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United Nations Daily Highlights, 10-04-29

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 MARTIN NESIRKY

SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Thursday, April 29, 2010

SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS ON ALL TO STAND UP FOR FREEDOM OF INFORMATION, ON WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY

This coming Monday is World Press Freedom day, and in

remarks delivered at an observance event at UN Headquarters today, the Secretary-General noted progress made in the area of freedom of information, which is also the theme of this years observance.

He said that while there is a global trend towards new laws which recognize the universal right to publicly held information, these new laws dont always translate into action. Requests for official information are often refused or delayed, all too often because of a culture of secrecy and a lack of accountability.

He called on governments, civil society and people around the world to recognize the important work of the media, and to stand up for freedom of information, and for more effort to change attitudes and to raise awareness.

SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS SENIOR OFFICIALS FOR HAITI

The Secretary-General has announced the appointment of Nigel Fisher of Canada as his Deputy Special Representative ad interim for the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), where he will also serve as United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator ad interim. Mr. Fisher will succeed Ms. Kim Bolduc of Canada. The Secretary-General is grateful to Ms. Bolduc for her dedication and service in Haiti, particularly her leadership in the immediate moments that followed the tragic earthquake on 12 January.

Mr. Fisher brings to the position extensive cross-cultural leadership experience in the fields of international development, human security and child development, with particular focus on innovative humanitarian and developmental action in conflict and post conflict situations.

The Secretary-General has also announced the appointment of Kevin Kennedy, an American and Irish national, as his Deputy Special Representative for the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).

Mr. Kennedy succeeds Mr. Luiz Carlos da Costa of Brazil, who tragically perished in the 12 January 2010 earthquake. The Secretary-General remains indebted to Mr. da Costa, who was a pillar of United Nations peacekeeping and a mentor to generations of UN officials. Mr. da Costa brought many of the finest and most talented staff to the United Nations. His extraordinary professionalism and dedication were matched only by his charisma and warmth, and his devotion to his many friends.

Mr. Kennedy brings to the position extensive experience in the organization of the international communitys response to humanitarian emergencies worldwide at the strategic, political, policy and field levels.

SIXTY THOUSAND HAITIAN CHILDREN TO RECEIVE VACCINATION AS PART OF VACCINATION WEEK

An estimated 60,000 Haitian children under the age of five will

receive life-saving immunization in the next few days, as part of the Vaccination Week of the Americas, an annual vaccination initiative covering 44 countries and territories in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean.

The vaccination drive in Haiti, being led by the Ministry of Health with the support of

UNICEF,

WHO and the Pan American Health Organization, will start on Saturday, 1 May. Children will receive vaccinations against polio, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, measles, and rubella.

UNICEF says that following the earthquake that struck Haiti in January, routine immunization efforts were severely affected. It adds that this round of vaccinations will supplement an ongoing campaign that began in February and which has already reached more than 220,000 children under the age of eight.

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF SUDAN MISSION, HEARS BRIEFING ON LEBANON

The

Security Council this morning voted to extend the mandate of the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) for another year.

After that, Council members heard a briefing from Special Envoy Terje Roed-Larsen about the implementation of Resolution 1559, concerning Lebanon. He presented the Secretary-Generals recent

report, which says that Lebanon is currently witnessing its longest period of domestic stability. The Secretary-General calls on all Lebanese to continue to work together in a spirit of coexistence and democracy to safeguard the achievements they have made since 2004.

U.N. STARTS DISTRIBUTING LAPTOPS TO PALESTINIAN REFUGEE CHILDREN IN GAZA

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is teaming up with the non-profit group One Laptop per Child to distribute laptop computers to nearly half a million Palestine refugee children at UNRWA-run schools by 2012.

Today in the city of Rafah, officials from One Laptop per Child, UNRWA and other groups, as well as teachers and children, are celebrating the deployment of the first 2,100 laptops at the Rafah Co-Education Elementary School D.

The Relief and Works Agency operates one of the largest school systems in the Middle East and has been the main provider of basic education to Palestinian refugees for over six decades.

Asked about the Secretary-Generals communications with the Security Council about the humanitarian situation in Gaza, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General regularly reports to the Council on the Middle East and his own contacts with leaders about the peace process there. He added that the Secretary-General had visited the region, including Gaza, and had briefed the Council on his visit in detail.

SUDAN: U.N. MISSION INVESTIGATING REPORT OF CLASHES IN SOUTHERN DARFUR

In response to a question asked Wednesday about clashes between the SPLA and Reizegat, the Spokesperson said that these reports are about the same incident, which was reported to have occurred a few days ago in the border area of Western Bahr El Ghazal and Southern Darfur states, where there were a significant, but still unconfirmed, number of casualties reported.

The United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) is investigating this situation closely, and communicating with the parties concerned, but verifying the reports on the ground has been difficult from both the north and the south.

The Mission calls on all parties concerned and in line with the mandate of the mission to ensure full access to the area, to help establish the facts and defuse tensions. The safety and security of civilians remain the primary responsibility of the Government of National Unity and the Government of Southern Sudan.

U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF STARTS FIVE-DAY VISIT TO D.R. CONGO

The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, John Holmes, starts a five-day mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) today.

He will travel to South Kivu, Orientale Province, and Equateur Province, three of the countrys provinces most affected by armed violence.

During his mission, the UNs humanitarian chief will discuss humanitarian priorities and the necessary responses, in the context of increasing insecurity for humanitarians in some areas. Protection of civilians is also at the top of his agenda.

U.N. HAS TAKEN UNPRECEDENTED STEPS TO REDUCE ITS CARBON FOOTPRINT

In response to a question asked on Wednesday on a report by the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU), the Spokesperson said that in the three years since the Secretary-General called for greening the UN, the Organization has taken unprecedented steps to reduce its carbon footprint and to make its operations more sustainable.

The Organization is pushing for higher sustainability standards under the Capital Master Plan, which will significantly reduce energy use. And all the entities of the UN have worked together to develop common standards to measure their progress to reduce emissions.

More details on the initial steps taken by the UN to manage emissions can be found in the first greenhouse

inventory that was launched at the Copenhagen Conference called Moving towards a Climate Neutral UN.

The UN is a large organization and it will take time to achieve the goal of climate neutrality. The report provides some useful suggestions on how to do it sooner and those suggestions are being looked at.

UNESCO DIRECTOR-GENERAL CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION INTO DEATH OF IMPRISONED CAMEROON JOURNALIST

The Director-General of the

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Irina Bokova, today

voiced grave concern about the death in detention of Ngota Ngota Germain, editor of the weekly Cameroun Express, and asked that a full investigation be conducted into the circumstances of his death.

The detention and death of journalists represents a loss for any society; the loss of a pair of eyes and of a voice that can inform the public about issues that concern us all. I trust that the authorities will do all they can to shed light on this tragic death and on the conditions of Ngota Ngota Germains detention, Bokova said.

Held in detention in Kondengui jail in Yaoundé for nearly two months, Mr Germain suffered from asthma and high blood pressure, according to Reporters without Borders.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

DEPUTY-SECRETARY-GENERAL HEADS TO WASHINGTON TO HIGHLIGHT MDGs: The Deputy-Secretary-General will leave for Washington DC this afternoon. There, she will participate in a round table on the

Millennium Development Goals hosted by the UN Foundation. The aim is to help to develop concrete ideas in the lead up to the MDG Summit, this September.

U.N. URGES NEPAL GOVERNMENT TO ENSURE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS: Richard Bennett, the head of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal, urged the Government of Nepal to ensure that fundamental rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression are fully respected and protected during upcoming protests. Equally, he said, the organizers of the protest programmes must ensure that the demonstrators behave calmly and respect the rights of others, including the general public.

SECRETARY-GENERAL HOPES IRANIAN PRESIDENT WILL BRING POSITIVE MESSAGE TO N.P.T. CONFERENCE: Asked about the Secretary-Generals response to the possible attendance at the Non-Proliferation Treaty Conference by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General had expressed his hope that the President would bring a positive message to that meeting.

FULL MEMBERSHIP OF AFGHANISTAN BOARD OF INQUIRY IS NOT PUBLIC: Asked about the composition of the Board of Inquiry regarding the 28 October 2009 attack in

Afghanistan, the Spokesperson noted that the full membership of the Board had not been made public. He added that the Board worked on an internal management inquiry that is required under established procedures.

  • ** The guest at the noon briefing was Ambassador Libran N. Cabactulan of the Philippines, the President-elect of the NPT review conference.

    Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

    United Nations, SA-1B15

    New York, NY 10017

    Tel. 212-963-7162

    Fax. 212-963-7055


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