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United Nations Daily Highlights, 06-11-03

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From: The United Nations Home Page at <> - email:






Friday, November 3, 2006


Secretary-General Kofi Annan is deeply concerned about the continuing escalation of violence and rising death toll caused by the Israeli military operation in northern Gaza. Military operations in populated areas inevitably cause civilian casualties, and in this operation several civilians have already been killed and wounded, including women and at least one Palestinian child.

The Secretary-General urges Israel to exercise maximum restraint, do their utmost to protect civilians and to refrain from further escalating an already grave situation. He also calls on Palestinian militants to stop firing rockets against Israeli civilian targets.

All concerned should remember that continuing violence is liable to make the search for a just and lasting peace in the region even more difficult.

Asked about concrete UN actions regarding the violence, the Spokesman said that the issue is one of great concern to the Secretary-General, and the envoys of the Middle East Quartet are in constant contact on how to deal with the situation.


The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) warns that the operation is taking place in an area densely populated by Palestinian refugees, with more than 10,000 students going to UNRWA schools, as well as more than 400 of the Agencys staff, affected by the operations.

UNRWA adds that between 30 and 40 women today were collected inside two of its elementary schools, where their mobile phones were taken from them by Israeli soldiers; the Agency confirmed that two of the women subsequently suffered gunshot wounds. The ambulance was initially forbidden entry, but the injured women have since been taken to Beit Hanoun hospital.

After a lengthy delay waiting for Israeli approval to enter Beit Hanoun, three UNRWA humanitarian delivery vehicles containing food, water, milk, blankets and mattresses are moving into the area. The Agency is also sending a medical team to the Beit Hanoun health clinic.

Asked whether the United Nations had made a protest to the Israelis over the school incident, the Spokesman said that UNRWA is currently trying to obtain more information, and would, as it has done in the past, protest the incident.


The Secretary-General condemns the large-scale militia attacks in the Jebel Moon area of West Darfur on 29 and 30 October. The attacks on eight civilian settlements, including a camp harbouring some 3,500 internally displaced persons, caused scores of civilian deaths and forced thousands to flee the area.

The Secretary-General is particularly distressed on hearing reports that 27 of those killed were children under the age of 12.

The Secretary-General calls again in the strongest possible terms on the parties to respect their agreements and the provisions of international humanitarian law. He appeals once more to the Government of Sudan to take all necessary measures to prevent further attacks against civilians, particularly by militia forces.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights reports from Geneva that the above-mentioned attacks resulted in approximately 50 civilian deaths and as many as 7,000 persons in the area were affected by the violence. Many fled to the south or across the border to Chad and in other directions. The attacks affected nine villages or locations, including a camp for internally displaced persons.

The most recent report on the human rights situation in Sudan compiled by the Human Rights office in cooperation with the UN Mission in Sudan being issued in Geneva calls on Sudan to conduct an impartial, transparent and timely investigation into the attacks with the aim of persecuting those who planned, orchestrated and carried them out.

Meanwhile, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) also expressed extreme concern about the Jebel Moon attacks and announced it was sending a team today to the border area to monitor the situation and assess the needs of the refugees who were seen fleeing the attacks into Chad.

Recent inter-ethnic violence, including attacks by Arab-led armed groups along the tense border areas in eastern Chad adjacent to Darfur, has now pushed the numbers of internally displaced in the past year up to an estimated 63,000 from an earlier figure of 50,000, according to UNHCR.


The Secretary-General this evening will address the 16th Ibero-American Summit in Montevideo, Uruguay, and he will highlight the challenge of entrenched inequality, the need for fair distribution of the gains from international trade and the importance of the upcoming Global Forum on International Migration and Development.

He will detail the ways in which that Forum, which he had proposed as a way to continue the debate that began with last months UN High-Level Dialogue on migration, can help mark a sea change in how governments deal with that issue.

The Secretary-General began his work today with a one-on-one meeting with the Secretary-General of the Ibero-American General Secretariat, Enrique Iglesias. He also met with the UN country team for Uruguay.


The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) says that it has now deployed a total of around 9,450 troops from 20 different countries. Of that number, 7,730 troops are deployed on the ground between the Litani River and the Blue Line, in addition to a UNIFIL Maritime Task Force with 1,700 naval personnel.

Two Sector Headquarters have become operational as of the start of November, with the headquarters for the western sector located in Tibnine, and the one in the east located near Marjayoun.

Asked whether Israel was conducting aerial surveillance over Lebanon to pressure the United Nations to deal with arms smuggling in that country, the Spokesman said that the United Nations continues to protest Israeli overflights, which are a violation of the Blue Line and of Security Council resolution 1701. He noted that any violations of that resolution would be protested, from wherever it came.

Asked about disarmament of militias, the Spokesman said it was clear from resolution 1701 that disarmament would be based on a political agreement by the Lebanese.



UNHCR is increasingly alarmed over the incessant violence in Iraq and distressed over the lack of an international humanitarian response to deal with the massive numbers of people being displaced.

UNHCR officials who just returned from the region warned that the organization was now facing an even larger humanitarian crisis than we had initially prepared for in 2002-03. Yet UNHCR is sorely lacking in funds to cope with the growing numbers of displaced and increasingly desperate Iraqis needing help both within and outside their country.

On Colombia, the agency says dozens of Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities are at risk because of an upsurge in violence in the northwestern part of the country.

In Western Sahara, after a five-month suspension, UNHCR today resumed family visits between Sahrawi refugees living in camps in Tindouf, Algeria, and their relatives living in Western Sahara.

Finally, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, UNHCR is scheduled to start distribution today of clothing to some 50,000 internally displaced persons and returnees in the Ituri region.



Asked who makes the decision on appointing a new Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), the Spokesman said that the WFP appointment is to be made by the sitting Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, and by the Food and Agriculture Organization Director-General, Jacques Diouf. They would then write jointly to WFPs Board of Directors.

However, Dujarric added, the Secretary-General had made it clear that he would consult with the Secretary-General designate. Asked about the rules governing the appointment process, the Spokesman said that the appointment would be done consistent with all applicable rules.


According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), agencies are working to improve tented camps where some 2 million quake survivors are still living, ahead of winter.

In addition, the UN Humanitarian Air Service, which is managed by the World Food Programme, is set to resume helicopter operations next week in that region, to carry building and agricultural materials to remote communities.


The Department of Peacekeeping Operations, subject to the approval of the General Assembly, has accepted a proposal from the Government of Spain to locate a Telecommunications Facility in Valencia, Spain. The facility will serve to reinforce our current capacities provided through the United Nations Logistics Base (UNLB) in Brindisi, Italy.

In addition, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations has accepted a proposal from the Government of Italy to host the Standing Police Capacity (SPC) at the United Nations Logistics Base in Brindisi. The SPC, which will be launched in spring 2007, will be based in New York until spring 2008 when it will be relocated to Brindisi.

The Standing Police Capacity will assist in fulfilling the strategic mission of UN police, which is to build institutional police capacity in post-conflict environments. The SPC will provide the start-up capability for the police components of new UN peace operations, providing strategic direction and organization and helping to ensure both immediate and long term effectiveness, efficiency and professionalism. The unit, currently comprised of 25 officers, is anticipated to expand up to 100 by 2008.


UNITED NATIONS IS NOT A PARTY IN SIX-PARTY TALKS ON NORTH KOREA: Asked about the UNs role in the six-party talks concerning the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK), the Spokesman said that the United Nations is not a party to those talks. However, he said, the Secretary-General has consistently expressed support for the six-party talks and recently issued a statement welcoming the agreement on their resumption. He noted that not every initiative requires the Secretary-Generals direct intervention. In some situations he acts alone on his Good Offices, like Cyprus, or as part of a group, like the Quartet. Asked about the lack of a UN envoy dealing with DPRK following the departure of Maurice Strong, Dujarric said that did not indicate any lack of interest by the United Nations in the DPRK. Rather, he said, the United Nations continues to be involved through the humanitarian work of the World Food Programme and through its active support for the six-party talks.

U.N. COMPENSATION BODY CONCLUDES SESSION: The Governing Council of the United Nations Compensation Commission dealing with Iraq today concluded its sixty-first session in Geneva. The Governing Council considered the issue of inaccurate awards involving overpayments, and approved a significant number of claims for correction. The Council decided that all affected Governments and submitting entities be required to undertake best efforts to recover the overpaid amounts and return them to the Commission.

U.N. FOOD AGENCY MAY AIR-DROP FOOD FOR ETHIOPIA FLOOD VICTIMS: In the wake of worsening floods in southeastern Ethiopia, the World Food Programme is working closely with the Government of Ethiopia to ensure that food aid urgently reaches tens of thousands of flood survivors in the countrys Somali region. As access to the flood-hit area is difficult, the option of air-dropping food aid is being considered.

CONTRACT FOR HEAD OF PEACEKEEPING TO EXPIRE IN FEBRUARY: Asked about the duration of Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhennos contract, the Spokesman said that as a general rule, Under-Secretaries-General in the UN Secretariat had their contracts expire by next February, to give the next Secretary-General more flexibility in appointments.

U.N. MISSION IN D.R. CONGO HAS COMPLETED 150,000 HOURS OF FLIGHTS: The Aviation section of the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) has accomplished a major feat in achieving 150,000 hours of safe operations, which is a notable record for peacekeeping operations. MONUC Aviation has now flown approximately 175,000 hours, with zero fatalities. Aviation Section supports Mission requirements with operational, logistical and general support tasks.

  • *The guest today was Adolf Ogi, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General for Sport for Development and Peace. He spoke about a new book on the achievements of the International Year of Sport and Physical Education 2005, and the Action Plan on Sport for Development and Peace.


    Sunday, November 5

    Allan Rock, the Special Advisor on Sri Lanka to Radhika Coomaraswamy, the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, will travel to Sri Lanka from November 5 to 14.

    A UNICEF- and WHO-supported polio immunization campaign starts in Sudan today.

    Monday, November 6

    Today is the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict.

    Today the General Assembly is scheduled to elect the final members of the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council.

    UNDP Associate Administrator Ad Melkert will hold an embargoed media briefing at 10:00 a.m. in the UN Correspondents Association Club, on this years Human Development Report.

    A team of experts led by the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate begins a weeklong visit to India to monitor progress in implementation of Security Council resolution 1373 (2001).

    The Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change will hold its annual meeting in Nairobi from 6 to 17 November.

    The UN Office for Outer Space Affairs, within the framework of the UN Programme on Space Applications, will hold a four-day workshop on space law in Kiev, Ukraine.

    Tuesday, November 7

    The Security Council is scheduled to hold consultations this morning on Somalia, as well as the Secretary-Generals report on the activities of the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda and the surrounding region. Francois Lonseny Fall, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Somalia, will be the guest at the noon briefing.

    The Third Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects (CCW) will be held from 7 to 17 November in Geneva.

    The World Trade Organizations General Council will meet today to decide on accepting Viet Nam as a member.

    Wednesday, November 8

    The Secretary-General is scheduled to attend the monthly Security Council luncheon.

    The Security Council is scheduled to hold a debate this morning on Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    The General Assembly President will preside over the vote on the necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba.

    At 11:00, Eli Moyal, Mayor of Sderot, Israel, will hold a press conference.

    The UN Environment Programme will be launching its Billion Tree Campaign.

    At 12:45 p.m., there will be a background briefing by a senior UN official on the report of the High-Level Group on the Alliance of Civilizations.

    Thursday, November 9

    The report of the Secretary-General's High-Level Panel on UN System-Wide Coherence will be launched today in New York. The Panel Co-Chairs will present the report to the Secretary-General and then to the General Assembly, and will give a press conference at 12:30 pm in S-226.

    At 2:00 p.m., the Canadian Mission is sponsoring a press conference by the NGO Womens Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), on womens groups response to the recommendations on gender equality in the report of the Secretary-Generals High-Panel on UN System-Wide Coherence.

    The Human Development Report 2006, on freshwater issues, will be launched today around the world. The main launch event will take place with UNDP Administrator Kemal Dervis in Cape Town, South Africa.

    Friday, November 10

    The Security Council mission to Afghanistan is scheduled to depart today.

    The General Assembly President will participate in activities for International Human Solidarity Day. She will also chair and participate in a roundtable to mark the 60th anniversary of the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

    Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General

    United Nations, S-378

    New York, NY 10017

    Tel. 212-963-7162

    Fax. 212-963-7055

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