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United Nations Daily Highlights, 06-11-06
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From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: email@example.comARCHIVES
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC
SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Monday, November 6, 2006
U.N. RIGHTS CHIEF CALLS FOR CREDIBLE APPEALS PROCESS IN IRAQ
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour has
responded to the verdicts reached in Iraq by urging the Iraqi authorities to ensure that the right of appeal of persons convicted and sentenced by the Iraqi High Tribunal be fully respected.
A credible appeals process is an essential part of fair-trial guarantees, the High Commissioner said in a press release issued on Sunday. Arbour added that that was particularly important in this instance, in which the death penalty has been imposed.
She said, Those convicted today should have every opportunity to exhaust their appellate remedies in a fair way, and whatever the outcome of an appeal, I hope the Government will observe a moratorium on executions.
The High Commissioner said guaranteeing the right to a fair trial of persons accused of major human rights violations was key to consolidating and strengthening the important process of ensuring justice and countering impunity that Iraq had embarked upon.
Asked about the Secretary-Generals views concerning the verdict against Saddam Hussein, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General supports Arbours statement and had nothing to add to it. He noted that the gist of the statement is that there is still an appeals process going on, which must be respected. He added that the United Nations doesnt want to prejudge the results of that process.
D.R. CONGO ELECTORAL COMMISSION RELEASES INTERIM RESULTS
The U.N. Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo says that the Independent Electoral Commission this weekend began publishing provisional results of the run-off presidential election as a way to stem the flow of rumors circulating in the country, where the situation is tense but calm.
The Mission says the Commission published results for 12 of 169 constituencies on its website, giving incumbent Joseph Kabila an advantage over Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba. However, the Commission also stressed that the figures were partial results and that final official results will not be available before 19 November.
Meanwhile, the Mission says, four former African heads of state visited Kinshasa this weekend and held meetings with the two presidential candidates and members of the international community as part of ongoing efforts to appease the situation ahead of the final election results. The former heads of state delegation included Jerry Rawlings of Ghana, Pierre Buyoya of Burundi, Sam Nujoma of Namibia and Abdulsalim Abubakar of Nigeria.
DARFUR REGION TENSE AS ATTACKS ON CIVILIANS CONTINUE
The U.N. Mission in Sudan reports at least three violent attacks on displaced persons near Kalma camp in South Darfur in recent days.
The mission blamed the attacks on Arab nomads and reports that the displaced persons at the camp has requested more patrols by the African Union force in Darfur.
It also reports that the situation in the northern part of West Darfur continues to be very tense, with the continuous movement of armed militias.
Asked whether the United Nations has given up on deploying UN troops in Darfur, the Spokesman clarified that the short-term focus for the United Nations remains on bolstering the African Union Mission in Sudan. However, he added, it continues to work for a longer-term UN presence in Darfur, which, in accordance with
resolution 1706, requires the approval of the Sudanese Government.
Dujarric urged states with an influence on the Sudanese Government to persuade it to accept a UN force in Darfur.
Concerning the support for the African Union Mission, which Khartoum has approved, the Spokesman said that some people have already been deployed from the UN side with others standing by in Khartoum. He noted that the United Nations has made an appeal for some 90 officers to be provided by Member States, of which only 23 have been received so far.
Asked about the problems paying some soldiers serving with the African Union Mission, the Spokesman noted that the Secretary-General has repeatedly appealed for countries to provide the needed funds so that the soldiers can be paid.
Asked about the status of Special Representative Jan Pronk, Dujarric said that Pronk is currently on leave. He will then go to Khartoum this month for a handover period.
ADVISOR ON CHILDREN AND ARMED CONFLICT VISITS SRI LANKA
Radhika Coomaraswamy, the U.N. Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, announced today that her Special Advisor on Sri Lanka, Ambassador Allan Rock, is visiting that country from 6 to 14 November, upon the invitation of the Sri Lankan Government.
Ambassador Rock is undertaking this field mission to ascertain the situation firsthand to help ensure greater protection for children affected by the conflict. He will meet with Government and Tamil Tiger representatives, among others, and will present a report after his visit to the
Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict.
Also concerning Sri Lanka, 17 relief workers for the NGO Action against Hunger, slain three months ago in the town of Muttur in northeastern Sri Lanka, were honoured today by their families and colleagues. The Acting U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator, Jeff Taft-Dick, reaffirmed the commitment of the United Nations to ensure that the full investigation is concluded and never to forget those who were killed.
ANNAN URGES RESTRAINT IN NEW ISRAELI INCURSION INTO GAZA
Asked about UN action regarding the violence in Gaza, the Spokesman said that Secretary-General Kofi Annan had spoken over the weekend by phone with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
He asked Olmert to exercise restraint and do his utmost to protect civilians, while he asked Abbas to do his utmost to stop the rocket firing by Palestinians. He reminded both that continuing violence is liable to make the search for a just and lasting peace in the region even more difficult.
U.N. FORCE IN LEBANON EXTENDS MARITIME ROLE
Asked about Israeli air sorties over Lebanon, the Spokesman said that there have been no reported air violations given to the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) over the past two days.
Asked whether Lebanon has requested UNIFIL to extend its maritime role, the Spokesman said he was not aware of a new request and noted that UNIFILs maritime component continues to work with the Lebanese Government. He added, in response to a further question, that UNIFIL currently deploys some 9,500 troops, including some 1,700 naval personnel.
ANNAN CLARIFIES SCOPE OF WORK FOR
MIXED COMMISSION ON THE BAKASSI PENINSULA
Available as a document today is a letter from the Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the President of the Security Council, in which the Secretary-General clarifies the scope of activities expected to be performed by the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission for the year 2007.
These include continuing the demarcation exercise along the 1,700-kilometer land boundary and addressing the issues related to the needs of the affected populations in border areas.
ANNAN COMMEMORATES HALF A CENTURY OF U.N. PEACEKEEPING
In a message released over the weekend, the Secretary-General commemorated the creation of the first U.N. peacekeeping operation 50 years ago. He said that half a century after launching the first peacekeeping mission, U.N. peacekeeping again faces another enormous challenge.
With 18 current operations, a historic high of 93,000 personnel in the field, and a total that may reach 140,000 in 2007, UN peacekeeping is stretched as never before, the Secretary-General said. Yet we confront that challenge with informed optimism. The task ahead will be demanding, but we will fulfill it, he asserted.
AFRICA CAN LEARN FROM CHINA IN POVERTY REDUCTION: ANNAN
The Secretary-General welcomed Chinas announcement that it plans to double its aid to Africa by 2009.
In his statement to the China-Africa Summit, the Secretary-General also said Africans can benefit greatly from the experience of their friends in China, whove had such success in sustaining growth and reducing poverty.
MAJOR CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE OPENS IN NAIROBI
Talks on climate change got underway today in Nairobi at the 12th Conference of the Parties to the Climate Change Convention and the second meeting of the parties to the Kyoto Protocol.
The conference will focus on the need for adaptation measures to climate change as well as on talks for action after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.
According to a
new report on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation in Africa, assisting developing countries to adapt to the impacts of global warming, especially those in Africa must be a key focus of the latest round of climate change talks.
The report released by the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and based on data from bodies including the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) indicates that the African continents vulnerability to climate change is even more acute than had previously been supposed.
SECURITY COUNCIL WORKING GROUP ON PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS MEETING TODAY: There are no meetings or consultations of the Security Council scheduled for today. The Security Councils Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations is meeting at 3 p.m.
U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF TO STEP DOWN IN DECEMBER: Asked whether Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland would head a UN mediation support unit, the Spokesman noted that Egeland had announced he would leave his position by mid-December, but added that he would not speculate on what Egeland might do in the future.
HIRING PROCESSES VARY AMONG U.N. AGENCIES: Asked about the differences between the hiring processes for the top positions in the World Health Organization and the World Food Programme, the Spokesman said that they were distinctive processes and organizations, and he noted that the WFP appointment is not going to the UN General Assembly for approval. He added, in response to another question, that the decision not to publish a shortlist of WFP candidates had been made in-house and had not been made at the request of the United States.
U.N. COUNTER-TERRORISM TEAM VISITS INDIA: The UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) began a visit to India today, continuing the Security Councils practical, technical assistance work to strengthen the ability of countries to fight terrorism. Executive Director Javier Rupérez is leading the delegation, which will be in India for a week.
CONFLICT-INDUCED ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE AFFECTS ECOSYSTEMS: Today is the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict, which was designated by the General Assembly in November 2001. It considered that damage to the environment in times of armed conflict impairs ecosystems and natural resources long after the period of conflict, often extending beyond the limits of national territories and the present generation.
AFRICA KEEPS LEAD AS FASTEST-GROWING TOURISTIC REGION: The World Tourism Organization (WTO) reports that world tourism demand continues to exceed expectations and to show resilience against extraneous factors. Growth, it says, is expected to continue in 2007 at a pace of some 4% worldwide. In 2006, Africa was again the worlds regional leader in terms of growth and Asia Pacific was the second fastest-growing region.
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