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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-09-28
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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 FARHAN HAQ
ASSOCIATE SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BANK KI-MOON
Friday, September 28, 2007
ENVOY EXPECTED TO ARRIVE IN MYANMAR ON SATURDAY
The Government of Myanmar has agreed to a visit by the
Secretary-Generals Special Adviser, Ibrahim Gambari, beginning Saturday.
Thursday afternoon, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the authorities in
Myanmar to engage in a constructive dialogue with his Special Adviser and to
commit to a path of peaceful and inclusive national reconciliation.
Gambari is currently in Singapore, where he held meetings
today at the Foreign Ministry.
Asked for an update on the mission to Myanmar by Ibrahim Gambari, the
Spokesman said that Gambari is expected to travel to Myanmar on Saturday
afternoon (local time), which would be very early on Saturday morning in New
Asked whom Gambari will meet, Haq said that he will be meeting all the
important players, adding that Gambari's schedule of appointments was being
The Spokesman, in response to question, said that the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)
has not reported any increase in the number of Myanmar refugees in Thailand.
While this was the case in the past when there was fighting between armed
groups, the agency does not anticipate a similar development this time. Even
so, the agency continues to monitor the situation, Haq added.
Asked to comment on news reports that the Myanmar Government has restricted
Internet traffic in and out of the country in a bid to curtail the flow of
humanitarian and other information, Haq said that the United Nations would
wait to hear from Gambari before commenting on this matter. He added, however,
that the United Nations encourages all governments to facilitate the free flow
of information, including humanitarian information.
Asked if there is a United Nations presence in the country, Haq said that
there is a UN country team led by Charles Petrie, the Resident Coordinator and
Humanitarian Coordinator. The team based in Myanmar includes staff from
UNAIDS, FAO, UNOCD, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNDP, UNICEF, WFP, WHO and ILO.
Asked if the United Nations had anticipated the eruption of mass protest in
the country, Haq said that it is hard to anticipate the level of any situation
before it occurs. Even so, Haq said, Special Envoy Gambari had traveled to
Myanmar in the past, has been monitoring the situation and recently briefed
the Security Council on conditions on the ground.
Asked how Gambari became the focal point on Myanmar, the Spokesman said that
until the end of last year, Gambari was the head of the Department of
Political Affairs, with overall responsibility for the Organization's
political work. He served in that capacity for more than a year and a half,
and has political experience on a range of issues.
SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES MYANMAR AUTHORITIES TO EXERCISE RESTRAINT
spoke to the
foreign ministers of the Non-Aligned Movement this morning, detailing the
current state of UN efforts to deal with, among other things, Darfur, the
Middle East, Iraq, Myanmar, the Millennium Development Goals and global
On Myanmar, he noted that recent developments are causing
grave concern, and he urged the authorities there to exercise restraint,
engage without delay in dialogue, release detained leaders, and initiate a
national reconciliation process.
He said that he counts on the Non-Aligned Movements
support as he is to propose to the General Assembly that the
Department for Political Affairs be
COUNCIL TO HOLD SPECIAL SESSION ON MYANMAR
In Geneva today, the President of the Human Rights
Council received a request, signed by 17 Member States of the Human Rights
Council, for a Special Session to be held on Myanmar. The President said the
Session will be held this Tuesday. Open-ended consultations on the conduct
and organization of the Special Session will be held this Monday.
In related news, the Human Rights Council today adopted a
number of resolutions as it wrapped up the first part of its sixth session.
Among other actions, the Council extended the mandates of
the Working Group on arbitrary detention, the Special Rapporteur on human
rights of indigenous people and the Independent Expert on human rights in
Burundi. The Council also created the post of Special Rapporteur on
contemporary forms of slavery and set up the Forum on Minority Issues.
COUNCIL EXTENDS PANEL OF SUDAN SANCTIONS EXPERTS FOR ONE YEAR
This morning, the Security Council approved a
extending by one year, until 29 September 2008, the mandate of the panel of
experts dealing with sanctions imposed on Sudan.
The Council then began a meeting to hear a briefing from
the chairman-in-office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in
Europe (OSCE), Miguel Angel Moratinos.
On Thursday afternoon, the Council President, Ambassador
Jean-Maurice Ripert of France, issued a statement to the press, saying that
Council members called for the holding of a free and fair presidential
election in Lebanon, in conformity with the Lebanese constitutional norms and
schedules and without any foreign interference.
U.N. FULLY RESPECTS AFRICAN CHARACTER OF
Asked for a reaction on Egypt's reported contention that the United Nations
had not accepted troop offers from African nations for the hybrid operation in
Sudan, the Spokesman said that the United Nations is committed to fully
respect the fundamentally African character of the deployment.
the same time, he explained, there are some specialized services that the
Organization needs to ensure that the force is as strong as possible and for
which it may look to countries outside of Africa. The composition of the
force, he added, was being finalized.
REFUGEE AGENCY BEGINS DISTRIBUTING AID TO THOUSANDS WHO FLED MOGADISHU
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
yesterday it began distributing much needed relief supplies to some 24,000
people who have fled the recent intensification of violence in Mogadishu.
Plastic sheeting, blankets and jerry cans are being given out over a three-day
UNHCR reports that so many displaced people have joined
the existing settlements along the road leading west from Mogadishu, that the
road is sometimes completely impassable.
ASSIST THOUSANDS AFFECTED BY UGANDA FLOODING
The World Food Programme (WFP)
and its partners have distributed more than a thousand metric tons of food to
nearly 82,000 people affected by floods in Uganda. WFP is planning to
distribute food to an additional 25,000 people.
has distributed emergency health kits to treat 11,000 people for three months,
and is providing health care for 48,000 children for one month. UNICEF is
also providing measles and polio vaccines, as well as insecticide-treated nets
and water purification tablets. It also has cholera supplies standing by for
up to 10,000 cases.
SECRETARY-GENERALS AFGHANISTAN REPORT REVIEWS NUMEROUS IMPORTANT ISSUES OF
CONCERN TO THE U.N.
Asked to explain perceived discrepancies between the Secretary-General's
periodic reports and a recent one by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan
(UNAMA), in particular as they pertain
to suicide bombings in that country, the Spokesman later said that the report
by UNAMA was not an official document of the United Nations. It contained a
great deal of information that does not necessarily reflect the views of the
issued on 21 September, reflects the view of the Secretary-General on the
situation in Afghanistan right now. The report, incidentally, goes over a
number of important issues in Afghanistan that are of concern to us, of which
suicide attacks are a part, but not the full story.
TRIBUNAL SENTENCES TWO FORMER ARMY OFFICERS FOR ROLE IN VUKOVAR EXECUTIONS
In a ruling delivered on Thursday,
the International Criminal
Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia sentenced two former senior officers of
the Yugoslav People's Army to lengthy prison terms and acquitted another of
all charges against him.
Mile Mrkić and Veselin
ljivančanin received 20 years and 5 years, respectively, for their role in
the November 1991 Ovčara executions, which followed the fall of the Croatian
town of Vukovar.
Mrkić was found guilty of aiding
and abetting the murder, torture and cruel treatment of 194 non-Serb
prisoners, while ljivančanin was convicted of aiding and abetting the torture
of the prisoners.
The third accused, Muroslav Radic,
was cleared of all charges although the Tribunal has determined his role in
helping to remove non-Serbs from a Vukovar Hospital and transport them to a
building in Ovčara where they were beaten, tortured and eventually murdered.
Asked for a comment on Croatia's stated displeasure at the Tribunal's ruling,
the Spokesman said that the Tribunal, in its ruling, was following procedures
and sentencing standards by which it normally operates. If there is a need to
file an appeal, he added, there are specific procedures to follow. We would
not second-guess the decision of our colleagues at the Tribunal, Haq said.
Asked for additional comment on the fact that the Tribunal's prosecutor had
expressed dissatisfaction with the verdict, Haq noted that sentencing
decisions are ultimately made by the Tribunal's judges.
Asked if the Secretary-General had received an official letter from the
Croatian Government protesting the verdict, the Spokesman later confirmed that
the letter was received. He added that, in response to Croatia's request, the
letter would be circulated as a document of the General Assembly and would be
submitted to the Security Council in the coming days.
DR CONGO: IMPROVEMENTS IN SECURITY ALLOWS AID TO
The World Food Programme (WFP)
says that it
is taking advantage of an improvement in security conditions the Democratic
Republic of the Congo (DRC) to provide aid to displaced persons who had
previously been impossible to reach.
Despite improving security
conditions, however, the UN refugee agency notes that recent fighting in North
Kivu has led to more displacement and is highlighting reports of people
fleeing into neighboring South Kivu province.
Meanwhile, the World Health
Organization (WHO) says its
team on the ground is working to try to understand how many recent
disease-related deaths have been caused by Ebola.
REMOVED FROM U.N. AGENCY PREMISES WAS NOT HARMFUL
The US authorities have
concluded the analysis of substances removed from the United Nations
Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC)
premises and determined that these did not contain any harmful materials. The
United Nations would like to thank the host country authorities for resolving
Asked for the status of the work of the Secretary-General's blue-ribbon panel
tasked with determining the nature of the substance found at UNMOVIC's office,
the Spokesman said that the members of the panel appointed to look into the
handling of materials by UNMOVIC have been reviewing documents. They have
interviewed many people, both current and former staff, including some that
were on the 1996 inspection that recovered the material.
They are on target to complete their work and report on it before the end of
THE WEEK AHEAD
AT THE UNITED NATIONS
is for planning purposes only and is subject to change]
Monday, October 1
The General Debate of the 62nd session of the
General Assembly continues through 3 October.
Today is the first day of Ghanas presidency of the
Today is International Day of Older Persons. This years
theme is "Addressing the Challenges and Opportunities of Ageing". In London and
Geneva, the World Health Organization is launching its first Global Age-friendly
Today is International Habitat Day. The UNs Global
Report on Human Settlements 2007: Enhancing Urban Safety and Security is
scheduled to be launched today in The Hague, London, and Monterrey, Mexico. At
UN Headquarters, UN-Habitat is organizing a special event on the theme A safe city is a just city from 9.30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium.
From today through Friday, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Executive Committee is meeting in Geneva. High Commissioner António Guterres and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes are scheduled to address the meeting today.
From today through 3 October, the Second International Conference on Climate Change and Tourism takes place in Davos, Switzerland.
Tuesday, October 2
From 9:30 to 10:00 a.m. in the General Assembly Hall, there will be an informal meeting of the GA plenary to observe the first International Day of Non-Violence. The GA President, the Secretary-General, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of South Africa and Ms. Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance, India, are scheduled to make statements.
Following the noon briefing, there will be a press conference by Ambassador Leslie Kojo Christian of Ghana, in his capacity as the President of the Security Council for the month of October, on the Councils programme of work for the month.
In Geneva, the Human Rights Council is scheduled to hold a Special Session on the situation of human rights in Myanmar.
Wednesday, October 3
From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Conference Room 6, the Peacebuilding Commission will hold an informal, open meeting of its Burundi configuration.
Thursday, October 4
Today and tomorrow, the General Assembly is holding a High-level Dialogue on Interreligious and Intercultural Understanding and Cooperation for Peace.
Beginning at 10 a.m., the resumed substantive session of the Economic and Social Council will take action on issues deferred from the July substantive session.
Friday, October 5
Today is World Teachers Day.
A briefing on the triennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities for development will take place today at 3 p.m. in Conference Room 4.
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
United Nations, S-378
New York, NY 10017
to the Spokesperson's Page
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