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United Nations Daily Highlights, 06-11-30
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From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: firstname.lastname@example.orgARCHIVES
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC
SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Thursday, November 30, 2006
ANNAN LAUNCHES HUMANITARIAN APPEAL FOR 2007
Secretary-General Kofi Annan launched the Humanitarian Appeal 2007 at UN Headquarters this morning. The 13 consolidated appeals for specific emergencies seek nearly $4 billion to help 27 million people in 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East.
In his remarks, the Secretary-General said that the individuals in need were not seeking a handout, but rather a hand up. Noting that this was his last Humanitarian Appeal as Secretary-General, he added that he hoped that, once again, the international community would respond -- not with pity, but with practical assistance.
Also participating in the launch were: Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein of Jordan, who is a Goodwill Ambassador for the World Food Programme; Dr. Denis Mukwege, Director of the Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; and Jan Egeland, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs.
ANNAN URGES AFRICAN UNION SUMMIT TO ENSURE PEACEKEEPING PRESENCE IN DARFUR
The African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council Summit Meeting on Darfur began today in Abuja, Nigeria, and Jean-Marie Guehenno, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, delivered a message on the Secretary-Generals behalf.
In it, the Secretary-General stresses that it is vital that we ensure the continuation of a peacekeeping presence in Darfur, and that we make it as effective as possible. We cannot afford to compromise on that.
He says that the UN Security Council is now looking to this summit in Abuja for decisions that will facilitate the rapid implementation of the agreement reached in Addis Ababa at UN-AU-co-chaired meeting on Darfur.
Meanwhile, the Secretary-General this morning received a letter from the President of Sudan on the proposed hybrid UN-AU peacekeeping operation in Darfur.
Also on Sudan, the United Nations has begin delivering medical assistance to more than 300 civilians who were wounded by heavy fighting in Malakal, southern Sudan.
Asked whether the letter by the Sudanese President would be made public, the Spokesman said that, first, it would be translated and studied by the United Nations, which would determine how to respond to it. It may also be shared with the members of the Security Council.
UNITED NATIONS TO HOLD HIGH-LEVEL MEETING ON SEXUAL EXPLOITATION AND ABUSE
Asked about reports of sexual exploitation and abuse of children by UN peacekeepers in Haiti and Liberia, the Spokesman said that the United Nations found all such acts to be unacceptable, and had in place a zero-tolerance policy regarding them.
He said that 80% of all UN peacekeeping personnel are troops from contributing countries, who can only be disciplined or prosecuted for crimes committed in peacekeeping missions under their national laws. In those cases, disciplinary action depends on the troop contributing countries.
He noted that the question of sexual exploitation and abuse has been a major concern for the Secretary-General. Dujarric added that the Department for Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) has developed and put in place a comprehensive strategy to address this issue, including measures aimed at prevention of misconduct; enforcement of UN standards and of conduct; remedial action and treatment for those affected.
Regarding the specific case in Haiti, the Spokesman said that the UN Mission in Haiti had investigated and held a full board of inquiry following the reported violation in November 2004. The board, and a further investigation, found that the charges could not be sustained.
Dujarric said that the head of the UN Mission in Haiti at that time met with the family of the girl who had made the charges and explained the findings. The Mission was told that the family accepted that the Mission had done all it could to determine the facts.
Regarding the Liberia case, the Spokesman said that the UN Mission in Liberia said it had received no reports from its conduct and discipline team or from the Office of Internal Oversight Services of any cases involving minors.
In both missions, the Spokesman added, there has been increased training, as well as systems put in place to detect possible misconduct earlier. The United Nations takes seriously its responsibility to ensure that no such cases occur, he said.
The Spokesman noted that the United Nations is organizing a High-Level Conference on Eliminating Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by UN and NGO Personnel on Monday, 4 December, at the Millennium Plaza Hotel, in New York. Participants will include the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, UN agencies, funds and programmes, Member States, troop contributing countries and NGOs. The Secretary-General will open Mondays conference, and journalists are invited to attend the opening session.
Also on Monday, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jane Holl-Lute, among others, will participate in a press conference on sexual exploitation in room 226 at 2:00 p.m.
Asked about what one reporter claimed was a lack of follow-up to allegations of sexual abuse, the Spokesman contested that assertion and said that the zero-tolerance policy is in force and those who break the rules are punished.
He noted the serious follow-up in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which led DPKO to tighten its procedures and put in place conduct and discipline teams and other investigators. The United Nations is also working with the Member States that contribute troops to ensure that follow-up action is taken and that those guilty of misconduct are disciplined.
The Spokesman later added that, since the beginning of 2004, the UN has investigated 319 peacekeeping personnel in all missions. These resulted in the summary dismissal of 18 civilians and the repatriation on disciplinary grounds of 17 police and 144 military personnel.
ANNAN WARNS AGAINST COMPLACENCY AHEAD OF WORLD AIDS DAY
Friday is World AIDS Day, and the Secretary-General, in a message issued in advance of that occasion, says that the stakes in the struggle against AIDS are higher now than ever.
He warns that we cannot risk letting the advances that have been achieved unravel, and we must not jeopardize the heroic efforts of so many. The challenge now is to deliver on all the promises that Governments have made.
This evening, the Secretary-General will attend an event on the observance of World AIDS Day at St. Bartholomews Church in New York, and will deliver remarks on how AIDS has become the greatest challenge of our generation.
The theme for this years observance is accountability, and the idea that AIDS stops with me.
ANNAN DISAPPOINTED AT UNEVEN PROGRESS ON KOSOVOS STATUS
The Secretary-Generals latest report on Kosovo says that he is disappointed that the future status process has resulted in only uneven progress and limited agreement on some specific elements, and that the two sides have not moved from their diametrically opposed views. At the same time, he calls upon the sides to refrain from any unilateral actions and statements.
The Secretary-General also notes with dismay that violent attacks continue to be made by a few in an attempt to bring about political change. Condemning such violence, he calls upon the people of Kosovo to help their institutions defeat it.
UNITED NATIONS, WORLD BANK TO FUND ROAD REPAIRS IN LIBERIA
The UN Mission in Liberia says that it signed a landmark agreement yesterday with the World Bank, the Liberian government and the UN Development Programme to rehabilitate three major roads at an estimated cost of 3.7million dollars.
According to the agreement, the UN Development Programme is tasked with the overall management of the funds provided by the World Bank, while the UN Mission in Liberia will combine its technical implementation capacity with the expertise of the Ministry of Public Works to improve road conditions and create employment opportunities for some 4,700 Liberian workers.
RIGHTS COUNCIL TO HOLD SPECIAL SESSION ON DARFUR
The President of the Human Rights Council, Ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba of Mexico, today announced that the Human Rights Council would hold a special session devoted to the human rights situation in Darfur immediately after the current session ends next week, probably around 12 December.
The meeting was requested by 29 members of the Council.
QATAR TO ASSUME SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENCY
There were no Security Council meetings or consultations scheduled for today, the last day of Perus Presidency of the Security Council.
Tomorrow, the Ambassador of Qatar, Nassir Abdulaziz al-Nasser, will begin work as the Councils President for the month of December. He is expected to brief reporters next Monday, at about 1:00, on the Councils programme of work for next month.
2006 WINTER OLYMPICS HAS SET RECORD FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY
The UN Environment Programme reports that 70 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions generated by the 2006 Winter Olympics have been offset. A new report underlines how the last Winter Olympics set new records in the ultimate quest for environmental sustainability in mass audience events.
The report notes important achievements in areas from conservation of freshwaters and mountain ecosystems to transport and eco-friendly building designs. The adoption of environmental certification and management standards by Olympic accommodation are also recognized. In addition, the quality of river water improved as a direct result of works carried out to support the Olympics.
FOOD AGENCY AIRLIFTS SUPPLIES TO ETHIOPIAN FLOOD VICTIMS
The World Food Programme (WFP) today announced that, unless it receives new contributions urgently, it will be forced to halt food distributions to 90,000 orphans and vulnerable children in Namibia by the second half of December.
Meanwhile, WFP also reports that two helicopters left today from the Ethiopian town of Gode, carrying emergency supplies for flood survivors in south-eastern Ethiopia.
ANNAN TO HOLD FAREWELL PRESS CONFERENCE ON 19 DECEMBER: In response to a question, the Spokesman reiterated that the Secretary-Generals final press conference would take place at 10:30 a.m. on 19 December. Secretary-General Kofi Annan would continue to serve through 31 December, with Ban Ki-moon taking office formally on 1 January.
SECURITY COUNCIL IS DEBATING NEXT STEP IN SOMALIA: Asked about a proposal to support one faction in Somalia, the Spokesman declined to comment while the Security Council is debating the issue. He said that the Secretary-General has spoken on Somalia frequently in recent weeks, adding that the Secretary-Generals position on developments in that country has not changed.
UNHCR IS HELPING IRAQI REFUGEES: Asked whether UNHCR is taking measures to help the refugees who have left Iraq, the Spokesman said that it is doing so, and that UNHCR has highlighted the problems those refugees are facing regarding their treatment and is taking measures to deal with them.
FIGHTING HAS SUBSIDED IN EASTERN D.R. CONGO TOWN: Asked about the fighting in the village of Sake in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Spokesman said that the most recent reports indicated that the fighting there had subsided.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL NOT INVOLVED IN RECRUITMENT OF UNDP EMPLOYEE: Asked whether Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown had played any role in the transfer of a UN Development Programme (UNDP) employee, Brian Gleeson, the Spokesman denied any role by the Deputy Secretary-General in that transfer. He declined to comment further on personnel movements in UNDP, noting that UNDP itself provides information to reporters on its activities.
*** Jan Egeland, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, and Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein of Jordan, who is a Goodwill Ambassador for the World Food Programme, spoke about the Humanitarian Appeal for 2007.***
Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General
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