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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-03-06

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

Friday, March 6, 2009

SECRETARY-GENERAL CONTACTS LEADERS ON EXPULSION OF NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS FROM SUDAN

The Secretary-General is contacting leaders in the region to follow up on his appeal to the Government of Sudan to reconsider its decision to expel 13 non-governmental organizations, which aid some 4.7 million people in

Darfur. His recent contacts included telephone calls with the leaders of the African Union and the League of Arab States.

The UN Refugee Agency, meanwhile, said it shared the deep

concern of the Secretary-General and the rest of the UN system over the ordered departure of the aid groups and the serious implications this has for humanitarian efforts on behalf of hundreds of thousands of extremely vulnerable people in Darfur and elsewhere.

For UNHCR, at least five of the NGOs asked to leave Sudan have been UNHCR implementing partners carrying out important humanitarian programmes, not only in Darfur but also in Blue Nile State and Khartoum State. So it is noteworthy that their removal could have an impact not only on Darfur, but on vulnerable people elsewhere in the country.

UNHCR also says it is concerned at the possible implications this could have more broadly in the region. Experience shows that when vulnerable populations are unable to get the help they need, they go elsewhere in search of protection and assistance. If food can't get through to people, they will soon suffer and have to look elsewhere.

The UN team in Darfur has helped many displaced people stay as close to home as possible while also relieving pressure on neighbouring Chad, where UNHCR and its partners are already caring for nearly 250,000 refugees from Darfur, UNHCR provides help to a string of 12 remote camps spread over 600 kilometers near the Sudan border.

Any influx to Chad would be an additional challenge for UNHCR and other humanitarian agencies because of ongoing insecurity and instability in the country, as well as limited resources, such as water.

The World Health Organization says the decision could lead to the increase of mortality and morbidity due to the interruption of health services, the decline of immunization coverage and the increase of mortality and morbidity among children if they do not have access to therapeutic feeding and nutrition services.

UNICEF said its main concerns were in areas of water and sanitation, nutrition and health. UNICEF is doing what it can to ensure that those programmes continue, whether by using existing non-governmental organizations whose licenses have not been revoked or other partners to implement such life-saving assistance.

Meanwhile, according to the African Union-United Nations mission in Darfur (UNAMID) a number of banditry activities targeting UNAMID personnel and aid groups was reported in all three Sectors. Those activities included armed robbery, theft of personal belongings and harassment. No injuries were reported. UNAMID is investigating these incidents.

During the last 24 hours, UNAMID military forces conducted 18 confidence building patrols, seven escort patrols, nine night patrols and one investigation patrol covering 42 villages and camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) throughout Darfur.

Asked about the Secretary-Generals calls, the Spokeswoman said that he made five of them this morning, including the ones to the AUs Jean Ping and the Arab Leagues Amre Moussa. The other calls, she said, were made to leaders of neighbouring and other countries, to see whether they could use their influence to address the concerns over the humanitarian issue. He did not discuss the International Criminal Court (ICC) ruling in those calls, she added.

She noted, in response to another question, that the Secretary-General had met on Thursday afternoon with US Ambassador Susan Rice, and this was among the topics they had discussed.

Asked about discussions with UN agency heads, Montas said that the Secretary-General is in regular contact with UN agency heads to discuss what they plan to do in response to the latest developments.

Asked about contacts with Sudans Government, she said that the Secretary-General had not had direct contact since the ICC decision. There have been contacts between UN and Sudanese officials on the ground.

Montas emphasized that the UN agencies view the action taken against humanitarian NGOs that distribute aid seriously, saying, It was as if their arms and legs were cut off.

Asked whether President Bashir should cooperate with the International Criminal Court, the Spokeswoman said that it remains the Secretary-Generals position that the President should cooperate with the ICC and abide by Security Council resolution 1593.

SECURITY COUNCIL TO DISCUSS SUDANS HUMANITARIAN ISSUES

The

Security Council has scheduled consultations at 3:00 this afternoon on

Sudan.

Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Catherine Bragg will brief Council members on the latest humanitarian developments, and she expects to speak to reporters at the Council stakeout afterwards.

CONCERNS INCREASE ABOUT DETERIORATION OF SECURITY CONDITIONS IN NORTH KIVU

The UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) is

concerned about a possible deterioration of security conditions in North Kivu. The situation, however, remains calm because UN peacekeepers and Congolese troops are occupying positions vacated by the Rwandan rebel group, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), during a joint DRC/Rwanda military campaign against it. The Mission continues to appeal to FDLR fighters to voluntarily join the disarmament and repatriation programme.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), meanwhile, says it is finding it increasingly difficult to reach newly displaced civilians in North Kivu. A UN team sent there to assess the needs of IDPs had to abandon its mission Thursday for security reasons. This is because the FDLR has conducted sporadic attacks in isolated areas, killing some 20 civilians.

The FDLR is also targeting NGOs and humanitarian relief convoys, according to UNHCR. Some 160,000 people have been displaced since the start of the year, bringing to more than 850,000 the number of displaced civilians in North Kivu.

Also, a pre-trial chamber of the

International Criminal Court on Thursday decided to delay the confirmation of charges against former Congolese Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba. The Judges have asked the Prosecutor to consider submitting an amended charge sheet. According to the Judges, the Prosecutors current submission appears to seek charges different from what the Prosecutor is arguing for: the criminal liability of Bemba as a commander.

SOME 88,000 PEOPLE AFFECTED BY CHOLERA IN ZIMBABWE

The World Health Organization says some 88,000 people are affected by cholera in Zimbabwe, including 3,975 deaths.

This week had seen a confirmation of the declining trend of new cholera cases reported at the national level. Very high levels of cholera had been reached at the beginning of the year, with as many as 8,000 cases per week. There is a slight decrease from past weeks, as the number is now around 4,000 cases per week.

There is still a need to remain alert, as the health crisis is still important and cholera continues to cause casualties every day. The rainy season had also restarted and cholera cases could increase again because of it.

DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL TO ATTEND ECONOMIC CONFERENCE IN TANZANIA

On Tanzania, Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro will travel on Sunday to Dar es Salaam to participate in a joint International Monetary Fund-Government of Tanzania conference on 'Changes: Successful Partnerships for Africa's Growth Challenges'. That conference takes place from 9 to 11 March.

The conference will aim to address key economic policy questions, with the common goal of forging a renewed partnership for growth in Africa in the 21st century. It will consider what Africas successes tell us about the main bottlenecks and risks to sustained growth, poverty reduction and achievement of the

Millennium Development Goals. It will look at how countries can tap into the potential of the private sector and the financial sector to advance these goals.

The Deputy Secretary-General will provide one of two keynote addresses at the conference, and she will participate in a press stakeout following her remarks. She intends to meet with a broad cross-section of international representatives, Ministers and local Tanzanian officials while she is in Dar es Salaam.

HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF URGES INVESTIGATION INTO MURDER OF ACTIVISTS IN KENYA

High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay reacted today to the

murder last night of two Kenyan human rights defenders. One of the victims, Oscar Kamau Kingara, had met last week with the UNs Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Philip Alston. And Mr. Kingaras foundation had provided testimonies to the Special Rapporteur regarding alleged killings by elements of the Kenyan police.

Pillay today urged the Government of Kenya to ensure the safety of the witnesses to last nights shooting, to investigate the killing, and to bring the perpetrators to justice. Pillay also urged the Kenyan Government to take all necessary steps to ensure the safety of all people with whom the Special Rapporteur met during his recent visit.

U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICES CALLS FOR END TO VIOLENCE IN PROTESTS

Following the deaths of two protesters and a member of the Armed Police Force during the past two days in Nepal,

the United Nations Human Rights Office in Nepal is urging all sides in recent protests to exercise restraint and to resolve their differences in dialogue.

Stressing that protesting groups should only use peaceful means, and that Nepals Armed Police should use minimum force, the Human Rights Office said if force is necessary, both sides should ensure that it is proportional to the threat posed.

The Office expressed extreme concern about the use of live ammunition by police. One person was reportedly killed and several others injured, after police fired live ammunition on the night of 5 March.

The Office is also extremely concerned at reports that two Armed Police Force members were attacked by protesters with large knives during a demonstration on 6 March. One constable has since died and the other is seriously injured.

The Human Rights Office in Nepal reiterates its call for thorough and independent investigations into all killings which have occurred.

HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL OPENS ANNUAL DEBATE ON RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

Today in Geneva, the

Human Rights Council held its annual interactive debate on the rights of persons with disabilities. Speaking at that debate, High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said that, with the entry into force of the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities last May, a major legal protection gap had been filled. And she noted that the implementing bodies established by the Convention were now in the initial phases of their institutional development.

Also at the Human Rights Council today, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kyung-wha Kang presented a number of reports on a variety of topics including genocide, arbitrary deprivation of nationality, activities by UNIFEM to eliminate violence against women, and the protection of human rights in the context of HIV/AIDS.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC CRISIS MAY HAVE DISPROPORTIONATE IMPACT ON WOMEN

To mark the International Womens Day, on 8 March, High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay

said that the current global economic crisis was likely to have a disproportionate impact on millions of women who already formed the majority of the poor. She stressed that womens economic and social rights were at risk of being further curtailed as the crisis deepens.

In another statement,

UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman underlined the significant role men and boys have to play in ending violence against women and called for putting in place programmes and activities that educate them.

Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of UNAIDS,

called for gender equality to be at the core of all our actions. This is not only necessary for social justice but also for achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, he said.

YOUTH CONCLUDE CLIMB TO TOP OF KILIMANJARO

The 2009 Kilimanjaro Initiative Climb concluded Thursday after climbers reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Disadvantaged youth joined members of the private and public sector including UN staffon this climb, which aimed to raise awareness about the effect of climate change.

Upon their descent, the climbers called the Director of the Secretary-Generals Climate Change Support Team in New York, Janos Pasztor, to report their initial findings. They observed that there was now less water in the streams and less snow on top of Kilimanjaro.

Last week-end, the Secretary-General witnessed this himself when he flew over Mount Kilimanjaro.

I.A.E.A. REACHES FINANCIAL TARGET FOR NUCLEAR FUEL BANK

A proposed multinational fuel bank under the control of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reached a milestone this week when Kuwait pledged a financial contribution of $10 million. That pledge means that the international financial target for the fuel bank has been reached, putting into motion the efforts for a future decision by the Agencys Board to actually create it.

IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei welcomed the achievement. He said that bold measures, including assurances of nuclear fuel supply and making sensitive parts of the nuclear fuel cycle a multinational issue, are vital to curbing the proliferation of nuclear weapons and eliminating them altogether.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECRETARY-GENERAL SPEAKS TO PAKISTANI PRESIDENT ON ABDUCTED U.N. OFFICIAL: Asked about the Secretary-Generals phone call on Thursday with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, the Spokeswoman said that they had discussed the case of John Solecki, the abducted UN Refugee Agency staff member, and the recent attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team.

UNITED NATIONS RECEIVED $5 MILLION FOR FACT-FINDING MISSION: In response to a question, the Spokeswoman confirmed that the United Nations had received $5 million from Pakistan for its fact-finding commission dealing with the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. She called it a step forward for the three-member commission, which, she added, is still trying to confirm its third member.

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO HOLD PRESS CONFERENCE NEXT WEEK: Asked when the Secretary-General would hold his next press conference, the Spokeswoman said that he intended to hold one next week, after he returns from his travels.

INTERVIEWS CONTINUE FOR U.N.D.P. ADMINISTRATOR POST: Asked about the process to appoint a new UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator, the Spokeswoman said that interviews for that post are still being conducted.

CONFERENCE ON DISARMAMENT TO OPEN IN DOHA: A UN Workshop on Implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004) will be held from Sunday in Doha, to enhance national capacities for the management of export control processes at a practical level as well as improve information and experience-sharing between national export control and enforcement authorities.

  • *** The guest at the noon briefing was Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, who briefed on his recent trip to Washington D.C., where he met with high-level U.S. government officials to discuss climate change.

    THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS[1]

    7 13 March 2009

    Saturday, 7 March

    Officials from the World Health Organization and the Iraqi Government will issue a report tomorrow in Baghdad on the mental health of Iraqi civilians from 2006 to 2007. The report will be made available on the webpage of the Iraqi Health Ministry.

    Sunday, 8 March

    Today is International Womens Day.

    UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro heads to Tanzania to participate in a joint International Monetary Fund-Government of Tanzania conference, called "Changes: Successful Partnerships for Africa's Growth Challenges," which runs from 9 to 11 March.

    Monday, 9 March

    The Secretary-General travels to Haiti with former U.S. President Bill Clinton. The visit aims to continue the Secretary-Generals work with President René Préval to identify an action plan that encompasses economic development, clean energy, food security, business development, reforestation, and health care.

    Starting today and running through 13 March, the 11th session of the Committee for Development Policy will conduct, at Headquarters, the 2009 triennial review of the list of Least Developed Countries.

    The United Nations University (UNU) will hold a Midday Forum on the theme Blue "Helmettes": The Role of Women in UN Peacekeeping, from 1:15 pm to 2:45 pm, in Conference Room 7.

    Tuesday, 10 March

    The Security Council will hear a briefing on 1737 Committee followed by consultations on the 1701 report and the Sudan sanctions Committee.

    Wednesday, 11 March

    The Secretary-General will be in Washington D.C.

    Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat meet today under UN auspices in Nicosia to discuss matters related to the European Union

    At 1 p.m. in Room-S226, Hania Zlotnik, Director of the Population Division at the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), and Gerhard Heilig, Chief of the Estimates and Projection Section of the Population Division at DESA, brief on the latest findings of the 2008 Revision of the World Population Prospects.

    The 52nd session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) opens in Vienna and meets through 20 March. The first two days of the session will be held at ministerial level to assess progress made in the decade since a Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGASS) set targets to reduce global supply of, and demand for, illicit drugs.

    Thursday, 12 March

    At 9.30 a.m. in Room-S226, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will launch the latest World Water Development Report. Speakers include William Cosgrove, Content Coordinator, as well as Richard Connor, Molly Hellmuth and Charles Vorosmarty, authors of the report.

    Friday, 13 March

    No major events are scheduled for today.

    [1]This document is for planning purposes only and is current as of Friday, 6 March, 2009.

    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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