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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-10-16

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The United Nations Home Page at <> - email:







Friday, October 16, 2009


The Secretary-General

remains deeply concerned by the tense situation in Guinea following the violent crackdown, which he had strongly condemned, on unarmed civilians on 28 September in Conakry. This crackdown resulted in many deaths and injuries and allegedly in gross violations of human rights, including rape.

The Secretary-General has therefore decided to establish an international commission of inquiry to investigate those incidents with a view to determining the accountability of those involved. A mission will be sent immediately to look into the modalities for the setting up of this commission.

The mission, led by Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Mr. Haile Menkerios, will depart early this afternoon and will consult with Guinean authorities and regional organizations and leaders regarding the work of the commission.

Asked whether the Guinean Government has consented to a UN inquiry, the Spokeswoman clarified that the decision by the Secretary-General came in response to a request from the international actors dealing with Guinea, notably the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which is in the lead on this issue. She noted that the United Nations has been working closely with ECOWAS in dealing with Guinea.


The twelfth Special Session of the

Human Rights Council, on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and East Jerusalem, wrapped up this morning. Council members adopted a resolution, which

endorsed the recommendations contained in the report of the Gaza fact-finding mission led by Justice Richard Goldstone.

The Human Rights Council called upon all concerned parties, including UN bodies, to ensure the implementation of those recommendations, in accordance with their respective mandates. It also requested the Secretary-General to submit to the Human Rights Councils 13th session a report on the status of that implementation.

The Human Rights Council also recommended that the General Assembly consider the Goldstone report during the main part of its 64th session.

Todays resolution was adopted by a vote of 25 in favor, 6 against, and 11 abstentions.

Asked about the Secretary-Generals response to the vote, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General takes note of the resolution adopted earlier today by the Human Rights Council.

The resolution, she said, requests the Secretary-General to report on the status of implementation of recommendations contained in the report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission. The Secretariat is reviewing the specific language of the resolution and of the report.

In the meantime, Montas added, the Secretary-General reiterates his support for the work of Justice Goldstone and the mission.

Asked about the work of the Board of Inquiry that dealt with damage to UN premises and related issues in Gaza, the Spokeswoman said that the United Nations continues to use diplomatic channels to follow up on the Boards report. The Secretary-General discussed the matter of Gaza this week in a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Alan Doss, briefed the

Security Council this morning, saying that there is now a real prospect that the conflicts that have long blighted the eastern Congo can be ended. Yet he added that significant problems remain in the east, including new population displacements and human rights violations, as well as an appallingly high level of violence against women.

He said that, looking ahead, the areas cleared of the presence of FDLR rebels by the Congolese Armed Forces must be fully secured to ensure continuing protection for the population and to allow displaced persons to return home. Major operations against the remaining rebel strongholds should be completed as soon as possible with proper regard for the protection of civilians. And the discipline of the Congolese Army and its allies requires constant attention to signal that impunity will not be accepted.

Doss noted that some observers have suggested that the Kimia II military operations in the eastern Congo should be suspended in order to give the Congolese Armed Forces time to get its house in order and improve discipline. He responded, however, that reducing the pressure now would give the rebels time to regroup and rearm.

The Security Council followed its open briefing with consultations, in which Doss continued his discussion with Council members on the work of the UN Mission in the country (MONUC).


Comparing the hundreds of thousands of forcibly displaced civilians in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres on Friday

urged the international community not to forget the Congolese in their hour of need.

Speaking in the eastern DRC city of Goma, epicentre of one of the world's biggest displacement crises, Guterres noted that some 2 million people were displaced in the vast country and decried the enormity of the challenges facing the humanitarian and international community in meeting the needs of these civilians.

Guterres will pay a brief visit to Rwanda before attending a special summit of the African Union on forcibly displaced people. The historic meeting will take place in the Ugandan capital of Kampala from Monday through Friday.

Meanwhile, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that over the past two months, expulsions by Angola and the DRC of each others citizens have intensified. Whereas approximately 2,000 people had been expelled from Angola to the DRC between January and mid-July, approximately 17,000 have been expelled from mid-July to the present, prompting retaliatory action by the DRC authorities.

An inter-agency mission led by OCHA was earlier this week deployed to the Bas-Congo province to assess conditions for those expelled. While conditions for DRC nationals returning from Angola do not present huge humanitarian concerns at this time, there is greater concern for Angolans being expelled from the DRC in the Cataractes district.

UNHCR complained to the Government of the DRC about the refoulement of Angolan refugees and was assured that the expulsions will cease. According to available data, between 20,000 and 40,000 Angolans, as of 15 October, were in the areas near the Lufu and Kuzi border posts, in the Bas-Congo province.

Although the Governments of Angola and the DRC have announced the temporary suspension of expulsions, humanitarian agencies continue to follow developments very closely, so that they can respond as necessary.


The UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) continues to play a vital facilitation role, despite the political realities on the ground. Thats what the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Kosovo, Lamberto Zannier,

told the Security Council on Thursday afternoon.

He also called for participation by Kosovo Serbs in local political processes. He said that, putting status considerations aside, greater participation in Kosovos local structures could benefit all of Kosovos communities and foster the development of multi-ethnic local institutions.


There have been new outflows of people from Pakistans

South Waziristan region this week, in anticipation of military operations against insurgents. As of early September, there had already been more than 80,000 displaced people from South Waziristan who had been registered by local authorities.

In recent days, the local authorities have begun registering new arrivals, with more than 800 families registered over the past three days, out of an estimated 2,000 families that have moved into the area. If full-scale military operations are launched, the numbers of displaced people are likely to rise significantly.

As part of an inter-agency effort, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has been working with local partners to distribute relief supplies (such as plastic sheets, sleeping mats, jerry cans and kitchen sets) to displaced people from South Waziristan. In September, the Agency distributed relief items to more than 6,500 people through its local partners.

UNHCR has stocks of relief supplies in the area to assist new waves of displaced people, and more can be dispatched within 24 hours from various stockpiles in Pakistan. But the key challenge is security and humanitarian access to people.

The deteriorating security situation in Pakistan continues to hinder UNHCR humanitarian operations in the country, including its ability to assess needs, and provide and monitor relief assistance. The Agency has had to adjust its operations in the wake of attacks on UN staff and general insecurity, but it remains committed to continuing its work to help displaced people in Pakistan.

Asked about UN readiness to help the displaced Pakistanis, the Spokeswoman said that, despite security concerns, UN critical staff have continued their work with the UN humanitarian partners, and it will continue to do as much as it can to help the IDPs.


The United Nations continues to appeal for humanitarian access to Al-Jawf, in northern

Yemen, and to be able to distribute essential supplies to internally displaced persons living outside camps in Amran. The situation in the other governorates affected by the influx of refugees varies. Relief efforts have been hampered by security constraints as well as local and tribal divisions, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Access is extremely limited in Saada Governorate due to ongoing military operations. UN agencies are currently operating at limited capacity through local partners.

The settlement of displaced persons in the new camp established by the authorities in Khaiwan (in the Amran Governorate) was interrupted due to a series of security related incidents over the last three days.

The total number of internally displaced persons registered and verified by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is 40,846, out of an estimated caseload of about 119,000.

A Flash Appeal, issued in response to this crisis, has received $4.57 million, almost a fifth of the $23.7 million requested since it was launched on 2 September. Also, a further $3.6 million has been pledged.


The UN Refugee Agency

says it has now referred more 80,000 refugees from Iraq to resettlement countries worldwide.

UNHCRs resettlement programme for Iraqi refugees began in 2007 and, as of October this year, 82,500 individuals had been referred to more than a dozen countries.

Around 75 per cent or just less than 62,000 Iraqi refugees have been referred to the United States. The remaining 25 percent of cases have been referred to a total of 14 resettlement countries, including Canada, Australia, Germany and Sweden.


Vulnerable communities in the Horn of Africa, already hit by the worst droughts in a decade, are now bracing for El Nino floods, according to the Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Countries most at risk of flash floods are Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda, but Djibouti, Eritrea and Ethiopia could also be affected.

The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, John Holmes,

says that more than 23 million people are reeling from the impact of water and food shortages, pasture scarcity, conflict and insecurity. An additional shock in this intersection of human vulnerabilities would be devastating, he adds.


The Secretary-Generals Special Representative in Côte dIvoire, Choi Young-Jin, will begin next week a series of consultations on the electoral process.

According to the United Nations Operation in Côte dIvoire (UNOCI), the initiative aims to give new impetus to efforts leading to the posting of the provisional electoral list as soon as possible.

The Special Representative was at UN Headquarters Tuesday. In his briefing to the Security Council, he stressed the need to carry out the remaining task which would lead to the posting of the provisional electoral list.


Today is World Food Day. The theme this year is Achieving food security in times of crisis.

Marking this occasion, the Secretary-General says in a

message that over the past two years, volatile food prices, the economic crisis, climate change and conflict have led to a dramatic and unacceptable rise in the number of people who cannot rely on getting the food they need to live, work and thrive.

The Secretary-General calls to respond to respond to the needs of the hungry, by ensuring adequate political and financial support for emergency food assistance and by investing in food production and distribution.

Meanwhile, the World Food Programme (WFP) is

calling on the world to remember the more than one billion urgently hungry people with inadequate access to food.

World Food Day is actually No Food Day for almost one out of every six people around the world this year, said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran. She added that for decades, WFP has been able to feed around ten per cent of the worlds hungriest men, women and children, but this year, for the first time, the agency is unlikely to reach that target.

Jacques Diouf, the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Programme (FAO)

asked world leaders to reach a broad consensus on the total and rapid elimination of hunger when they gather in Rome for the World Summit on Food Security, on November 16-18.


This morning the Secretary-General led the students at the UN International School to stand up against poverty, as part of the global campaign by the same name.


told the students that by taking stand and by acting, we could end poverty in our lifetimes. And he urged them to lead the way, to learn about the

Millennium Development Goals and talk about them with families, friends and teachers.

The Secretary-General reminded them that young people are often the hardest hit by poverty. We know that investing in children and securing their rights is one of the surest ways to ending poverty. And no one can better speak for young people than you, he added.


Stand Up against Poverty Campaign starts today and runs through 18 October. Now in its fourth year, the campaign established a world record last year with 116 million people standing up against poverty.

Saturday will be the International day for the Eradication of Poverty. In a message marking this occasion, the Secretary-General says that we are at a critical juncture in the fight against poverty. Now is the time to amplify the voices of the vulnerable and ensure that the world follows up on its pledges, he says.


The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has issued a new

report showing that human trafficking is an under-detected crime in Europe. The study shows that only 9,000 victims were reported in 2006 around 30 times less than the total estimated number.

It also notes a high degree of internal trafficking, both domestically within European countries and regionally within the European Union -- predominantly from Southeastern to Western Europe.

At the same time, European victims represent just a fraction of the total number of victims detected in Europe. More and more victims are coming from China and Central Asia.


Under-Secretary-General for Management Angela Kane today briefed the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly on the UN financial situation. The overall picture for 2009 remains mixed.

Cash balances are projected to be positive for all categories at year's end.

Another positive element is the reduction in the level of unpaid peacekeeping assessments. At $2.1 billion, unpaid peacekeeping assessments are $763 million lower than at the end of 2008, and $796 million below October 2008 levels. The current level of unpaid assessments reflects reduced amounts owed for peacekeeping by major contributors, as well as the lower level of assessments issued for this peacekeeping fiscal yea,r pending the approval of a new scale of assessments for 2010.

While unpaid assessments have decreased for peacekeeping operations, there have been increases for the regular budget, the tribunals, and the Capital Master Plan.

Currently, unpaid assessed contributions total to $3.1 billion.


17 - 23 October 2009

Saturday, 17 October

Today is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

Starting today and until 20 October, the Deputy Secretary-General will be on official travel to Kigali to open the Delivering as One conference. The conference will bring together the eight pilot countries as well as a few countries with similar experiences to exchange experiences and lessons learned. She will also hold bilateral meetings with senior officials of the Government of Rwanda and an informal exchange with women parliamentarians.

Sunday, 18 October

The World Forestry Congress will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from today to 23 October.

High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay will deploy a mission to Honduras from 18 October to 7 November 2009. The UN team will compile the necessary information to prepare a special report requested by the Human Rights Council.

Monday, 19 October

Starting today, in Vienna, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will host a meeting of representatives from France, Iran, Russia and the United States. Discussions are expected to focus on the details of a plan to provide Iran with fuel for operation of the Tehran Research Reactor.

In Geneva, the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will hold its second session starting today and until till 23 October.

At 11 a.m. in Room-S226, there will be a press conference by Rachel Mayanja, the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, Ambassador Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France, Denzel Matthew from ChildFund International and Thierry Viard from International Movement ATD Fourth World. They will brief on the occasion of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (17 Oct).

From 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in Conference Room 6, there will be a screening of the film The Silent Army followed by a panel discussion on Conflict, Arms, Children: A Lethal Mix. The event is co-organized by the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs and sponsored by the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Following the noon briefing at Room-S226, there will be a press conference by Ibrahim Assane Mayaki from the New Partnership for Africas Development (NEPAD) on recent efforts to keep Africas development programme on course, despite the impact of the current international economic crisis.

Through 2 November, the UN Special Rapporteurs continue to present their reports to the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) of the General Assembly.

At 1.15 p.m. in Room-S226, there will be a press conference by James Anaya, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedom of indigenous people.

Tuesday, 20 October

In Paris, the UNESCO report Investing in Cultural Diversity and Intercultural Dialogue will be launched today.

At 3.30 p.m. in Room-S226, there will be a press conference by Manfred Nowak, Special Rapporteur on

torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Wednesday, 21 October

At 10 a.m. in Room-S226, there will be a press conference by Olivier de Schutter, Special Rapporteur on the right to


The UN Office for Partnerships and the World Childhood Foundation USA co-host the 2009 Childhood USA Anniversary Symposium: Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children 10 years in the field from 9.30 a.m. 1 p.m. in the ECOSOC Chamber.

At 2.45 p.m. in Room-S226, there will be a press briefing in advance of tomorrows special event entitled Giving Voice to Victims and Survivors of Human Trafficking.

At 3.30 p.m. in Room-S226, Danny Jordan, Chief Executive Officer for the Local Organising Committee of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, will brief on the preparations for the upcoming World Cup.

Thursday, 22 October

At 10.30 a.m. in Room-S226, the Secretary-General will hold his month press conference.

The Deputy Secretary-General will be Seoul where she will deliver the key-note address on 22 October at the 2nd Metropolis Women International Network Forum.

Today, the Security Council will hear a briefing on the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT). It will then hold consultations on Iraq/Kuwait.

At 12 p.m. in Room-S226, there will be a press conference by John Ruggie, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises.

The Secretary-General will open a special event on Giving voice to the victims and survivors of human trafficking hosted by the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), from 1.15 to 2.30 p.m. in the Economic and Social Council Chamber.

From 1.15 to 2.30 p.m. in Conference Room 6, the New York Office of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD will organize a briefing on the Information Economy Report 2009.

At 2.30 p.m. in Room-S226, there will be a press conference by Tomas Ojea Quintana, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in


At 3.15 p.m. in Room-S226, Vitit Muntarbhorn, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the

Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea.

Friday, 23 October

This morning, the Security Council will hold a debate on the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT).

The New York Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights will organize a round table on Special procedures: Early warning and emerging issues from 1.15 to 2.45 p.m. in the Economic and Social Council Chamber.

At 2.30 p.m. in Room-S226, there will be a press conference by Raquel Rolinik, Special Rapporteur on

adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living.

[1]This document is for planning purposes only and is current as of DATE \@ "HH:mm" 14:37 DATE \@ "dddd, dd MMMM, yyyy" Friday, 16 October, 2009.

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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