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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-12-19

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 MARIE OKABE

DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

UN

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Friday, December 19, 2008

AU-UN MISSION IN DARFUR TRYING TO IMPLEMENT ITS MANDATE, DESPITE CONTINUED VIOLENCE

Following the recent publication of the Secretary-Generals

report on the African Union-United Nations operation in Darfur (UNAMID), today the Security Council heard a briefing on recent developments affecting the security and humanitarian situation in Darfur, the status of UNAMID operations, and an update on the political process.

That briefing was given by the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy.

The Council also heard a briefing by Under-Secretary-General for Field Support Susana Malcorra, who highlighted some key issues relating to the deployment of UNAMID, and some of the major challenges in that area.

As the conflict enters its sixth year, Alain Le Roy told Council members that millions continue to live in camps for internally displaced persons, dependent on the life-saving assistance of the humanitarian effort. The situation has not improved. Over the past six months alone, an additional 100,000 people have been displaced, he told the Council.

It is of grave concern that year after year, the security situation remains volatile and unpredictable. The past two months have been no exception. Attacks on peacekeepers and humanitarian workers, as well as inter-tribal violence and clashes between the Government and the armed movements, have intensified, he reported.

It is amid this continued violence and in this complex operating environment that UNAMID has been trying to implement its mandate, even as it continues to deploy, he said.

Over the past year, the frequency of the Missions patrols has increased, he said.

As its numbers and capabilities increase, the Mission will be able to do much more of this good work. We will need continued Government cooperation and sustained international support to reach this objective, he said.

Le Roy stressed that the fundamental responsibility for making real progress lies with the parties. It is the Government of Sudan and armed rebel movements which must cease hostilities and agree to dialogue under the auspices of Chief Mediator Djibril Bassolé.

The Council is meeting in consultations on this subject now.

Earlier, the

Security Council began a busy day by adopting resolutions extending the mandates of the monitoring group for Somalia and the sanctions on Liberia, both by one year.

The Council also adopted a resolution allowing for the Secretary-General to appoint additional ad litem (or short-term) judges for the

International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, at the request of the Tribunals President, and adopted a Presidential Statement concerning the work of the two Tribunals.

SITUATION IN ZIMBABWES HEALTH FACILITIES QUITE WORRYING

In Geneva, The Coordinator of the World Health Organizations Disease Control and Emergency Operations, Dominique Legros, today briefed on the cholera situation in

Zimbabwe. Legros returned from there earlier this week, after setting up the U.N. control and command centre for the cholera epidemic.

He described the situation in Zimbabwean health facilities as quite worrying. Hospitals were basically empty with no material or staff. A major problem is that workers paid by the government have stopped showing up because their salaries are too low. Legros said there is an urgent need to address the pay discrepancy between government workers and those employed by non-government organizations, which pay substantially higher wages.

In other news, Legros said that WHO hopes soon to be able to offer daily updates on the cholera situation.

BAN KI-MOON WELCOMES JUDGMENT OF U.N.-BACKED RWANDA TRIBUNAL

In a

statement we issued yesterday afternoon, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the delivery of the judgment by the

International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in the cases of Bagosora et al. involving four senior officers of the Rwandan army in 1994, as well as in the judgment against a former Rwandan préfet. These judgments constitute a major step in the fight against the impunity of those responsible for the most serious crimes of international concern.

The Secretary-General commends the Tribunal, its judges, prosecutors and staff for their continued efforts to complete the Tribunal's work while upholding due process and the rights of the accused. The Secretary-General firmly believes that international justice is an essential component of peace and reconciliation.

REFUGEE AGENCY URGES CONGOLESE REBEL FORCES TO PROTECT CIVILIANS

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has

urged rebel forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to ensure civilian protection at a makeshift site for some 10,000 internally displaced persons. That site sits near a UN peacekeeping base in the Rutshuru area, just north of Goma.

UNHCRs appeal to Laurent Nkundas rebel forces follows continuing reports that displaced persons at the site are being pressured to go back to their villages. All returns should be voluntary, the refugee agency said.

U.N. AGENCY SEEKS ASSISTANCE FOR SOMALI REFUGEES IN KENYA

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is

seeking US$92 million to help nearly 250,000 Somalis in one of the worlds oldest, largest and most congested refugee sites.

There are growing fears that the Dadaab camp in Kenya will see even more arrivals as the situation in Somalia deteriorates. UNHCR says that camps there are already at three times their capacity, with thousands more arriving each month.

The agencys emergency assistance programme will include the construction of two new camps, which could each shelter up to 60,000 people.

UNITED NATIONS WORKING WITH NIGER AUTHORITIES ON MISSING ENVOY

Asked about the missing Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Niger, Robert Fowler, the Spokeswoman reiterated that he was in Niger in his official capacity. She refrained from commenting or releasing any information which may compromise our efforts and jeopardize the safety of Fowler, Louis Guay and their driver.

Asked about Fowlers reported visit to the Samira gold mine, Okabe said she had nothing to say on that specific point right now. The United Nations, she said, is working hard on this matter, adding that it had a team on site in the country working with the Nigerien authorities.

She added that the Secretary-General intends to speak to the President of Niger by phone today.

GAZA: CALM SHOULD BE RESPECTED AND EXTENDED

Asked about the expiration of the period of calm between Israel and Hamas, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General is extremely concerned at statements calling into question the continuation of the Egyptian-brokered calm in and around Gaza.

A major escalation of violence would have grave consequences for the protection of civilians in Israel and Gaza, the welfare of the Gazan civilian population, and the sustainability of political efforts, Okabe said.

She reiterated the appeal made on Thursday by Special Coordinator Robert Serry, on behalf of the Secretary-General, that the calm should be respected and extended, rocket attacks against Israel must be immediately halted, and all acts of violence must cease.

HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF OFFERS FULL SUPPORT IN INVESTIGATING NEPAL DISAPPEARANCES

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights today released a

report on its investigations into a series of disappearances that occurred in Nepal from 2001 to 2003, during the conflict between the government and Maoist forces.

The 99-page report documents the cases of 156 people who were allegedly disappeared in the Bardiya District by both State authorities and the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, noted that the Government of Nepal has prepared legislation to establish a commission of inquiry to investigate all enforced disappearances committed during the conflict, including the cases documented in her organizations report. She welcomed the Governments commitment to investigate the disappearances, and offered her organizations full support for the commission during its investigations.

BAN KI-MOON URGES GREATER COOPERATION AMONG DEVELOPING COUNTRIES DURING CURRENT CRISES

In his

message to mark the fifth observance of the United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation, the Secretary-General stressed that todays worldwide crises in finance, food and climate change call for greater cooperation among developing countries.

As never before, developing countries are collectively facing multiple global economic challenges that threaten to reverse development progress.

The Secretary-General also highlighted that South-South cooperation can play a significant role in the fight against climate change.

He added that many developing countries are adopting low-carbon development paths, backed by renewable energy and energy efficiency, and countries can share their experiences, policies and adaptation technologies.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

U.N. DISASTER ASSESSMENT TEAM ARRIVES IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA: A five-member U.N. Disaster Assessment and Coordination team arrived in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, this week, to help identify the needs of the estimated 32,000 victims affected by the 8 December rise in sea levels. The Office of the Coordination for Humanitarian Assistance said an inter-agency assessment team is set to remain in the islands for seven to 10 days.

ECONOMIC SLOWDOWN PREDICTED FOR LATIN AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN REGION: The Economic and Social Council for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has released its

projections for the regions economy next year. ECLAC expects growth of slightly less than two per cent, down from nearly five per cent this year. Further hampering growth will be falling revenue from tourism and migrant worker remittances, as well as declining foreign direct investment. Unemployment is also expected to rise, along with growth in informal employment, ECLAC says.

CONGRATULATIONS TO WINNERS OF U.N. CORRESPONDENTS ASSOCIATION ELECTIONS: The Spokespersons Office congratulates those elected in yesterdays UN Correspondent Association (UNCA) elections for the Executive Committee 2009. Congratulations to Giampaolo Pioli for his election as President, first Vice President Louis Charbonneau, second Vice President Masood Haider, third Vice President Sylviane Zehil, and for those other nine members at large. Congratulations to those re-elected, and welcome to the new members.

NO NOON BRIEFINGS SCHEDULED BETWEEN 25 DECEMBER AND 1 JANUARY: Asked about the schedule of briefings over the coming week, the Spokeswoman confirmed that there would be no noon briefings between Christmas Day and New Years Day. She noted that the last scheduled Security Council meeting for this month was on 22 December.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

20 December 26 December 2008

Saturday, December 20

Today is International Human Solidarity Day.

Monday, December 22

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to adopt resolutions on the U.N. Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), DRC Sanctions, and the U.N. Integrated Office in Burundi.

Tuesday, December 23

No major events are scheduled at this time.

Wednesday, December 24

Todays noon briefing by the Spokesperson is the last scheduled briefing of 2008.

Thursday, December 25

U.N. Headquarters and most duty stations are closed for the Christmas holiday.

Friday, December 26

No major events are scheduled at this time.

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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