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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-10-19
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MICHELE MONTAS
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Monday, October 19, 2009
BAN KI-MOON CALLS AFGHAN PRESIDENT, URGES RESPECT FOR CONSTITUTIONAL PROCESS
Asked about the findings of the Election Complaints Commission regarding fraud in
Afghanistan, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General this morning spoke with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The Secretary-General urged Karzai to respect the constitutional process, and he was pleased to hear that the President will fully respect the constitutional order.
Asked further about the findings on fraud, Montas said that the information at this stage consists of reports. It is for the Independent Electoral Commission to take the orders of the Election Complaints Commission and apply them to the preliminary results and draw a new tally and announce final certified results; that has not happened yet.
Asked about the possibility of a second round of voting, she said that no one underestimates the challenges faced in conducting a second round. However, the Spokeswoman emphasized that the need for a second round cannot be dictated by the difficulties faced. A credible government is needed. If a second round is called for, we need to scrupulously abide by the law.
She added that the United Nations had, early on, pointed to the reports of fraud, including during the briefing provided a month ago to the
Security Council by the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Afghanistan, Kai Eide.
SECRETARY-GENERAL STRONGLY CONDEMNS TERRORIST ATTACKS IN IRAN
statement, the Secretary-General strongly condemned the terrorist attacks that took place on Sunday in the Sistan-Baluchistan province of Iran, which resulted in the death of a large number of people and many injured.
He extends his condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and wishes those injured a full recovery.
SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES RELEASE OF TWO KIDNAPPED AID WORKERS IN DARFUR
welcomes the release on Sunday of two staff members of the international non-governmental organization GOAL, who were abducted in Darfur, Sudan on 2 July 2009.
The Secretary-General commends the thousands of humanitarian personnel working in Sudan for their critical efforts and underscores the importance of their work. He also stresses that the primary responsibility for the safety and security of all humanitarian and peacekeeping personnel working in Sudan lies with the Government of Sudan.
REPORT: RESOLVING INTERNAL CONFLICTS IN CHAD AND SUDAN KEY TO PEACE AND STABILITY IN SUB-REGION
In his latest
report on the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), the Secretary-General says the mission is making steady but limited progress in the implementation of its mandate, to provide wide security within its area of operation.
But he adds that sustained engagement by the Government of Chad and its partners is essential, especially for the return of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs).
Noting that tensions between Chad and Sudan continue, the Secretary-General says that the parties, together with regional actors and the international community, must reinvigorate meaningful peace efforts. He also stresses that the long-term peace and stability of the region depends primarily on resolving the internal conflicts prevailing in both Sudan and Chad.
The Secretary-General also notes that the proliferation of arms, tribal disputes and border tensions continue to plague eastern Chad and to complicate the security and social environment. He says it is essential that the Government of Chad redouble its efforts to address the sources of insecurity.
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY EXPECTS SUDANESE GOVERNMENT TO DELIVER ON OBLIGATIONS TO IMPROVE LIVES OF SUDANESE
Asked about the UN stance on Sudan at a time when the United States has reviewed its policies on the country, the Spokeswoman said that, at the moment, there is reason for anxiety, as we are less than six months from elections and preparations are lagging behind.
Then in January 2011, there will be a referendum on whether the South of the country will secede, and we need to help the Sudanese prepare for the outcome of this vote.
It will be important to be open and transparent about how things are going, Montas said. If we do not see real progress then the Security Council will have to make some decisions about how it wants to move forward.
Asked about the US policy review, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General appreciates the efforts of the US and other influential partners to help the Sudanese improve their situation and will continue to study the new US policy.
Our reading, she said, is that it reiterates a position held by much of the international community. There is a clear expectation that the Sudanese Government will deliver on its obligations to improve the lives of its citizens.
DARFUR: A.U.-U.N. MISSION WARNS OF POSSIBLE RENEWED FIGHTING
The AU-UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has expressed grave concern over a military build-up by the Government of Sudan and by forces of the Sudan Liberation Army/Abdul Wahid Faction, observed by peacekeeping field personnel in the areas of Sortony and Kabkabiya in North Darfur.
UNAMID says that the sizeable and unusual military activities may signal the impending start of a new cycle of armed confrontations in the area.
The Mission has issued a solemn call on all parties to the Darfur conflict to refrain from resorting to any new acts of violence. UNAMID further stresses that the only way for a peaceful resolution of the Darfur conflict is through dialogue and negotiations.
UNAMID also reports an attack over the weekend by unknown gunmen on an escort of one its formed police units that left three Mission policemen wounded, two of them critically.
INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT CONFIRMS WAR CRIMES CHARGES AGAINST DARFUR REBEL LEADER
Prosecutors of the International Criminal Court (ICC) meeting in The Hague today
confirmed war crimes charges against a Darfur rebel leader, Bahr Idriss Abu Garda.
He is suspected of war crimes allegedly committed on 29 September 2007 against the African Union peacekeeping mission in the Sudan.
It was the first time that the ICC judges issued a summons to appear rather than a warrant of arrest. Judges had considered that Abu Garda would appear before the Court voluntarily and that his arrest was not necessary. The presence of Abu Garda at the confirmation of charges hearing shows his willingness to cooperate with the court, stated Silvana Arbia, Court Registrar.
GUINEA: SENIOR U.N. OFFICIAL DISCUSSES INVESTIGATION INTO KILLING OF PROTESTERS
The Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Haile Menkerios, has been visiting Guinea and the sub-region since last Friday, to prepare the ground for a Commission of Inquiry to
investigate the violence that took place in Guinea on 28 September.
The mission left Conakry today for Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, where Menkerios is scheduled to meet with President Blaise Compaoré this afternoon, in his capacity as the mediator for Guinea mandated by ECOWAS, the Economic Community of West African States.
Over the weekend, the mission first arrived in Abuja, Nigeria, where Menkerios met with a range of regional leaders, including the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Mohamed ibn Chambas, the African Union Peace and Security Commissioner, Ramtane Lamamra, and the AU Chairman, Jean Ping. The ECOWAS Summit welcomed the Secretary-Generals decision to establish the Commission of Inquiry and the African Union and ECOWAS pledged their full support for the work of the Commission.
The mission then traveled to Conakry on Sunday, where they met with Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, the head of the National Council for Democracy and Development. They also held a meeting with the Prime Minister and his entire Cabinet. In addition, the mission also consulted representatives of political parties, civil society organizations and trade unions. There was broad support for an international Commission of Inquiry among Guinean stakeholders, and Captain Camara invited the Commission to begin its work as soon as possible in order to help establish the truth about what took place on 28 September.
D.R. CONGO: THOUSANDS OF DISPLACED PERSONS BEGIN TO RETURN HOME IN NORTH KIVU PROVINCE
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), approximately 110,000 people displaced by conflict have returned to their areas of origin in the North Kivu province in the last two months, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
It adds that in the areas of return, assistance is being provided to the entire community, without differentiating between returnees and others, in order to promote the successful reinsertion of these returnees.
The World Food Programme (WFP) has been providing three-month food rations to the internally displaced persons (IDPs) returning to their home areas in North Kivu, while the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has provided non-food items. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has assisted the returnees with farm tools and other agriculture inputs.
OCHA also says that an estimated 980,000 people remain displaced and in need of continued humanitarian assistance in North Kivu.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL OPENS DELIVERING AS ONE CONFERENCE IN RWANDAN CAPITAL
The Deputy Secretary-General is in Kigali, Rwanda, today, where she opened the Delivering as One conference. The conference brings together eight pilot countries as well as a few countries with similar experiences to exchange experiences and lessons learned.
The Deputy Secretary-General will also hold bilateral meetings with senior officials of the Government of Rwanda and an informal exchange with women parliamentarians.
On Thursday, the Deputy Secretary-General will deliver the keynote address at the Second Metropolis Women International Network Forum, in Seoul. During her visit, the Deputy Secretary-General will hold bilateral meetings with the Prime Minister and other senior officials of the Government of the Republic of Korea. The Deputy Secretary-General will return to New York on Monday, 26 October.
PAKISTAN: FRESH DISPLACEMENT FROM GOVERNMENTS NEW MILITARY OFFENSIVE
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that, since Saturday, the military operations in the tribal areas of South Waziristan, in northwestern
Pakistan, have intensified and resulted in considerable new displacements of civilians.
The humanitarian community estimates that over 170,000 people may be displaced as a result of the new military operations, which could bring the total number of displaced persons up to 250,000.
At present, the IDPs are accommodated with host families and no camps have been set up in the two northwestern districts of Pakistan. The UN and its partners, working through local non-governmental organisations (NGOs), are currently providing humanitarian assistance to the area of displacement by distributing food and non-food items.
The Pakistan Humanitarian Response Plan is now just over 60 per cent funded.
Asked about UN assistance for Pakistan, the Spokeswoman recalled that the primary responsibility for helping the IDPs rests with the Government of Pakistan, with the United Nations providing assistance.
LEBANON: U.N. MISSION REPORTS EXPLOSIONS IN THE SOUTH
According to preliminary information available to the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), at least two explosions occurred during the weekend in southern Lebanon. No injuries have been reported. Preliminary indications are that these explosions were caused by explosive charges contained in unattended underground sensors which were placed in this area by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), apparently during the 2006 war.
UNIFIL Command has been in contact with both parties, and UNIFIL immediately launched an investigation to ascertain all the facts and circumstances relating to the presence of these devices and to establish how the explosions were triggered. UNIFIL investigators are working in close coordination and cooperation with the Lebanese Armed Forces.
Asked about Israeli aircraft flying over Lebanon, the Spokeswoman said that, during the Lebanese Armed Forces and UNIFIL operations and the investigation on the ground, Israeli aircraft were hovering over the area for a prolonged period of time in violation of Lebanese airspace. UNIFIL Command protested to the Israeli Defense Forces and called on them to immediately cease this air violation. Lebanese troops fired at the aircraft with small arms.
MIDDLE EAST: UNICEF GOODWILL AMBASSADOR CONCLUDES SIX-DAY MISSION
Over the weekend, actress and UNICEF Goodwilll Ambassador Mia Farrow wrapped up her six-day
mission to the Middle East. In addition to her recent trip to Gaza, she also visited Sderot and Tel Aviv in Israel, and Jenin and Ramallah in the West Bank.
In Sderot, Farrow met with young students and a group of parents whose children had been killed or injured by rocket fire from Gaza over the past years. She also met with parents and children living in a nearby kibbutz. Farrow said the children spoke to her about the violence, their fear and their dream for peace.
In and around Ramallah, Farrow met with former child detainees, who had been sentenced to prison after being detained by the Israeli military.
Meanwhile, the Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) reports that fifty-eight truckloads of goods entered Gaza from Israel on Sunday, through the Kerem Shalom crossing. Half of those truckloads contained fruit, dairy products and frozen meat. But the Karni conveyor belt crossing and the Nahal Oz fuel pipelines were closed.
Asked about the Secretary-Generals response to the report by the fact-finding commission on Gaza headed by Justice Richard Goldstone, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General is waiting to see what response the General Assembly will have as it considers the Goldstone report.
HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS PROBES HONDURAS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS
High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has deployed a
mission to Honduras. The team arrived on Sunday and will stay until 7 November. Its job is to compile information for a special report requested by the Human Rights Council.
That report will focus on human rights violations in Honduras since the coup détat last June. It will be submitted to the 13th session of the Human Rights Council, which will be held in March 2010.
MORE THAN SEVEN MILLION AFFECTED BY PHILIPPINES TYPHOONS
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that, as of 15 October, more than 7.4 million people in the Philippines had been affected by Typhoon Parma and Typhoon Ketsana.
OCHA adds that the bulk of the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team left the Philippines on 16 October having completed its assigned mission.
During its 15-day mission, the UNDAC team conducted 39 rapid needs assessments and follow-up/monitoring missions with the Government and other partners. Now as Tropical Cyclone Lupit approaches, another UNDAC team is on standby.
REPORT HIGHLIGHTS PLIGHT OF TEMPORARY WORKERS WORLDWIDE
Temporary workers have been the first to lose their jobs as a result of the financial and economic crisis, according to a new
report by the International Labour Office (ILO).
ILO says that the private employment agency industry has grown at an incredible pace over the past three decades and is used by enterprises to rapidly adjust to the shifting economic realities. Since mid-2008, enterprises have used this pressure-valve function to lay off temporary workers, while often leaving their core workforce intact, adds
The report stresses the importance of balancing the need for labour flexibility with workers needs for employment stability, a safe work environment, decent conditions of work and social security.
BAN KI-MOON URGES SRI LANKA GOVERNMENT TO SPEED UP EFFORTS TO ADDRESS POST-CONFLICT CHALLENGES
Asked about the Secretary-Generals meeting last week with the Sri Lanka Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights, Mahinda Samarasinghe, the Spokeswoman said that the meeting was a continuation of discussions the Secretary-General held on the margins of the General Debate and those pursued by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe during his visit to Sri Lanka.
She said that the discussions concerned the need to accelerate the Governments efforts in addressing post-conflict political, humanitarian and human rights challenges -- in particular, the urgent issue of resettlement of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and freedom of movement of IDPs.
U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF ON MISSION TO UGANDA: United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes will embark on a mission to Uganda from 20-24 October. He will attend the African Union Special Summit on Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons in Africa. Holmes will also assess the situation in Uganda, where the humanitarian community has been working with the Government to ensure that some two million people displaced by the conflict with the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) are able to achieve a durable solution to their displacement.
UNDP HEAD TO VISIT FINLAND, NORWAY AND SWEDEN: UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark began an official visit to Finland, Norway, and Sweden today. She will be meeting with senior government officials and participating in the European Development Days in Stockholm.
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