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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-05-12

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

HIGHLIGHTS OF

THE NOON BRIEFING

BY FARHAN HAQ

ASSOCIATE SPOKESPERSON

FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

SRI LANKA: CHILDREN SHOULD NOT BE HELD HOSTAGE, RECRUITED AS SOLDIERS AND PUT IN HARM'S WAY

Fighting in the conflict zone is continuing. Shelling of the makeshift hospital in Mullivaikkal today reportedly resulted in loss of life and injuries among civilians.

In the last 48 hours, 1,039 internally displaced persons have crossed from the conflict zone and reached Omanthai.

Todays shipment of 25 tons of World Food Programme (WFP) food commodities dispatched to the conflict zone from Trincomalee did not reach the conflict zone due to intense fighting.

As of 12 May, the 2009 appeal for Sri Lanka remains 32 percent funded, with $49,719,600 received out of the $155,112,600 required. In addition, $17,921,820 has been pledged by various donors.

Meanwhile, UNICEF has

said that because of the high number of civilians still trapped in the shrinking conflict zone in Sri Lanka, the number of children killed in this conflict could increase and UNICEF was gravely worried about the situation and the fate of these children. Since the beginning, UNICEF had asked the Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to allow civilians to leave the conflict zone and to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law.

WFP is providing food assistance to more than 190,000 people in temporary transit centres in Vavuniya and Jaffa districts.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, is horrified at the deteriorating crisis in Sri Lanka and its serious toll on children.

Stressing that this dreadful situation cannot continue, she said children should not be held hostage, recruited as child soldiers and put in harms way.

She reiterated that all the children should immediately be released by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and placed in a protected area with their primary care givers, away from the fighting.

The Special Representative is negotiating with the Government to allow a Special Envoy to visit Sri Lanka to assess the situation of children first hand.

Asked whether the Secretary-General plans to visit Sri Lanka, the Spokesperson reiterated that the Secretary-General will certainly go if he believes that it can make a difference in saving lives. He is considering a visit, but no decision has been made yet.

UNITED NATIONS RUSHES RELIEF SUPPLIES TO DISPLACED PAKISTANIS

The UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has allocated more than $8 million to fund humanitarian projects for hundreds of thousands of people affected by military operations in northwestern Pakistan.

The World Food Programme (WFP) will use $2.8 million of that allocation to provide full food rations to displaced persons for one month. Another $2.15 million will bolster the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in its

efforts to provide household items such as blankets and cooking utensils to people living in camps.

UNHCR reports that a cargo plane with 120 tons of relief supplies, intended for people fleeing fighting in Pakistan's north-west, left Dubai this morning. The supplies include mosquito nets, plastic sheets for emergency shelters and plastic rolls to build walls and privacy screens in camps. As of late yesterday, more than 501,000 displaced people from the new influx have now been formally registered by authorities, with UNHCR's help, since May 2. Of these new arrivals, some 72,000 people are staying in camps, and more than 428,000 people are staying with relatives, friends or host communities.

WFP today

announced plans to double the amount of emergency food needed to help thousands of families fleeing their homes in northwest Pakistan. WFP has mobilized in-country stocks and is prepared to feed the growing population of internally displaced persons for the next two to three months. WFP has been providing emergency rations to 650,000 people who have fled the conflict areas in the North West Frontier Province.

SOMALIA: U.N. ENVOY CONDEMNS RECENT VIOLENCE

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, has strongly

condemned the continuing violence apparently aimed at government facilities and officials in Mogadishu. Ould-Abdallah called it unacceptable, noting that scores have already been displaced or killed.

The Special Representative also said that the attacks appeared to be conducted by Somali insurgents backed by foreigners whose goal was to seize power. There must be an immediate end to this fighting, he said.

DARFUR: ENVOY EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER RECENT FIGHTING

The African Union-United Nations Joint Special Representative for Darfur, Rodolphe Adada, held

discussions today with the Undersecretary of the Sudanese Foreign Affairs Ministry, Mutrif Siddiq, and the Presidential Adviser, Mustafa Osman Ismail, during separate meetings in Khartoum.

Adada expressed concern over the recent inter-faction fighting that occurred in the area of Um Baru, North Darfur. He said that the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) has medically evacuated those who were injured in that fighting, and calling for a cessation of hostilities and a focus on the peace process instead.

Meanwhile, the World Food Programme (WFP) says it has started distribution for May in areas affected by the departure of the expelled non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

For food assistance beyond June, WFP is preparing to launch a special operation in Darfur. The special operation is designed to compensate for capacity gaps left by the expelled NGOs.

In North and South Darfur, UNICEF has entered into agreements with partner organizations to set up a health clinic and psychosocial activities formerly managed by expelled NGOs in camps for internally displaced persons.

In West Darfur, three of the 13 therapeutic feeding centres formerly managed by expelled NGOs remain out of action, either due to insecurity or lack of alternative capacity.

SECURITY COUNCIL REITERATES CALL FOR PEACE IN MIDDLE EAST

Yesterday afternoon, the

Security Council concluded its ministerial meeting on the Middle East by adopting a

Presidential Statement, which reiterated the Councils call for renewed and urgent efforts by the parties and the international community to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

The Council once more upheld the vision of a region where two democratic States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders.

The Security Council supported the proposal of the Russian Federation to convene, in consultation with the Quartet and the parties, an international conference on the Middle East peace process in Moscow in 2009.

SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES RELEASE OF JOURNALIST IN IRAN

In response to previous questions about the Secretary-Generals reaction to the release of journalist Roxana Saberi in Iran, the Associate Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General welcomes Roxana Saberis release.

The Secretary-General had discussed the matter on several occasions with the Government of Iran, most recently with President Ahmadinejad in Geneva, and he is pleased that the case has been resolved.

BAN KI-MOON TO SPEAK AT COMMENCEMENT CEREMONY IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to speak next week at the commencement at Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, known as SAIS, in Washington, D.C.

The Secretary-General, speaking under the topic of Global Leadership in a Time of Crisis, will address some 400 students upon whom SAIS will confer graduate degrees.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

NUMBER OF H1N1 FLU CASES RISES: On the influenza A (H1N1) virus, the World Health Organization (WHO)

confirms that the number of lab-confirmed cases has increased to 5,251 from 4,694 yesterday. North America remains the region that is reporting the largest number of cases.

NEW STUDY RELEASED ON FORCED LABOR: The cost of coercion to the workers affected by forced labor reaches over $20 billion per year. That is according to a new

study by the International Labor Organization (ILO). The report details the growing number of unethical, fraudulent and criminal practices that can lead people into situations of forced labor, and calls for increased efforts to eradicate the practices. It also notes the progress being made in reducing and preventing forced labor but warns of the possible impact of the global economic and jobs crisis.

U.N. BODY CALLS FOR PROTECTION OF DEVELOPING COUNTRIES TRADE CAPACITIES: The United Nations Trade and Development Conference (UNCTAD) is

calling for the protection of the trade capacities of developing countries during the global financial crisis. UNCTAD says that helping developing nations to cope during this financial turmoil will help them use their exports to recover later. During a meeting of the Trade and Development Commission yesterday, UNCTADs Secretary-General, Supachai Panitchpaki, stressed that stimulus packages in wealthy countries should boost demand for products on global markets. He also said warned that signs of recovery in industrialized nations may lead to a widespread conclusion that the crisis is over, when in fact it may continue for a long time elsewhere in the world.

DEADLINE ARRIVES FOR CONTINENTAL SHELF CLAIMS: States Parties to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea have until midnight today to file their submissions, through the Secretary-General, to the

Commission on the Limits of Continental Shelf. The Convention, which came into force in 1994, defines the rights and responsibilities of its State Parties in their use of the world's oceans. Among other provisions, the Convention establishes specific jurisdictional limits on the ocean area that countries may claim, including a 12-mile territorial sea limit and a 200-mile exclusive economic zone limit. To date, 157 countries and the European Community have joined in the Convention.

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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