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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-09-09
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From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: email@example.comARCHIVES
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
ASSOCIATE SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
BAN KI-MOON IS DEEPLY CONCERNED ABOUT BUILDING OF MORE ISRAELI SETTLEMENTS
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has
noted with deep concern the recent decision of the Government of Israel to approve further construction in settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
Such actions and all settlement activity are contrary to international law and the Roadmap.
The Secretary-General urges Israel to respond positively to the important efforts underway to create the conditions for effective Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and reiterates his call on Israel to stop all settlement activity, including natural growth, and dismantle all outposts erected since March 2001 in the occupied Palestinian territory.
BAN KI-MOON WARNS OF OVER-ARMED WORLD
The Secretary-General today opened the 62nd Department of Public Information-Nongovernmental Organization Conference, dedicated to the theme of disarmament, in Mexico City.
He warned, The world is over-armed and peace is under-funded. He said that military spending continues to rise, and it is now well above $1 trillion a year.
Yet he added that, thanks in large measure to the unrelenting advocacy of NGOs, we are facing a new moment of opportunity. Disarmament is back on the global agenda.
He discussed how disarmament can be carried out effectively, in what he called his plan to stop the bomb.
BAN KI-MOON VISITS VICTIMS OF MEXICOS DEVASTATING FLOODS
During his visit to Mexico, the Secretary-General made an unplanned stop last night to Mexico Citys northern suburbs, which have been hit by severe flash floods.
The Secretary-General saw firsthand the recent devastation, which included destroyed homes and damaged public works.
The Secretary-General expressed sympathy and solidarity with the survivors.
Personally consoling victims and interacting with the newly displaced, the Secretary-General offered the UNs support and assistance at this time of need.
He said afterward, as he was presented the keys to Mexico City, that he had met so many people that have been affected by these sudden floods, adding, I was so sad.
He added that he had deep trust and confidence in President Felipe Calderon and his Governments capacity to make the affected area much better than it was even before it was affected by this flood.
Prior to the visit to the flood zone, the Secretary-General and President Calderon had a constructive meeting yesterday afternoon on issues of mutual interest.
The topics they spoke about included the upcoming UN climate change summit, the forthcoming Security Council summit on disarmament, the Mexican response to H1N1 influenza, and the idea of providing support to the United Nations so that it can ensure that all who need vaccines are able to get them.
The Secretary-General will be returning to New York later today.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR ACTION ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
The scourge of violence against women has worsened as a result of the global financial downturn over the past year.
Thats according to the Deputy Secretary-General, Asha-Rose Migiro, who also urged some of the worlds richest countries to lead the way in turning the many international pledges to support women and girls into concrete results.
In a keynote address in Rome to a ministerial-level conference on violence against women, being held under the auspices of the Italian presidency of the Group of Eight (G8), the Deputy Secretary-General said evidence women and girls are exposed to a greater risk of violence during times of hardship.
In a recent survey of more than 630 domestic violence shelters in the United States, 75 per cent reported an increase in women seeking help for abuse since September 2008, coinciding with a major downturn in the US economy, she said. We must remain especially vigilant through these tough times.
Ms. Migiro detailed to the conference some of the steps taken by the UN to end violence against women and girls, including Secretary-General Ban Ki-moons UNiTE campaign, which calls on world leaders to launch national campaigns aimed at preventing and eliminating violence against women and girls in all parts of the world.
SECURITY COUNCIL HOLDS CONSULTATIONS ON LIBERIA AND IRAN, WITH FORMAL MEETING ON HAITI
The Security Council began its work this morning with a briefing on the work of the UN Mission in Liberia by the head of that Mission, Special Representative Ellen Löj.
Council members will also receive an update about the implementation of sanctions on Iran from the head of the Sanctions Committee dealing with that issue, Ambassador Yukio Takasu of Japan.
Then, starting at 4:00 this afternoon, the Security Council will discuss Haiti in a formal meeting, with more than thirty speakers inscribed already. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, the UN Special Envoy to Haiti, will open that meeting, after which the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Haiti, Hédi Annabi, will brief the Council.
U.N. ENVOY IN AFGHANISTAN SADDENED BY DEATH OF AFGHAN JOURNALIST DURING RESCUE OPERATION
Kai Eide, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Afghanistan, said that he was greatly saddened by todays news of the death of Sultan Munadi, who was killed during a rescue operation to free him and New York Times journalist Stephen Farrell from Taliban captivity.
He said that the death was a tragic reminder of the dangers faced by media personnel working in Afghanistan, often in circumstances of considerable personal risk.
Eide appealed to local authorities and insurgent groups alike to respect the rights of journalists to go about their work.
IRAQS ELECTORAL BODY PRAISED FOR VOTER REGISTRATION
The UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) congratulated Iraqs Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) for the successful management of the ongoing voter registration update process in preparations for the upcoming national parliamentary elections.
Ad Melkert, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Iraq, recently witnessed first-hand the registration update activities in the center.
He noted that, during the first two weeks of the country-wide registration update exercise, more than 250,000 Iraqi voters had visited the 1,082 centers in the country and that security incidents had been minimal.
The importance of next January's elections for the future of Iraq cannot be overstated, Melkert said. The number of people taking part in the registration update is an indicator of the growing confidence in the electoral process and the will of the Iraqi people to rebuild their country.
DR CONGO: HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT FLAGS URGENT NEED FOR KEY REFORMS IN SECURITY AND LAW AND ORDER
Earlier today, the High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay and the Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) released two joint reports on human rights abuses, including likely war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The abuses are said to have occurred in October and November 2008 in the northeastern Kivu provinces during intense fighting between government forces and the National Congress for the Defense of the People, known by its French acronym, CNDP.
One report deals with crimes attributed solely to the CNDP, while another focuses on the actions of government forces, including at least 12 summary killings and some 70 rapes by troops fleeing a CNDP advance toward Goma.
Pillay said that the reports findings and observations underscored the urgent need for the Congolese government and the international community to start fundamental reforms to security and law and order in the country.
She also expressed deep concern at the fact that CNDP commanders such as Bosco Ntaganda have been absorbed into the army or have remained at large.
BAN KI-MOON EXTENDS BEST WISHES TO NEW GUINEA-BISSAU LEADER
We have issued a
statement in which the Secretary-General sent his best wishes to the newly inaugurated President of Guinea-Bissau, Malam Bacai Sanha, and to the people of Guinea-Bissau as they turn a new page in their history.
The Secretary-General reiterates the support of the United Nations for the consolidation of peace and the promotion of socio-economic development in the country.
URGENT ACTION NEEDED TO RESTORE KENYAS IMPORTANT MAU FOREST COMPLEX
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) is calling for urgent action to restore the Mau Forest Complex in Kenya. It is pledging continued support for the multimillion dollar appeal.
UNEPs Executive Director Achim Steiner says, The Mau Complex is of critical importance for sustaining current and future ecological, social and economic development in Kenya. UNEP is privileged to work in partnership with the Government of Kenya towards the implementation of this vital project.
TOP U.N. OFFICIAL CALLS FOR ACTIVE PARTICIPATION OF DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
IN NEW GREEN INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
The Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Sha Zukang, is in Seoul, Republic of Korea, where he is participating in the Green Korea 2009 Conference.
The Conference, which is co-organized by the United Nations, the Presidential Committee on Green Growth and the National Research Council for Economics, Humanities and Social Sciences, will explore how cooperation between government and industry can help translate low-carbon growth into reality.
In his statement, Mr. Sha notes the importance of supporting developing countries' active participation in what is likely to be a new, "green industrial revolution".
U.N. HAS NO INFORMATION SUGGESTING LEAK LEADING TO ABDUCTION OF SPECIAL ENVOY FOR NIGER
Asked about remarks by former UN Special Envoy for Niger Robert Fowler that speculated about whether a leak had led to his abduction last year, the Spokesperson reiterated that the United Nations had no information about any such leak.
He said that, because of concerns for Fowlers safety, the United Nations had not announced his travels in Niger.
Also, Haq added, the United Nations was not informed of all his travels on the day that he was abducted, and had to reconstruct where he had traveled once it was clear that he was missing.
Asked further about Fowlers travels that day, the Spokesperson noted that he had made a private visit to a gold mine but was traveling back to the capital, Niamey, for a meeting when he was abducted.
Asked about the level of security training given to Fowler, Haq said that the area in which he had been traveling had been deemed to be a relatively safe part of Niger. Following the abduction, he added, the United Nations had re-assessed security conditions in Niger and in West Africa overall.
UNIDO MEETING BEGINS IN MANILA, PHILIPPINES: Today in Manila, a three-day conference begins to discuss ways for Asian economies to transition to a resource-efficient and low-carbon pattern of industrial development. It is hosted by the Philippines Government in cooperation with the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
VISIT OF LIBYAN LEADER TO UNITED NATIONS: Asked whether Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi would pitch a tent at UN Headquarters when he visits New York this month, the Spokesperson noted that there had been no request for him to do so.
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