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United Nations Daily Highlights, 10-03-25
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Thursday, March 25, 2010
SECRETARY-GENERAL, GROUP OF FRIENDS CALL FOR INCLUSIVE MYANMAR ELECTIONS
The Secretary-General today reconvened his
Group of Friends on Myanmar to review developments ahead of this years elections the first in two decades.
The Group met for an hour and a half. After that, the Secretary-General
spoke to the press, saying that the Group stressed the need for elections to be inclusive, participatory and transparent, in order to advance the prospects of stability, democracy and development for all the people of Myanmar.
He said that the Myanmar Government must create conditions that give all stakeholders the opportunity to participate freely in elections, including the release of all political prisoners, notably Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
He added that the Group stressed the need to work for better standards of living for the people of Myanmar.
Asked whether the United Nations would assist the Myanmar authorities in the forthcoming elections, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations has not yet received a formal request from the Government to provide such assistance. If a request is made, it will be considered.
U.N. AFGHANISTAN ENVOY MEETS WITH HEZB-E-ISLAMI DELEGATION
Staffan de Mistura, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan,
met today with the visiting Hezb-e-Islami delegation, in accordance with the UN Assistance Mission for Afghanistans (UNAMAs) renewed mandate and in consultation with President Hamid Karzai.
The Special Representative listened to their points. He said that their visit in Kabul and the ongoing discussions with Afghan authorities further underscored the importance of Afghan-led dialogue in order to bring stability to this country.
The United Nations, in accordance with its traditional role and expertise, will be available to assist Afghans in order to find proper avenues for pursuing constructive political dialogue.
Asked about UN assistance in reconciliation talks, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations is available to assist any Afghan-led efforts in that regard.
PROCESS OF FORMING ADVISORY PANEL ON SRI LANKA IS UNDERWAY
Asked about appointments to the advisory panel for Sri Lanka, the Spokesperson said that the process of forming a panel is underway.
He clarified that the panel would advise the Secretary-General on matters of accountability, including by looking at existing standards. The panel, Nesirky said, was not an investigative body.
Asked about a meeting between Chef de Cabinet Vijay Nambiar and Sri Lankas UN Ambassador, Palitha Kohona, the Spokesperson said it was entirely logical that the Secretary-Generals office would be in touch with the Sri Lankan Government so that they understand the role of the advisory panel.
He added, in response to a further question, that the Secretary-General would reply to a letter from the Non Aligned Movement concerning Sri Lanka.
SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS NEW HEAD OF U.N. INTEGRATED OFFICE IN BURUNDI
The Secretary-General has appointed Charles Petrie of the United Kingdom/France as his new Executive Representative for Burundi and Head of the United Nations Integrated Office in that country (BINUB) and United Nations Resident Coordinator, Resident Representative, Humanitarian Coordinator and Designated Official for Burundi.
Mr. Petrie succeeds Mr. Youssef Mahmoud of Tunisia, who has led BINUB for the last three years.
MIGIRO: EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN VITAL TO DEVELOPMENT GOALS
Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro has begun her official visit to Denmark and Spain. Earlier today in Copenhagen, she
told the MDG-3 Conference on Womens Empowerment and Employment that delivering on womens rights and employment is not only just and fair; it is also vital if we are to meet all the
Millennium Development Goals. She added that it is equally imperative that the international community keep its promise to billions of the worlds poor and vulnerable people.
Migiro added that issues of gender equality and the empowerment of women should not be confined to
MDG 3 alone, but should be considered across all the Millennium Development Goals.
And she urged delegates to ensure that the issues of womens employment and empowerment are reflected in the discussions at Septembers high-level meeting expected to be held at UN headquarters.
BAN KI-MOON DEPLORES PERSISTENT PRACTICE OF SLAVERY
Today is the
International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
message to mark the event, the
Secretary-General says that slavery and slavery-like practices continue in many parts of the world, mutating and re-emerging in modern forms such as debt bondage, the sale of children, and the trafficking of women and girls for sex.
He adds that we must create a climate in which such abuse and cruelty are inconceivable, and one way of doing that is by remembering the past and honouring the victims of the transatlantic slave trade.
BAN KI-MOON MARKS DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH DETAINED AND MISSING STAFF MEMBERS
Today is also the International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members and in his
message to mark that event, the
Secretary-General says that the day has taken on even greater importance in recent years as attacks against the United Nations intensify.
notes that there are now 24 UN civilian personnel who have been arrested or detained in relation to UN-specific activities or under circumstances when access or due process was denied. He demands full justice and due process for all and calls for action on behalf of the two individuals, one in Eritrea and one in Somalia, who remain missing.
The Secretary-General also calls upon all States to strengthen the legal protection afforded to UN and associated personnel by adopting the main treaty aimed at preventing attacks committed against them and punishing those responsible.
SPECIAL ADVISER ON GENOCIDE PREVENTION VISITS GHANA
The Secretary-Generals Special Adviser on the
Prevention of Genocide, Francis Deng, has met in Accra with Ghana's foreign minister to discuss the role local governments and regional organizations in the prevention of genocide.
Dengs office says that the foreign minister, Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni, has agreed, in principle, to convene a regional conference on the prevention of genocide, in coordination with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
The Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide has been on a week-long mission in West Africa, which is expected to end on Friday.
WORLD DEFORESTATION DECREASES BUT STILL ALARMING IN SOME COUNTRIES
World deforestation, mainly the conversion of tropical forests to agricultural land, has
decreased over the past ten years but continues at an alarmingly high rate in many countries, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
FAOs Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010 says that around 13 million hectares of forests were converted to other uses or lost through natural causes each year between 2000 and 2010, as compared to around 16 million hectares per year during the 1990s.
It adds that Brazil and Indonesia, which had the highest loss of forests in the 1990s, have significantly reduced their deforestation rates, and that ambitious tree planting programmes in countries such as China, India, the United States and Viet Nam - combined with the natural expansion of forests in some regions - have added more than seven million hectares of new forests annually.
However, the FAO says that the rate of deforestation is still very high in many countries and the area of primary forest - forests undisturbed by human activity - continues to decrease.
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
United Nations, S-378
New York, NY 10017
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