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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-09-01

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

FARHAN HAQ

ASSOCIATE SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

UN

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

BAN KI-MOON VISITS ARCTIC POLAR ICE RIM TO SEE ALARMING EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE

The Secretary-General today is on his way to visit the Polar Ice Rim, while on board a Norwegian boat, the Svalbard.

Earlier today, the Secretary-General and Mrs. Ban visited a Norwegian Zeppelin Station, a research center where the air in the Arctic region is being monitored, in part to determine the effect of greenhouse gases and other pollutants.

The Secretary-General was able to look at the glaciers, and said that the effects wrought by climate change were visible and alarming.

With less than 100 days from the start of the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, the Secretary-General has been making it clear during his visit that what he has seen can help to show the world why we must seal a deal.

Secretary-General Welcomes Peaceful Election in Gabon

The Secretary-General, in a

statement, welcomed the peaceful participation of the people of Gabon in Sundays presidential elections.

He calls upon all Gabonese to continue to support the democratic process, to ensure the will of the people is respected, and to heed the appeal by the interim President of Gabon, Rose Francine Rogombé, for calm and responsibility as the vote counting process continues.

NEW FORCE COMMANDER ASSUMES DUTY IN DARFUR

The new Force Commander of the African Union&#8209;United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), Lieut. Gen. Patrick Nyamvumba of Rwanda, has assumed duty today.

The new Force Commander, who arrived in the Mission area on 24 August, paid a series of familiarization visits to UNAMID peacekeeping troops and civilian staff.

General Nyamvumba was appointed by the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission and the Secretary-General to succeed General Martin Luther Agwai, who was UNAMIDs Force Commander since the establishment of the Mission.

UNITED STATES ASSUMES SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENCY FOR SEPTEMBER

The United States has assumed the rotating Presidency of the

Security Council for the month of September, and US Ambassador Susan Rice is holding bilateral meetings today with other Council members on the programme of work for the month ahead.

Council members are expected to hold consultations on Wednesday on the programme of work. Then, at about 12:30 p.m., Ambassador Rice will talk to reporters about the Councils work over the coming month.

NORTHERN YEMEN: U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY GRAVELY CONCERNED ABOUT WORSENING CRISIS

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reports that a humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Saada city, in northern Yemen, where the situation is deteriorating by the day.

The Agency is gravely concerned about the fate and wellbeing of the civilian population trapped inside the city as a result of fierce fighting between Al Houthi forces and the Government troops, which is now entering its third week.

UNHCR says that one of its top priorities is the opening of humanitarian corridors in northern Yemen, which would allow civilians to leave the conflict zone and humanitarian workers to deliver much needed humanitarian aid to thousands of displaced people.

To date, more than 35,000 people have been displaced in and around Saada town. In total, the Agency estimates that some 150,000 internally displaced persons have been affected by the fighting since 2004. Despite the ongoing fighting, UNHCRs local partners have registered 2,200 IDP families to date in Saada city and nearby villages.

The Refugee Agency says that it urgently needs $5 million to respond to the emergency in northern Yemen. These funds would allow it to provide protection and much needed assistance for some 70,000 IDPs over the next four months.

Also, UNICEF has distributed water filters, jerry cans, hygiene kits and water purification tablets to 1,000 displaced families in Haradh. And the World Health Organization (WHO) mobilized one trauma kit to Amran to support 100 surgical interventions. In addition, locally purchased medicines were sent to health units in Amran and Haradh in the Hajjah Governorate.

SOMALIS DIE WHILE BEING SMUGGLED BY SEA TO YEMEN

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)

reports that 16 people have drowned in the Gulf of Aden over the weekend in two separate incidents involving smuggling boats sailing from Somalia.

Some 44 passengers were onboard the first boat that capsized early Saturday night after the smugglers began to push the passengers over board into the waters off the coast of Yemen. Thirty-four passengers made it to shore. Seven bodies were recovered and buried in a nearby cemetery by UNHCRs local partner agency.

On the second, it is believed that the smugglers, fearing detection by the Yemeni authorities, forced some 42 passengers to swim to shore. Thirty people made it but others reportedly drowned.

In the past five days, a total of 17 boats carrying 835 people arrived in Yemen after making the perilous voyage across the Gulf of Aden from the Horn of Africa.

Still on Somalia, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that civilians continue to be the victims of heavy fighting in the Somalia capital, Mogadishu.

Some 3.8 million people that is, half the Somali population are still in need of livelihood and humanitarian support. The situation is made worse for thousands of people by a drought crisis in the Mudug, Galgaduud, Hiraan and Bakool regions.

AFGHANISTAN: CAMPAIGN FOR PEACE DAY LAUNCHED

Simultaneous events were held today in four cities in

Afghanistan to launch the 2009 campaign for International Peace Day, called What Are You Doing for Peace in Afghanistan? This years campaign will feature a number of peace initiatives as well as a polio immunization drive that is intended to reach millions of children.

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative, Kai Eide, called on all Afghans to take part in this campaign, saying, We all have a unique opportunity to mobilize people in the name of peace.

On Wednesday, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime will launch its Afghan Opium Report for 2009, which examines sharp drops in opium cultivation, production and prices.

AGREEMENT REACHED ON TEXT TO COMBAT ILLEGAL FISHING

The final text of a new treaty has been

agreed upon by a group of 91 countries during talks brokered by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The treaty aims to close fishing ports to vessels involved in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

FAO notes that the "Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing" will be the first ever global treaty focused specifically on the problem of illegal fishing.

FAO hopes that the agreement will help block illegally-caught fish from entering international markets, thereby removing an important incentive for some fishermen to engage in illicit fishing.

U.N. NOT INCLUDING THE HOLOCAUST IN GAZA CURRICULUM

Asked about reports that Hamas objected to the possibility that the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) was considering teaching the Holocaust in Palestinian schools, the Spokesperson said that the Holocaust is not included in the curriculum in Gaza.

In Gaza, as in all fields where UNRWA works, UNRWA utilizes the curriculum of the host authorities as its core curriculum, Haq said.

UNRWA has included an additional Human Rights component since 2002 and will continue to teach human rights within the constructive, positive and apolitical environment it promotes in its schools. The focus of the Human Rights curriculum is the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, he added.

U.N. WORKS TO BOOST STAFF SECURITY AROUND THE WORLD

Asked about an interview in which Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security Gregory Starr cited some 20 UN outposts as unsafe, the Spokesperson said that Starr was making the point, during his first months on the job that he knew of many insecure areas where the United Nations has to work.

Starr had made it clear that there are now extremist groups who are willing to target the United Nations or humanitarian aid groups in ways that had been avoided in the past. But he also emphasized that the United Nations is boosting its security efforts so that staff can be safe to do their work, Haq added.

Asked why the United Nations has not named several staff members who had faced administrative action following the 2008 Algiers bombing, the Spokesperson said that due process needs to be followed, and further details will not be provided while that is happening.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO BRIEF PRESS ON 17 SEPTEMBER: Asked when the Secretary-General would hold his next press conference at UN Headquarters, the Spokesperson said it was scheduled for 17 September.

SPOKESPERSON REFERS QUERIES ON SHIP SEIZURE IN THE U.A.E. TO SECURITY COUNCIL SANCTIONS COMMITTEE: Asked about the seizure of a ship in the United Arab Emirates that allegedly involved North Korean arms, the Spokesperson recalled that the matter was being handled by the relevant Security Council Sanctions Committee, headed by Turkey.

U.N. HEADQUARTERS HAS BANNED SMOKING: Asked about smoking bans being imposed around the world, the Spokesperson noted that, following a decision by the General Assembly, smoking was banned at UN Headquarters. He added that the World Health Organization has repeatedly warned about the health consequences of smoking.

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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