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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-07-10
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MICHELE MONTAS
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Friday, July 10, 2009
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO BRIEF SECURITY COUNCIL ON MYANMAR ON MONDAY
The Secretary-General will brief the
Security Council next Monday morning at 11:30 a.m. on the situation in
Myanmar, to discuss his two-day visit there last week.
Once he is done talking to the Security Council, he expects to go to the stakeout to talk to reporters.
Asked about the Secretary-Generals meeting with the National League for Democracy (NLD) while he was in Myanmar, the Spokeswoman noted that the Secretary-General had asked to see the opposition parties in Myanmar and was able to meet with them. The Secretary-General, she added, has expressed his concerns about elections and the constitutional reform process in the country, as the NLD has also done.
BAN KI-MOON WRAPS UP VISIT TO ITALY
The Secretary-General has wrapped up his visit to Italy, and his two-week trip to Asia and Europe, and is on his way back to New York.
Before leaving LAquila, he spoke at a
discussion on food security convened by the Group of Eight. The Secretary-General warned that the number of chronically hungry people is now a staggering one billion the highest ever.
He outlined four areas for concrete action. These are: to combine new initiatives so that their impact can be maximized; to commit to a comprehensive approach that tackles both the immediate and long-term dimensions of the problem; to support national food security strategies, working through regional institutions; and to make sure that countries have the financial support they need for immediate assistance and longer-term actions.
Earlier, the Secretary-General spoke at a
working breakfast on the impact of the economic crisis on Africa. He said that we must continue and step up our aid to Africa. And he added that Africa, perhaps more than any other region, needs us to seal a deal on climate change in Copenhagen this year.
The Secretary-General also met this morning with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, with whom he discussed climate change and food security.
On Thursday night, he met with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. They talked about the H1N1 pandemic and Somalia, and also touched on the situation in the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea.
U.N. AGENCIES WELCOME G-8 FOOD SECURITY INITIATIVE
UN agencies are welcoming the $20 billion Food Security Initiative announced by the G-8 leaders at this weeks summit.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General, Jacques Diouf,
said the initiative was an encouraging policy shift in favour of helping the poor and hungry to produce their own food. Diouf expressed confidence that the G-8 Heads of State and Government would effectively translate that pledge into concrete action.
The President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Kanayo Nwanze,
noted that the G-8 leaders had recognized that food security has two dimensions: food aid for critical situations and sustained investment in agriculture to break the poverty cycle. Investing in smallholder agriculture is the cornerstone of this new push for development because it is the key to boosting economic growth and reducing poverty, he added.
PAKISTAN: DISPLACED TO START RETURNING HOME
John Holmes, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, today
briefed the press in Islamabad on the last day of his mission to Pakistan. He said that the Government of Pakistan and the humanitarian community have done a commendable job in dealing with a very rapid displacement crisis, but more is required to reach all those in need.
He said that in one of the districts he had visited, Buner, he was informed that more than half of the displaced people had returned. Holmes said that normal life appeared to be resuming to some extent in Buner, but it is harder to assess the situation in other districts.
Holmes emphasized the need to respect international humanitarian law, and he also urged the donor community to respond generously.
The Pakistani Government announced on Thursday the first stage of a four-phase programme to return internally displaced persons to some areas of the districts of Buner and Swat. The Return Task Force, which has been established in Peshawar and which comprises several UN agencies and aid organizations, is working on a detailed plan which will be shared Saturday with authorities, says the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that there are a total of 219,155 internally displaced persons living in camps as of 8 July. This is down from a figure of 260,000 last month, due mainly to spontaneous returns.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is ramping up its health response to the Pakistan's humanitarian crisis by buying ambulances and millions of courses of additional medicines, plus building new warehouses.
U.N. SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE BRIEFS SECURITY COUNCIL ON SITUATION IN EASTERN D.R. CONGO
Security Council held an open briefing this morning on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with a briefing by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the DRC, Alan Doss.
Doss told the Council members that action being taken to dismantle armed groups operating in the eastern DRC has raised concerns, especially about the humanitarian impact on civilians. He said a spate of reprisal attacks by fighters from the Forces démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR) and the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) had caused new civilian displacements and serious human rights violations by the armed groups. Violations have also been committed by undisciplined soldiers from the national army, the FARDC.
The UN Mission in the DR Congo (MONUC) has sought to enhance the protection of civilians by deploying more resources and personnel to the affected provinces, Doss said. He highlighted the missions fight against sexual and gender-based violence.
In this regard, MONUC has welcomed this weeks announcement by the Armed Forces of the DRC of a zero tolerance policy towards the perpetrators of criminal acts or undisciplined behaviour within its ranks.
Doss stressed that Respect for humanitarian law and human rights by the FARDC is an important prerequisite for MONUC's support to current operations."
Doss also called for more determined action against FDLR leaders in exile, who are operating from abroad and maintaining contacts with commanders on the ground.
HIGH COMMISSIONER SAYS SOME HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN SOMALIA MAY BE WAR CRIMES
High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay today
spoke out against the grave violations of international human rights and humanitarian law that are being committed in Somalia. Some of the acts that are being carried out might amount to war crimes, she said.
Pillay noted that UN human rights officers have been interviewing the displaced. Theyve been told that the al-Shabaab groups fighting to topple the Transitional Federal Government have carried out extrajudicial executions; planted mines and bombs in civilian areas; and used civilians as human shields. Various forces have also been reported to have used torture, recruited children and fired mortars indiscriminately into civilian areas.
Pillay expressed concern about Somali women and children bearing the brunt of the violence, as well as the targeting of human rights defenders, aid workers and journalists. And she urged all parties to the conflict to abide by the provisions of international human rights and humanitarian law.
Meanwhile, in response to the displacement crisis facing many civilians from Mogadishu,
UNICEF is helping to address the needs of the displaced.
They are distributing emergency supplies for over 6,000 households (about 47,000 people) in and around Mogadishu. The supplies of non-food items include plastic sheets, blankets, jerry cans, soap and mosquito nets.
The majority of the displaced persons have moved to the Afgooye corridor, a stretch of very densely populated displacement settlements, which is already hosting about 400,000 people.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR RESPECT OF ELECTION DATE IN COTE DIVOIRE
report of the Secretary-General on Cote dIvoire urges the Ivorian parties to respect the presidential elections date of 29 November, set last May, and to ensure that these elections are open, free, fair and transparent.
He adds that he looks forward to the publication, without further delay, of a consensual and realistic timeline for the completion of the remaining tasks leading to the elections.
In moving forward, it is important that the Ivorian parties sustain the progress achieved so far and complete, in a timely manner, the remaining stages of the peace process, says the Secretary-General. In particular, he stresses the importance of continuing progress on the reunification agenda.
The Secretary-General adds that the holding of these elections will also constitute a benchmark that may provide a basis for devising an exit strategy for the UN Operation in the country, ONUCI. For now, he recommends that the Missions mandate be extended until 31 January 2010.
U.N. AGENCIES ASSIST LANDSLIDE VICTIMS IN MYANMAR
In Myanmar, the 4 July
landslide caused by torrential rains swept away a jade miners' settlement along the Uru River in the northern Kachin State.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), initial reports indicate between 700 and 800 people were affected, and are currently being accommodated in five informal displacement locations, including monasteries and a school.
UN agencies and non-government organizations working around the affected town are checking their individual stockpiles in order to plan and coordinate distributions and support. Food is expected to be the main priority currently for the affected population.
World Food Programme (WFP) has been in contact with the local authorities and will be distributing emergency food aid through one of its existing cooperating partners.
MILITARY OBSERVERS AND POLICE OF U.N MISSION IN GEORGIA TO LEAVE REGION NEXT WEEK
Military observers and police of what was formerly the
UN Observer Mission in Georgia will leave Abkhazia at the end of next week.
The move is part of the Mission's liquidation phase, which follows the lack of agreement of the Security Council to renew the Mission's mandate; that led to the Mission effectively ceasing its functions in mid-June.
The Director of the Department of Peacekeeping Operation's Europe and Latin America Division, David Harland, met with Abkhaz officials Thursday on the closure. He noted that the Mission had had very constructive relations both with the local authorities and the public.
Speaking to the press afterwards, Harland echoed recent comments by the Secretary-General in hoping that the United Nations would have an opportunity to keep offering assistance and support for the population through different humanitarian programs.
GAZA: U.N. BEGINS CLEARING RUBBLE LEFT FROM ISRAELI OPERATIONS
Contractors working for the UN have begun
crushing and clearing rubble in Gaza, which was left over from Israeli military operations earlier this year.
According to the UN Development Programme (UNDP), removing the 420,000 tons of rubble is an important start in helping Gazans get over the recent destruction. Also, the project, which will last one year, will help provide much needed work and improve the environment before rebuilding can start.
UNDP stresses that real recovery work in Gaza depends on Israel relaxing its sanctions.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS TO INVEST IN WOMEN AND GIRLS ON WORLD POPULATION DAY
World Population Day. This years theme is Investing in women and girls.
message to mark this occasion, the Secretary-General says that investing in women and girls is one of the most effective ways to continue progress towards achieving the
Millennium Development Goals.
He calls on decision-makers to protect womens ability to earn income, keep their daughters in school, and obtain reproductive health information and services, including voluntary family planning. Together, he adds, let us advance the rights of women and girls, and empower them as highly productive members of society capable of contributing to economic recovery and growth.
FIRST LARGE GROUP OF U.N. STAFF TO LEAVE HEADQUARTERS THIS WEEK-END, AS PART OF RENOVATION PLAN
In the course of the implementation of the Capital Master Plan, the first large group of UN staff will move out of their offices in the UN Headquarters compound this weekend.
Two hundred and fifty staff members will relocate to the Albano Building on 305 East 46th Street, which has been leased by the UN. The building will eventually provide swing space for approximately 700 staff.
Every weekend until the end of October, up to 400 staff will move out of their current offices. They will relocate to leased swing space mostly in East Midtown Manhattan, existing annex buildings like DC1 and DC2, and into temporary offices on the Headquarters compound. At Headquarters, staff will find accommodation in the Library Building, the basements and the Temporary North Lawn Building.
Altogether more than 6,000 staff will be affected by this largest relocation exercise the Organization has ever undertaken.
It is expected that staff will begin to move back into the renovated Secretariat Building during the second half of 2012.
SECURITY COUNCIL CONCERNED ABOUT SEIZURES OF POWER IN WEST AFRICA: The
Security Council, in a formal meeting this afternoon, noted with satisfaction continued progress in the overall peace and security situation in West Africa. But the Council noted with deep concern the resurgence of unconstitutional changes of government and undemocratic seizures of power, and stressed the importance of expeditiously restoring constitutional order through open and transparent elections.
SECRETARY-GENERAL HAS EXPRESSED CONCERNS ON XINJIANG VIOLENCE: Asked about the reported violence in the Xinjiang province of China, the Spokeswoman noted that the Secretary-General had expressed his concerns in his
press briefing in Geneva earlier this week and had nothing more to say. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay also had voiced her
concerns about the situation there.
BAN KI-MOON HAS ENCOURAGED ZIMBABWE PARTIES ON TALKS: Asked about the postponement of talks between the ruling party in Zimbabwe and the Movement for Democratic Change, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General was aware of the situation and added that he had, in the past, strongly encouraged the parties to make progress in their talks. Montas stressed that it is up to the parties to continue with their discussions.
POLISARIO LETTER GOES TO SECURITY COUNCIL: Asked about claims by the Frente Polisario about illegal oil drilling in Western Sahara, the Spokeswoman noted that Polisarios request had gone to the Security Council, and it is up to the Security Council to respond. The Office for Legal Affairs could provide legal advice if requested to do so by the Council.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
11 July 17 July 2009
Saturday, 11 July
Today is World Population Day.
Sunday, 12 July
Today, the Representative of the Secretary-General on the human rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs), Prof. Walter Kaelin, starts a working visit to Uganda, until 17 July.
Starting today and until 17 July, the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially in women and children, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, will visit Japan, at the invitation of the Government.
Monday, 13 July
The Secretary-General will hold a press stakeout, around 11 a.m., after briefing the Security Council on his visit to Myanmar.
Today, in The Hague, the Defence will deliver an opening statement in the trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor.
In Geneva, the Human Rights Committee will hold its ninety-sixth session, which runs through 31 July 2009.
Tuesday, 14 July
Former Liberian President Charles Taylor will take the stand to testify in his own defence in The Hague.
At 11 a.m. in Room-S226, there will be a press conference by Ambassador Thomas Mayr-Harting, Permanent Representative of Austria and Chairman of the Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee, and Richard Barrett, Coordinator of the Sanctions Monitoring Team.
Wednesday 15 June
The Secretary-General will attend the Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
Today, the Security Council will hold consultations on the Great Lakes region.
In Geneva, UNICEF will launch the Early Childhood Development kit, a tool for young children (0-6 years) in emergencies.
Thursday, 16 July
The Security Council will hear a briefing by Stephen Rapp, Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) and Justice Renate Winter, President of SCSL. The briefing will focus on the trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor, the trial of the former leaders of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), residual issues and funding for SCSL.
In Geneva, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) will launch the Least Developed Countries Report 2009.
Friday, 17 July
This morning, the Security Council will hold consultations on the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS).
The Cyprus leaders will meet today in Nicosia, under UN auspices.
The guest at the noon briefing, Stephen Rapp, Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, briefs the press following his meeting with the Security Council (16 July).
This document is for planning purposes only and is current as of DATE \@ "HH:mm" 14:57 DATE \@ "dddd, dd MMMM, yyyy" Friday, 10 July, 2009.
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
United Nations, S-378
New York, NY 10017
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