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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-10-26

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 MICHELE MONTAS

SPOKESPERSON FOR

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Monday, October 26, 2009

BAN KI-MOON STRESSES NEED FOR AMBITIOUS CLIMATE CHANGE DEAL IN COPENHAGEN

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is in Seattle today, where this afternoon, he will receive an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws and deliver a lecture on the renewed multilateralism that the world is seeing today.

The United States, he is to say, is central to the renewed multilateralism, and he will discuss President Obamas vigorous engagement within the framework of the United Nations.

A major test of the new cooperation is just around the corner, he will say, when nations meet six weeks from now at the Copenhagen climate change conference. He will say that Copenhagen does not need to resolve all the details, but countries must agree to a deal that establishes an ambitious framework for progress on fundamental issues.

Yesterday, the Secretary-General attended an event hosted by the City of Seattle dubbed the Shrinking Bigfoot, a programme raising awareness among local students about climate change, conservation, and the responsibility to protect the planet. He spoke to children between the ages of 5 and 16 and called on all people, young and old, from around the world to consider the well-being of Mother Earth by conserving and changing our daily lifestyles and living habits toward a more energy and resource frugal way.

Later in the afternoon, the Secretary-General met with the CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, and expressed gratitude for the corporations support for the efforts of the United Nations.

This morning, the Secretary-General met with Bill and Melinda Gates who, he has said, are using their wealth to make the world a better place. The Secretary-General is to return to New York tomorrow afternoon.

SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED ON ENHANCING U.N.-A.U. RELATIONSHIP

In the Security Council this morning, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Alain Le Roy, was joined by the Under-Secretary-General for the Department of Field Support, Susana Malcorra, to brief members on practical ways to strengthen the capacity of the African Union to build and maintain peace, as well as to reinforce the relationship between the United Nations and the African Union.

Le Roy presented a report on the Secretary-Generals assessment of the recommendations made by the AU-UN Panel that was established by the Security Council.

The report includes recommendations for the United Nations to streamline its presence in Addis Ababa and provisions of additional capacity-building to the African Union in key areas identified by the Panel.

Le Roy welcomed the enhanced peacekeeping role of the African Union and its regional economic communities.

He noted that over the past five years the United Nations has broadened and deepened its strategic and operational partnership with the African Union.

BAN KI-MOON STRONGLY CONDEMNS DEADLY BOMBINGS IN BAGHDAD

In a

statement issued on Sunday afternoon, expressing the Secretary-Generals sorrow at the news of the car bombing attacks in central Baghdad, in which hundreds of people were killed and wounded. He strongly condemned these senseless and indiscriminate acts of violence that repeatedly target the innocent and aim to disrupt Iraqs recovery.

And he urged all Iraqis to unite in the face of these deplorable acts and to work with heightened urgency to protect Iraqs political progress, including by adhering to the date of 16 January 2010 to hold free and fair national elections.

Today, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Iraq, Ad Melkert, expressed continued concern over the humanitarian situation at Camp Ashraf. He confirmed the UN Assistance Mission for Iraqs commitment for the duration of this critical period to monitor the situation in the Camp on a daily basis. The United Nations calls on the international community to provide all possible assistance in this regard, including resettlement to third countries of those that want to leave the camp.

Asked about Iraqs request for an investigation into possible foreign involvement in the recent attacks, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General had referred the matter to the Security Council and awaited their reply.

BAN KI-MOON IS TROUBLED BY LATEST TENSIONS AROUND JERUSALEMS AL-AQSA MOSQUE

Asked about the recent disturbances at the Haram Ash-Sharif/Temple Mount Compound, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General was troubled by those disturbances and the tensions in Jerusalem. He calls for calm, and for all sides to respect the sanctity of the holy sites and cease provocations.

The Secretary-General, Montas said, is grateful to Jordan for its efforts to reduce tensions.

His Special Coordinator, Robert Serry, has been active in seeking to ease the situation and the United Nations continues to monitor events very closely.

She added that, on October 8, Serry visited the Harem Al Sharif/Temple Mount compound. Following his visit and meetings with the parties, which aimed to defuse tensions, Serry stressed that the Secretary-General had been very concerned at the recent clashes in Jerusalem. Serry added that incitement from any quarter regarding holy sites and provocative actions in East Jerusalem do not serve the sanctity of the city or the cause of peace. They must stop, he said.

Montas noted that Serry had said, We cannot allow a further outbreak of violence or let extremists set the agenda.

U.N. AND PARTNERS RESPOND TO NEEDS OF PEOPLE DISPLACED BY SOUTH WAZIRISTAN FIGHTING

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that some 13,800 people fleeing South Waziristan in the latest influx following fighting in northwestern

Pakistan have now been registered, joining another 80,500 who had fled since June. There are now about 182,000 registered displaced people in two neighbouring districts in the northwest.

The United Nations has done contingency planning for this latest influx and has had relief supplies pre-positioned and local partnerships in place. We have already been assisting the first wave of displaced people and stand ready to increase our assistance as numbers rise.

To date, UN agencies and their partners have distributed over 1,000 tons of food. About 30,000 people have benefited from a distribution of household items, while 35,000 have received hygiene kits to prevent the spread of disease in these difficult, congested conditions.

Also, by rehabilitating water supplies and installing hand pumps, humanitarian agencies have ensured that 45,000 displaced people have access to safe water.

U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY COMPLETES SHELTER PROGRAMME IN AFGHANISTAN

As 2009 draws to a close, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is nearing the completion of a shelter programme in

Afghanistan that has provided aid to more than 50,000 returnees this year. Since 2002 until the end of September 2009, UNHCR has provided shelter assistance to almost 190,000 vulnerable returnee families, benefiting an estimated 1.2 million returnees to Afghanistan, mainly in rural areas across the country.

Meanwhile, the provincial government of Bamyan, with the support of international agencies, has launched the literacy campaign to make Bamyan an illiteracy-free province in the next five years. That campaign started on 17 October 2009.

Asked about the call by one Presidential candidate for the removal of the head of the Independent Electoral Commission and the closing of some polling stations, the Spokeswoman said that the elections and the run-off are an Afghan-led process, and the decision would need to be taken by the Afghan electoral bodies.

On this matter, she noted, Afghanistans Independent Election Commission is reviewing the number of polling locations and staff required for the run-off. Some locations where fraud took place in the first round may not be re-opened, she said, and the United Nations was pressing to make sure that the fraud that happened in the first round does not happen again.

She added, in response to further questions, that the United Nations has not lowered its threshold for what would constitute a free and fair election in Afghanistan.

GREECE: SERIOUS CONCERN OVER ALLEGED OFFICIAL VIOLENCE AGAINST REFUGEES

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today

expressed serious concern over recently reported violent incidents at a detention centre for aliens in Greece.

According to the allegations, police officers responsible for guarding the centre abused and beat detainees, including a 17-year old minor, who had to be transferred to a hospital. UNHCR has called for a thorough investigation into the incidents.

Last week, a UNHCR delegation visited the detention centre in question. It reported that more than 700 people, including refugees from war-torn countries, unaccompanied minors, women with babies, and other particularly vulnerable groups, were being held in deplorable conditions.

UNHCR has reiterated its appeal for the closing down of the centre.

It has also asked the Greek Government to review its policies and provide proper reception facilities and special care to those who are in need of international or humanitarian protection.

MORE THAN ONE MILLION PEOPLE DISPLACED IN EASTERN/ CENTRAL AFRICA IN PAST SIX MONTHS

There has been a net increase of more than one million internally displaced persons (IDPs) across Eastern and Central Africa just in the past six months. This is according to a Displaced Populations

Report published by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Countries with ongoing massive internal displacements include Sudan with 4 million, the Democratic Republic of Congo with 2.12 million, and Somalia with 1.55 million.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has recorded a net increase of over 779,000 new IDPs in the last six months as a result of renewed violence, especially in North and South Kivu provinces.

Other causes of the increased displacements are the escalation of the conflict in south central Somalia, intermittent clashes in Sudan, especially in the south and in Darfur, plus ongoing violent attacks by suspected members of the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) across the region.

The combined displaced population IDPs and refugees -- in the Eastern and Central African region now stands at very close to 12 million people.

SIERRA LEONE: SPECIAL COURT UPHOLDS CONVICTIONS OF THREE FORMER REBEL LEADERS

In its last judgment to be handed down in Freetown,

the Special Court for Sierra Leone has upheld the convictions and sentences passed on three leaders of the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF).

The charges include forced marriage as a crime against humanity and attacks against UN peacekeepers the first time that an international criminal tribunal has entered guilty verdicts for both charges.

The Court dismissed all the appeals of the defendants, except one regarding Augustine Gbao for the charge of collective punishment, which has been overturned. Gbao will still have to serve the 25-year sentence originally imposed on him.

The other defendants, Issa Sesay, will serve 52 years and Morris Kallon will serve 40 years.

The remaining trial, involving former Liberian President Charles Taylor, at The Hague still continues.

HEAD U.N. PEACEKEEPING TO VISIT NIGERIA, DR CONGO AND BURUNDI

The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Alain Le Roy, will travel to Abuja, Nigeria, tomorrow evening to attend a high-level meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council.

He is also scheduled to visit peacekeeping missions in the Great Lakes region in both the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and in Burundi.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he will assess the security situation in eastern DRC, and discuss the extension of state authority and institution building and other areas that are critical for peace consolidation efforts.

In Burundi he will see firsthand how the operations are working as an integrated mission of the United Nations.

PROVISION OF 30 MILLION INSECTICIDE-TREATED MOSQUITO NETS TO NIGERIA WELCOMED

The Secretary-Generals Special Envoy for Malaria, Ray Chambers, has applauded the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, for its commitment to provide 30 million long lasting insecticidal mosquito nets to the Nigerian Ministry of Health.

According to Chambers, this is the single largest allocation towards meeting the Secretary-Generals goal of universal net coverage by 2010. It will save over 100,000 lives in Nigeria, he adds.

BRITISH PROFESSOR HONORED FOR ADVANCING HUMAN DEVELOPMENT

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) honoured a British professor for her outstanding contributions to work on advancing human development at a ceremony held in Busan, in the Republic of Korea, today.

This years Mahbub ul Haq Award was presented to Professor Frances Stewart of the United Kingdom for her lifetime achievements in promoting human development. Stewart a leading development economist at Oxford University has been one of the key figures associated with the concept of human development since the Human Development Report was first published in 1990.

UNITED NATIONS DOES NOT ACCEPT COMMERCIAL EXPLOITATION OF ITS NAME AND LOGOS

Asked about an incident last week when a man dressed as the Colonel Sanders character of the Kentucky Fried Chicken chain entered the United Nations through the Visitors entrance, the Spokeswoman said that the man was treated like other visitors and sent through the screening tent. He was given access to the General Assembly public lobby, as any visitor is given after screening.

Unfortunately, Montas said, a security guard inappropriately took it upon himself to extend this guest's tour. At this point, the man abused the privilege of access to the building by going to the second floor of the General Assembly building and attempting to stage events with a clear commercial purpose.

As soon as it was clear that the guest was abusing the privilege of entry into the UN for commercial purposes, UN security escorted him out.

The United Nations, she said, does not accept the use of the UN emblem or logo for commercial purposes, adding that the incident should not have happened.

  • **** The guest at the noon briefing today was Janos Pasztor, Director of the Secretary-General's Climate Change Support Team, who provided an update on the climate change negotiations leading up to Copenhagen.

    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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