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United Nations Daily Highlights, 10-05-27
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Thursday, May 27, 2010
NEPAL: ''NOW IS THE TIME TO PUT NATIONAL INTEREST FIRST"
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is seriously concerned that due to political differences the parties in Nepal have yet to reach an agreement to extend the term of the Constituent Assembly past the 28 May 2010 deadline for completing its critical work.
The Constituent Assembly and its progress to date toward the adoption of Nepals new constitution represent a significant and hard-won achievement of the peace process.
The Secretary-General calls urgently on the party leaders to regain their unity of purpose in order to preserve the Assembly and the peace process. Now is the time to put national interest first.
SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON VISITS FAVELA
PAYS TRIBUTE TO PEACEKEEPERS IN BRAZIL
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon landed in Rio de Janeiro early today, ahead of the Alliance of Civilizations
Forum which opens tomorrow.
His activities today are giving him the opportunity to see up close Brazils progress in eradicating extreme poverty and achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
In the afternoon, he visited a favela in Rio de Janeiro where he met youth from the local community as well as other favelas from around Rio and hear directly from them about the reality of their lives regarding access to services and opportunities, in the context of the MDGs.
He then met with the families of Brazilian peacekeepers who were killed in the Haiti earthquake as well as the unveiling of a commemorative plaque for the peacekeepers.
In a press conference at the start of his visit, the Secretary-General underlined the importance of the Rio Forum in bringing together a powerful network of political, corporate and religious leaders, civil society and youth to agree on joint actions, improve relations across cultures, combat prejudice and build conditions for long-term peace.
He also noted Brazils remarkable commitment to peacekeeping operations, especially in Haiti.
Later this evening, the Secretary-General will hold several meetings in preparation for the Forums opening on Friday.
BAN KI-MOON SENDS MESSAGE TO NPT REVIEW CONFERENCE
In a letter distributed to all delegations attending the 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the Secretary-General conveyed his personal message of support for a successful outcome.
The 2010 NPT Review Conference offers an extraordinary opportunity to strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime, to make progress towards fulfilling the goals and objectives of the Treaty with the highest possible levels of accountability and transparency, and to achieve advances in the implementation of its three pillars: disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy, the Secretary-General wrote.
Now is the time for delegations to be pragmatic and coalesce around solutions that will advance the interest of the whole community of nations, he wrote. I encourage all States parties to the NPT to step up their work with flexibility and in a cooperative spirit, to reach agreement on an outcome document that will contribute to strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime and to further progress on nuclear disarmament.
ON SECURITY COUNCIL AGENDA TODAY: PEACEKEEPING, DR CONGO AND CÔTE DIVOIRE
This morning, the Security Council held consultations on UN peacekeeping operations as well as on the interim
report of the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
At 3 p.m., this afternoon, the Council will hold an open meeting on Côte dIvoire and will then hold consultations on its
SOUTHERN SUDAN FACES RECIPE FOR DISASTER
John Holmes, the UN humanitarian chief, is in Sudan for a four-day visit. And today he traveled to Southern Sudan, where the rising concerns over food insecurity, displacements and inter-tribal violence are threatening an already vulnerable population.
Holmes visited Warrap state, one of the two states in Southern Sudan most heavily affected by inter-tribal fighting, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Holmes said the increasing level of the violence which is disproportionately affecting women and children -- was alarming. He said that the violence was occurring in areas that are suffering from lack of food and malnutrition and where humanitarian agencies cannot reach. This is a recipe for disaster, he added.
OCHA says that an estimated one-quarter of the population of Warrap state suffers from acute malnutrition. Holmes said that the situation in Southern Sudan was poised to become more desperate over the coming months and that the humanitarian community must gear up to respond to the needs from forced displacement and the deteriorating food security situation.
Meanwhile, the African Union-United Nations mission in Darfur (UNAMID) reports that access to water, health and educational facilities are the main humanitarian concerns in Jebel Moon, West Darfur. UNAMID says these are the findings following a field assessment mission conducted by several humanitarian agencies and UNAMID to the mountain enclave on 20 May.
The team, which used observation and interview methods in the area, also received claims by the local population of wide-spread looting.
The last humanitarian mission to enter Jebel Moon, the site of repeated clashes between Sudanese Armed Forces and the Justice and Equality Movement, was in July 2008.
UNAMID said it also concluded on 25 May a field mission to the town of Shangil Tobaya, North Darfur. The purpose of the two-day assessment was to analyze the general situation in the area following recent fighting in the area. The team also reviewed the progress of reconciliation efforts made between the Zaghawa and Birgit tribes, which began in February. UNAMID reported that the security situation in the area was calm.
YEMEN: HUMANITARIAN COMMUNITY ASSISTS INTERNALLY DISPLACED BUT FACE LACK OF FUNDS
In Yemen, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that despite the operational constraints and limited funds, humanitarian assistance is provided to 322,309 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in all conflict-affected Governorates. Even in Saada Governorate, where access remains severely constrained by the security situation, some assistance is being provided in Saada City and surrounding areas, as well as in Al-Mandaba, Baqim District on the border with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The World Food Programme (WFP) and its partners are providing food assistance to more than 275,600 IDPs in the five conflict affected Governorates. Since August 2009, more than 207,300 IDPs have received non-food items and emergency shelter from agencies including the UN refugee agency,
UNHCR, and the International Organization for Migrations (IOM).
OCHA also says that funding received through the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan is not commensurate to the humanitarian challenges faced by the country. To date, the appeal is only 26 percent funded. The situation is dire and many agencies have started to cut their projects.
U.N. HUMANITARIAN MISSION IN D.P.R.K. ASSESSES USE OF FUNDS AND NEED FOR SUPPORT
Asked about humanitarian assistance in the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, the Spokesperson said that a mission from the Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) had been in the country in recent days. He added that the delegation was headed by Rashid Khalikov, Director of OCHA in Geneva.
The aim of the mission was to get a better understanding how the funds provided by the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) were being used and to see if there is scope for increased support to the UN in DPRK to provide aid to those in need, said Nesirky. He added that it was not unusual for OCHA to undertake such missions to areas where CERF funding is provided.
Noting funding shortfalls, he said this was a chance to assess their consequences on the grounds and how best to assist UN staff working in the country and assisting vulnerable groups, children in particular.
GAZA: "WE STRONGLY URGE THAT ALL INVOLVED ACT WITH SENSE OF CARE AND RESPONSIBILITY"
In response to questions on Gaza, the Spokesperson later said: "We understand from press reports that private citizens have assembled a number of ships carrying material intended for Gaza and will seek to deliver these materials directly by sea to Gaza.
We are closely following these developments. We strongly urge that all involved act with a sense of care and responsibility and work for a satisfactory resolution.
We have repeatedly made clear our opposition to the closure of Gaza and our concern at the insufficient flow of material through legitimate crossing points to meet basic needs, begin reconstruction, and revive economic life. There has been a modest improvement in recent months but much more is required.
We continue to urge the Israeli authorities to facilitate a greater range and quantity of traffic through legitimate crossings to meet urgent needs in Gaza."
UNICEF SAYS TRIAL OF CHILD SOLDIER COULD SET DANGEROUS PRECEDENT
UNICEF is expressing its concern about the impending trial of Guantanamo Bay detainee, Omar Khadr. Omar Khadr was arrested in Afghanistan in 2002 for crimes he is alleged to have committed when he was a child of 15 years of age. He is the last child soldier held in Guantanamo Bay.
Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF said, in a
statement, that the prosecution of Omar Khadr may set a dangerous international precedent for other children who are victims of recruitment in armed conflicts.
He added that the recruitment and use of children in hostilities is a war crime, and those who are responsible the adult recruiters should be prosecuted. The children involved are victims, acting under coercion. As UNICEF has stated in previous statements on this issue, former child soldiers need assistance for rehabilitation and reintegration into their communities, not condemnation or prosecution, he stressed.
At a time when the UN celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, Lake also called on all governments that have ratified this treaty, including the United States, to uphold the spirit of the Protocol and all its provisions.
EMPLOYED U.N. STAFF CANNOT BECOME POLITICAL CANDIDATES
Asked about the provisions in place concerning UN staff members who decided to become political candidates, the Spokesperson said that the rules were very clear and did not allow employed UN staff to be politicians at the same time.
He added that UN officials could not declare their aspiration to be a political figure while being employed by the Organization.
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
United Nations, SA-1B15
New York, NY 10017
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