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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-10-13
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From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: email@example.comARCHIVES
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MICHELE MONTAS,
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
PAKISTAN: UNITED NATIONS WONT BE DETERRED BY ATTACKS AGAINST IT
Some 500 diplomats, Pakistani Government officials, senior UN officials and staff and family and friends gathered for a memorial today to pay respects to the World Food Programme (WFP) staff members who were killed or injured in the suicide attack on the WFP headquarters in Islamabad on 5 October. Five WFP staff were killed and four injured in the attack; one staff member remains in critical condition.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a
message read out at the ceremony, said that the victims of this senseless attack were working tirelessly on the frontlines of hunger and human suffering to assist the poor and vulnerable of Pakistan. Their selfless work to feed the hungry should not have been dangerous.
The Secretary-General added that we will not be deterred by this senseless violence. Although we must continue to be vigilant about the dangers of the world we live and work in, he stressed that our resolve will stay strong and our work will continue.
Also addressing the gathering was UN Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security Gregory Starr, who has been visiting UN operations in Pakistan over the past two days. He pledged his departments support for the continuing work of the United Nations in Pakistan.
The UN flag is at half mast outside Headquarters today, in honor of the fallen staff.
Asked whether the United Nations could handle further displacements in northwestern Pakistan if the Government conducts major offensives there, the Spokesperson said that UN work in those areas was continuing, through the efforts of critical UN staff and affiliated non-governmental organizations. He added that, if humanitarian needs in the northwest increase, the United Nations would step up its efforts. He noted that Starr was visiting Pakistan in order to assess security for UN staff in the country.
U.N. MOURNS FALLEN PEACEKEEPERS IN HAITI FOLLOWING PLANE CRASH
The UN flag is also at half mast today in honor of the 11 peacekeepers who died Friday in a plane crash in Haiti.
This morning in Port-au-Prince, the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) held a memorial ceremony for these peacekeepers. Hundreds of UN staff, as well as Haitian and international dignitaries, attended the ceremony.
The coffins were each decorated with a wreath of flowers laid by the Secretary-Generals Special Representative in the country, Hédi Annabi, and the commanding officers of the Jordanian and of the Uruguyan battalions.
Annabi also read a
message by the Secretary-General in which he said that this tragedy reminds us that even where there is no open conflict, peacekeeping is fraught with unforeseeable risks.
He added that the five Jordanian and six Uruguayan peacekeepers had ventured far from home to serve the shared values that bind us together as a human family. Their deeds speak eloquently, said the Secretary-General adding that he had seen with his own eyes the remarkable progress that Haiti has made thanks to the efforts of our peacekeepers.
They were here in Haiti protecting the countrys borders. They were here providing relief to the victims of last years terrible storms and hurricanes. They were here helping the people of Haiti fulfill the enormous promise of their proud nation, said the Secretary-General.
During the ceremony, President René Préval bestowed the National Order of Honour and Merit posthumously on the 11 peacekeepers. The bodies are will now be repatriated.
SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS HAITI MISSION & SUDAN EXPERTS PANEL
Security Council this morning unanimously voted to extend the mandate of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) by one year, until 15 October 2010. It also endorsed the recommendation made by the Secretary-General to maintain the current overall force levels for the Mission while adjusting its configuration to better meet the current requirements on the ground.
The Security Council also extended the mandate of the Panel of Experts dealing with sanctions on Sudan by one year.
After that, Choi Yong-jin, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Cote dIvoire, briefed Security Council members in closed consultations on the work of the UN Operation in Cote dIvoire (UNOCI).
HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL TO HOLD SPECIAL SESSION ON PALESTINIAN ISSUES
The Human Rights Council will
meet in a special session on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and East Jerusalem this Thursday, 15 October, in Geneva.
The holding of the special session comes at the request of Palestine. That request has been co-sponsored by 18 Member States of the Human Rights Council.
It is expected that the special session will continue into Friday, October 16th. A resolution is expected.
Meanwhile, the Secretary-Generals latest
report to the General Assembly and Security Council on the peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine is now available.
In it, the Secretary-General calls on the parties to honor all existing agreements and previous commitments and pursue an irreversible effort towards the two-State solution. He adds that a true end to violence and lasting security for both Palestinians and Israelis will only come through a just, comprehensive and peaceful settlement to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
He also reiterates that the framework for peace remains unchanged. That framework involves the establishment of two States -- an independent and viable Palestine living side by side in peace and security with Israel -- on the basis of the principle of land for peace and a just and comprehensive regional peace consistent with the relevant Security Council resolutions, the Road Map and the Arab Peace Initiative.
Asked whether the Secretary-General would refer the Goldstone report to the Security Council, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General would first await the action taken by the Human Rights Council, which is considering a resolution on the issue.
Haq noted that, in a phone call on Sunday, the Secretary-General spoke to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and expressed his support for Abbass engagement with Member States on a proper process for the consideration of the Goldstone report.
LEBANON: U.N. MISSION INVESTIGATES EXPLOSION
Following a reported explosion in the southern Lebanese town of Tayr Felsay, the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) is investigating the incident, in close coordination and cooperation with the Lebanese Armed Forces.
A UNIFIL patrol together with a Lebanese patrol visited the site of the incident at around 11:30 last night. This morning, a UNIFIL investigation team, jointly with the Lebanese Armed Forces investigation team, inspected the site and the surrounding area. They are still in the process of analyzing the information and the available evidence to ascertain the circumstances and establish the facts concerning this incident.
Michael Williams, the
UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, said after a meeting today with Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri that he was concerned about the reports of an explosion at Tayr Felsay. He said, We are keeping a close eye on this, because of its relevance to Resolution 1701, adding that he would await the outcome of the investigations.
Asked how the incident affects resolution 1701, the Spokesperson noted that the investigation is still ongoing, and that we have to have the facts before making a judgment.
However, Haq added, if the investigation shows there were unauthorized arms, ammunition, related materiel or armed people south of the Litani River, then it would be in clear violation of resolution 1701.
HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF DISMAYED BY EXECUTION OF IRANIAN JUVENILE OFFENDER
High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay today said she was deeply
dismayed that another juvenile offender was recently executed in Iran. She called for changes to Iranian law and practice to end execution of juvenile offenders once and for all.
The boy in question was executed on Sunday. Pillay, as well as UN special rapporteurs, had raised his case with the Iranian authorities, reminding them of their international obligation not to execute juveniles.
In related news, Pilllay also said she has serious concerns about the death sentences recently handed down to three individuals for their involvement in the protests that took place after Irans recent Presidential election.
SITUATION IN NORTHERN YEMEN REMAINS TENSE AND VOLATILE
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says the situation in the north of Yemen remains tense and volatile. The civilian population of Saada governorate continues to flee to the surrounding provinces as the fighting between Government troops and Al Houti forces shows no sign of abating.
As street battles continued in the city of Saada, the humanitarian situation continues to worsen. Many shops and stores have run out of basic commodities and supplies. Water supplies are available just twice a week. UNHCR appeals to the Government to allow the United Nations to start the distribution of aid to internally displaced persons outside the camp in Khaiwan.
UNICEF is alarmed by the deteriorating humanitarian situation. It says that thousands of affected persons, mostly children and women displaced by the conflict, and others who are stranded inside the conflict zone, have still not been reached by humanitarian actors. Malnutrition levels are on the rise and children are facing serious threats to their well-being and even lives.
Meanwhile, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that only 16 per cent of the $23.7 million appeal for Yemen has been financed.
HUMANITARIAN CHIEF WRAPS UP VISIT TO STORM-HIT PHILIPPINES
John Holmes the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, says at least $44 million worth of aid have been pledged by the international community to the Philippines to help alleviate the plight of thousands of people affected by the two devastating storms that recently hit the country.
Concluding a two-day
visit to Manila, Holmes in a press conference said the United Nations was able to get financial commitments amounting to $19 million, out of the US$74 million flash appeal it issued last week for the victims of a recent tropical storm.
He said that although the immediate effects of these typhoons have passed, months of hard work, relief and recovery, and reconstruction lies ahead.
He also warned of the serious health threat posed by stagnant water in flooded communities, stressing that it is crucial to get rid of these stagnant waters faster than waiting for them to simply evaporate.
In the Philippines, Holmes met with the President, senior government figures, international agencies and partners, and members of the donor community. He also visited areas affected by Tropical Storm Ondoy in Metro Manila.
NEPAL: U.N. ENVOY CALLS FOR RELEASE OF CHILDREN IN MAOIST ARMY
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, is
appealing for the release of Maoist army personnel identified as minors in Nepal. Almost 3,000 children were identified during a verification process completed in 2007.
She welcomed the re-launching of the discharge and rehabilitation process for Maoist army personnel identified as minors today. She also noted that the Chairman of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal Maoist gave assurances that the discharge and orderly rehabilitation of the remaining Maoist minors in the cantonments would proceed immediately.
Coomaraswamy said she looked forward to visiting Nepal in the coming weeks to witness for myself the discharge of these minors. These children have a right to start their lives anew and help to build a peaceful and prosperous Nepal, she added.
U.N. MISSION DOESNT REMAIN SILENT WHEN IT HAS INFORMATION ON ABUSES BY CONGOLESE ARMED FORCES
Asked whether the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) would discontinue its support for the Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC) in the wake of new reports of atrocities by those forces, the Spokesperson emphasized that targeted attacks on civilians, rape and pillage are always unacceptable.
He said that, while MONUC does not dispute that military operations have been accompanied by civilian suffering, discontinuing MONUC support to the FARDC will neither stop the operations, nor improve protection of civilians. The military operations undertaken by the FARDC against Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda (FDLR) rebels reflect Government policy and political understandings, both within the Democratic Republic of the Congo and between that country and Rwanda, which have offered the first hope for sustainable peace in the region in many years.
Haq added that MONUC does not remain silent when it has information on abuses by the FARDC. It brings this information to the attention of the military authorities and recommends courses of action to be taken, including removal from command or judicial action.
NO FORMAL U.N. MONITORING ROLE IN NIGERIA: Asked whether the United Nations was monitoring an amnesty deal between Nigerias Government and rebels in the Niger Delta, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations is aware of the amnesty but has no formal monitoring role in Nigeria.
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
United Nations, S-378
New York, NY 10017
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