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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-07-08

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 MICHELE MONTAS

SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

SECRETARY-GENERAL WRAPS UP IRELAND VISIT, GOES TO ITALY FOR G-8 SUMMIT

The Secretary-General traveled to LAquila, Italy, where on Thursday, he will meet with the leaders who are attending the Group of Eight Summit there.

Today, he wrapped up his visit to Ireland. The Secretary-General met with Irish Defense Minister Willie ODea. They traveled to the McKee Barracks, where the Secretary-General met with a group of veteran UN peacekeepers from Ireland and also took part in a ceremony paying respect to the Irish peacekeepers who have fallen in service to the United Nations.

BAN KI-MOON TO ATTEND SUMMIT OF NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT NEXT WEEK IN EGYPT

Next Wednesday, 15 July, the Secretary-General will attend the Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

The Secretary-General will deliver an address to the Summit, in which he will encourage the Non-Aligned Movement to build on its leadership role among nations to address today's challenges. Those challenges include disarmament, the economic crisis and the implementation of the

Millennium Development Goals.

He will be back in New York the following day.

SPECIAL COORDINATOR FOR LEBANON NOTES PERIOD OF CALM AND RENEWED OPPORTUNITY

Michael Williams, the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, briefed the

Security Council in closed consultations today on the Secretary-Generals tenth

report regarding the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1701. The report describes an overall period of calm, renewed opportunity in Israel and Lebanon, and a more conducive regional climate.

Williams informed the Council that there has been remarkable stability along the Blue Line between Lebanon and Israel during this period, with no serious incidents reported.

Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Edmond Mulet also briefed the Council on the work of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

SPECIAL ENVOY WRAPS UP TRIP TO HAITI

The Secretary-Generals

Special Envoy for Haiti, former US President Bill Clinton, is wrapping up his visit to the country today.

This morning, he met with representatives of the private sector and discussed with the key challenges facing them in Haiti today. He also held meetings with women leaders and groups, as well as with non-governmental organizations.

The meetings were intended to ensure private sector investment in the country, coordination of NGO activities and the inclusion of women in recovery efforts.

Last night, the Special Envoy and President René Préval had a working diner with donors to encourage them to honor their pledges and align their contributions to the Governments recovery plan.

AFGHANISTAN: GROWING TREND OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IN PUBLIC LIFE

A new UN

report on women in Afghanistan was issued today, which

finds that violence is an everyday occurrence in the lives of a huge proportion of Afghan women. The report describes the extensive and increasing level of violence directed at women taking part in public life, as well as the widespread occurrence of rape against a backdrop of institutional failure and impunity.

This report paints a detailed and deeply disturbing picture of the situation facing many Afghan women today, said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay. She said that the limited space that opened up for Afghan women following the demise of the Taliban regime in 2001 is under sustained attack, not just by the Taliban themselves, but by deeply engrained cultural practices and customs. Pillay also faults the chronic failure at all levels of government to advance the protection of womens rights in Afghanistan.

The report, issued jointly by Pillays office and the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), focuses on the growing trend of violence and threats against women in public life, and rape and sexual violence. It also details numerous attacks on girls schools, and on girl students including gas and acid attacks by anti-government elements.

U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF VISITS PAKISTANS NORTH WEST FRONTIER PROVINCE

United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes today went on a field trip to Peshawar, Mardan and Swabi, in

Pakistans North West Frontier Province (NWFP). In Peshawar, he met with Pakistani officials and UN agencies and expressed his appreciation for the high level of cooperation of the Government.

His field trips in Mardan and Swabi provided a glimpse of the complex mix of displacement in this crisis, in which displaced people are living in spontaneous settlements, with host families and in camps. Despite differing circumstances, all are suffering in the extreme heat.

On Thursday, Holmes will visit the district of Buner.

FIVE YEARS AFTER ADVISORY OPINION ON WALL, U.N. CALLS ISRAEL TO COMPLY WITH ITS OBLIGATIONS

Thursday is the five-year anniversary of the International

Court of Justices Advisory Opinion, which found that Israels construction of the Wall within the Occupied Palestinian Territory violated its obligations under international law.

But to this day, according to the West Bank branch of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the situation has not improved.

The Office therefore calls on the Israeli Government to comply with the Advisory Opinion, dismantle the Wall within the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and make reparation for all damage suffered by people affected by the Walls construction.

The Office also calls on Israel to end the current regime of restriction of movement within, to and from the Occupied Palestinian Territory, so that Palestinian residents are able to exercise their rights to freedom of movement, work, education and health.

Meanwhile, the UNs Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Maxwell Gaylard, also spoke in Jerusalem today about this topic. He said, "There is still time to change the situation.

Gaylard noted that UN humanitarian agencies are calling for a freeze in the construction of the Wall in the West Bank and its re-routing to the Green Line, in light of both the Advisory Opinion and the Walls humanitarian impact.

GAZAN YOUTH AFFECTED BY HOSTILITIES SPEND THREE WEEKS IN POLAND

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) reports that its Commissioner General, Karen AbuZayd, just welcomed to her office a group of Gazan youth that recently returned from a three-week recreational tour to Poland. The trip, organized by the Polish Government, aimed to help children especially affected by the recent hostilities in Gaza.

The more than 70 children spent one week in Warsaw undergoing psychological and medical treatment, and spent the remaining two weeks touring Poland. The tour included visits to castles, a water park, a zoo, and a cinema. AbuZayd said that one of the children later told her that the day he got on the plane to Warsaw was the best day of his life.

One of the children, a twelve-year-old named Mahmoud Samouni, had lost 48 members of his extended family during the recent hostilities.

DR CONGO: SECURITY SITUATION STILL A MAJOR OBSTACLE TO HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE

In North Kivu Province in the Democratic Republic of the

Congo, fighters from the rebel Forces pour la Liberation du Rwanda, (FDLR), have continued their attacks on villages and towns in the areas of Lubero, Masisi and Walikale, committing crimes that include forced labour, sexual violence, arson and looting.

The precarious security situation continues to be a major obstacle to the implementation of humanitarian assistance programmes in North Kivu. Remote parts of the territories of Masisi and Walikale remain inaccessible.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that attacks against humanitarian workers have also continued. During the first half of 2009, there were 66 incidents of violence against humanitarian workers, compared to 37 incidents during the corresponding period in 2008.

OCHA further reports that military action against the FDLR in North Kivu continues to cause displacements among civilians. An estimated 400,000 people were displaced between January and June 2009. The areas most affected are the South Lubero, some parts of Masisi and the territory of Walikale.

MILLIONS OF PEOPLE RISK FOOD INSECURITY IN ZIMBABWE

In Zimbabwe, provisional results from the crop and food supply assessment jointly conducted in May this year, by the Food and Agriculture Organization, (FAO), the World Food Programme, (WFP), and the Government of Zimbabwe, reveal an overall deficit of around 670,000 metric tons of cereals for the current consumption year.

An estimated 2.8 million people in rural and urban areas may become food insecure during the peak of the 2009-2010 lean season, according to the assessment.

WFP will be working closely with the Government and district administrators to identify the most vulnerable people in its continuing food distribution operations in the country.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that Zimbabwes Consolidated Appeal funding currently amounts to just $260 million, or 36% of the total revised CAP requirement of $718 million.

CYPRUS: CIVIL SOCIETY ESSENTIAL TO BUILD TRUST BETWEEN COMMUNITIES

The Secretary-Generals Special

Representative in Cyprus, Tayé-Brook Zerihoun, spoke on Tuesday night at a panel discussion in Nicosia. The topic was the role of civil society in supporting the peace and reconciliation process.

Zerihoun noted that, because of the continuing division of the island, one still cannot speak of a single Cypriot civil society. At the same time, he added, there is currently a reinvigorated peace process, bi-communal contact is no longer the exception, and it has become much easier for Cypriots to move around the island.

In that context, Zerihoun noted that civil society is an essential vehicle for building trust between the communities, garnering support for a solution, and creating an environment that is conducive to moving the peace process forward.

GREECE-FYROM: SECRETARY-GENERALS PERSONAL ENVOY MEETS GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER

Matthew Nimetz, the Secretary-Generals Personal Envoy for the talks between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, is currently in Athens.

Today, he met with Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis. While at the Foreign Ministry, he heard the latest views of the Greek Government. Nimetz also conveyed Skopjes views and presented his own amended proposals for resolving the name issue. The Greek side agreed to study what was presented to them and to revert with their comments.

While in Athens today, Nimetz also met with opposition leader George Papandreou.

Nimetz reports that he is also staying in touch with a number of UN Member States that are interested in the name issue, as well as European Union officials, to hear their thoughts and provide a general briefing on the progress of the talks.

I.C.T.Y. REJECTS ARGUMENT EXEMPTING KARADZIC FROM PROSECUTION

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) meeting in The Hague today, rejected an argument from Radovan Karadzic that an alleged deal with former US peace envoy Richard Holbrooke, exempted him from prosecution.

The judges accepted the Prosecutors argument that the accused person could not show that any such deal was arranged under the authority of the UN Security Council.

IRAQ: U.N. RELOCATES IRANIAN KURD REFUGEES FROM MAKESHIFT CAMP

The UN Refugee Agencys Office in

Iraq closed down a makeshift camp that hosted Iranian Kurds refugees in the no-mans land situated on the border between Iraq and Jordan since 2005. The group, composed of 186 refugees, has been temporarily relocated to Al Waleed refugee camp, on Iraqs border with Syria.

The refugees were cooperative during the relocation process and UNHCR handled the logistics of moving them to the camp, while the Iraqi Police escorted them. All the families are currently in Al-Waleed camp.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

U.N.-A.U. MISSION IN DARFUR ASSIST DISPLACED PERSONS: In Darfur region, the military from the Joint United Nations and African Union Mission (UNAMID) have distributed food items to women and children in the Dereige Internally Displaced Persons camp. The peacekeepers are also providing educational assistance to some orphans in the camp. The overall security situation in Darfur remains relatively calm.

WHO CALLS TO INCLUDE NONCOMMUNICABLE DISEASES IN MDGs: The World Health Organization (WHO) today announced the

launch of the new Global Noncommunicable Disease Network, aimed at integrating the fight against such illnesses into the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). WHO reports that diseases such as heart attacks, strokes and cancers, as well as common injuries, cause 38 million deaths annually around the globe. Eighty percent of these deaths occur in developing countries.

LEBANON TRIBUNAL PROSECUTOR TO REMAIN IN TOUCH WITH TEAM: The Office of the Prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) said that Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare will receive some medical treatment for a few weeks while in Canada, but will maintain daily contacts with his office in The Hague. He will continue to monitor the work of his team and provide leadership and advice to his staff on the ground both in The Hague and in Beirut.

  • ** The guests at the noon briefing today were Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime; Said Djinnit, UN Special Representative for West Africa; Andrew Hughes, UN Police Adviser; and Harper Boucher, INTERPOLs Special Representative to the UN, who briefed on the West Africa Coast Initiative.

    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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