls on the Chadian authorities to do whatever they can to ensure the safety of all civilians, including those in the humanitarian community, in order to maintain humanitarian operations in the eastern part of the country.
U.N. ENVOY HEADS TO DARFUR FOR TALKS FOLLOWING PEACE DEAL
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General in
Sudan, Jan Pronk, is heading on Tuesday to Darfur in his first visit to the area since the signing of the Darfur Peace Agreement by the Government of Sudan and the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), which is the main rebel movement there.
Pronks three-day visit to Darfur will involve extensive discussions with top local government officials, community and tribal leaders and commanders of rebel movements on the peace deal signed in Abuja. He will renew attempts he made during the marathon mediation efforts in the Nigerian capital city to prod rebel leaders who failed to sign in Abuja into joining the peace process.
At a press briefing in Khartoum Monday, Pronk hailed the agreement and called its text a fair compromise.
After returning from Darfur, Pronk intends to travel to Addis Ababa to attend a meeting of the African Unions Peace and Security Council next Monday that will discuss the future of the Unions protection force in Darfur following the Abuja breakthrough.
Asked about the UNs planning efforts on Darfur, the Spokesman said that the United Nations was moving ahead. He said that the Secretary-General had indicated that he would be in touch with the Sudanese Government on getting an assessment team into Darfur for planning. Asked about the planning team, Dujarric said that the United Nations expects the Government to allow the UN team unfettered access to Darfur. Planning will continue full steam ahead, he said.
He added that other countries should be prepared to discuss what they can offer when the United Nations comes to ask them about the assets they could provide for a UN force.
In response to further questions on UN planning efforts in Darfur, the Spokesman said that planning could take a few months. Once the United Nations knows exactly what it needs, he said, it would request asserts from Member States.
For now, Dujarric said, states with the capability to do so should strengthen the African Union Mission in Sudan, which he said is under-funded and understaffed.
He said that the United Nations has done whatever it can to help that force, in terms of human rights work and the protection of civilians; but Member States need to provide whatever support it can to the African Union Mission until the transfer to a UN force.
ANNAN DONATES PRIZE MONEY TO DARFUR RELIEF EFFORT
To highlight the urgent need for contributions to the humanitarian appeal in Darfur, the Secretary-General has decided to contribute the $500,000 Zayed Prize he was awarded in February 2006 to the UN-led relief effort there. Currently contributions stand at only 20% of need, with devastating implications on the ground.
said last Friday, he hopes that not just Governments but, as with the Tsunami relief effort, ordinary citizens as well as corporations and other actors will step forward to help meet the very urgent needs there. He hopes his decision will help encourage other donors to contribute.
The Secretary-General had previously announced, upon receipt of the Prize, that it would serve as seed money for a Foundation he had planned to establish to promote girls education and agriculture in Africa. Given the massive shortfall in contributions to the Darfur relief effort, he now feels that the money is more urgently needed there. However, the Secretary-General is still proceeding with plans to establish a fund along the line he announced.
The Secretary-General has a long track record of contributing prize money he has been awarded while in office to UN causes, including: the award of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize ($481,265) to a UN memorial fund to benefit the educational needs of the children of UN staff killed in the line of duty; the 2001 Philadelphia Liberty Medal Prize ($100,000) which became the first contribution to the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; and the 2001 Conrad Hilton Humanitarian Prize ($100,000), which was provided to the UNIFEM Trust Fund for Violence against Women. Earlier this year, he gave the proceeds of the first Seville Node between Cultures Award, received in Seville (30,000 Euros), to a UN Population Fund project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that works to combat sexual violence against women and children.
Asked about the Secretary-Generals decision to make this donation, the Spokesman said it was something he had been thinking about recently, as Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland highlighted the shortfall in donations for Darfur. He thought that this would be a good use for the money, and could also help encourage others to contribute to the fund.
Asked whether the Secretary-Generals decision was linked to recent criticism about his acceptance of the Sheikh Zayed prize, the Spokesman said that it was linked to the news of the shortfall in the Darfur fund and the desire to spur other contributions to that fund. He noted, in that regard, that the Secretary-General had used the money from the Philadelphia Liberty Prize to make the first contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Asked whether the Secretary-General still intends to set up the foundation he had previously announced, the Spokesman said that was the case and planning will continue.
ANNAN TO BEGIN VISITS TO AUSTRIA AND ASIA
The Secretary-General will travel on Wednesday to Austria and then on to the Republic of Korea, Japan, China, Vietnam and Thailand in that order.
In Vienna, he is expected to deliver a keynote address at the opening session of the Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean. He also plans to meet with the Federal Chancellor, Federal President and Foreign Minister.
In Seoul, Tokyo and Beijing, he will meet with top government officials as well as with students from leading universities.
Then in Hanoi, he expects to meet with the President and other senior officials.
And in Bangkok, he addresses a High-Level Panel on Human Development. He will meet with senior government officials and have an audience with the King.
He returns to New York over Memorial Day weekend.
LIBERIA: U.N. MISSION TAKING STEPS TO PREVENT SEXUAL EXPLOITATION
Asked about the UNs response to a Save the Children report that linked UN peacekeepers, among others, to sexual exploitation in Liberia, the Spokesman noted that the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) today issued a
press release on that matter which said that the Mission maintains a serious, zero-tolerance policy on sexual abuse.
He said that the UN Mission has implemented a wide range of strong measures in that regard, including several ongoing investigations. The Mission also pointed out that it is working with non-governmental organizations, including Save the Children, to prevent these practices.
In addition, the United Nations and NGOs have worked with protection monitors who review and report on human rights violations, including sexual abuse.
The United Nations, the Spokesman said, appreciated the efforts to bring reports of abuses by UN personnel to its attention.
He added that Save the Childrens report looked at cases that were reported last year. The Mission, Dujarric said, reports that since then, the number of reported incidents has gone down, although it adds that more work needs to be done.
Asked whether the Department of Peacekeeping Operations was discouraged by the problems in obtaining zero tolerance for sexual abuses, the Spokesman said that every case of abuse is a matter of strong concern. Yet, he added, the number of abuses had declined, and efforts would continue to report and address the matter thoroughly.
TOMORROWS EVENTS TO FOCUS ON
MIDDLE EAST, HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL & SUDAN
The Secretary-General and the other principal members of the Quartet will meet at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow at UN Headquarters, to discuss the latest developments in the Middle East. The Foreign Ministers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan will also participate.
The Quartet principals will also hold a separate meeting together in the Secretary-General's conference room at 3:00 p.m.
Then, at 5:00 p.m., the Quartet principals will hold a press conference.
The Human Rights Council elections are also scheduled to begin tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. in the General Assembly Hall, for the election of 47 members.
In the afternoon, at a time to be determined, the Security Council Presidency is planning a meeting on Sudan, to be chaired by the Foreign Minister of the Republic of the Congo.
GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO TAKE UP MANAGEMENT REFORM,
According to the General Assembly Spokeswoman, this afternoon, the General Assembly will meet in plenary to take action on a number of reports from the Fifth Committee, including the report on management reform issues.
Also at this afternoons plenary, the Assembly is expected to take action on a draft resolution setting out the procedures and regional distribution of seats for the Assembly elections for membership in the Organizational Committee of the Peacebuilding Commission. Those elections are scheduled to take place on 16 May.
SECURITY COUNCIL TAKES UP ETHIOPIA & ERITREA: The Security Council held consultations this morning on Eritrea and Ethiopia. Hedi Annabi, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, briefed on that subject. The mandate of the UN Mission in those two countries is due to expire a week from today.
ANNAN TO MEET WITH FRENCH AND BRITISH FOREIGN MINISTERS: Asked about the Secretary-Generals meeting this afternoon with the French Foreign Minister, the Spokesman said that both that meeting and another one with the British Foreign Minister were at the request of the respective Governments.
ANNAN ISSUES MESSAGES ON WEST ASIA & INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION: The Secretary-General has issued
messages to the 24th Ministerial Session of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, which is meeting today, and to the 114th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, which began meeting on Sunday. Meanwhile, the
Deputy Secretary-General delivered a commencement address to New York Universitys School of Continuing and Professional Education.
AFRICAN OFFICIALS TO ATTEND GOVERNANCE FORUM: The UN Development Programme and the African Peer Review Panel of Eminent Persons, in collaboration with the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank, are
organizing the Sixth Africa Governance Forum, a three-day meeting on implementing the African Peer Review Mechanism -- a ground-breaking effort that enables nations in the region to evaluate one anothers performance on democratic governance. The forum is in Kigali and runs 9-11 May, and some 300 representatives from 32 African countries are expected to attend. Rwandas President, Paul Kagame, will open the forum.
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