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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-06-22
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THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MICHELE MONTAS
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Monday, June 22, 2009
HAITI: U.N. MISSION WELCOMES SENATE ELECTIONS
The UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) has
welcomed the second round of senatorial elections in Haiti, which took place yesterday. It said that the elections proceeded calmly in the nine departments in which they were held.
The Mission hopes that the calm and the sense of responsibility that have been observed so far will prevail until the final results are published.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: POLITICAL CHIEF NOTES IMPACT OF YEARS OF INSTABILITY
B. Lynn Pascoe, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, briefed the
Security Council in an open meeting this morning on the Central African Republic, which he recently visited. He said that he was able to see for himself the impact of years of instability and insecurity in the country, but also witnessed the profound faith that the Government and people of the country had in the United Nations.
The Secretary-General, Pascoe noted, has called on the authorities in the Central African Republic to ensure that elections are held on schedule, in order to prevent a constitutional power vacuum which could further complicate an already fragile political environment, including the possibility of renewed violence. He added that the Secretary-Generals latest
report proposes that the UN peace-building office in the country, BINUCA, becomes fully operational by 1 January 2010.
The Security Council also heard from Ambassador Jan Grauls of Belgium who visited the country last month as head of the Peace-building Committees Country Specific Configuration for the Central African Republic. Discussions on the country then continued in closed consultations.
BAN KI-MOON CALLS FOR FINAL PUSH TO STAMP OUT POLIO
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was in Birmingham, England, yesterday, to
receive the Polio Eradication Champion Award from Rotary International.
remarks to the 100th Rotary International Convention, he spoke of the prospect of a polio-free world, saying, Now is the time to finish the job.
The Secretary-General added that we can cut back on health expenditures and see massive losses in lives. Or we can invest in health and spare both people and economies the high cost of inaction.
He also paid tribute to Rotary International for its work in helping to stamp out polio.
BAN KI-MOON HOPES THAT NEW INTERNAL JUSTICE SYSTEM WILL LEAD TO GREATER ACCOUNTABILITY
This afternoon, the Secretary-General will witness the swearing-in of the 15 judges of the new UN Dispute Tribunal and the UN Appeals Tribunal.
The judges were appointed by the General Assembly earlier this year, and are now in New York for a one-week induction programme and internal meetings.
These tribunals are part of the new internal justice system that will become operational as of 1 July.
For the first time, the UN will have a two-tier judicial system to address work-related disputes.
After several years of negotiations and preparations, the statutes of the new tribunals were approved by the General Assembly in December 2008. It is hoped that the new system will be more professional, independent and expedient.
The Secretary-General hopes the new system will enable us to deal with internal disputes more quickly, fairly and transparently.
The system should also lead to greater accountability.
U.N. ENVOY CONDEMNS IRAQ BOMBING
Staffan de Mistura, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Iraq, has
condemned in the strongest terms the bombing that took place on Saturday in Taza district, south of Kirkuk. That bombing resulted in the killing of more than 70 civilians and the wounding of more than 180 others.
De Mistura called the bombing a horrifying and wicked crime against innocent civilians, destroying more than 80 homes and businesses and severely damaging a mosque. Although the bombing was designed to spark tensions among Iraqs communities, he added that the overwhelming majority of the Iraqi people, including in the Kirkuk governorate, have opted for dialogue and compromise to resolve whatever differences they may have.
PAKISTAN: HUMANITARIAN SITUATION UNPRECEDENTED
Abdul Aziz Arrukban, the Secretary-Generals Special Humanitarian Envoy, wrapped up a two-day
fact-finding mission to Pakistan, saying that the situation of displaced people there is unprecedented, in terms of both speed and scale.
With some two million people having left their homes since last August, he said, the healthcare, sanitation and water systems in northwest Pakistan are under enormous strain.
Arrukban said that the humanitarian community will not be able to sustain its activities unless it receives greater support from donors. The UNs humanitarian response plan, which seeks some $532 million for projects this year, has been 35.5 percent funded to date.
GAMBIAN POLICE OFFICERS JOIN PEACEKEEPING MISSION IN DARFUR
The African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has welcomed 95 new police officers from the Gambia into its ranks over the past week. The 92 male and 3 female officers will be deployed across Darfur after they complete induction training in El Fasher.
Meanwhile, the Mission says that unidentified armed men yesterday car-jacked a vehicle belonging to a UN agency in El Geneina. The men ordered the driver and two staff members out of the car and drove away. No one was injured. The Mission says it has alerted Sudanese police and national security officials to the incident.
FORMER RWANDAN OFFICIAL FOUND GUILTY OF GENOCIDE, SENTENCED TO 30 YEARS IN PRISON
The International Criminal
Tribunal for Rwanda this morning sentenced Callixte Kalimanzira, a former official of the Rwandan interior ministry, to 30 years in prison. He was found guilty of genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, and aiding and abetting genocide.
The Tribunal says that Kalimanzira was a planner and executioner of a large-scale massacre of Tutsi civilians in Butare in April 1994. The Tribunal found that he led killing mobs, including police and soldiers, to a hill where thousands of Tutsis had sought refuge. He was also found guilty of involvement in other, similar incidents.
The Tribunal took custody of Kalimanzira, who voluntarily surrendered in November 2005. He will receive credit for time served before todays sentencing.
NAME ISSUE ENVOY PREPARES FOR TRIPS TO SKOPJE & ATHENS
Matthew Nimetz, the Secretary-Generals Personal Envoy for the talks between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, met with representatives from the two sides in Geneva today.
The main purpose of todays encounter was to prepare for his meetings in Skopje on 6 and July and in Athens on 7,8 and 9 July.
No new proposals on the name issue were made, but Nimetz said he pushed hard on some of the areas that have been blocking agreement.
U.N. BODY FOCUSES ON H.I.V.-RELATED NEEDS FOR PEOPLE ON THE MOVE
Today in Geneva, the governing body of UNAIDS started holding its 24th
meeting. It is the first time that Michel Sidibé is addressing the board as UNAIDS Executive Director. The meeting focuses on the HIV-related needs of mobile populations, including migrants and refugees.
According to UNAIDS, as global movement patterns are becoming increasingly complex, improving such peoples access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, is essential for achieving universal access.
Reducing the vulnerability of mobile populations to HIV is an issue that often falls between the cracks and that requires intergovernmental cooperation, UNAIDS says.
AFRICAN SAVANNAH RIPE FOR COMMERCIAL FARMING
A vast stretch of African savannah land that spreads across 25 countries has the potential to turn several African countries into global players in bulk commodity production. That is according to a new
study by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Bank.
The report says that only ten percent of the Guinea Savannah zone, a vast area of land from Senegal to South Africa, is actually cropped.
The study favors an agricultural transformation led by small farmers. It also says that as agricultural intensification takes place, governments must take care to monitor its environmental impacts.
FORMER SPOKESPERSON PASSES AWAY
The Spokesperson expressed regret over the passing away of Francois Giuliani, a former Spokesman for the Secretary-General, who died this morning at the age of 70, after a brief illness.
Francois Giuliani joined the UN French Press Section in 1971 after working for ten years for Reuters in London and Africa. He served as Spokesman for three Secretaries-General: Kurt Waldheim (1976-1981), Javier Perez de Cuellar (1982-1991), and Boutros Boutros-Ghali during his first year in office in 1992, after which he moved to the Department of Public Information.
Giuliani left the UN in 1996 to take up the position of Director of Press and Public Relations at the Metropolitan Opera -- opera was his passion. He retired from the Met in 2006.
ECONOMIC CRISIS COULD HERALD GREEN ENERGY SOLUTION: Today in Vienna, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) launched a three-day event called Towards an Integrated Energy Agenda Beyond 2020. Addressing this gathering, the UNIDO Director-General, Kandeh Yumkella, said that the current global financial and economic crisis must be used to our advantage to bring about a green energy solution.
DISARMAMENT WORKSHOP STARTS TOMORROW IN SRI LANKA: A regional workshop on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1540 (2004), which deals with the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, is set to begin in tomorrow in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The workshop is jointly organized by the Government of Sri Lanka and the United States, in cooperation with the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs. The objective of the workshop is to promote capacity-building on national and regional levels to advance full implementation of resolution 1540.
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