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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-12-02

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

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY MICHELE

MONTAS

SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

UN

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

MUMBAI ATTACKS: ALL SHOULD COOPERATE IN BRINGING PERPETRATORS TO JUSTICE

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

spoke this morning with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India over the telephone. He once again expressed his deepest sympathies to the families of the victims and the wounded in the terrorist attacks in Mumbai last week. They agreed that it was critical to bring the perpetrators to justice, and that all should fully cooperate in this effort.

While commending the courage and resilience shown by the Government and people of India, the Secretary-General reaffirmed his condemnation of terrorism and his determination to provide a lead role for the United Nations in dealing with this global menace.

In response to a question, the Spokeswoman confirmed that the Secretary-General had received a letter from the Government of Pakistan concerning the Mumbai attacks.

MINORITIES CONTINUE TO BE VICTIMIZED IN IRAQ

The UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) today issued today its 13th

report on human rights in the country, which noted substantial improvements in general security conditions, but added that targeted killings and criminal abductions for ransom continued during the first six months of 2008.

During the reporting period, minorities continued to be the victims of targeted violence, threats, assassinations and the destruction of property and cultural sites.

The report also highlights serious concerns about the situation of detainees across the country, including in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region. Many detainees have been deprived of their liberty for month or even years, often under harsh physical conditions, without access to defense counsel, or without being formally charged with a crime or produced before a judge.

PROBE INTO KILLING OF EX-LEBANESE PRIME MINISTER HARIRI HAS NEW INFORMATION

The Secretary-General today transmitted to the members of the Security Council the 11th report of the International Independent Investigation Commission that has been looking into the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

The Secretary-General informed the Council that the Commission has reported acquiring new information that may allow it to link additional individuals to the network that carried out Hariris assassination. The Commission, he noted, has requested that its mandate be extended until 28 February 2009, to allow it to gradually transfer operations until the

Special Tribunal for Lebanon starts functioning on 1 March 2009.

U.N. ENVOY STRESSES URGENCY OF ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN PEACE ACCORD IN 2009

The Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) reports that all crossings for goods going into Gaza remain closed today. No fuel, humanitarian supplies or commercial commodities are being allowed in.

The Kerem Shalom crossing was last open on 27 November. The Nahal Oz fuel pipelines and the Karni conveyer belt were last open on 26 November. The crossings at Sufa, meanwhile, have been closed since 13 September, UNSCO notes.

U.N. AGENCIES FIGHT CHOLERA EPIDEMIC IN ZIMBABWE

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that, according to the latest figures on the cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe, there are now nearly 12,000 cases, including 484 deaths.

The death rate at this point is 4 percent of all cases, which WHO characterizes as high. For the epidemic to be considered under control, the death rate had to be under 1 per cent.

WHO says it has been working with around 10 partners in the health cluster in Zimbabwe, and it has presented an emergency plan to control the cholera epidemic. The Ministry of Health of Zimbabwe has accepted the emergency plan.

The areas most affected by the epidemic are Harare and other urban areas.

UNICEF has announced a rigorous 120-day emergency response to intensify relief efforts to Zimbabwes children. This is not only in response to the cholera outbreak that 42 out of the 62 Zimbabwean provinces were suffering from. It is also in response to a total collapse of the education and health systems in the country.

SECURITY COUNCIL PERMITS STATES TO ENTER SOMALI WATERS TO WARD OFF PIRACY

In its first consultations for December, the

Security Council approved its programme of work for the month.

After that, the Council adopted a resolution allowing States and regional organizations to enter into Somalias territorial waters to repress acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea, for a 12-month period.

The Security Council then heard from Francois Lonseny Fall, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for the Central African Republic, about the situation in that country.

Tomorrow morning, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, is expected to brief the Security Council on his investigations in Darfur.

SITUATION STILL FRAGILE IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

The Secretary-Generals latest

report on the Central African Republic and the work of the UN Peacebuilding Support Office there is available today.

In it, he says that the political, security and economic situation remains fragile, a situation fueled by impunity for human rights violations by both rebel and government troops.

He reaffirms the UNs commitment to supporting the countrys recovery process and he appeals to national stakeholders to work together on the various peace agreements they have signed.

DARFUR: PEACEKEEPERS INTERVENE IN CONFLICT BETWEEN MILITIA & DISPLACED PERSONS

The African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) reports that it had received information that two armed men reported to be Janjaweed militia armed with a rifle were involved in a violent incident yesterday at a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in West Darfur.

UNAMID dispatched a team to the camp to verify the information and found out that a quarrel had erupted between the two men and the IDPs. During the incident, one IDP sustained a minor injury and one of the militia members was severely beaten and later died.

UNAMID also reported that today, 10 armed men in a land cruiser attacked a water pump in the vicinity of the same camp. They started shooting at the pump. During todays incident, another IDP sustained a minor injury and was evacuated to a hospital, while one water pump and five generators supplying the camp were set ablaze by the armed men.

A UNAMID team was immediately dispatched to the camp and interposed themselves between the armed men and the IDPs, and it was able to calm down the situation, which they continue to monitor.

UNICEF CONCERNED BY CHILD RECRUITMENT IN D.R. CONGO

UNICEF reports that children continue to be enlisted by armed groups in North Kivu, with at least 5 of them recently drafted into armed groups in the town of Kitshanga. UNICEF also expressed concerns that the majority of schools in Rutshuru territory remain closed to some 150,000 students despite promises by Laurent Nkundas rebels to reopen them. It called for armed to create a safe environment for children to resume their education.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), meanwhile, is continuing the voluntary

relocation of displaced civilians from the precarious Kibati camps to safer sites just west of Goma. And further north of Goma, in Kanyabayonga, aid agencies report that some 40,000 displaced persons have return to their homes only to find them looted and destroyed.

CYPRUS TALKS MOVING AHEAD WELL

The Secretary-Generals latest

report on the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) is available today. In it, he says the formal negotiations towards a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus are moving ahead well. Both parties are engaging with each other in a constructive and open manner, he adds.

The Secretary-General also notes that the establishment of economic, social and cultural ties will have a positive impact on the ongoing efforts on Cyprus. Such contacts would nurture a sentiment of trust between the communities and help ease the sense of isolation felt by the Turkish Cypriots, he adds.

In the meantime, he says, and in the absence of a comprehensive settlement, UNFICYP continues to play a vital role on the island, both as a stabilizing factor on the ground and as a source of critical support for his good offices mission. He therefore recommends that the Security Council extend the mandate of UNFICYP by a further period of six months, until 15 June 2009.

Meanwhile, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative in Cyprus, Tayť-Brook Zerihoun, spoke to the press in Nicosia today, following todays meeting of the Cypriot leaders in the UN Protected Area.

He said the leaders had resumed their discussions on governance, focusing this time on the federal public service. There were several areas of convergence, he noted.

Zerihoun said the leaders will meet again on 16 December to take up the issue of external relations.

FINANCING FOR DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE CONCLUDES IN DOHA

The follow-up

conference on Financing for Development wrapped up earlier today in Doha, Qatar.

In their final joint statement, the President of the General Assembly, Father Miguel Descoto Brockmann, and the President of the Conference, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani Amir of the State of Qatar, called on U.N .Member States to reaffirm their commitment to the Global Development Partnership as the underlying principle of the Financing for Development Process.

While working to improve the operation of the global financial system, the world must not forget that it is the poorest that deserve the most concern and protection against the impact of the crisis, they said, recalling the commitment of developed countries to dedicate 0.7 per cent of their national income to official assistance.

They called for more resources for the International Monetary Fund, as well as a fundamental review of the global institutions that govern international trade and finance to make them more stable and equitable. They also pledged to pursue the completion of the Doha round trade talks.

They also noted the final outcome documents call for the UN to hold a conference at the highest level on the world financial and economic crisis and its impact on development. The Conference would be organized by the President of the General Assembly, with the modalities defined by March 2009 at the latest.

Asked about the Secretary-Generals concerns about the impact of the financial crisis on climate change commitments, the Spokeswoman noted that, when he had traveled to Doha, he had made clear his concerns about the effect that the crisis could have on the pledges countries had made to support Financing for Development. Similarly, she said, he was concerned about the potential impact on commitments that have been made to fight climate change.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC CRISIS COULD MAKE POOR PEOPLE MORE VULNERABLE TO SLAVERY

The global economic crisis could make poor people more vulnerable to slavery-like practices. That is according to the Secretary-Generals

message for today, the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.

The Secretary-General adds that Governments, civil society organizations, businesses and individuals must join forces to protect victims, raise awareness and demand an end to all forms of slavery and exploitation. We need new strategies to deal with this old curse, he says.

Meanwhile, High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay

stresses that slavery is a crime against humanity. She notes that that idea was first accepted internationally at the 2001 World Conference against Racism in Durban. We have more on that upstairs.

BAN KI-MOON TO ENCOURAGE STATES TO SIGN ON TO NEW CLUSTER BOMBS TREATY

An international treaty that prohibits the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions is opening for signature, adding a new chapter to international humanitarian law, as well as disarmament and non-proliferation.

In his message to the two-day signing conference of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, the Secretary-General will encourage all governments to sign and ratify the Convention without delay.

Adding that much work remains in mitigating the dreadful humanitarian suffering caused by cluster weapons, the Secretary-General will also reiterate the United Nations commitment to continuing those efforts.

The Secretary-General will also highlight that this Convention indicates a significant and fundamental change in the position of many governments and that the signing conference also offers hope that States can depart from other long-held positions in the light of new evidence and new understandings of their own interests.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

LETTER ON HIRING IRREGULARITIES RECEIVED: Asked about a letter that had accused the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) of hiring irregularities, the Spokeswoman confirmed that a letter had been received by the Secretary-General. The letter, she added, had also gone to Under-Secretary-General for Management Angela Kane and to the head of OIOS, Inga-Britt Ahlenius.

NEW CAMPAIGN TO HIGHLIGHT HUMANITARIAN IMPLICATIONS OF CLIMATE CHANGE: The Food and Agriculture Organization today

warned that ocean warming, frequent tropical cyclones, flash floods and droughts are likely to have a devastating impact on food production in Pacific island nations. The report calls for bolstering food systems and more systematic national development plans. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) today

launched an awareness campaign about the humanitarian implications of climate change. The campaign includes a website and is aimed at improving disaster preparedness and response in countries that suffer most from extreme weather events.

U.N. HELPS FLOOD SURVIVORS IN PANAMA: In response to recent flooding in Panama, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

reports that UNICEF is providing water and water purification tablets, while the UN Population Fund has sent more than 20,000 family hygiene kits. OCHA will also provide cash grants to purchase immediate relief items.

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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