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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-09-05
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Friday, September 5, 2008
U.N. ENVOY FOR SOMALIA EXPRESSES ALARM AT INCREASE IN PIRACY
Special Representative for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, has said he is extremely alarmed by the increase in piracy carried out against ships both in Somali waters and in international waters near Somalia.
This piracy is increasingly a threat to international navigation and free trade in an already fragile environment. The millions of dollars in ransom paid to the pirates and their associates inland and overseas has become a multi-million dollar business, which threatens stability in Puntland and in Somalia as a whole, he said in a statement issued today.
Up to 10 ships are reported to be held by pirates at present. Local Somali authorities say that trade to ports, particularly in the north, has been badly affected.
He welcomed the fact that the Security Council passed
resolution 1816 on piracy in June this year, but added that these criminals are challenging this Security Council resolution and the time has come for a collaborative effort to put the resolution into effect. We have to work quickly, he said, before the level of criminal activity increases and affects ports in neigbouring countries.
SECURITY COUNCIL WELCOMES SIGNING OF SOMALIA AGREEMENT AND LAUNCH OF CYPRUS NEGOTIATIONS
The Security Council adopted two Presidential Statements yesterday afternoon on Somalia and Cyprus.
On Somalia, the Security Council
welcomed the signing in Djibouti of a peace agreement last month between the Transitional Federal Government and the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia.
The Council took note of the parties request that the UN authorize and deploy an international stabilization force in 120 days and reaffirmed its willingness to consider, at an appropriate time, a UN peacekeeping operation in Somalia to take over from the African Union Mission, subject to progress in the political process and improvement in the security situation on the ground.
On Cyprus, the Council warmly
welcomed the launch of full-fledged negotiations between the leaders of both the Greek and Turkish communities of Cyprus aimed at the islands reunification under the good offices mission of the Secretary-General.
There are no meetings or consultations of the Security Council scheduled for today.
INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT MAINTAINS STAY IN PROCEEDINGS IN LUBANGA CASE
The International Criminal Court (ICC) says that its Trial Chamber has
rejected an application by the Prosecutor to lift a stay of proceedings in the case of Congolese rebel leader Thomas Lubanga.
The ICC judges say the Prosecutors proposals included in the application demonstrably fail to meet the requirements for a stay of proceedings. In addition, they violate the right of the accused to a fair trial.
Despite the ruling, Lubanga will remain in ICC custody, pending a Prosecutors appeal to the judges earlier order to release him. He is accused of war crimes, including the forcible enlistment of children into the ranks of his armed group in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
ICELAND AGREES TO ACCEPT 29 PALESTINIAN REFUGEES TRAPPED IN CAMP ON IRAQ-SYRIA BORDER
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has
expressed its appreciation to Iceland, for agreeing to accept 29 Palestinian refugees.
The group has been stranded for the last two years in a makeshift camp in the desert on the Iraq-Syria border, and includes some of the most vulnerable refugee women -- several of whom lost their husbands during the conflict in Iraq -- and their children.
Some 2,300 Palestinians are still living in desperate conditions in two refugee camps along the Iraq-Syria border, according to UNHCR.
U.N. AGENCIES PUSH FOR WORLD HERITAGE STATUS FOR IRAQS FERTILE CRESCENT
The U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) and the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) are
supporting a new initiative to list the Tigris and Euphrates River Delta in Iraq as a
World Heritage Site. This area, also known as the Fertile Crescent, is believed by some to have been the location of the Biblical Garden of Eden.
During the final decade of his rule, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein drained nearly all of the marshlands as part of his campaign against the Marsh Arabs who lived there. UNEP has been working for the last four years to restore the ecological viability of the site and the livelihoods of the Marsh Arabs.
NEXT SESSION OF HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL BEGINS ON MONDAY
The Human Rights Councils ninth regular session
starts on Monday in Geneva and will last for three weeks.
The body will consider human rights situations that require its attention, including follow-up to its special sessions on Darfur, Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza, and the global food crisis.
At the beginning of the session, the Council will hear its first update from the newly appointed
High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay of South Africa, whose four-year term started on 1 September.
LIST OF ATTENDEES AT TERRORISM VICTIMS SYMPOSIUM TO BE RELEASED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
Asked about the transparency of preparations for an upcoming UN symposium on supporting victims of terrorism, the Spokesperson said a final list of participants would be provided as soon as possible and that there would be a press briefing on the symposium on Monday.
Responding to a question about a report from Indonesia about a Bali bombing victim coming to the symposium at the invitation of the Secretary-General, Montas said that all invitations were from the Secretary-General who is hosting the event. She added that all invitations had already been sent.
Asked if any Palestinians had been invited, the Spokesperson said yes but not as victims of State terrorism, a notion which is not included in the existing international instruments on terrorism.
Asked how such a symposium could be held when there was no official UN definition of terrorism, Montas said that, regarding the invitees, there had been a working definition of victims of acts of terrorism.
Pressed for more details, the Spokesperson said that the existence of victims was a reality and that attendees were coming from all over the world. She also noted that this was the first time such a symposium was being held.
MILLIONS OF CHILDREN IN THE HORN OF AFRICA FACING SEVERE HUNGER
Children, already casualties of the complex drought, food price and conflict crisis unfolding in the Horn of Africa, are suffering severe effects of the lack of food, water and medical care, according to
Three million children in the arid, marginalized region are at risk of death, disease or the long-term consequences of malnutrition. They comprise a large proportion of the more than 14 million people critically affected, and the numbers are on an alarming upward trajectory.
UNICEF says some experts are predicting that millions more children and families could be engulfed across the Horn if steps are not taken immediately.
UNITED NATIONS ASSISTS IN TRAINING OF AFRICAN UNION PEACEKEEPERS
The United Nations, through its African Union Peacekeeping Support Team within the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), is assisting the African Union Commission to conduct a training programme for senior officials of the African Union (AU) and its sub-regions to develop their capacity in the planning, deployment and management of AU peace support missions.
Twenty-five officials from 14 countries are taking part in the 12-day programme underway in Botswana. The course is being run in partnership among the United Nations, the AU and Southern African Development Community (SADC), with support from the Government of Botswana and funding provided by the Government of Denmark.
This is the third in a series of training courses designed specifically for senior AU civilian, military and police leaders who might be appointed to positions at the level of head or deputy head of mission, force or deputy force commander or police commissioner in such operations, and for others associated with the development of the African Standby Force.
The Security Council, in a
resolution that endorsed the strengthening of the AU-UN relations, encouraged the increased engagement of the AU Peacekeeping Support Team within DPKO as a coordinating point, aimed at providing necessary expertise and transfer of technical knowledge to enhance the capacity of the African Unions Peace Support Operations Divisions, including in mission planning and management, and aimed at developing military, technical, logistic and administrative capabilities.
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO RECEIVE HONORARY DEGREE FROM FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON UNIVERSITY: Next Wednesday, in Madison, New Jersey, the Secretary-General will deliver the keynote address at Fairleigh Dickinson Universitys Academic Convocation. He is also slated to receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the university.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONCERNED ABOUT RECENT CIVILIAN DEATHS: Asked about recent civilian deaths from air strikes in Pakistan, the Spokesperson said the Secretary-General was concerned about the frequency of such casualties and felt that they could be avoided. Asked if the Secretary-General was pursuing contacts with the countries concerned, such as the United States, Montas said yes.
U.N. ENVOY REMAINS IN CLOSE CONTACT WITH ZIMBABWE PARTIES: Asked about reports that Zimbabwes Movement for Democratic Change was asking for a greater UN role in that country, the Spokesperson noted that Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Haile Menkerios was currently in New York but remained in close contact with the parties and continued to work with the so-called Zimbabwe reference group.
HIGH-LEVEL EVENT ON DEVELOPMENT GOALS TO TAKE PLACE ON 25 SEPTEMBER IN NEW YORK: Asked if the focus of the General Assemblys general debate this year was the Millennium Development Goals, as opposed to climate change, which had been the theme last year, the Spokesperson said that question would be better directed to the General Assembly. From the Secretary-Generals side, she noted that he had been striving to draw attention to the
High-level Event on the Millennium Development Goals, to be held on 25 September in New York.
WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME TRUCK CONVOY ROBBED IN MINDANAO: Asked about UN convoys being robbed in the Philippines, the Spokesperson noted that the Country Director for the World Food Programme (WFP) had confirmed that there had been an incident involving a WFP truck convoy in Mindanao. Two armed men seized roughly half of a shipment of 60 sacks of rice, WFP had reported, and local police were investigating what happened.
WFP said it believed that this was an isolated incident, one that should not affect its operation to assist 410,000 internally displaced people.
UNICEF HELPING INDIA RESPOND TO BIHAR FLOODING: UNICEF
says the situation in the northern Indian state of Bihar is worsening because of the flooding there. According to the latest figures, more than three million people have been affected by the floods. Last year, flooding affected other areas in Bihar; since then, UNICEF has stockpiled emergency material there and was, therefore, able to immediately help affected people with plastic sheets, hygiene kits and other aid. UNICEF has sent health teams to the affected areas in Bihar to check on possible diseases affecting women and children. It has also distributed rehydration salts and water purification tablets.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
06 September 12 September 2008
Saturday, September 6
In Beijing, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Sha Zukang, the Secretary-Generals Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace Wilfried Lemke, and other U.N. officials attend the opening of the 2008 Paralympic Games.
Monday, September 8
At 11.30 a.m. in Room S-226, Robert Orr, Assistant Secretary-General and Chair of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, briefs on the 9 September symposium on supporting victims of terror.
The guest at the noon briefing is U.N. Police Adviser Andrew Hughes, who will brief on the outcome of last months 4th International Policing Advisory Council meeting.
At 3 p.m. in Room S-226, Jean-Marc Coicaud, Director of the U.N. University (UNU) Office in New York and other speakers brief on tomorrows UNU-Cornell Africa Series symposium on The Social and Economic Dimensions of HIV/AIDS in Africa.
From today through Wednesday in Conference Room 4, there will be informal consultations on the Follow-up International Conference on Financing for Development to Review the Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus.
All this week in Conference Room 5, the Committee on Conferences holds its substantive session.
From today through 26 September in Geneva, the Human Rights Council holds its 9th regular session. Today the Council hears its first update from newly-appointed High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay.
In Geneva, the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) launches its annual UNCTAD Assistance to the Palestinian People report.
From today through Wednesday, the International Court of Justice holds public hearings concerning the proceedings instituted by Georgia against Russia.
Today and tomorrow, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes is in Mexico, where he will attend a regional meeting on enhancing international humanitarian partnerships. On Wednesday and Thursday, Mr. Holmes travels to Panama.
Today is International Literacy Day.
Tuesday, September 9
This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to hold a private meeting with Troop Contributing Countries to the U.N. Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), followed by consultations on UNMIL.
At 8.30 a.m. in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, UNU and Cornell University hold a day-long symposium entitled The Social and Economic Dimensions of HIV/AIDS in Africa.
At 9 a.m. in the Economic and Social Council Chamber, the Secretary-General convenes a day-long symposium on supporting victims of terrorism.
At 12 p.m. in Room S-226, the Secretary-General and several terrorism victim representatives hold a press conference.
In Bangkok, the Government of Thailand and the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime jointly launch Amphetamines and Ecstasy: 2008 Global ATS Assessment and the Global SMART Programme.
Wednesday, September 10
This afternoon in Madison, New Jersey, the Secretary-General delivers the keynote address at Fairleigh Dickinson Universitys Academic Convocation and receives an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.
At 11.15 a.m. in Room S-226, Brian Mishara, President of the International Association for Suicide Prevention, and Werner Obermeyer, Senior External Relations Officer at the World Health Organization New York office, hold a press conference in observance of World Suicide Prevention Day.
At 3.30 p.m. in Room S-226, senior U.N. officials brief on the 25 September High-level Event on the Millennium Development Goals and on the Millennium Development Goals Report 2008.
In Paris, High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres is scheduled to address the Ministerial Conference on Asylum hosted by the French EU Presidency.
Thursday, September 11
At 11 a.m. in Room S-226, the Secretary-General plans to hold a one-hour press conference, during which he will set out his priorities in advance of the 63rd session of the General Assembly and launch the Millennium Development Goals Report 2008.
This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to hold consultations on its Sudan Sanctions Committee, followed by a briefing on its 1737 Committee (Iran sanctions)
Friday, September 12
At 11 a.m. in Room S-226, the Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit and the Department of Safety and Security hold an off-the-record technical briefing on arrangements for the General Assemblys 63rd session.
The guests at the noon briefing are Srgjan Kerim, President of the 62nd Session of the General Assembly; Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan; Ambassador Francis Lorenzo of the Dominican Republic; Ambassador Zina Andrianarivelo-Razafy of Madagascar; and actor Danny Glover, who will brief on the U.N. Millennium Development Goals Awards 2009.
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
United Nations, S-378
New York, NY 10017
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