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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-12-27
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
[There are no noon briefings planned until January 2, 2008.
Developments within the UN system will be posted on this website throughout that period.]
Thursday, December 27, 2007
BAN KI-MOON VOICES OUTRAGE AT ASSASSINATION OF BENAZIR BHUTTO
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in statement issued in his name, expressed shock and outrage at the assassination of Mrs. Benazir Bhutto, the leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party and former Prime Minister.
This represents an assault on stability in Pakistan and its democratic processes, he said, adding: I strongly condemn this heinous crime and call for the perpetrators to be brought to justice as soon as possible.
"I convey my heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Bhuttos family, her colleagues and to the people of Pakistan.
"While strongly urging for calm and restraint to be maintained at this difficult time, I call on all Pakistanis to work together for peace and national unity.
SECURITY COUNCIL, IN PRESIDENTIAL STATEMENT,
CONDEMNS BHUTTO ASSASSINATION IN STRONGEST TERMS
The Security Council, after meeting in consultations, adopted a President Statement in a formal meeting read out by Council President, Ambassador Marcello Spatafora of Italy.
The Council condemned in the strongest terms the terrorist suicide attack by extremists that occurred in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, on 27 December 2007, causing the death of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and numerous other casualties, and expressed its deep sympathy and condolences to the victims of this heinous act of terrorism and their families, and to the people and the Government of Pakistan. The Security Council paid tribute to former Prime Minister Bhutto.
The Security Council called on all Pakistanis to exercise restraint and maintain stability in the country.
It also underlined the need to bring perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of this reprehensible act of terrorism to justice, and urges all States, in accordance with their obligations under international law and resolution 1373 (2001) and consistent with resolution 1624 (2005), to cooperate actively with the Pakistani authorities in this regard.
The Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security, and that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed.
And the Council further reaffirmed the need to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts. The Council reminded States that they must ensure that any measures taken to combat terrorism comply with all their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law.
The Security Council reiterated its determination to combat all forms of terrorism, in accordance with its responsibilities under the Charter of the United Nations.
Speaking to reporters after the Security Council meeting, the Secretary-General welcomed the Security Council's Presidential Statement, saying he thought "this is a very appropriate measure by the Security Council."
HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF URGES PAKISTANI AUTHORITIES TO DO EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO BRING THOSE TO JUSTICE RAPIDLY
The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, today expressed shock over the death of the former Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto, and strongly condemned the reported shooting and suicide bombing at an election rally in Riwalpindi.
"I trust that the Pakistani authorities will do everything possible to bring those to justice rapidly, in full observance of international human rights standards" she said.
The High Commissioner also expressed concern about the impact of this event on the upcoming elections and urged the Government of Pakistan to ensure that all necessary protective mechanisms are in place to safeguard a free, fair and transparent electoral process.
U.N. MISSION VOICES CONCERN OVER FIRING INCIDENT
BETWEEN ETHIOPIA AND ERITREA
The UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) has voiced concern at a 26 December firing incident between Ethiopia and Eritrea and called on both parties to show maximum restraint.
The Mission recalled that the UN Secretary General, in a statement on 11 October, had urged the parties to exercise utmost restraint, maintain their commitment to the
The Mission is now investigating the incident, which it reported occurred on 26 December, 2007 at 3:30 hours, when UN Peacekeepers posted at the Military Observer Team Site at Tsorena on the Eritrean side of the Temporary Security Zone between the two countries, heard firing sounds coming presumably from the area around Gergera, southeast of Tsorena.
The peacekeepers, however, could not go to the scene due to permanent restriction access to the area, but they are in contact with both parties, which both acknowledged that such an incident has occurred, according to a press release issued by UNMEE.
ACTS OF BANDITRY IN EASTERN CHAD
PROMPT REDUCTION IN DELIVERY OF RELIEF GOODS
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that banditry attacks against humanitarian workers continue to hamper delivery of relief goods.
OCHA says that two NGOs were attacked in Ndjamena and Bahaļ in eastern Chad this week, and that pervasive insecurity has caused a partial relocation of relief aid workers to areas deemed safer. Relief workers from the World Food Programme, UNICEF and others have also reduced usage of local roads to transport relief goods, especially food items for refugees and the internally displaced.
Meanwhile, the UN and its partners have updated their contingency plans for the Goz Beida and Koukou, which currently hosts almost half of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) population. And consultations with local authorities to update contingency plans for other IDP camps.
ASSESSMENT MISSION FINDS SERIOUS HEALTH RISKS
IN SRI LANKAS FLOOD-HIT REGION
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) conducted a rapid assessment of the situation of people affected by the recent floods in Batticaloa District in Sri Lanka, which affected and displaced numbers of people.
The assessment mission found that contaminated wells, loss of household goods and health concerns associated with water-borne diseases and snakes were serious concerns, especially now that most families had returned to their homes.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) has provided 1000 mats and bed sheets, while the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator has released some $20,000 from a UNDP Disaster Management project to address the most immediate needs.
MORE CASH NEEDED FOR STORM-AFFECTED DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
The United Nations is
seeking an additional $4.1 million to assist the Dominican Republic in areas of the country hit earlier this month by tropical storm Olga.
At the same time, the original request for relief and recovery funding, made in the aftermath of major devastation caused by the tropical storm Noel which struck the country at the end of October, has now been revised to $8.4 million, after some $6 million had already been committed.
The new total requested for relief in areas affected by the two natural disasters amounts to over $12.5 million.
PROSPECTS FOR REHABILITATION GOOD,
FOLLOWING KOREAN OIL SPILL
A joint United Nations-European Commission assessment team has now returned from the Republic of Korea, following the worst oil spill in that country's history. The team concluded that the prospect for rehabilitation is good, given the effectiveness and speed of the Republic of Koreas clean-up operations.
Although emergency assistance to help with clean-up operations is not required, the team concluded that environmental monitoring and analysis should be undertaken to determine the impact on the environment, and that shoreline assessment training should be carried out to assist with longer term clean-up options and to build national response capacity.
The UN Environment Programme and the European Commission will collaborate on a "Post Disaster Needs Assessment" to help national authorities establish an environmental monitoring methodology.
A mission report, which will be shared with the Government, is being finalized and will contain a number of practical recommendations.
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