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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-05-08
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THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARIE OKABE
FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Friday, May 8, 2009
PAKISTAN: UNITED NATIONS AND HUMANITARIAN PARTNERS ADDRESSING MASSIVE DISPLACEMENT
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says it has been working to address a situation of massive displacement in north-west Pakistan following the recent fighting there. The Agency cites estimates from the provincial government that between 150,000 to 200,000 people have already arrived in safer areas of North West Frontier Province (NWFP) over the last few days, with another 300,000 already on the move or about to move.
Those fleeing the latest escalation of hostilities join another 555,000 previously displaced Pakistanis who had fled their homes in the tribal areas and NWFP since August 2008.
UNHCR adds that, in the last two days, an increasing number of families from Swat have gone to one of the camps it has set up for displaced persons, traveling in rickshaws, cars, small trucks and buses. Most carry little more than the clothes on their backs.
The World Food Programme
says that, even before these most recent days of conflict, WFP had been aiming to feed about 600,000 people this month in the affected area. It has set up seven humanitarian hubs that humanitarian organizations could use for distributing material.
adds that the majority of those worst affected are children, who have witnessed violence, experienced displacement and faced interruptions in education and health services.
SECURITY COUNCIL IS BRIEFED ON RECENT FIGHTING IN EASTERN CHAD
Assistant Secretary-General for Rule of Law and Security Institutions in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Dmitry Titov, today briefed the
Security Council on the recent fighting in eastern Chad, in an open meeting this morning .
Titov said that the UN Mission in Chad and the Central African Republic (MINURCAT) was able to confirm that the Chadian National Army was conducting air strikes against a rebel column in eastern Chad, in the area of Goz Beida.
Two days ago, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed increasing concern at the fighting and called for the respect of the humanitarian character of the operations of the United Nations and non-governmental organizations in eastern Chad.
Titov said that the deteriorating security situation has prompted humanitarian actors, including three UN agencies and 11 NGOs, to relocate their non-essential staff as a precautionary measure. He added that, as of yet, no significant population displacements have been reported as a result of the fighting.
At 3 p.m., the Security Council scheduled further consultations in connection with the situation in Chad, the Central African Republic and the sub-region.
Meanwhile, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that more than half of its consolidated appeal for $385 million for Chad remains unfunded. Only 41 percent of total required funds were received, with education and health remaining severely under-funded while other components of the appeal have received no funds at all.
Tensions remain high in eastern Chad following clashes between government and rebel troops. OCHA says 57 aid workers have been relocated to Goz Beida, where UN peacekeepers are deployed to protect civilians and aid operations. It adds that as volatile as the situation appears, it has not affected living conditions for the refugees and internally displaced. It joins other UN agencies in appealing to the warring parties to respect international humanitarian law, protect civilians and allow aid workers to reach those in greatest need.
DARFUR: ENVOY CONDEMNS KILLING OF 15TH PEACEKEEPER SINCE JOINT MISSION DEPLOYMENT
The African Union-United Mission in Darfur (UNAMID)
reports that one of its peacekeepers was shot and killed last night in South Darfur during a carjacking incident.
At approximately 8:30 p.m., unidentified gunmen shot the male military observer as he was opening the gate of his residence in Nyala, the state capital, to park his vehicle. The peacekeeper was rushed to a nearby UNAMID medical centre for treatment but died upon arrival.
UNAMID, which has started its own probe into the attack, informed local officials with Sudanese Government police and national security, who are also investigating the killing. The military observers vehicle was later found abandoned about seven kilometers away from Nyala.
His name, rank and nationality have not yet been released pending notification to next of kin. He is the 15th UNAMID peacekeeper killed as a result of hostile action since UNAMID deployed at the start of 2008.
The Joint AU-UN Special Representative, Rodolphe Adada, condemned the killing in the strongest terms, emphasizing that attacks on peacekeepers constitute war crimes. Adada called on the Sudanese Government and the parties to the Darfur conflict to do everything possible to bring the perpetrators of last nights shooting to justice.
While the overall number of carjackings and thefts of UNAMID vehicles has declined since last year, such incidents continue across the region, particularly in South Darfur. A Nigerian peacekeeper was shot and killed during an ambush of a Mission escort patrol near Nyala on 17 March.
U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF SPENDS TODAY IN SOUTHERN SUDAN; PLANS TO TRAVEL TO DARFUR TOMORROW
Under-Secretary General and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes landed this morning in Juba in Southern Sudan. He subsequently went to Akobo in Jonglei state, where thousands are taking shelter after fleeing recent violence.
John Holmes met men, women and children, who discussed their plight with him. Currently, 24 humanitarian organizations are responding to these increasing needs in seven of the 10 states of Southern Sudan. Since January 2009, more than 100,000 people have been displaced in seven states in Southern Sudan due to the Lords Resistance Army and inter-ethnic clashes.
Holmes also met with Riek Machar, Vice-President of the Government of Southern Sudan; they discussed humanitarian needs in Southern Sudan.
On Saturday, he will travel to Darfur to meet with local leaders and aid workers.
SRI LANKA: AID AGENCIES WORKING TO ASSIST DISPLACED AS FIGHTING CONTINUES
While fighting remains ongoing in northern Sri Lanka, another food shipment of 25 metric tons went in to the conflict zone aboard an International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) boat.
According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), as of yesterday, over 196,000 people had crossed to government controlled areas, while over 1700 wounded and their caregivers are in hospitals. Of those who are in camps, some 177,000 are in Vavuniya, where congestion continues to be a problem. No other IDPs are reported to be in transit, and the number of civilians remaining in the conflict zone is still estimated at least 50,000.
Aid agencies continue to work full speed to put in place assistance for the displaced.
Protection agencies conducted a survey of 100 randomly selected shelters in Menik Farm in Vavuniya, which showed that 72 percent of the interviewees were separated from family members in some way while trying to flee the conflict zone. In addition, 22 percent of the families reported that an immediate family member had died and some 15 percent of the households were female headed, according to OCHA.
HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL FACT-FINDING MISSION ON GAZA CONFLICT BEGINS WORK IN GENEVA
The Fact-Finding Mission, which the Human Rights Council established last month to investigate violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in the context of the recent conflict in Gaza,
began its work in Geneva this week.
During their week-long session in Geneva, the four members of the Mission, headed by Justice Richard Goldstone, held initial meetings with a broad cross-section of stakeholders, including representatives of Member States, the UN, and non-governmental organizations. The Mission also established terms of reference and a three-month programme of work.
In the course of its work, the Mission intends to conduct visits to affected areas of southern Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Gaza. It has requested Israels cooperation in this regard.
According to Justice Goldstone, the Mission will focus its investigation not on political considerations, but on an objective and impartial analysis of compliance of the parties to the conflict with their obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law -- especially their responsibility to ensure the protection of civilians and non-combatants.
Justice Goldstone has also said that he believes that an objective assessment of the issues is in the interests of all parties, will promote a culture of accountability, and could serve to promote greater peace and security in the region.
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION DELIVERS INFLUENZA ANTIVIRAL DRUGS
On the influenza A (H1N1) virus, the World Health Organization (WHO)
confirms that the number of lab-confirmed cases has increased to 2,500 from 2,099 yesterday. Those cases include 44 deaths. WHO says that 25 countries are now reporting cases. Those countries now include Brazil, which has reported 4 cases.
Regarding WHOs influenza alert level, we are still at phase 5, the agency says.
WHO is working to get more than 2 million doses of antiviral drugs to 72 countries, primarily in the developing world. So far this week, the agency has already begun dispatching antivirals to 49 countries. Delivery will take several days to reach each of the countries. In addition, WHO has sent some 600,000 doses to its six regional offices.
BAN KI-MOON TO TRAVEL TO BAHRAIN AND SWITZERLAND NEXT WEEK
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to travel to Manama, Bahrain and Geneva, Switzerland, starting a week from today.
His two-day visit in Manama will focus on the official Launch of the 2009 Global Assessment Report on
Disaster Risk Reduction, which will take place on 17-18 May.
The Secretary-General is set to deliver opening remarks at the launching ceremony, hosted by the Prime Minister of Bahrain.
This is the U.N.s first global report that identifies increasing disaster risk factors and recommends 20 actions to reduce such risks, which will have beneficial effects on broader global security, stability and sustainability. The main message in the report is that investing in disaster risk reduction will help reduce poverty, safeguard development and help to adapt to climate change.
While in Bahrain, the Secretary-General is scheduled to meet with His Majesty the King, Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, as well as the Crown Prince and the Prime Minister.
After that, the Secretary-General will travel to Geneva, where he is set to deliver the keynote speech in the Plenary of the World Health Assembly. He will also participate in a high-level meeting, convened by the World Health Organization (WHO), with representatives of some 20 pharmaceutical companies, to ensure that developing countries will have access to vaccines.
The Secretary-General will also participate in the launch of the Innovative-8 Group (or I-8 Group) on financing for the health-related Millennium Development Goals. He will also take part in the Plenary Session of the Conference on Disarmament also to be held in Geneva.
He is also scheduled to meet with UN High
Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL TO ATTEND PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATION IN SOUTH AFRICA
Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro is in Pretoria where she will represent the Secretary-General at the inauguration ceremony of President-elect Jacob Zuma, tomorrow.
During her visit to South Africa, she will also hold bilateral meetings with South African and regional leaders from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) -- focusing on issues related to regional security, economic development, and progress towards the conclusion of an agreement at the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit, later this year.
On Monday, the Deputy-Secretary-General will travel to Hanoi, Vietnam. She will hold high-level consultations with the Government of Vietnam on their Delivering as One experience. Vietnam is one of the pilot countries for this UN reform aimed at better coordinating UN activities at the country level.
The following Thursday, May 14, she will be in Bangkok to chair the Regional Coordination Mechanism Meeting of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.
UNITED NATIONS IS CONCERNED OVER WELL BEING OF CHILDREN IN HORN OF AFRICA: The combination of chronic food insecurity, conflict and political instability is threatening the well being and lives of millions of children in the Horn of Africa. UNICEF
says that over the last few months it has witnessed a steady increase in the numbers of children suffering from acute malnutrition, which means that more children are at risk of death and disease. Working closely with humanitarian partners, it is scaling up its assistance to reach the most vulnerable while strengthening nutrition surveillance systems, community-based feeding and improving access to safe water and good sanitation. UNICEF also notes that it has received less than 10 percent of its projected emergency funding requirements for the Horn of Africa this year and calls for additional funding.
UNITED NATIONS AND WORLD BANK BUILD PEACE VILLAGES IN BURUNDI: UN agencies and the World Bank are helping build a number of so-called peace villages in Burundi to house landless former refugees and others dispossessed Burundians. According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 11 of these Rural Integrated Villages, as the peace villages are formally known, should be completed this year in Burundis southern provinces. This project grew out of a joint reconstruction strategy adopted last year by the Burundi government, UN agencies and international donors. It seeks to provide durable solutions for landless returnees and displaced persons as well as other vulnerable populations.
SOMALI CHILDREN BENEFIT FROM PUBLIC HEALTH, NUTRITION CAMPAIGNS: Some 750,000 Somali children under the age of five and some 500,000 Somali women of child bearing age are benefiting from a UNICEF public health campaign. The Child Health Days campaign brings vaccines, vitamin A, de-worming and diarrhoea prevention kits as well as nutritional screening and health promotion to people in all accessible parts of Somalia. The World Food Programme, meanwhile, is expanding its nutrition initiatives in central and northwest Somalia in a bid to reach 50 percent of local children considered moderately malnourished.
SPOKESWOMAN CORRECTS DESCRIPTION OF SECRETARY-GENERALS MEETING WITH ISRAELI PRESIDENT: In a response to a question regarding a story in Yedioth Ahronoth, the Spokeswoman emphasized that the statements attributed to the Secretary-General by Yedioth Ahronoth in describing his meeting with the Israeli President on 6th May are inaccurate and completely misleading. In line with our standard practice, she added, we wish to reaffirm the readout of the meeting that was issued by us on that day itself.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
Saturday, 9 May
The Deputy Secretary-General will be in Pretoria, South Africa, to represent the Secretary-General at the inauguration ceremony of President-elect Jacob Zuma.
Sunday, 10 May
From today until 12 May, the 1st World Social Science Forum, organized by the International Social Science Council (ISSC) in cooperation with the University of Bergen and the Stein Rokkan Centre and supported by more than 30 partners including UNESCO, will meet in Bergen (Norway), with more than 800 participants from some 40 countries.
Monday, 11 May
The Security Council will hold an open meeting on the Middle East, under the chairmanship of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. At 12.30 p.m., Mr. Lavrov will brief the press in Room-S226.
Starting today and until Wednesday, the Deputy Secretary-General is in Hanoi, Vietnam, where she will highlight progress on UN reform in this Delivering as One pilot country.
The Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in Case of Illicit Appropriation will hold its 15th session at UNESCO Headquarters, in Paris, from today to 13 May. The three cases pending before the Committee will be up for further discussion.: the famous Parthenon Marbles, presently in the British Museum and claimed by Greece; the Hittite Sphinx of Boğazköy, involving Turkey and Germany; and the Makonde Mask claimed from Switzerland by Tanzania.
Tuesday, 12 May
Today, at 10 a.m., in the General Assembly Hall, eighteen members of the Human Rights Council are expected to be elected.
At 6 p.m. an art exhibit by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the International Criminal Courts Trust Fund for Victims opens in the Delegates Dining Room. The exhibit entitled Welcome to Gulu will be curated by artist Ross Bleckner, who will be appointed a UNODC Goodwill Ambassador at the opening.
Wednesday, 13 May
This morning, the Security Council will hold a debate on Somalia, followed by consultations on Somalia as well as on the 1718 Committee.
The High-Level Segment of the 17th session in Conference of the Commission on Sustainable Development begins today.
The General Assembly will hold an interactive thematic dialogue entitled Taking collective action to end human trafficking today, at 10 a.m. in the Trusteeship Council Chamber.
In Paris, France, the International Jury of the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize will meet today at UNESCO Headquarters and announce the name of the laureate or laureates. The Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize honors people, institutions or organizations that have contributed significantly to the promotion, research, preservation or maintenance of peace, mindful of the United Nations Charter and UNESCOs Constitution.
Thursday, 14 May
Today and tomorrow, the Deputy Secretary-General will chair, in Bangkok, Thailand, the annual meeting of the Regional Coordination Mechanism in Asia and the Pacific which raise the "Delivering as One" concept to a regional level.
Starting today and until May 16, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Alain le Roy, will attend the "UN Conference on Robust Peacekeeping: Exploring the Challenges in Doctrine, Commitments and Conduct of Operations," at Wilton Park, in the United Kingdom. The event is organized by the Department of Peacekeeping Operation's (DPKO) Office of Military Affairs and forms part of DPKO's internal review known as the "New Horizon" study, which aims to address the new challenges and realities facing UN peacekeeping.
The Greek Cypriot leader and the Turkish Cypriot leader will meet today, in Nicosia, under the auspices of the United Nations.
The guest at the noon briefing, Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), will provide an update on the climate change negotiations.
Friday, 15 May
Today is the International Day of Families.
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