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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-10-23

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org

ARCHIVES

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY FARHAN HAQ

ASSOCIATE SPOKESPERSON FOR

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Friday, October 23, 2009

BAN KI-MOON TO HIGHLIGHT ROLE OF PEACEKEEPING AT U.N. DAY CONCERT

Tonight, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will open the

UN Day Concert A Tribute to Peacekeeping.

In his remarks, he will salute the more than 115,000 men and women dedicated to bringing stability to the most troubled parts of our world. He will also highlight the work they do behind the scenes that help create the conditions for stability and peace.

Our peacekeepers are among the best ambassadors we have, he will add.

HEAD OF U.N. POLITICAL AFFAIRS WRAPS UP FIVE-NATION AFRICA TRIP

The Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, B. Lynn Pascoe is in Kenya today wrapping up a five-nation trip to eastern and southern Africa, focusing on UN-regional cooperation and a number of regional hotspots including Somalia.

While in Nairobi today, Pascoe and the Somali Prime Minister chaired a meeting of the High-Level Committee overseeing implementation of the Djibouti peace agreements. Pascoe called for an urgent increase in international support for Somalia, saying Now is the time to move to action, not the time to talk. This is an excellent opportunity to turn around the terrible situation of the last 18 years in Somalia.

Speaking to reporters afterward, Pascoe said that the UN Security council was unanimously behind the Transitional Federal Government and confident that the TFG was moving forward.

Pascoe also met today with Kenyan President Mwai Kbaki. He underscored the importance of peace and stability in Kenya for the broader region, and discussed particular issues such as constitutional reforms, the electoral process and the cross-border movement of Somali refugees.

During previous stops in Uganda and Burundi, Pascoe expressed strong appreciation for the commitment and sacrifice of those nations who are deploying troops to AMISOM. His mission also took him to South Africa and Angola.

Asked about reports of killings allegedly committed by AMISOM soldiers, the Spokesperson noted that the United Nations does not have a presence on the ground that would allow it to verify such reports.

UGANDA: HUMANITARIAN CHIEF STRESSES IMPORTANCE OF DISASTER RISK REDUCTION

The UNs Emergency Relief Coordinator today

stressed the importance of disaster risk reduction to deal with climate change.

This observation was made by John Holmes, who is also the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, when he traveled to Ugandas northeastern Karamoja region, which epitomises the complex intersection between climate change and humanitarian and development crises.

The semi-arid Karamoja region, where the majority of the population follow a pastoralist or agro-pastoralist lifestyle, is one of the most under-developed and politically marginalised parts of Uganda.

Whereas droughts used to occur every ten years or so, narrowing to every five years over the past 20 years, there have now been four consecutive years of drought and/or poor rainfalls.

In January 2009, the World Food Programme (WFP), which has been operating in the region for over 40 years, launched an emergency operation to provide food to more than 970,000 people, or approximately 90 per cent of the population.

FACT-FINDING MISSION NEEDED IN SRI LANKA

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights today

reiterated its belief that something similar to Justice Goldstones Gaza Fact-Finding Mission is also needed for Sri Lanka given the widespread concerns about the conduct of the recent war there.

The Office said it is still deeply concerned that some 250,000 displaced people are living in what are basically internment camps. It said it hopes that the Sri Lankan Government will soon take serious actions to fulfill its commitments to open up and properly deal with the displaced and other war victims as well as address underlying problems related to anti-Tamil discrimination.

Also on Sri Lanka, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said it is on the ground and in the process of distributing aid items to returnees. UNHCR is also carrying out a needs assessment and is engaged in protection monitoring in the areas of return.

Asked whether Sri Lankan soldiers who may have been responsible for human rights violations would be admitted into UN peacekeeping operations, the Spokesperson said that it is the responsibility of countries that contribute troops to the United Nations that none of the soldiers they send to UN peace operations are guilty of such violations.

BAN KI-MOON DISCUSSES GAZA, HUMANITARIAN AND OTHER ISSUES WITH SENIOR ISRAELI OFFICIALS

In response to a question, the Spokesperson confirmed that the Secretary-General spoke by telephone to Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on 22 October. On the report of the fact-finding mission headed by Justice Richard Goldstone, the Secretary-General emphasized the importance he attaches to addressing the issues of justice and accountability ever since his visit to Gaza last January. He reiterated his call for credible domestic investigations by all parties into any allegations of serious human rights violations committed during the conflict, Haq said.

The Spokesperson added, in response to questions, that the Secretary-General met today with Israeli Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom. They discussed a broad range of issues of mutual interest, including Iran's nuclear programme, Lebanon and resolution 1701, the UN's Gaza reconstruction proposal, the Goldstone report, and the Board of Inquiry headed by Ian Martin. On the humanitarian front, the Secretary-General asked for a positive response by Israel to the UN's Gaza reconstruction proposal, and expressed his serious concern at the adverse impact that further delay would cause.

Asked about Israeli settlements, Haq added that the Secretary-General has frequently expressed his concerns on settlements to Israeli officials.

SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES LONG-TERM PATH FOR TIMOR-LESTE

The

Security Council this morning received a briefing on the work of the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) from the head of that Mission, Atul Khare, who noted the successful holding of elections for community authorities earlier this month. Provisional results indicate that some two-thirds of registered voters cast ballots in those elections.

In his final briefing to the Security Council, Khare said that, in the long term, the touchstone for success in Timor-Leste is not whether or not crises occur, but how future crises are met and resolved. The future presence and role of the international security forces needs to be carefully taken into account in planning any modification of the composition and strength of the UN Mission, he added.

REFUGEE AGENCY WELCOMES NEW LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR INTERNALLY DISPLACED IN AFRICA

The UN Refugee Agency and the High Commissioner for Human Rights have welcomed the adoption today by the African Union of a Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Africa.

UNHCR

says that this instrument is a groundbreaking legal framework that for the first time codifies the rights of people displaced within their own countries.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay,

said that the new treaty marks a significant step forward in filling the vacuum that has traditionally been the lot of internally displaced people. She added that until now, internally displaced people have been more or less excluded from the system of international legal protection, even though they are often displaced in exactly the same way, and for exactly the same reasons, as refugees. At least in Africa, that should no longer be the case, she said.

There are 11,6 million internally displaced people in Africa, about 45 percent of the worlds total IDPs, according to UNHCR.

YEMEN: AS DISPLACEMENT CONTINUES, U.N. VOICES CONCERN OVER SECURITY

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says that displaced families from embattled Sa'ada province in northern Yemen are continuing to arrive in Al Mazrak camp, which now houses an estimated 8,000 internally displaced people. On average, 10 to 15 new families arrive at Al Mazrak camp every day, the Agency says, with another 11,000 IDPs being sheltered by host families and communities in this part of Yemen.

The security situation surrounding the IDP camp in Khaiwan in Amran governorate remains of serious concern to UNHCR. After a number of incidents, the Refugee Agency has requested the Yemeni Government to reconsider further development of the site and not to move the newly displaced persons there.

The United Nations continues to appeal to the parties in the conflict to allow access for aid and assistance to reach those in need in their places of displacement. An estimated 150,000 people have been affected by fighting in Yemen since 2004.

IRAQI ASYLUM SEEKERS SHOULD NOT BE FORCED OUT OF EUROPE

The UN refugee agency is

concerned about the fact that some European states have begun forcibly returning Iraqi originating from the region of Central Iraq over the last few months.

According to UNHCR, in view of the serious human rights violations and continuing security incidents throughout Iraq, most predominantly in the central governorates, asylum-seekers from these governorates should be considered to be in need of international protection.

UNHCR therefore advises against involuntary returns to Iraq of persons originating from Central Iraq until there is a substantial improvement in the security and human rights situation in the country.

PAKISTAN: U.N. AGENCIES PREPARE FOR MORE DISPLACEMENT

According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), civilians continue to flee South Waziristan, in northwestern

Pakistan, following the intensification of the ongoing military operations there. OCHA says that local authorities have registered some 19,000 displaced families (approximately 139,400 people) in the Districts of Dera Ismail Khan and Tank.

UN agencies and their humanitarian partner organizations have assisted the first wave of displaced persons from South Waziristan with emergency interventions, such as food, household and hygiene supplies, water supplies, and vaccination campaigns. We have also provided support to the registration exercise.

The planning figure for IDPs who could eventually leave South Waziristan is a total of 250,000 civilians. To respond to that probable caseload, preparations have been underway for some time now, and relief items are pre-positioned in the area.

NEPAL-BASED MEMBERS OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL VISIT U.N. MISSION IN THE COUNTRY

Karin Landgren, the Secretary-Generals Representative for Nepal, today hosted and briefed the Nepal-based members of the Security Council on their first collective visit since the establishment of the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) in January 2007.

Today, Council members reviewed examples of how UNMIN conducts the monitoring of the weapons stored by the Nepal Army in Chhauni Barracks, and the Maoist army in Main Cantonment Site One, in containers that are kept under electronic and live surveillance.

Landgren said that the presence of weapons containers and arms monitors reflects the unfinished business of the peace process. The UN Mission calls on the parties to make strengthened and sincere efforts to create the conditions for the Mission to complete its work and for Nepal's peace process to usher in a stable, just and prosperous future for its people.

WINNERS OF THE CITIZENS AMBASSADORS OF THE U.N. ANNOUNCED

The Department of Public Information has announced the five winners of its video contest entitled Citizen Ambassadors to the United Nations, which invited the public to engage with world leaders by uploading video messages on the United Nations YouTube channel. Online users were asked to upload their video messages on how to make the world a better, safer place.

The final five winners were selected on 13 October by a panel of representatives from the Department of Public Information and other UN departments. They come from Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the USA.

They have been designated Citizen Ambassadors, and are visiting United Nations HQ in New York today. They are also meeting with the Secretary-General and will go to the UN Day Concert tonight. All five videos can be seen

online.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

ISSUE OF RWANDA JUDICIAL ARCHIVES TO BE DECIDED BY SECURITY COUNCIL: In response to a question yesterday, about the Deputy Secretary-Generals visit to Rwanda, we can confirm that the matter of the archives of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda was indeed raised during the Deputy Secretary-Generals visit. The United Nations is the legal owner of the archives. However, the United Nations is fully aware of the memorial value of the archives for Rwanda. This, as well as the issue concerning the residual cases at the Tribunal, is an issue before the Security Council, and the Council's decision would be required.

U.N. INVESTIGATING INCIDENT AT HEADQUARTERS: Regarding the incident involving someone impersonating Colonel Sanders yesterday, we are looking into all aspects of that incident and examining how to respond. The UN would like to reiterate that it is inappropriate to use its name or emblem for commercial purposes.

I.A.E.A. AWAITS REPLY ON IRANIAN NUCLEAR PROGRAMME PROPOSAL: Asked about talks underway in Vienna concerning Irans nuclear programme, the Spokesperson said that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was awaiting a reply from the concerned nations to proposals that they had received from Director General Mohamed ElBaradei. The Secretary-General is monitoring the situation and would respond accordingly once replies are received.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

Saturday, 24 October

Today is UN Day.

The annual observance of Disarmament Week starts today.

Starting to day and until 4 November, the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences, Gulnara Shahinian, will visit Mauritania, at the invitation of the Government.

Sunday, 25 October

Starting today, the Secretary will be in Seattle on a two-day where he will engage with local leaders, the private sector, civil society and the local community to discuss the work of the United Nations to address global challenges, particularly climate change as well as environmental and economic sustainability.

The world premiere of the Walt Disneys animated film Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure will take place at 3:00pm., in the Trusteeship Council Chamber.

Monday, 26 October

Today, the Security Council will hold an open debate on Peace and Security in Africa.

At 11.15 a.m. in Room-S226, Carolyn Hannan from the Division for the Advancement of Women, Naila Kabeer from the Institute of Development Studies (UK) and James Heintz from the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts will launch the 2009 World Survey on the Role of Women in Development

From 1.15 to 2.30 p.m. in Conference Room 2, a panel discussion will take place on the occasion of the launch of the 2009 World Survey on the Role of Women in Development: Womens control over economic resources and access to financial resources, including microfinance.

The guest at the noon briefing will be Janos Pasztor, Director of the Secretary-General's Climate Change Support Team. He will provide an update on the climate change negotiations leading up to Copenhagen.

In Paris, the Conference of States Parties to the International Convention against Doping in Sport will take place at UNESCO Headquarters until 28 October.

At 1:15 p.m. in Room-S226, there will be a press conference Martin Scheinin, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering

terrorism.

Tuesday, 27 October

This morning, the Security Council will hold consultations on the 1559 report and on Cote dIvoire sanctions.

Today is World Day for Audio-visual Heritage.

The guest at the noon briefing will be Walter Kaelin, Representative of the Secretary-General on the human rights of

internally displaced persons.

From 1.15 to 2.30 p.m. in the Economic and Social Council Chamber, a panel discussion and screening of the film Pray the devil back to hell will mark the ninth anniversary of the adoption of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on Women and peace and security. The event is co-organized by the United States Mission and the Permanent Mission of Liberia.

At 1.15 p.m. in Room-S226, there will be a press conference by Philip Alston, UN

Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

At 2 p.m. in Room-S226, there will be a press conference by Ambassador Thomas Mayr-

Harting, Permanent Representative of Austria and Chairman of the 1267 committee, and

Richard Barrett, Coordinator of the Monitoring Team of the 1267 Committee.

Wednesday, 28 October

The Secretary-General will hold his monthly press conference at 10.30 a.m. in Room-S226.

This morning, the Security Council will hold consultations on the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS).

Starting today, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Manfred Nowak, will be in Zimbabwe until 4 November, at the invitation of the Government.

At 12.10 p.m., John Holmes, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, will brief on his recent trip to Yemen, the Philippines, Indonesia and Uganda.

Thursday, 29 October

Today, the Security Council will hear a briefing on the International Court of Justice and is expected to adopt a resolution on Côte dIvoire sanctions.

A special event on Food and economic crises in post-conflict countries will be co-organized by the Economic and Social Council and the Peacebuilding Commission, in partnership with the World Food Programme, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon in the Economic and Social Council Chamber.

Friday, 30 October

There are no major events scheduled for today.

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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