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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-08-26

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY

MICHELE MONTAS, SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

UN

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

During August, the Spokesperson's noon briefings will take place on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Developments within the UN system will be posted on the website daily during this time.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

SECRETARY-GENERAL SADDENED BY DEATH OF U.S. SENATOR EDWARD KENNEDY

The Secretary-General issued the following statement on the passing of US Senator Edward Kennedy:

I mark with sadness the passing of U.S. Senator Edward Moore Kennedy, who stood so firmly for so many of the principles of the United Nations. Few were stronger supporters of the UN, and in my visits to Capitol Hill I always benefitted from his wise counsel.

He was not just a friend to those of power and high position, but even more to those who had neither. He was a voice for those who would otherwise go unheard, a defender of the rights and interests of the defenseless. Those who feel that government can too often be faceless and inhumane did not know Senator Kennedy.

"He stood for the best in all of us, and he will be missed. I extend my deepest sympathies to his family and salute Senator Kennedy's memory and enormous legacy.

The Secretary-General later spoke to reporters to express his personal appreciation for Senator Kennedys work in support of the United Nations, his advice and his legacy.

High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres also issued a statement in which he said that, throughout his life, Senator Kennedy was a tireless advocate for refugees - among the most vulnerable people in the world. Guterres said that Senator Kennedys efforts on behalf of refugees have benefited millions of individuals from all over the world forced to seek shelter and protection outside their homelands.

AFGHANISTAN: SECRETARY-GENERAL STRONGLY CONDEMNS MASSIVE DEADLY BOMBING IN KANDAHAR

The Secretary-General was shocked and dismayed when he learned of the attack that took place in the Afghan city of Kandahar on Tuesday evening, which reportedly caused the death of over forty civilians and injured more than eighty others. He condemns in the strongest possible terms this brutal and senseless act of violence.

The Secretary-General extends his deepest condolences and sympathy to the families of the victims and sends his wishes for a speedy recovery to those who were injured.

Asked about the UNs evaluation of the elections, the Spokeswoman said that the UN Mission (UNAMA) has not at this stage made any assessment of the election as a whole, and it's important for everyone to remember that the tallying and complaints processes are still ongoing.

Asked about complaints concerning the elections, she said that the Independent Election Commission is to deliberate on results only after the Electoral Complaints Commission has adjudicated on complaints. She added that only 17 percent of the election results has so far been made public.

BAN KI-MOON EXPRESSES STRONG APPRECIATION FOR OUTGOING HEAD OF DARFUR MISSION

The Secretary-General expressed his strong appreciation for the dedication shown by the Joint United Nations African Union Special Representative for Darfur, Mr. Rodolphe Adada, who has led UNAMID with distinction for the past two years and will be ending his tour of duty at the end of this month.

Mr. Adada helped establish the Mission, led it through a challenging deployment phase and oversaw its progress in an environment of unprecedented difficulty.

Going forward, the Mission will build upon these accomplishments in its efforts towards a sustainable peace in Darfur. The Secretary-General wishes Mr. Adada continued success in his future endeavours.

Asked why Adada left his post, the Spokeswoman said that in his letter of resignation, Adada informed the Secretary-General that his secondment from the Government of Congo was coming to an end. The United Nations has been working closely with the African Union with respect to finding a replacement for him, she added.

ADADA MAKES FAREWELL TOUR TO SOUTH AND WEST DARFUR

Rodolphe Adada is marking the end of his tenure as the African Union-United Nations Joint Special Representative for Darfur by making a farewell tour to South and West Darfur. His tour of duty ends on 31 August.

Adada visited Nyala on Monday and paid a courtesy call to the Deputy Wali (Governor) of South Darfur . He expressed his gratitude to the state government for the assistance and the good relations and cooperation it had maintained with the Mission in South Darfur.

Adada referred to the decreased level of violence in Darfur and said that the deployment of the UN-African Union Mission (UNAMID) has now reached 75. "As the deployment increases so does assistance to the people of Darfur," he said.

Today, he met with UNAMID staff in El Fasher and expressed satisfaction over the way the Mission has faced challenges and overcome problems.

U.N. MISSION IN D.R. CONGO CONDEMNS ASSASSINATION OF JOURNALIST

The UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) has deplored and condemned the assassination of a journalist in Bukavu, during the night of 22 August 2009. The journalist, Bruno Koko Chirambiza, was a reporter for an independent radio station.

The Mission exhorts judicial officials to track down the presumed perpetrators and let them face the full force of the law and says it stands ready to assist the Congolese authorities if requested.

Also, UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman is in the Democratic Republic of Congo for a five-day visit. She is today attending the opening of a new HIV/AIDS treatment center. The new Center will provide laboratory equipment, reagents and training to improve immune system monitoring, an essential component of treating people living with HIV/AIDS.

U.N. MISSION IN LIBERIA REPORTS DEATH OF STAFF MEMBER BEING INVESTIGATED FOR ALLEGED SEXUAL CRIMES

The UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) has reported the death of one of its international civilian staff members, who was being investigated for alleged sexual exploitation and abuse of minors.

The American staff member died on 24 August at his home in Monrovia and the circumstances of his death are being investigated. Full investigations are also continuing into the allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse made against him.

Asked of previous misconduct by the individual, the Spokeswoman said that the United Nations was not aware of it. She said that an individual in Liberia has brought the matter of sexual misconduct to the UNs attention, and the Liberian Police were investigating.

SENIOR U.N. OFFICIAL PLEDGES CONTINUED SUPPORT IN PALESTINIAN STATE-BUILDING

The UNs Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, has welcomed a new Palestinian announcement on state-building.

Serry noted that the UN will continue to be closely engaged with the Palestinian Authority in support of its state-building agenda. He added that the new state-building plan challenges all other players to move forward quickly and decisively in the coming two years. In that context, Serry said that Israeli cooperation and continued donor support were necessary.

SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS $165 BILLION HAS BEEN DEPOSITED IN DEVELOPMENT FUND FOR IRAQ

The Secretary-Generals latest report on the Development Fund for Iraq is available as a document today. It mentions that some $165.1 billion has been deposited in the Fund from oil exports, from its inception through the end of last year.

During that time, $10.4 billion has been deposited in the Development Fund from the balance of the oil-for-food funds held under escrow by the United Nations, and a further $1.5 billion has been deposited as proceeds from frozen assets.

U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONER WELCOMES U.S. GOVERNMENTS APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL PROSECUTOR

High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has welcomed the United States Attorney-Generals decision to appoint a special prosecutor to look into whether Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officers and contractors violated US laws during the interrogation of detainees at places outside the United States, including Guantanamo Bay.

Pillay stresses that there should not be impunity for torture or any other unlawful treatment of detainees, whether it is in the United States or anywhere else in the world. She adds that the use of secret places of detention must be curbed, and calls for the release of the names of detainees currently held in such detention centers.

Pillay reiterates her support for the US Presidents commitment to close the Guantanamo camp by 2010 and asks him to urgently review the status of detainees at the Bagram facility in Afghanistan. The High Commissioner urges all States to rigorously review their interrogation techniques to ensure that they do not contravene international laws, including the absolute prohibition on the use of torture in all places at all times.

She also welcomes the recent release from the Guantanamo Bay detention camp of Mohammed Jawad, an Afghan who was reportedly 12 years old when first taken into custody.

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, has also welcomed the release of Mohammed Jawad. According to her office, Jawad was one of the youngest detainees and was freed after almost seven years in detention. Jawad was one of the last three juveniles in the detention camp who were under the age of 18 when they allegedly committed their crimes.

Commending the U.S. Governments decision, the Special Representative said that trying young people for war crimes with regards to alleged acts committed when they were minors would have created a dangerous international precedent.

HISTORICAL DATA NO LONGER USEFUL FOR WEATHER PREDICTION

The head of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Michel Jarraud, says that, because of climate change, historical weather data is no longer a good indicator of trends to come and a good guide for decision-making.

Jarraud said, in an interview with UN Radio, that many socio-economic sectors are highly dependent on climate conditions to make decisions on the long-term nature of projects. He noted that it was important that these decisions be made on the basis of the best possible scientific information. Jarraud added that the goal of WMOs World Climate Conference, next week in Geneva, is to link scientists and decision-makers.

The Secretary-General will be in Geneva for the opening of the High-Level Segment of this conference on 3 September.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

NEW U.N. YEARBOOK ISSUED: The United Nations issued today the sixtieth volume of the Yearbook of the United Nations, covering the activities of the Organization in 2006. Published by the Department of Public Information, the volume is a comprehensive and authoritative reference work on the activities of the United Nations system. Its 33 chapters provide in-depth coverage of the main global political, economic, social and legal developments during the year.

FOUR U.N. UNDER-SECRETARIES-GENERAL ARE FRENCH: The United Nations system presently has four French Under-Secretaries-General. Two of them are $1 a year appointees. Asked about the number of United States Under-Secretaries-General, the Spokeswoman said that there are presently ten of them in the system, with four of them being $1 a year appointments. This number includes the heads of the World Food Programme, of UNICEF and of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

SPOKESWOMAN NOTES AGREEMENT WITH HOST COUNTRIES ON VISITING DIGNITARIES: Asked about complains from US officials to the movements of Libyan leader Moammar Qadhafi while he is in the United States, the Spokeswoman noted that the relevant guidelines are set by an agreement between the United Nations and the host country on the movement of dignitaries who attend UN events.

U.N. DISCUSSION FOLLOW-UP ON SRI LANKAS COMMITMENTS: Asked about follow-up to the agreement reached between Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Secretary-General, the Spokeswoman said that the United Nations was pursuing ways to follow up on that agreement, adding that it was presently being discussed by senior officials.

REVIEW INTO UNDP HIRING PROCESS IS ONGOING: Asked about the UNDP hiring process concerning Alan Doss, the Spokeswoman said that an investigation is being pursued by UNDP and the Office for Internal Oversight Services (OIOS).

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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