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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-07-21
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY FARHAN HAQ
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
BAN KI-MOON OUTLINES STEPS TO TURN PROMISE OF RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT INTO PRACTICE
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon this morning
presented his report on the Responsibility to Protect to the General Assembly, saying that it is high time to turn the promise of the responsibility to protect into practice. He said that we have an opportunity to ready ourselves for the moment when our collective capacity and will are again tested by the sort of horrors that took place in Rwanda.
The Secretary-General said that the strategy outlined in his
report rests on three pillars: state responsibility; international assistance and capacity-building; and timely and decisive response.
The report, he said, seeks to situate the responsibility to protect squarely under the UNs roof and within the UN Charter, where it belongs.
The report asserts that prevention, for practical and moral reasons, should be job number one. It involves engaging Member States in a discussion about how to sharpen UN capacities for early warning and assessment, and encouraging each of the UNs principal organs to play its distinct and appropriate role in developing and implementing the responsibility to protect.
The Secretary-General called on Member States to let the General Assembly do what it does best: to provide the venue for a continuing search for common ground on a multilateral strategy that works.
BAN KI-MOON CONDEMNS LOOTING OF UN OFFICES IN SOMALIA
The Secretary General, in a statement issued after the noon briefing, condemned the looting yesterday of UN offices in Somalia. Such acts target the whole gamut of UN peace and humanitarian operations in Somalia.
The United Nations is providing life-saving support to people in need throughout Somalia, and will continue to do all it can to help the country emerge from decades of violence.
SOMALIA: GROWING INSECURITY IMPEDES HUMANITARIAN ACCESS
The UN Refugee Agency
says that as the number of Somali civilians driven out of their homes by the conflict in Mogadishu rises, growing insecurity is making it increasingly difficult for aid workers to gain access and provide assistance to the latest victims of the Somali civil war.
UNHCR estimates that some 223,000 people have fled Mogadishu since the beginning of May -- about 20,000 have fled in the last two weeks alone.
The Agency says that, for example, this weeks scheduled distribution of 4,000 UNHCR aid kits in Mogadishu and outlying areas had to be postponed due to security concerns. In addition, due to the latest incidents in Baidoa and Wajid, UNHCRs assistance in the adjacent region has virtually ground to a halt.
UNHCR says that it is deeply concerned about the plight of the large number of internally displaced people (IDP) who have found refuge southwest of the capital, in a congested strip of land with little or no basic facilities. There is a lack of adequate shelter, sanitation facilities and clean drinking water, adds the agency.
BAN KI-MOON URGES RESTRAINT, VOICES CONCERN OVER INCREASING VIOLENCE
IN WEST DARFUR AND ALONG CHAD-SUDAN BORDER
The Secretary-General is deeply concerned by the increasing violence in West Darfur and along the Chad-Sudan border.
The Secretary-General is disturbed by reports that bombs dropped by Chadian aircraft have struck locations in the vicinity of Umm Dkuhum in West Darfur on 16 July, according to a statement issued Monday evening. These events put the lives of Sudanese civilians at risk and could increase the tensions between the two countries.
The Secretary-General condemns the incident and takes note that the Government of Sudan has rightly responded through diplomatic means. He urges both Governments to show restraint and make greater efforts to improve their relations.
The Secretary-General is also gravely concerned by the reports of bombings by the Government of Sudan on rebel positions in the Jebel Moon area of West Darfur, which took place on 18 July. He calls on the Sudanese Government and all parties to the conflict to cease military actions, comply with Security Council resolutions in this regard and to commit to a cessation of hostilities.
The Secretary-General reiterates that the only solution to the conflict in Darfur is through an inclusive, political settlement.
SUDAN: U.N. ENVOY IS ON WAY TO ABYEI AS BOUNDARIES RULING EXPECTED TOMORROW
The UN mission in Sudan (UNMIS) reports that Ashraf Qazi, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for that country, is on his way to Abyei on the eve of the ruling of the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration on Abyei.
The mission says that the Special Representative believes that action has been taken to ensure that the Abyei Road Map Area will be cleared of armed elements other than the Joint Integrated Unit and the Joint Police Integrated Unit. Qazi welcomes the latest developments as reassuring.
LEBANON: U.N. SPECIAL COORDINATOR MEETS WITH OFFICIALS, CALLS FOR RESTRAINT
Michael Williams, the
UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, has held a series of meetings over the past two days with senior Lebanese officials to discuss the recent incidents in which, he said, there have been clear violations of Resolution 1701. He met yesterday with Prime Minister Fuad Siniora and Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri, and earlier today with Assembly Speaker Nabih Berri.
After meeting Hariri, Williams said, Any resolution from time to time faces many tests and challenges. There have been some testing incidents in recent days. He called on all parties to renew their commitment and to exercise the utmost restraint.
He added, after meeting Prime Minister Siniora, that we need to address the issues and not see any escalation, which would be bad for Resolution 1701 and for Lebanon.
UNHCR REVIEWS OPERATIONS FOR RETURNEES, REFUGEES AND IDPs IN IRAQ
The UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, L. Craig Johnstone, is in Iraq today as part of a five-day mission to review
UNHCR's operations for returnees, refugees and internally displaced people and to hold a series of meetings with Iraqi officials.
In his meetings, Johnstone acknowledged the improvement in security inside Iraq and described the situation as much healthier compared to his last visit two years ago. He also urged the Iraqi government to engage more with Iraqi refugees outside of Iraq and to include them in national reconciliation efforts.
The Deputy High Commissioner also commended the Iraqi Government for implementing a compensation package for returnees and internally displaced families. He stressed, however, that much more needs to be done, and he added that there will not be a solution to the Iraqi situation as a whole until the plight of displaced people and refugees has been resolved.
CAMBODIA: MORE WOMEN ENTER SEX TRADE AS RESULT OF FINANCIAL CRISIS
The latest report by the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking shows that the financial crisis in Cambodia has led to signs of an increase in women entering the sex trade, driven primarily by declining working conditions.
The report shows that during the crisis, women have entered the sex trade coming from situations where there have been declining working conditions, such as in the garment sector, where they experienced long working hours and low pay.
It also shows that debt bondage to sex establishment owners has increased, with an increasing proportion of cash going toward remittances to families.
RESPONSES TO MOST SEVERE HUMANITARIAN CRISES STILL REQUIRE $4.8 BILLION
Humanitarian Appeals have received the best
funding of all time by mid-2009 but $4.8 billion are still required to respond to the worlds most severe crises. Thats according to the United Nations Mid-Year Review of Humanitarian Appeals, released today in Geneva.
Forty-nine percent of the funds needed have been received. Funding required for global crises has escalated sharply from $7.8 billion in the original 2009 appeal launched in November 2008 to an unprecedented $9.5 billion, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
For example, funding requirements to meet humanitarian needs have risen by $187 million in Kenya, by $341 million in the occupied Palestinian territory and by $103 million in Iraq. Requirements for humanitarian operations in Pakistan soared from $55 million to $542 million, OCHA adds.
John Holmes, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said that if just a fraction of the hundreds of billions of dollars recently committed by governments to private financial institutions were allocated to humanitarian action, the humanitarian appeals could already be fully funded.
The top recipients of aid, in absolute dollar terms through appeals are Sudan, the occupied Palestinian territory, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, and Pakistan. The most under-funded crises, in terms of percentage of aid received, are Kenya, Côte dIvoire, Iraq and region, Pakistan and Uganda.
LACK OF HUMAN SECURITY UNDERMINES HUMAN DEVELOPMENT IN ARAB COUNTRIES
The UN Development Programme (UNDP) today
released the Arab Human Development Report 2009.
According to the report, a widespread lack of human security undermines human development in Arab countries. It adds that human security in the region is often threatened by unjust political, social, and economic structures; by competition for power and resources among fragmented social groups; and, in some cases, by the impacts of external military intervention.
SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED ON ERITREA AND DJIBOUTI: The
Security Council this morning is holding consultations on peace and security in Africa. Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe briefed Council members on recent developments concerning Eritrea and Djibouti.
U.N. STILL CONCERNED ABOUT HUMANITARIAN CONDITIONS IN SRI LANKA: Asked about the treatment of internally displaced persons in Vavuniya, Sri Lanka, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations continues to have concerns about humanitarian conditions in the country. He said that the Secretary-General had raised the issue in his meeting with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the margins of the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, last week.
SECRETARY-GENERAL MEET WITH PAKISTANI PRIME MINISTER LAST WEEK: Asked about the Secretary-Generals meeting in Egypt last week with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, the Spokesperson said that they discussed India-Pakistan relations, the work of the Bhutto Commission and the Group of Friends of Democratic Pakistan. He acknowledged, in response to a question, that Kashmir may have come up during the meeting but was not a focus of discussion.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLED FOR NEGOTIATED SOLUTION TO IRANS NUCLEAR PROGRAMME: Asked about Irans nuclear programme, the Spokesperson reiterated that the Secretary-General has called for a negotiated solution to concerns about that programme, and has urged Iran to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency and comply with relevant Security Council resolutions. Asked about comments made by an Israeli official concerning Iran, he added that the Secretary-General has noted the importance of avoiding rhetoric and resolving differences through dialogue.
QUARTET HAS CALLED FOR HALT IN SETTLEMENT ACTIVITY: Asked about Israeli settlement activity in East Jerusalem, the Spokesperson recalled that the Quartet, of which the United Nations is a member, has repeatedly called for a halt in settlement activity.
KILLER DISEASE DESTROYS FISH STOCK IN ZAMBIA: The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) is
warning that a killer disease is destroying fish stock around the Zambezi River Valley in Zambia. The sickness is threatening the food security and the livelihood of the surrounding rural populations. FAO says this particular disease is one of the most serious aquatic diseases affecting fish.
ELIMINATION OF RIVER BLINDNESS COULD FEASIBLE: According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the
elimination of river blindness is now becoming feasible. More than 37 million people are infected with river blindness. Most of them live in poor, rural African communities.
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
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