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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-10-22
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARIE OKABE
DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Thursday, October 22, 2009
UNITED NATIONS SADDENED BY MURDER OF DEPUTY SUDAN FORCE COMMANDER IN PAKISTAN
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was saddened to learn of the death of Brigadier General Ahmed Moinuddin, the Deputy Force Commander of the United Nations Mission in Sudan, during an attack on 22 October in Islamabad, Pakistan where he was on leave.
The Secretary-General sends his heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family, to colleagues of Brigadier General Moinuddin in the United Nations Mission in Sudan, and to the Government of Pakistan. He commends the contribution of the Government of Pakistan to peacekeeping efforts in Sudan and elsewhere, and hopes that the perpetrators of the attack will soon be brought to justice.
Earlier today, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sudan Ashraf Qazi also strongly condemned the barbaric killing of UNMIS Deputy Force Commander.
Asked why UN personnel have been targeted in Pakistan, the Spokeswoman said that it is not clear whether Gen. Moinuddin was personally targeted, with the circumstances of the attack still to be determined. The Secretary-General and Qazi, she noted, have called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
Okabe added that security for UN personnel in Pakistan remains a concern, and is being assessed around the clock.
She said that Gen. Moinuddin had been on leave in Pakistan, after serving for the past five months in UNMIS. At the time of attack, he was in uniform and traveling to Army headquarters.
Asked how UN humanitarian work in Pakistan could be conducted in such insecure conditions, the Spokeswoman asserted that UN humanitarian staff try to do their work as best they can, including at times through national staff or affiliates. If operations are curtailed due to security reasons, the United Nations tries to resume such work as soon as possible.
PEACEKEEPERS END DEADLY ETHNIC CLASH IN NORTH DARFUR
Peacekeepers from the African Union United Nations Mission in Darfur, (UNAMID), have intervened in a deadly ethnic clash, near Shangil Tobaya in North Darfur, between members of the Zaghawa and Birgid tribes.
Two people died and six people from both sides sustained injuries during the fighting, four of them critically. UNAMID evacuated the critically injured by helicopter to El Fasher for further treatment at a government hospital, and the others have been admitted into a nearby UNAMID medical facility.
The immediate cause of the clash is believed to be access to water sources and as a temporary solution, UNAMID has made arrangements to supply water to the communities.
AFGHANISTAN: PREPARATIONS IN FULL SWING FOR 7 NOVEMBER RUN-OFF ELECTION
The UN Assistance Mission for Afghanistan (UNAMA) reports that preparations by Afghanistans Independent Election Commission (IEC) for a second round are now in full swing. Ballot papers have been printed and delivered, polling stations kits have been packed and distribution will begin today.
The Mission asserts that the United Nations will offer every support to Afghanistans electoral institutions to learn from the experience of the first round, to ensure that we have a credible final result that is accepted and faithfully reflects the will of the people. Afghanistans voters deserve nothing less.
In this critical period of the electoral process, the Secretary-General has decided to temporarily dispatch Wolfgang Weisbrod-Weber, Director of the Asia and Middle East Division in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, to Afghanistan to work with Kai Eide as the Deputy Special Representative for Political Affairs, ad interim. Mr. Weisbrod-Weber will be arriving shortly in Afghanistan for approximately two months.
Asked about complaints from a candidate in Afghanistan about the first round of elections there, the Spokeswoman asserted that the United Nations is supporting the Afghan authorities to ensure that a successful second round takes place.
AFGHANISTAN HAS WORLD MONOPOLY OVER OPIUM CULTIVATION
A new report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
shows the devastating effects of opium beyond Afghanistan and the impact of its trade on the world.
Afghanistan has the world monopoly of opium cultivation at 92 per cent--, according to UNODC. Every year, 900 tons of opium and 375 tons of heroin are trafficked from Afghanistan with consequences on the health and security of countries along the Balkan and Eurasian drug routes, all the way to Europe, the Russia Federation, India and China, says the new report.
The report also documents how the worlds deadliest drug has created a market worth US$65 billion, catering to 15 million addicts, causing up to 100,000 deaths per year, spreading HIV at an unprecedented rate and funding criminal groups, insurgents and terrorists.
UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa says that opium hasnt caused such grief since the plague of addiction in China a century ago.
BAN KI-MOON URGES ACTION AGAINST FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO HUMAN TRAFFICKING
The Secretary-General has addressed a special event on human trafficking in the Economic and Social Council Chamber at UN Headquarters, hosted by the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
In his remarks, the Secretary-General reiterated his calls to alleviate such factors as poverty, underdevelopment and lack of equal opportunity, which make persons, especially women and children, vulnerable to trafficking.
SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED ON LATEST SITUATION IN CHAD AND CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
The Security Council was briefed this morning by the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping, Edmund Mulet, on the activities of the UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad, (MINURCAT), specifically on the latest security and humanitarian situation in eastern Chad and in the north-east of the Central African Republic.
Mulet spoke to the Council about the Detachment integre de securite or DIS programme, which requires the Chadian police to maintain law and order in the camps for refugees and Internally Displaced Persons, (IDPs) in eastern Chad. The programme also aims to provide a secure environment to facilitate humanitarian activities in the area.
Mulet stated that just over 21 million US dollars would be required next year to assist MINURCAT in its activities. He told Council members that MINURCAT was working with the Government of Chad to build national ownership and capacity in implementing the DIS programme. He urged the Council and the international community for support in this regard.
Mulet also stressed the need for progress in the normalization of relations between Chad and Sudan to be matched by the resolution of internal conflicts in both countries.
Earlier today, the members of the
Security Council heard from Gennady Tarasov, the High-Level Coordinator who deals with missing Kuwaiti and third-country nationals in Iraq. He discussed the limited progress that has been made on identifying human remains since the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. The Council President is expected to read a statement to the press later today, concerning those consultations.
PROPERTY ISSUES DISCUSSED BY CYPRIOT LEADERS
Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat met today under UN auspices in Nicosia. The Secretary-Generals Special Adviser on Cyprus, Alexander Downer, spoke to the press afterwards.
He noted that the leaders met for two hours. They mainly discussed the issue of property. They will meet again next Tuesday to talk about the competencies of the federal government. There will also be further discussions about external relations at that time.
TOP U.N. ENVOY IN COTE DIVOIRE MEETS BURKINABE PRESIDENT OVER IVORIAN ELECTIONS
Special Representative, Choi Young-Jin, met today with the Facilitator of the Ivorian Dialogue, President Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso, in Ouagadougou. Choi appealed to maintain the Ivorian electoral dynamic and stressed the importance of quickly finding a compromise on the posting of the provisional electoral list. The meeting with the President Compaoré is part of a series consultations held by the Special Representative to move forward the Ivorian electoral process.
Earlier this week, Choi met with the President of the Independent Electoral Commission, as well as with the Presidents of two main Ivorian parties -- Alassane Dramane Ouattara, of the Rassemblement des Républicains (RDR) and Henri Konan Bédié of the Parti Démocratique Ivoirien (PDCI).
BAN KI-MOON LAMENTS LARGE NUMBER OF DISPLACED PERSONS IN AFRICA
In Kampala today, António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, delivered a
message on behalf of the Secretary-General to the African Union Special Summit on Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons in Africa.
While he noted a decline in the number of refugees in Africa, the Secretary-General stressed that nearly 12 million people were forcibly displaced by conflict within their own countries in Africa -- five times the number of refugees. He also said that many people were displaced by natural disasters.
The Secretary-General added that the political, socioeconomic, developmental and external causes of displacement require a wide range of responses. Taking action on these many fronts, and preserving Africas long tradition of hospitality to the displaced, will require courage and creativity, as well as solidarity and burden-sharing from the international community.
MORE THAN SIX MILLION DROUGHT-AFFECTED ETHIOPIANS REQUIRE FOOD ASSISTANCE
The Government of Ethiopia and humanitarian agencies have
announced that an additional $175 million is required this year to provide humanitarian assistance to 6.2 million people affected by a prolonged drought and crop failure in Ethiopia.
The number of people in need has been increasing steadily since January this year. The food security situation in Ethiopia was already weakened the poor performance of the rains in 2008 and the impact of high food prices globally.
The total food requirement is estimated at nearly 350 thousand metric tons of cereals, blended food, and cooking oil. The humanitarian community is also helping the government to address non-food requirements in the health and nutrition, water and sanitation and agriculture and livestock sectors.
Given current trends in Ethiopia, the humanitarian situation in the country is likely to deteriorate further in scale and complexity in 2010.
TOP U.N. PEACEBUILDING OFFICIAL VISITS SIERRA LEONE
Today, the Assistant Secretary-General for
Peacebuilding Support, Judy Cheng-Hopkins, starts a two-day visit to Sierra Leone. During that time, she will meet with Government and UN officials as well as other stakeholders including civil society groups.
Sierra Leone has been under consideration by the Peacebuilding Commission for the past three years and provides a good case study to examine the work of the UN in peacebuilding.
The Secretary-General's Peacebuilding Fund has allocated approximately $37 million to peacebuilding projects in Sierra Leone to assist in preventing a relapse into violent conflict.
GOVERNMENT OF INDIA AND U.N. OPEN TOP MEETING ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND TECHNOLOGY
The Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Sha Zukang, is in India, where he participated today in the Delhi High-level Conference on Climate Change: Technology Development and Transfer. In his opening remarks, Sha said that the sooner countries are able to shift onto low-emissions paths and strengthen their resilience to climate change's impacts, the better the prospects will be for humanity and the planet.
The two-day conference, which is organized by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the Government of India, will address an issue that has long been pivotal in the climate negotiations: how to help countries unlock the full potential of technology in addressing both climate change and national development. The outcome of the conference will be delivered in Copenhagen by the Government of India.
SECRETARY-GENERAL MEETS WITH AMBASSADORS FOLLOWING ADOPTION OF RESOLUTION ON GOLDSTONE REPORT
Asked about a meeting this morning, the Spokeswoman confirmed that the Secretary-General met today with representatives of the Arab Group, the League of Arab States, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference and the Non-Aligned Movement, following the adoption of a resolution on the Goldstone Report by the Human Rights Council. They discussed the consideration of the resolution by the General Assembly, she said.
The Secretary-General reiterated his call for the convening of credible domestic investigations into any allegations of serious human rights violations committed during the conflict, Okabe said.
Asked whether the Secretary-General would refer the Goldstone report to the Security Council, she noted that the matter is currently being discussed by Member States in the General Assembly.
POPULAR LEBANESE SINGER BECOMES NEW UNICEF ENVOY: UNICEF today
appointed Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram as a Regional Goodwill Ambassador for the Middle East and North Africa. Ajram was chosen in part because of her dedicated support for childrens issues in her native Lebanon.
According to UNICEF, goodwill ambassadors help focus the worlds attention on the needs of children and can act as agents of change.
DEATH OF U.N. STAFF MEMBER IN VIENNA OFFICES: In response to an earlier question, the Spokeswoman said that the body of a male staff member from the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, (CTBTO), was found on Tuesday at about 8:30 am in one of the stairwells in the E Building of the Vienna International Centre. There are no suspicious circumstances and the Austrian Police are now following up on the incident. The staff member's family has been informed.
UN DAY CONCERT TO TAKE PLACE ON FRIDAY: On Friday night, the United Nations Department of Public Information and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, in partnership with Culture Project, will present a concert A Tribute to Peacekeeping in the General Assembly Hall, in observance of
United Nations Day. The Secretary-General and the President of the General Assembly will deliver opening remarks. Isha Sesay of CNN will be the evening's presenter. Among others, UN Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF and singer, Harry Belafonte, will perform.
TINKER BELL EVENT TO TAKE PLACE SUNDAY: The world premiere of the Walt Disneys animated film Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure will take place on Sunday, 25 October, at 3:00 pm., in the Trusteeship Council Chamber. The event will be ticketed and space is limited.
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