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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-05-13
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THE NOON BRIEFING
FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
SECURITY COUNCIL HOLDS MEETING ON SOMALIA
The Under-Secretaries-General for Political Affairs, Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support all briefed the
Security Council in an open meeting this morning about UN efforts in Somalia.
Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe said that todays meeting comes during a critical moment for Somalia. Despite the heavy fighting of the last few days, he said, we have witnessed in recent months newfound reasons to hope, and the Somali people have the best chance in two decades to end their suffering and move towards a better and more stable future. The latest surge in violence is clearly a response to the governments strategy to reach out and build a critical mass in support of peace, Pascoe said.
Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy informed the Council about the three-phase approach the Secretary-General has outlined for UN engagement in Somalia, saying that the incremental approach is the right strategy for Somalia at the present time. It is important to emphasize that this is a flexible strategy, he added, and not one based on a rigid timetable. Le Roy added that it remains the assessment of the Secretary-General that deployment of a UN peacekeeping operation at this stage, in the absence of these conditions, would be a high-risk option, and that an ill-timed mission would fail.
Under-Secretary-General for Field Support Susana Malcorra told the Security Council that the gains achieved in building peace by the Somali leaders and the international community must not be lost. The current situation on the ground evidences that the Somalias nascent and yet fragile peace process must be protected. Among other things, she said, the disbursement of donor pledges must be expedited.
The open meeting has been followed by consultations, also on Somalia.
SOMALIA ENVOY BLAMES LATEST VIOLENCE ON COUP PLOTTERS
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for
Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, has accused those who launched the recent attacks on the capital, Mogadishu, of attempting to topple the legitimate government through a coup d'etat.
He described the attackers as extremists who know do not have the support of the Somali people and he accused them of bringing in foreign fighters who have no connections to the situation in Somalia.
Ould-Abdallah has already strongly condemned the fighting that flared up late last week in Mogadishu between government forces and Islamist fighters, leaving scores of people dead and forcing hundreds to flee the capital.
EXPRESSES TO PAKISTANI PRESIDENT U.N. KEY CONCERN FOR PROTECTION OF CIVILIANS
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with the President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, yesterday afternoon, and they discussed a range of topics, including the regional situation and movement forward on the Commission of Inquiry looking into the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.
Speaking to reporters afterward, the Secretary-General
said that they had discussed the humanitarian situation in northwestern Pakistan, particularly in the Swat Valley. He said, I expressed my concern and I expect President Zardari to take all necessary care to protect the civilian population. The United Nations, he said, is ready and will stand by to provide the necessary humanitarian assistance.
On the humanitarian front, a cargo jet charted by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) yesterday delivered 120 tonnes of additional relief supplies for immediate distribution to those fleeing the fighting in the northwest. The supplies were loaded onto seven trucks and taken to UNHCR's warehouse in Peshawar, and then distributed to various sites hosting displaced people in the North West Frontier Province.
The Refugee Agency says that it is responding as quickly as possible to meet the basic needs of the displaced people, adding that it needs to support them morally, psychologically and materially and ensure they can feel the solidarity that is being extended to them.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says it has received more than $500,000 to help meet emergency health needs for almost 550,000 people displaced in northwest Pakistan since August 2008. But new violence is threatening to displace a further 800,000 people, potentially exacerbating the humanitarian crisis and taxing an already overstretched health system. A three-member WHO team has traveled to Pakistan to strengthen the Country Office's response to the current crisis in the Swat, Lower Dir and Buner areas.
SRI LANKA: HEAVY FIGHTING LEAVES HUMANITARIAN CARGO UNABLE TO REACH CIVILIANS
Heavy fighting in the conflict zone is reportedly continuing in Sri Lanka, with heavy casualties, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
OCHA says it has been informed by the Government of Sri Lanka that it will soon issue ID cards to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) once the registration process is completed. These ID cards will allow for IDPs to travel outside camp locations for employment, purchasing provisions and other essential activities. Currently over 20,000 IDPs have already registered for IDs and the process is ongoing.
Since the recent large influx of IDPs, many of the camp management duties in camps have been taken over by the military. The United Nations continues to emphasize the need for the camps to be managed by civilians, and reiterates the need for more civilian police, including women police and police from the Tamil community.
In Menik Farm zone 2, around 30 percent of children under the age of five reportedly suffer from moderate malnutrition, while 20 percent suffer from acute malnutrition.
Asked whether a ship charted by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) had been able to make its aid deliveries, the Spokeswoman later said that, earlier today, an ICRC-flagged ship carrying 25 metric tonnes of food turned back due to fighting in the conflict zone, after the ship was also unable to reach its destination on Tuesday. An additional 500-tonne shipment of mixed food commodities is ready for departure from Trincomalee this evening. Another shipment of 25 tonnes of food is planned for Thursday.
GOVERNMENT PLANES BOMB TARGETS IN DARFUR
The African Union-United Nations mission in Darfur reports that
UNAMID forces observed Sudanese Government aircraft bombing targets north of Um Baru, a North Darfur town that has been the scene of recent fighting, shortly after 10 a.m. this morning.
Five shell explosions were heard. Mission troops and police advisers in the area are continuing to monitor the situation.
In recent days members of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) have clashed with the Sudan Liberation Army/Minni Minawi faction (SLA) in and around Um Baru, and Mission troops also observed aerial bombings in the town area on Monday.
SUDAN: UNITED NATIONS CONCERNED AT DEADLY ETHNIC VIOLENCE
The UN Deputy Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Southern Sudan, Lise Grande, has expressed serious concern at the reported killing of over 60 women, children and men in Jonglei state in southern Sudan this month following attacks between two ethnic groups.
The latest killings occurred soon after the UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, John Holmes, visited Southern Sudan.
It is reported that 57 people were wounded in the attack, the majority of which were children, some in critical condition. More than 1,500 people have been displaced.
The UN has sent a mission to the area to assess the situation, and the South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (SSRRC) is mobilizing food assistance to be distributed to the displaced people.
Meanwhile, the UN Mission to Sudan (UNMIS) says that about 120 personnel representing civilian, military and police components of UNMIS will be temporary deployed to the affected counties. UNMIS personnel will assist the local communities in restoring dialogue between the concerned communities in order to prevent further deterioration of the situation and address the underlying causes of the conflicts.
DR CONGO: UNITED NATIONS DOING ALL IT CAN TO PROTECT CIVILIANS
Asked about an Oxfam report expressing concerns about the violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Spokeswoman said that the United Nations fully shares Oxfam's concern about the FDLR's threats and attacks. The UN Mission in the country (MONUC) is doing everything it can, within the limits of its resources, to protect civilians under danger. Montas added that it is true that this illegal criminal group has clearly stepped up its violence in response to increased pressure by the DRC and Rwanda and the international community as a whole.
Asked about MONUC's support for the FARDC forces, she noted that MONUC is providing this support in full accordance with its mandate under Security Council resolution 1856. She later added that measures to protect civilians and the need for FARDC forces to respect human rights and humanitarian law are central to MONUC's joint planning and communication with the FARDC. MONUC is also actively engaged with the FARDC command to improve discipline within the FARDC and is taking action in cooperation with the FARDC command to bring a stop to abuses.
BAN KI-MOON CALLS FOR UNIVERSAL RATIFICATION OF PROTOCOL AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Trafficking in weapons, drugs and blood diamonds has long been on the UN agenda. Now we must add people to that list. Thats what the Secretary-General
told the General Assemblys Thematic Debate on Human Trafficking this morning.
He added that todays meeting was a call to action. In that context, he said that, first, we need to criminalize human trafficking. All countries must ratify the UN anti-trafficking Protocol. Second, he added, we must prevent victimization by teaching people about their rights and protecting them.
Third, we need to reduce demand. Fourth, there must be an end to impunity. And finally, we must protect the victims, he said. We have the full text of the Secretary-Generals speech in my office.
BAN KI-MOON: U.N. APPROACH TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AS VALID AS EVER
The Secretary-General also
addressed the opening of the High-Level Segment of 17th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) this morning.
He said that the idea of sustainable development, advanced 20 years ago by the United Nations remained as valid as ever. He added that this idea of an integrated and comprehensive approach to development showed how to address the climate crisis, the food crisis as well as the energy crisis. That approach also contains durable solutions to the financial crisis and global recession.
Stressing the importance of tackling climate change, he said that the December climate negotiations in Copenhagen should enable the international community to pursue climate action on all fronts. To that end, he said, he had invited all Heads of States and Governments to a high level event on climate change on 22 September, here in New York.
The Secretary-General also underlined the importance of food security, saying the food crisis was not yet behind us. The decisions taken here, he stressed, must help to revitalize agriculture and support the productivity and resilience of small farmers, in particular, to achieve food security for all.
TIMOR-LESTE: GOVERNMENT TO ASSUME PRIMARY POLICING ROLE
The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Timor-Leste Atul Khare and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão today
decided that the resumption of primary responsibilities for the conduct of police operations by Polícia Nacional de Timor-Leste (PNTL) will commence in the District of Lautem on 14 May.
The Prime Minister and SRSG Khare also agreed that appropriate action will be taken by the Timorese authorities in accordance with applicable laws and procedures on all non-certified PNTL members.
LEBANON: PEACEKEEPING FORCE RECEIVES 2006 WAR TECHNICAL STRIKE DATA FROM ISRAEL
Yesterday, the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) received from the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) technical strike data and related maps on the cluster munitions fired by the IDF over Lebanon during the 2006 conflict.
Technical experts from UNIFIL are currently examining and assessing the data received.
UNIFIL will be handing over the data to the Lebanese Armed Forces.
The United Nations has in the past repeatedly called on Israel to provide the technical strike data on the number, type and location of munitions fired in the 2006 conflict in order to help speed up the clearance operations and prevent casualties among civilians and mine-clearance experts.
MORE THAN 50 MARITIME CLAIMS ARE SUBMITTED TO THE UNITED NATIONS
The Commission on the Limit of the Continental Shelf says that it had, by midnight last night, received some 50 individual or joint submissions from coastal states parties to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Midnight marked the deadline agreed in May 1999 by the states parties to the Convention to file their claims to the continental shelf beyond their exclusive economic zone provided for by the Convention.
Under the Convention, coastal states or groups of coastal states may lay jurisdictional claims on continental shelves beyond the 12-mile territorial sea limit and a 200-mile exclusive economic zone limit.
States that were unable to meet last nights deadline may still pursue their claims under a residual mechanism administered by the Commission on the Limit of the Continental Shelf.
NEW REPORT FOCUSES ON WAYS TO PREVENT FURTHER COASTAL PARK AND MARINE WASTE: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) presented a report today at the World Oceans Conference in Indonesia, on global efforts to prevent further coastal park and marine wastes. Over 120 nations are gathering at the conference to boost the health of the global marine environment. UNEP reported on past initiatives that were successful in cutting back on marine wastes and also made a number of recommendations to address the problem in the future. Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director, said smart market mechanisms can transform the economics of sustainability.
BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT RECEIVES UNESCO PEACE PRIZE: The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has
awarded the 2008 Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize to the President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The announcement was made in Paris this morning. The jury said it had decided to give the Prize to Lula da Silva for his actions in pursuit of peace, dialogue, democracy, social justice and equal rights, as well as for his valuable contribution to the eradication of poverty and the protection of minorities rights. Theres more in a press release upstairs.
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