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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-02-27
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARIE OKABE
DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Friday, February 27, 2009
BAN KI-MOON ALARMED BY EVIDENCE OF GLOBAL WARMING AT MT. KILIMANJARO
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is in Tanzania, where he gave a press conference with President Jakaya Kikwete.
Earlier today, he traveled to Zanzibar, where he met with Zanzibar President Amani Abeid Karume and also opened a One UN office on the island.
While flying onward to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, he flew over Mt. Kilimanjaro, and was able to see for himself how, due to global warming, there are now only a few patches of snow on top of the mountain. He said, in a
question and answer session in Dar es Salaam yesterday, that it is suggested that, by 2030, we may not be able to see any snow on top of Mt. Kilimanjaro. That is alarming.
The Secretary-General then briefly saw the proceedings at the Rwanda Tribunal in Arusha, and had a town hall meeting with staff there, in which he warmly praised them for they work they have done. He also had a brief press encounter in which he appealed to countries, especially those in the region, to live up to their obligations to cooperate with the Tribunal by transferring fugitive suspects to be tried there.
This is the Secretary-Generals last full day in Tanzania, and he will travel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda over the weekend.
Asked whether the Secretary-General would travel to Bukavu, the Spokeswoman later said that he was scheduled to do so during his visit to eastern DRC.
SECURITY COUNCIL IS BRIEFED ON HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN SRI LANKA
Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes today briefed the
Security Council, under other matters, on the humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka, which he visited last week.
The Security Council first heard today a briefing in an open meeting from Dora Bakoyannis, the Foreign Minister of Greece, in her capacity as Chairperson-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
They then went into consultations to receive a briefing on the work of the Peacebuilding Support Office.
This is the last scheduled working day of the Japanese Presidency of the Security Council. On Sunday, Libya will assume the Councils rotating Presidency for the month of March.
SEA ROUTE OPENED TO REACH HUNGRY IN SRI LANKA
The World Food Programme (WFP)
said 40 tons of food sufficient to feed some 80,000 people for a day was delivered to the Government-designated safe zone in the Vanni region yesterday, through a sea route.
Stressing that the challenge remains to ship sufficient quantities of food to meet the needs of tens of thousands caught in the conflict, WFP says its goal is to deliver up to 300 tons of food commodities per week by boat. The sea route provided by the Government of Sri Lanka is an important alternative route to reach those in need, as most displaced persons are now concentrated in a new safe zone along the east coast of Mullaitivu district.
Meanwhile, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) expressed deep concern about the physical security of the civilian population still trapped inside the conflict zone in the Vanni region. UNHCR urged the Government to exercise caution and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to allow these civilians to move to areas where they felt safe.
UNHCR is also urging the Government to continue to make necessary preparations to receive and accommodate the large numbers expected during the coming weeks and months.
FIRST PROSECUTOR OF LEBANON TRIBUNAL TO TAKE UP DUTIES THIS WEEKEND
Daniel Bellemare has sent an embargoed open letter to the media concerning the end of his work as the head of the International Independent Investigation Commission for Lebanon as he takes up his duties this Sunday as the first Prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
Tomorrow, 28 February, is the last day of the Commissions work.
A statement on the Secretary-Generals behalf will be issued on Sunday to mark the start of the work of the Special Tribunal.
RWANDA: FORMER MILITARY CAPTAIN FOUND GUILTY OF GENOCIDE
A Trial Chamber of the
International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda today sentenced Emmanuel Rukundo, a former Military Captain in the Rwandan Armed Forces, to twenty five years imprisonment after finding him guilty of genocide, murder as a crime against humanity and extermination.
Among other charges, Rukundo was found to have played an integral role in the abduction and subsequent killing of Tutsi refugees from a seminary in the prefecture of Gitarama. He was also found to have sexually assaulted a young Tutsi woman. In sentencing Rukundo, the Trial Chamber considered his stature as a well-known priest in the community to be an aggravating factor.
REFUGEE AGENCY DISCOURAGES RETURNS TO VOLATILE SOMALI CAPITAL
On Somalia, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
reports that more than 40,000 internally displaced persons have returned to Mogadishu in the last six weeks.
UNHCR says it is not encouraging returns to Mogadishu at this time, since the security situation remains volatile.
But at the same time, the agency says it is preparing to help returnees or those who wish to return in the near future, in the hope that the security situation will improve.
UNHCR notes that the total number of Somalis displaced within their own country is a staggering 1.3 million.
AID REACHING CONGOLESE CIVILIANS DESPITE RISING ATTACKS ON HUMANITARIAN WORKERS
On the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
reports that there has been a notable rise in violations against civilians and attacks on humanitarian workers in North Kivu. That has led to new population displacement.
OCHA adds that attacks by the Lords Resistance Army are targeting entire villages and health centers, as well as individual Congolese civilians.
Meanwhile, aid agencies say they need military protection and are working to find ways to get to remote populations that can only be accessed by helicopter.
Despite these constraints, aid is reaching some people, OCHA says. Over the past week, for example, the World Food Programme was able to distribute food to 32,200 displaced people.
OCHA also notes that work is ongoing to improve the airstrip in the northeastern city of Doruma to facilitate arrivals of humanitarian air flights.
WFP also says it is preparing an emergency operation targeting 142,000 people who were driven from their homes or lost their crops and possessions as a result of attacks by the Lords Resistance Army.
UNICEFs Deputy Executive Director, Hilde Johnson, is currently in the eastern DRC, where she
called today for the release of all children currently associated with armed groups in the area.
U.N. ENVOY NOTES PROGRESS IN FIGHTING MALARIA
The Secretary-Generals Special Envoy for Malaria, Ray Chambers, today issued a new report on malaria control efforts in Africa.
According to that report, more than 40 percent of the Sub-Saharan African population now has access to long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets, compared to less than 10 percent in 2005.
But Chambers cautioned that a more intensive effort will be needed to achieve the Secretary-Generals goal of providing all endemic African countries with malaria control interventions by the end of 2010.
FOREST PLANTING HELPS REDUCE NATURAL FOREST LOSS: A new study by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) finds that with deforestation continuing at an alarming rate, forest planting has significantly
helped to reduce losses of natural forests. According to the FAO, planted woods play an increasingly important role in conservation, rehabilitating degraded lands, and combating desertification. The FAO also reports that in 2005, two thirds of potential industrial wood production came from planted rather than natural forests.
NEW CAMPAIGN TO TACKLE POLIO IN WEST AFRICA: UNICEF and the World Health Organization are
supporting a new polio immunization campaign, which is being launched today across eight West African countries. The campaign aims to reach 53 million children under the age of five in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte dIvoire, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Togo and Nigeria.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
Saturday, 28 February
Over the weekend, the Secretary-General will travel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda and will meet with the Presidents of both countries.
Today is Japans last day as Security Council President.
Sunday, 1 March
The Special Tribunal for Lebanon will officially be opened. To mark the event, a short public ceremony will be held at the Special Tribunal court building in Leidschendam, the Netherlands.
Libya assumes the rotating Security Council Presidency.
Monday, 2 March
The guest at the noon briefing is Alain Le Roy, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations.
Today through 13 March, Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) holds its fifty-third session at UN Headquarters.
The Secretary-General will attend the International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Economy for the Reconstruction of Gaza, which takes place in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
Elections for judges in the UN Dispute Tribunal and the UN Appeals Tribunal, the two judicial bodies in the UNs new internal justice system, will take place today, for the first time ever, in the General Assembly Hall.
In Geneva, the Human Rights Council will be holding its 10th regular session from 2 to 27 March.
Tuesday, 3 March
At 11 a.m. in Room-S226, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Patricia OBrien briefs on the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
At 12.30 p.m. in Room-S226, Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi, Chargés daffaires of the Permanent Mission of Libya and President of the Security Council for March, brief on the Councils programme of work for the month.
There will be a panel discussion on UN Support to Constitution-Making Processes:
Lessons Learned from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in Conference Room 7. It will be chaired by Jamal Benomar, Director of the Deputy Secretary-Generals Offices Rule of Law Unit. Panelists will include Nicolas Haysom, Director for Political Affairs in the Secretary-Generals Executive Office.
Wednesday, 4 March
Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court is to issue its decision concerning the Prosecution application of 14 July 2008 for the issuance of a warrant of arrest against President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan.
At 10 a.m. in Room-S226, the Permanent Mission of Liechtenstein sponsors a press conference by the Coalition for the International Criminal Court.
Thursday, 5 March
This morning in Conference Room 2, the Secretary-General opens the commemorative event for International Womens Day (8 March) at UN headquarters.
The guests at the noon briefing are Rachel Mayanja, UN Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, Radhika Coomarswamy, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, and Yakin Ertürk, UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women. They will be joined by other speakers to brief on International Women's Day and the Secretary-General's "UNiTE to end violence against women" campaign.
At 1.15 p.m. in Conference Room 2, the Deputy Secretary-General launches the Secretary-Generals new database on measures undertaken by Member States to address violence against women.
At 2 p.m. in Room-S226, the Inter-Parliamentary Union holds a press conference to present annual statistics on women in politics.
At 6 p.m. at the Dag Hammarskjöld Library, theatre group Tiyatroglobal performs MIKA, a play inspired by the Secretary-Generals "UNiTE to end violence against women" campaign.
Friday, 6 March
The guest at the noon briefing, Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, briefs on his recent trip to Washington D.C., where he met with high-level U.S. government officials to discuss climate change.
This document is for planning purposes only and is subject to change.
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
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