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United Nations Daily Highlights, 10-04-26
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Monday, April 26, 2010
SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON RECEIVES AFGHANISTAN BOARD OF INQUIRY REPORT
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has
received the final report of the Board of Inquiry (BOI) into the 28 October 2009 terrorist attack on the Bakhtar guest house in Kabul where 34 UN staff were residing.
The four-member Board of Inquiry, set up in December 2009 was led by Andrew Hughes, a former senior Australian Federal Police Official and former UN Police Advisor. It began its work in February 2010 and traveled to Kabul the same month. Its report was submitted to the Under-Secretary-General for the Department of Field Support, on 21 April 2010.
The relevant findings of the report have been shared with the Afghan authorities and other relevant stakeholders have also been informed.
The report details the tragic incident in which three Afghan security personnel and five UN staff members lost their lives and several others were injured.
The United Nations mourns the loss of these brave individuals who died in the service of peace.
The report describes the confused situation at the Bakhtar guest house with the attackers and responding security personnel both dressed in Afghan police uniforms and a fire raging through the compound.
The report suggests the possibility that a UN staff member, Close Protection Officer Louis Maxwell, may have been killed by Afghan security forces who may have mistaken him for an insurgent. Mr. Maxwell died protecting his UN colleagues, many of whom are alive today because of his heroic actions.
The report was not able to determine who fired the shots that killed the three other United Nations staff members though it leaves open the possibility that they also may have been killed by friendly fire.
The report highlights a number of shortcomings in the UN security measures as well as with respect to coordination between the UN and both its international partners and the host government authorities.
In light of the seriousness of the matter, the Secretary-General has instructed that the Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security, Gregory Starr, review the security findings highlighted in the report. He will lead a team to Kabul next week, to discuss next steps and follow up with the Afghan authorities.
The Secretary-General has also instructed Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Alain Le Roy, and Special Representative, Staffan de Mistura, to contact relevant NATO officials in Brussels and Kabul for further consultations on how best to ensure improved coordination in the event of future emergencies of this nature.
The Secretary-General reiterates the UNs commitment to transparency and the strengthening of security for its personnel serving in dangerous locations.
He calls on the Afghan authorities to ensure a thorough investigation into the attack on the guesthouse and the killing of UN staff.
He pledges the UNs continued dedicated work to assist the Afghan Government and the Afghan people to move the peace process forward in Afghanistan.
SUDAN: U.N.-A.U. MISSION WELCOMES RELEASE OF FOUR ABDUCTED PEACEKEEPERS
Four UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) peacekeepers from South Africa were safely released today, after being held in captivity for 16 days.
We are grateful to have our colleagues back with us. This day would not have been possible, had it not been for the good cooperation of the Government of the Sudan and the local authorities of South Darfur, said UNAMID Joint Special Representative Ibrahim Gambari, who was in Nyala to greet the released peacekeepers.
The police advisors, two men and two women, were abducted in Nyala on 11 April. After undergoing medical examinations, the officers will be flown to their home country, where they will be reunited with their families.
U.N. PRESSES FOR URGENT RESPONSE TO FOOD CRISIS IN NIGER
The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes arrived in
Niger yesterday to see first hand the impact of the food crisis and press for an urgent response by donors to the Emergency Humanitarian Action Plan for Niger, launched on 7 April 2010.
Niger, where an estimated 7.8 million people or 58% of the population are food insecure, is the second leg of the UN humanitarian chiefs mission to West Africa. Humanitarian agencies in Niger are trying to secure funding urgently to procure food and other life-saving supplies to respond to the countrys growing food crisis. In the next two days, Mr. Holmes will travel to Zinder, one of the countrys most affected regions, and meet local communities.
Meanwhile, the World Food Programme (WFP)
announced today it is more than doubling the number of hungry people it feeds in Niger, providing assistance to 2.3 million people.
The ramping up of WFP operations focuses on reducing malnutrition through general food distributions to 1.5 million people, blanket feeding for children under two years of age and supplementary feeding for children under five in the worst-affected areas.
WFP is working against time to provide food assistance as fast as possible, buying most of the needed food from neighbouring countries to significantly shorten the lead time, which is normally about four months, to deliver food to Niger.
Both WFP and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) underlined the need for joint action between development and humanitarian actors to deal with the structural issues underlying the recurrent food crises in the Sahel region.
SOUTH AFRICA CAN BREAK TRAJECTORY OF HIV EPIDEMIC
The head of the UN Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS
joined the President Jacob Zuma at the launch of a massive HIV prevention and treatment campaign in South Africa. South Africa can break the trajectory of the HIV epidemic, said Michel Sidibé. This campaign promises to be the equivalent of Truth and Reconciliation for the countrys AIDS response.
According to UNAIDS, the campaign aims to test 15 million people for HIV by the year 2011, up from 2.5 million in 2009 a six-fold increase in just two years. Through the campaign, 1.5 million people will receive antiretroviral treatment by June 2011, up from about 1 million in 2009.
South Africa has the world's largest population of people living with HIV; an estimated 5.7 million people in the country are living with HIV, representing nearly one sixth of the global disease burden. Some 18% of adults in South Africa are infected with HIV.
WORLD BANK LAUNCHES REPORT ON INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, POVERTY AND DEVELOPMENT
As the ninth session of the
Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues continues this week, the World Bank is launching today a new report called Indigenous Peoples, Poverty and Development. The study is the first to systematically document poverty and socio-economic indicators for the estimated 300 million indigenous peoples globally. It provides both an overview of basic statistics across groups, and a series of in-depth country studies.
Meanwhile, in the coming days, the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues will hear presentations and discuss several reports, including on indigenous peoples and corporations, indigenous fishing rights, the impact of climate change adaptation and mitigation measures on reindeer herding, and indigenous youth and children in detention. On Wednesday afternoon there will be a half-day discussion on indigenous peoples and forests.
ON 24TH ANNIVERSARY OF CHERNOBYL DISASTER,
SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR FULL RECOVERY OF ALL THOSE AFFECTED
Today is the 24th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. In a
statement marking this day, the Secretary-General says we remember the hundreds of emergency workers who responded to the accident; the more than 330,000 people who were uprooted from their homes; the thousands of children who later contracted thyroid cancer.
He adds that we commemorate the heroic efforts of those who took on the task of clearing up after the disaster; and the bravery of millions of people in the surrounding area, who have lived with a legacy of fear for their health and livelihoods for more than two decades.
The Secretary-General says the UNs strategy to address the lingering consequences of Chernobyl is aimed at fostering the regions long-term development and providing people with the information they need to lead safe and healthy lives.
The Secretary-General calls on the international community to support the full recovery of all those affected by the Chernobyl disaster.
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
United Nations, S-378
New York, NY 10017
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