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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-07-14

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 MARIE OKABE

DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

BAN KI-MOON ARRIVES IN EGYPT FOR SUMMIT FO THE NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has arrived in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, where tomorrow he will meet with the leaders gathered for the 15th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement.

The Secretary-General is expected to tell the gathered leaders that, just as when the Non-Aligned Movement was founded, the world today faces complex crises threatening development and security.

He will point to the severe economic and financial crisis, the need for disarmament and the effort to seal the deal on climate change at Copenhagen later this year.

He will also discuss the United Nations ongoing review of its peacekeeping and peacebuilding work, at a time when UN engagement is at an all-time high.

BAN KI-MOON SPEAKS WITH COSTA RICAN PRESIDENT ON RESOLVING CRISIS IN HONDURAS

According to a

statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on the mediation efforts on Honduras issued yesterday evening, the Secretary-General spoke with President Oscar Arias of Costa Rica and conveyed his support for President Arias mediation efforts to resolve the political crisis in Honduras.

The Secretary-General has offered technical assistance for the mediation and agreed to work together with President Arias to help the parties reach an agreement.

The Secretary-General is confident that an open dialogue and international support will help resolve the current crisis.

Asked about the call between the Secretary-General and President of Costa Rica, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General had been closely following the situation and had told President Arias that he appreciated his role. She noted that the Secretary-General sincerely hoped that President Arias could work with the parties to find a peacefully solution to this issue.

The Secretary-General has always said that the United Nations stands ready to assist in any way, she said. Okabe added that the phone call initiated by Secretary-General took place yesterday evening.

U.N. COMMISSION ON BHUTTO ASSASSINATION DUE IN PAKISTAN

The three-member Commission of Inquiry into the facts and circumstances of the assassination of former Pakistani Prime, Minister Benazir Bhutto, is due to arrive in Pakistan within the next few days, on its first working visit to the country.

The Commission began its activities on 1 July and already preliminary work has been underway on the ground.

The Commissions mandate, agreed to in consultation with the Government of Pakistan, is to determine the facts and circumstances of the assassination. The mandate does not include the conduct of a criminal investigation. Responsibility for any criminal investigation and the prosecution of the perpetrators remains with the Pakistani authorities.

The Commission will carry out its fact-finding activities in Pakistan and abroad.

A final report on the commissions findings will be presented to the Secretary-General within six months by the end of December 2009.

The Secretary-General will share the report with the Government of Pakistan and submit it the Security Council, for information.

THOUSANDS OF DISPLACED PAKISTANIS CONTINUE TO RETURN HOME

Hundreds of Pakistanis displaced by the conflict between government forces and militants in the Swat, Buner and Lower Dir districts of the North-West Frontier Province have

headed for home as the government began its voluntary return operation, according to the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees.

Another 5,200 people were scheduled to return home today, according to government figures.

Yesterdays returnees left Jalozai camp, which is managed by the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, together with its partners and provincial authorities, in 20 buses and trucks to go back to Swat.

Returnees told UNHCR that they felt safe going back to their villages after contacting neighbours who had already safely returned on their own.

Returnees mentioned the unbearable heat in the camp as one of their main reasons they registered to go back. They said many of their children fell sick and contracted skin diseases because of the heat.

Other internally displaced people (IDPs) reported they were not yet ready to return, citing security concerns in various areas in Swat.

Over 2 million people have been displaced since early May. While 260,000 people are staying in 21 camps, the vast majority of IDPs are accommodated with host families, rent houses or are in school buildings.

John Holmes, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and the UNs Emergency Relief Coordinator, will be the guest tomorrow at the noon briefing to report on the situation on the ground, where he has just returned from.

DARFUR: U.N.S HEAD OF PEACEKEEPING VISITS COMMUNITIES CLOSE TO SUDAN-CHAD BORDER

Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy today was

in El Geneina, West Darfur, close to Sudan's common border with Chad.

Mr. Le Roy met with the Wali (Governor) of West Darfur State, during which several issues of mutual interest, including security, were discussed.

The Wali informed Mr. Le Roy that the proliferation of arms was a major concern in the area.

However, he gave the assurance that bearing in mind West Darfur's proximity to the border, the authorities were intent on curbing this trend.

During a visit to a village where 2,100 internally displaced families recently returned voluntarily, Mr. Le Roy noted that it was apparent life in the village was returning to normal as evidenced by ongoing farming activities being undertaken by the returnees.

He met the village traditional leader and representatives of elders, women and youth, among other community leaders, to listen to their concerns.

Mr. Le Roy began a two-day visit to Darfur yesterday and he is scheduled to brief the Security Council on Sudan on Friday.

U.N. MISSION IN SUDAN ENGAGES GOVERNMENT ON CASE OF FEMALE U.N. STAFF MEMBER

ACCUSED OF WEARING TROUSERS IN PUBLIC

The Secretary-General was asked at a press encounter yesterday to comment on a story about the Sudanese Government judgment on a female

UNMIS staff member who wore trousers in public.

The UN mission in Sudan (UNMIS) is aware of this incident. The Mission has been in contact with the Sudanese authorities to ensure that provisions of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) -- an agreement between the United Nations and the nation stationing forces in that country -- are respected and that basic human rights are upheld in the context of national laws governing such issues.

LIBERIA: FORMER PRESIDENT TAYLOR ON THE DEFENSE IN THE HAGUE AT SPECIAL COURT FOR SIERRA LEONE

The former President of Liberia, Charles Taylor, today took the stand in his own defense during his trial at the

Special Court for Sierra Leone, meeting in The Hague, where he faces charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Taylor denied 11 counts, including terrorism, murder, rape and torture. He further claimed that the prosecution was relying on disinformation, misinformation, lies, and rumors. He also denied supporting rebels of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in Sierra Leone.

The defense is expected to last several weeks and a verdict is expected next year.

RWANDA TRIBUNAL SENTENCES FORMER MILITARY OFFICER TO LIFE FOR GENOCIDE

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)

sentenced today Tharcisse Renzaho, prefect of Kigali-ville and Colonel in the Rwandan Armed Forces in 1994, to life imprisonment.

He was found guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Among others, Rehanzo had supported the killings of Tutsis at roadblocks, set up following his directives.

He also made remarks encouraging the sexual abuse of women and was found criminally liable for rapes that followed.

AID AGENCIES IN SOMALIA CALL FOR EMERGENCY FUNDS TO HELP THOUSANDS OF DISPLACED PERSONS

Aid agencies in Somalia are appealing for a total $11 million for emergency water and sanitation programmes in that country. These programmes will provide assistance to the more than 600,000 people displaced by fighting in Mogadishu since 2007.

According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), humanitarian organizations are currently only able to supply 2 to 8 liters of water per person per day in that area. Between 7.5 and 15 liters is considered the minimum needed for survival. OCHA says that the lack of water is affecting the efforts to prevent the spread of communicable diseases in overcrowded situations.

OCHA adds that UNICEF requires $3.3 million before the end of July to maintain life-saving operations for more than 1 million conflict-affected people, while current emergency funding allocated for non-governmental organizations is likely to be exhausted within the next two months.

HEAD OF W.H.O. WARNS OF LIMITED SUPPLIES OF VACCINES AGAINST A(H1N1) INFLUENZA

The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Margaret Chan,

said today that the manufacturing capacity for influenza vaccines is inadequate for a world of 6.8 billion people, nearly all of whom are susceptible to infection by the new H1N1 virus. She added that most of these limited supplies would go to wealthy countries.

Chan was addressing a Conference on Intellectual Property and Public Policy Issues organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva.

In her statement, she said that the ideal vaccine would be one that protects against seasonal influenza viruses as well as a range of candidate pandemic viruses. The Director-General encouraged the research and development sector as well as academics to work on such an innovation calling this the best and most rational insurance policy for increasing supplies and encouraging more equitable access.

UN MISSION IN DR CONGO CONFIRMS FDLR ATTACK IN SOUTH KIVU

In response to a question about reports of direct armed fighting between UN peacekeepers and the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR) rebels in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Spokeswoman later informed the reporter that according to the UN mission in the DRC (MONUC) suspected FDLR rebels attacked a MONUC site at Mwenga (South Kivu) on Monday. MONUC troops returned fire. One MONUC soldier was injured.

In recent days there has been considerable rebel activity in the Mwenga area.

This is not the first time that peacekeepers have come under FDLR fire. According to MONUC, the situation on the ground is now under control and that the Mission will continue to monitor it closely.

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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