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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-07-10
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR IMPROVING TREATMENT OF MIGRANTS
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today addressed the Inaugural Global Forum on Migration and Development taking place in Brussels, saying that, as we have grasped migrations powerful potential for good, old stereotypes have crumbled, and new opportunities have captured our imaginations.
He said that migration continues to increase -- driven by the age-old pursuit of a better life, as well as by increasingly understood phenomena such as climate change. The Secretary-General stressed that we can do a great deal to build a better migration experience, including by ensuring that people move in a way that is safe and legal, and which protects their rights.
The Secretary-General added that he will remain deeply committed to the Forums work, and pledged to maintain its link to the United Nations through his Special Representative for Migration and Development, Peter Sutherland, who was re-appointed today.
The Secretary-General also met today with the European Unions High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana.
He was asked afterwards by a reporter about Kosovo, and responded that any further delay or prolongation of that issue will not be beneficial, for the Balkan states or for the European Union. At the same time, he asked the parties concerned not to take any premature unilateral action which may further complicate this already complicated issue.
The Secretary-General also held a press conference, in which, in response to a question, he said he was concerned about the ongoing situation in Pakistan. He stressed that the issue should be resolved peacefully, with respect for human rights.
U.N. ENVOY CONDEMNS BOMB ATTACK IN AFGHANISTAN
Tom Koenigs, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Afghanistan, condemned todays bomb attack in the Dihrawud district of Uruzgan province, saying, In no culture, no country, and no religion is there any excuse or justification for mass murder.
He said he was especially concerned by the reports that a large number of children were among the dead from todays bomb, adding that such utter disregard for innocent lives is staggering.
The UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has stressed repeatedly the need for all sides in this conflict to do their utmost to prevent harm coming to civilians.
UNICEF, in a statement, said that it is concerned by these incidents and the intimidation in some communities aimed at stopping families from sending children to school. Schools are a visible sign of reconstruction and progress, and there are those who perhaps fear such progress, UNICEF says.
SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED ON GUINEA-BISSAU, KOREA SANCTIONS
The Security Council this morning heard a briefing on the latest developments in Guinea-Bissau by the Secretary-Generals Representative for that country, Shola Omoregie. He presented the Secretary-Generals latest report on Guinea Bissau. Following consultations, the Council President read out a statement to the press about Guinea-Bissau.
Also this morning, Council members discussed the work of the sanctions committee dealing with the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, and heard from the chairman of that committee, Ambassador Marcello Spatafora of Italy.
Ambassador Peter Burian of Slovakia also briefed on the progress of the Councils Working Group on Procedures and Documentation.
SECRETARY-GENERAL DISTURBED BY REPORTED BREACHES OF LEBANON ARMS EMBARGO
The Secretary-Generals latest report on the implementation of resolution 1701, which is out today, says that the Secretary-General is deeply concerned that
Lebanon remains in the midst of a debilitating political crisis and faces ongoing attacks aimed at destabilizing and undermining its sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence.
He says he is disturbed by the persistent reports pointing to breaches of the arms embargo along the Lebanese-Syrian border. He notes with concern that the Lebanon Independent Border Assessment Team, whose own report is also out today, concludes that the border is not sufficiently secure and that Lebanese capabilities are lacking.
The Secretary-General commends the senior UN cartographer on his work to date on developing an accurate territorial definition of the Shaba Farms area, and says he is pleased that Israel has agreed to a visit by the cartographer to the area. The report also discusses the killings last month of six UN peacekeepers in southern Lebanon.
CROSSING CLOSURES THREATEN HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN GAZA
The Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
says that imports of food, fuel and cash into the Gaza Strip met 70 percent of minimum food and other needs last week, up from just 20 percent the week before. Nonetheless, three quarters of Gazas factories are closed or operating at minimal capacity.
Meanwhile, border restrictions are preventing agricultural exports from reaching the market, while essential items like milk powder, baby formula and vegetable oil are in short supply.
Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes warned of serious social, economic and humanitarian concerns unless all crossings return to their operational levels of a month ago.
PIRACY OFF COAST OF SOMALIA ENDANGERS AID DELIVERIES
The World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) today made a joint call for concerted and coordinated international action to deal with the threat of piracy and armed robbery in waters off the coast of Somalia.
The joint appeal comes amid growing concern about the perils it poses for commercial shipping, fishing and other vessels and the delivery of humanitarian assistance needed by hundreds of thousands of Somali men, women and children.
The Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organisation, Efthimios Mitropoulos, and WFP Executive Director, Josette Sheeran, warned that piracy off the coast of Somalia threatens regional sea lanes and endangers the fragile delivery line of food aid to Somalis already affected by the ravages of 15 years of civil strife, political instability and recurring natural disasters.
REFUGEE DEATHS DURING GULF OF ADEN CROSSING CONTINUE TO RISE
The number of refugees dying while crossing the Gulf of Aden from Somalia to Yemen continues to rise. At least 367 people died in the first six months of this year, or more than in all of 2006, according to the UN Refugee agency.
UNHCR says many of those who lost their lives were forced by smugglers to disembark in deep waters and drowned while trying to swim to shore. Others were beaten to death by smugglers or attacked by sharks after being thrown overboard.
U.N. SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE IN DRC CONDEMNS ASSASSINATION IN GOMA
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), William Lacy Swing, has condemned in the strongest terms the assassination of Floribert Bwana Chuy Bin Kositi, a regional leader of the Congolese Rally for Democracy political party. Kositi was found dead yesterday in Goma, the main town in the eastern province of North Kivu.
In his statement, Swing also urged Congolese authorities to ensure that this crime does not go unpunished, saying that this crime occurs at a time when a new peace drive is raising the hopes of achieving peace in the region. He said that this latest killing appears to be part of an emerging pattern of assassinating political and business officials in the eastern Congolese provinces.
HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF CALLS ON IRAN TO PREVENT EXECUTION BY STONING
The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, is expressing deep
concern at reports out of Iran that a man was stoned to death near Tehran last week. Her office is still trying to find out more information from the Government about the case, which reportedly involves a man and his female companion, who were imprisoned for more than 11 years for adultery.
The High Commissioner is calling on Iranian authorities to stop the execution of the woman involved in the case, as well as all such executions in Iran.
U.N. AGENCIES PROVIDE FLOOD RELIEF IN PAKISTAN, MYANMAR AND SUDAN
In Pakistan, flood relief efforts have been stepped up as the water starts to recede. According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the World Food Programme (WFP) has provided almost 60 metrics tonnes of food, while UNICEF has supplied the same amount of food for vulnerable children and pregnant women. As for the UN Refugee Agency, it expects to deliver, by the end of the week, more than 250 tonnes of emergency supplies to Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province. OCHA estimates that more than two million people were affected by the floods.
In Myanmar, the annual monsoon season began two weeks ago, resulting in floods in many areas. UNICEF has been able to distribute essential drugs, oral-rehydration salts, water purification tablets and family kits, in part because of supplies pre-positioned from the response to the Indian Ocean tsunami.
And finally, floods have also affected the north of Sudan, and a multi-agency emergency response there is also providing essential supplies. UNICEF reports that the humanitarian community has distributed, among other items, plastic sheeting, blankets and cooking sets to more than 1,000 families.
WFP LAUNCHES APPEAL TO SUPPORT NEPALS PEACE PROCESS
The World Food Programme (WFP) is launching an international appeal for $49 million to support Nepals peace process.
This year-long recovery programme will assist over 1.2 million people in the country who continue to struggle daily with the effects of the recently ended eleven-year conflict.
In addition to delivering food aid, the programme aims to provide quick-impact economic opportunities and to support community-based activities to contribute to longer-term food security in Nepal.
WEST AFRICAN COUNTRIES, DONORS TO DISCUSS COUNTER-TERRORISM
Sixteen West African countries are set to meet with donors on Wednesday at UN Headquarters to discuss a more targeted and regional approach to building their ability to fight terrorism, both within their borders and across the region.
The day-long informal meeting between the West African States and some 20 donor nations and international organizations is intended to give participants the opportunity to exchange views on the challenges faced by countries in putting into practice the various Security Council counter-terrorism resolutions, particularly resolution 1373 (2001), and by providers in delivering counter-terrorism related technical assistance.
The meeting is organized by the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committees Executive Directorate (CTED) and also aims to encourage the implementation of the relevant provisions of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy adopted by the General Assembly in September 2006.
U.N. RENEWS CALL FOR ALL STATES TO TRANSFER SREBRENICA SUSPECTS TO THE HAGUE
Asked about the anniversary of the horrific crimes that took place in Srebrenica, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations stresses once more the need for all States to act to transfer to The Hague all of the suspects indicted for their involvement in the killings, notably Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic.
The UN system, notably the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), have tried to obtain justice for all those who suffered from the killings in Srebrenica, and the transfers are essential to achieving that aim, she said.
Montas added, in response to a further question, that the Tribunal cannot arrest suspects; that is the responsibility of Member States.
Asked about remarks by the Mothers of Srebrenica that Tribunal Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte is not welcome at the Srebrenica anniversary, the Spokeswoman said it would be up to Bosnia to decide whom to invite to the commemorative events.
UPCOMING PRESS CONFERENCES BY THE SECRETARY-GENERAL AND DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL: The guest at the noon briefing on Wednesday will be Deputy Secretary-General, Asha-Rose Migiro, who will brief on her recent trip to Austria, Guinea-Bissau, Ghana and Kenya. Meanwhile, the Secretary-General is now scheduled to have a press conference on Monday, July 16, at 10:30 a.m., at a location to be announced.
MERGING OF TWO U.N. OFFICES UNDER CONSIDERATION: Asked whether the Office of the Special Adviser for Africa would be merged into the Office of the High Level Representative, which deals with land-locked countries, least developed countries and small island states, the Spokeswoman said that was being considered.
U.N. ETHICS OFFICE REVIEWING CASE OF POTENTIAL WHISTLEBLOWER: Asked whether the head of the UN Ethics Office has received a letter concerning a potential U.N. Development Programme whistleblower, the Spokeswoman reiterated that the Ethics Office is reviewing the issue, and has 45 days to do so.
NO DECISION ON NAMING OF NEW U.N. IRAQ REPRESENTATIVE: Asked whether Ghassan Salameh of Lebanon has been picked to replace the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for
Iraq, Ashraf Qazi, the Spokeswoman said that no decision has been taken. She acknowledged that Qazi would be leaving his post soon.
SECURITY CONCERNS PREVENT INCREASE IN U.N. PRESENCE IN IRAQ: Asked whether the United Nations would increase its presence in Iraq, the Spokeswoman recalled that the Secretary-General has expressed the desire to increase the UN presence there, but there has been no specific decision for such an increase, and there continue to be security concerns.
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