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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-12-31

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

ARCHIVES

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

UN

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

There are no noon briefings planned until January 4, 2010.

Developments within the UN system will be posted daily on this website daily throughout this period.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

U.N. MISSION IN AFGHANISTAN SAYS MOST OF THE DEAD IN RECENT RAID WERE STUDENTS

The UN Assistance Mission for Afghanistan (UNAMA) says that its initial investigation into the 27 December killing of ten Afghans during a raid by Afghan and international military forces in the province of Kunar indicates that eight of those killed were students enrolled in local schools. There is also evidence to strongly indicate that there were insurgents in the area at the time.

UNAMA continues to investigate this incident to help bring clarity to the situation, and the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Afghanistan, Kai Eide, appealed for calm while these investigations continue.

The United Nations remains concerned about night-time raids given that they often result in lethal outcomes for civilians, and UNAMA is equally concerned about the risks posed to civilians by insurgents living or operating in residential areas.

Eide appealed again to all of the armed actors to make every effort to minimise harm to civilians, and he underscored the importance of taking all precautionary measures to distinguish between civilians and combatants.

U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY ASSISTING DISPLACED PERSONS IN NORTHWEST PAKISTAN

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and its local partners have been helping to register new arrivals in Dera Ismail Khan and Tank, in northwestern Pakistan, the Agency says. More than 280,000 displaced people remain in those two districts.

UNHCR is also providing essential relief supplies, such as tents, blankets, plastic sheeting, sleeping mats, kitchen sets, jerry cans, mosquito nets, buckets and hygiene items.

Some 35,000 tents and 54,000 aid kits have been distributed, but it has been a difficult operation. "It has been very challenging for UNHCR to provide assistance to displaced people in Dera Ismail Khan and Tank due to limited access to the area," said Mengesha Kebede, UNHCR's representative in Islamabad, referring to security concerns.

W.F.P. STARTS FOOD DISTRIBUTIONS IN NORTHWEST CONGO

The World Food Programme (WFP) today started food distributions to thousands of displaced people in Equateur Province, in the northwestern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). More than 6,000 displaced people in Bozene and Boyazala will receive food rations for a month, comprised of maize, beans, vegetable oil and salt.

Ongoing clashes in the area have made it difficult to get food assistance to those in need, according to WFP. More than 130,000 people have been displaced by the violence. Most of them fled by crossing into the neighbouring Republic of Congo, where they started to receive WFP food assistance at the end of November. However, the UN estimates that within the DRC, some 40,000 people have been displaced internally since the beginning of November.

NIGERIA: UNICEF CONCERNED AT DEATH OF CHILDREN IN CLASHES

UNICEF

expressed its concern over the death of children in clashes that erupted in Bauchi, Nigeria, on 28 December. Observers report that most of the people involved in the incident were children aged between 10 and 15, backed up by adults.

UNICEF says that millions of children in northern Nigeria live in precarious conditions and are extremely vulnerable to the influence of those who offer them even meagre sustenance. UNICEF deplores the exploitation of vulnerable children, which so often ends in tragedy.

The childrens agency calls on governments, traditional and religious leaders, communities and families to ensure that these children are properly cared for, receive quality education and are protected against abuse and violence, whatever the source of their vulnerability.

CHINA TO ASSUME SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENCY

On Friday, 1 January, China will assume the rotating Presidency of the

Security Council, replacing Burkina Faso. The new Council President is expected to brief the press on Tuesday, 5 January.

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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