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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-10-20

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org

ARCHIVES

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY MICHELE

MONTAS

SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

UN

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Monday, October 20, 2008

BAN KI-MOON CONDEMNS KILLINGS OF AID WORKERS IN SOMALIA AND AFGHANISTAN

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

condemns the killing of aid workers in Somalia and Afghanistan, and offers his condolences to their families, friends and colleagues. He is deeply distressed to learn that two aid workers in Somalia and one in Afghanistan have been killed over the past three days.

The Secretary-General deplores these acts of deliberate violence against those who are making every effort to alleviate the dire suffering of Somali and Afghan citizens. He is alarmed at the increasing trend of killing and abduction of aid workers in both countries.

He calls upon all parties to respect the neutral and impartial status of humanitarian staff, to allow them to do their work bringing vital life-saving assistance to the millions Somalis and Afghans who are counting on this support for their survival.

BAN KI-MOON OFFERS TO FACILITATE GLOBAL MEETING ON FINANCIAL CRISIS

The Secretary-General is back from Quebec City, where he attended the 12th Summit of the Francophonie.

He met with a number of leaders, including French President Nicolas Sarkozy with whom he

discussed the international financial crisis and its serious impact on all nations, particularly the poorest among them.

In an ensuing letter to Sarkozy, parts of which were reflected in a

statement issued on Saturday afternoon, the Secretary-General said that the international community must act together. We must do so, above all, to ensure that the negative impact of the financial crisis on the worlds economies does not undermine the major UN efforts to achieve the

Millennium Development Goals. We must also ensure that we keep up the fight against the effects of climate change and address the food crisis. He offered the UN facilities in New York for a meeting on the crisis, saying that holding it there will lend it universal legitimacy.

In his exchanges with the world leaders in Quebec City, the Secretary-General also noted that the urgent need to devise a concerted and decisive response to the financial crisis should be reflected in the consultations at the International Conference on Financing for Development, which is due to take place on 29 November in Doha.

The Secretary-General intends to make the financial crisis and its possible impact on all nations and on all UN development initiatives, including the Millennium Development Goals, the main focus of the planned meeting of the UN Systems Chief Executive Board. That meeting is due to take place in New York on Friday.

FINANCIAL CRISIS COULD PUT 20 MILLION PEOPLE OUT OF JOBS

The global financial crisis could

increase world unemployment by an estimated 20 million people, from 190 million in 2007 to 210 million in late 2009, the Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Juan Somavia, said today.

Somavia added that the number of working poor living on less than a dollar a day could rise by some 40 million. And he said the current crisis would be especially hard on such sectors as construction, the automotive industry, tourism, finance, services and real estate.

We need prompt and coordinated government actions to avert a social crisis that could be severe, long-lasting and global, he added.

NEPALESE POLICE UNIT ARRIVES IN DARFUR

The 108 first officers of the Nepalese Formed Police Unit have

arrived in Nyala, in Sudan, where they will be based for a one-year tour of duty as part of the

African Union-United Nations mission in Darfur. They will be followed by the rest of the 147-member unit this week.

The Formed Police Units are specialized, self-sufficient and fully mobile rapid reaction police units, entirely composed of police officers from a single contingent, with expertise in crowd-management and other police tactical operations.

They may be called upon to engage in high risk assignments and the protection of people in imminent danger, preventing attacks and threats against civilians, and in monitoring and providing security and protection in camps for internally displaced persons, threatened villages, and migration routes.

Besides providing security, they will also assist national authorities and UN agencies in delivering humanitarian assistance in times of need and conducting escort duties in order to build the confidence of the local population in the rule of law.

The Nepalese Formed Police Unit is the third to be deployed, after the Bangladeshi and Indonesian ones, out of the 19 such units mandated by the Security Council resolution creating UNAMID.

GROUPS OF EXPERTS ON COTE DIVOIRE RELEASES FINAL REPORT

The final

report of the Group of Experts on Côte dIvoire describes the latest cases of movement of weapons and ammunition, in particular in western Côte dIvoire. It also details violations of the ban on the export of rough diamonds and gives an update on 2 individuals facing assets freeze.

The report notes a lack of government administration in regions controlled by the Forces Nouvelles rebel group. This situation has hampered any real progress in restoring and unifying the state treasury.

On the arms embargo, the report deplores a lack of adequate customs checks at border posts, insufficient inspections by the Government and the UN Mission in the countryu (UNOCI) and an overall lack of government cooperation.

PALESTINIAN CHILDREN STAND UP AGAINST POVERTY

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) reports that more than 490,000 children stood up against poverty on Sunday as UNRWA schools marked the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

The activities organized at UNRWA schools across the agencys five fields of operation - Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza were designed to give children the chance to discuss and protest against their own poverty.

In Syria, UNRWA school children commemorated the day with drawing and essay writing competitions alongside group discussions of poverty.

In Jordan, there was a performance of The Thief, a play about a poor young girl who steals money and jewelry in order to support her impoverished family.

In Gaza, where thousands of students stood up and shouted No to poverty, John Ging, UNRWAs director of operations in Gaza, said, "Our message is clear. We must simply lift the blockade to ensure a respectful life for Gaza's people in order for them to exercise basic human rights."

NATIONAL ELECTION COVERAGE NETWORK LAUNCHED IN IRAQ

The UN Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) today announced the launching of a nationwide Election Coverage Network, aimed at supporting the provincial electoral process. The newly launched network will provide Iraqi citizens with timely, fair and balanced information and reporting on elections.

The 6-month project includes the production and dissemination of Voter Education Radio Programmes countrywide, to provide objective information on the provincial elections and in-depth analysis of campaign issues, as well as elections results. These materials will be made available to a network of FM radio stations throughout the country.

SECRETARY-GENERAL ENCOURAGES IRAN TO REVISE NATIONAL LAWS

The Secretary-General, in a

report made available today, reviews the human rights situation in Iran, noting some concerns over the rights of women and of minorities, as well as on the death penalty, including juvenile executions and stoning.

The Secretary-General encourages Iran to continue to revise national laws, particularly the new Penal Code and juvenile justice laws, to ensure compliance with international human rights standards and prevent discriminatory practices against women and ethnic and religious minorities. He welcomes the recent steps taken by the Iranian Government to explore cooperation on human rights and justice reform with the United Nations and encourages the Government to ratify major international human rights treaties, including those on womens rights and on torture.

SECRETARY-GENERAL EXPRESSES FRUSTRATION OVER MYANMAR

In his

report to the General Assembly on the human rights situation in Myanmar, the Secretary-General stressed that it remains a source of frustration that meaningful steps have yet to be taken by the Myanmar Government in response to the concerns and expectations of the United Nations and the international community in the context of the good offices process.

Underlining that the future of Myanmar ultimately rests with the Government and its people, the Secretary-General reiterated that the role of the United Nations is to ascertain the positions of all parties and facilitate their efforts to work together through dialogue towards a mutually acceptable process of national reconciliation and democratization, in full respect for Myanmars sovereignty and in accordance with the expectations of the international community.

Adding that there is no alternative to dialogue to ensure that all stakeholders can contribute to the future of their country, the Secretary-General stresses that the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners will be key for the resumption of an enhanced, all-inclusive substantive and time-bound dialogue.

CARING FOR CLIMATE SIGNATORIES MEET IN GENEVA

Representatives of more than 150 corporations, civil society organizations, governments and UN agencies from around the world are gathering in Geneva today and Tuesday for the first meeting of signatories to Caring for Climate.

The meeting will showcase and discuss new business solutions to the climate challenge. It will set the stage for a World Business Summit on Climate Change, to be convened in Copenhagen next May.

Caring for Climate is a voluntary global action platform that was launched in 2007 by the UN Global Compact, the UN Environment Programme and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS WITH SECRETARY-GENERAL: The members of the

Security Council held their monthly luncheon with the Secretary-General today.

U.N. URGES FOR GREATER COOPERATION WITHIN ASIA FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: The Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Noeleen Heyzer, has

said that there is a need for greater cooperation between Central Asia and the rest of Asia, in order to achieve inclusive and sustainable development in the current climate of global financial instability and food and energy insecurity. Heyzer was addressing the Governing Council of the UN Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA).

UNITED NATIONS SUPPORTS MBEKI AS MEDIATOR FOR ZIMBABWE: Asked about UN support for former South African President Thabo Mbekis role as the mediator dealing with the parties in Zimbabwe, the Spokeswoman said that the United Nations would continue to support him as mediator as long as the parties agree to it. The United Nations, she noted, was part of the reference group supporting the mediation in Zimbabwe, and the Secretary-General continues to encourage a resolution of that conflict through dialogue.

SECRETARY-GENERAL SHOCKED AT BEHEADINGS IN AFGHANISTAN: Asked about reported beheadings in

Afghanistan, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General was aware of the reports and was shocked at the methods that had been used.

U.N. NOT INVOLVED IN COMPOSITION OF E.U. MISSION IN KOSOVO: Asked about the inclusion of US officials in the European Union mission in

Kosovo, known as Eulex, the Spokeswoman said it was not up to the United Nations to decide on the composition of the Eulex mission.

KOFI ANNAN SPEAKS IN HIS ROLE AS MEDIATOR IN KENYA DISPUTE: Asked about comments made by former Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Kenya, the Spokeswoman noted that the comments were made in his role as mediator in the Kenya dispute, not as a UN official. Montas said that the United Nations had supported Annans role, and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has traveled to Kenya to express his support for that mission.

UNDP TO LAUNCH REPORT ON POST-CONFLICT ECONOMIC RECOVERY: On Wednesday at 11 a.m., UNDP Administrator Kemal Dervis will hold a press conference to launch UNDPs report entitled Post-Conflict Economic Recovery: Enabling Local Ingenuity. This report examines how countries rebuild the foundations and establish the conditions for self-sustaining, inclusive growth after emerging from violent conflict.

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

United Nations, S-378

New York, NY 10017

Tel. 212-963-7162

Fax. 212-963-7055


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