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United Nations Daily Highlights, 10-06-03
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARIE OKABE
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Thursday, June 3, 2010
D.R. CONGO: UNITED NATIONS URGES INQUIRY INTO DEATH OF TOP HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was deeply
shocked to learn of the death in Kinshasa of Floribert Chebeya, President of La Voix des Sans Voix (The Voice of the Voiceless).
Mr. Chebeya was a well known and widely respected human rights defender in the Democratic Republic of Congo. His reputation as a champion of human rights earned him the respect and admiration of his compatriots and of the international community. His work will be remembered as a tribute to Congolese perseverance.
The Secretary-General has noted the statement issued today by the Congolese Minister of Interior ordering the State security services to investigate the troubling deaths of these two men in unclear circumstances. The Secretary-General stresses that investigation of these and all such cases should be thorough, transparent and independent, with full respect for due process and rule of law.
The United Nations, through the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), is prepared to assist such an investigation, if requested.
Also expressing their shock and sadness over these deaths, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, and the Secretary-Generals Special Representative in the country, Alan Doss,
urged the DRC authorities to promptly investigate Mr. Chebeyas death and to spare no efforts to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.
Pillay said she was also deeply concerned with the growing trend of intimidation and harassment of human rights defenders, journalists, political opponents as well as victims and witnesses in the DRC and sees Mr. Chebeyas death as confirming an extremely worrying development which she had noted in her last report on the DRC.
GAZA: SECRETARY-GENERAL DISCUSSES WAY FORWARD, CALLS FOR LIFTING OF BLOCKADE
The Secretary-General, back from his Africa trip,
discussed yesterday with reporters his consultations with concerned parties about the way forward on an investigation following the deaths during the Israeli operation on Monday. He is discussing with all parties, including the Security Council, the options for a prompt, credible, transparent and impartial investigation.
He said that the Israeli authorities must provide, as soon as possible, a full and detailed accounting of the events surrounding the incident, including information on the detained, wounded and killed. And he added that, at this sensitive time, it is essential to avoid provocations.
The Secretary-General emphasized that the tragedy only highlights the serious underlying problem. The long-running closure imposed on the Gaza Strip is counter-productive, unsustainable and wrong. It punishes innocent civilians. It must be lifted by the Israeli authorities immediately, he said.
In response to further questions about how and when an investigation can be conducted, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General said that he would continue to engage in consultations with concerned parties, and that it may take a while.
She noted that, in recent days, he had spoken by phone with world leaders, and upon returning to New York yesterday he spoke with the U.S. Secretary of State and met, among others, with members of the Security Council, including the President, the representatives of Israel and Turkey and members of the Arab Group. Those talks followed the decisions taken by the Security Council and the Human Rights Council.
Asked about another ship, the Rachel Corrie, which is supposed to head for Gaza, Okabe noted that the Secretary-General had said of the Monday incident, Everything must be done to prevent another incident of this kind. All concerned should act with a sense of care and responsibility, and in accordance with international law.
He had added, At this sensitive time, it is essential to avoid provocations. The United Nations has raised its concerns about this with international partners and the Israeli authorities.
Asked about aid going into Gaza, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General had tasked his senior officials on the ground, Robert Serry and Filippo Grandi, with trying to see whether aid from the flotilla could get into Gaza. She said he had made clear that aid needs to get to its destination with no strings attached.
U.N. MIDDLE EAST COORDINATOR CONCERNED BY HAMAS TARGETING OF NGOs
Robert Serry, the
UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, said today that he was deeply concerned at reports from Gaza that Hamas has broken into a number of non-governmental organization (NGO) offices in Gaza City and Rafah in recent days and closed them down, confiscating their materials and equipment in the process.
Serry said that this targeting of NGOs, including UN partner organizations, is unacceptable, violating accepted norms of a free society and harming the Palestinian people. The de facto authorities must cease such repressive steps and allow the re-opening of these civil society institutions without delay.
COTE DIVOIRE: FAILURE TO HOLD ELECTIONS AND REUNIFY COUNTRY HEIGHTENS TENSIONS, SAYS U.N. ENVOY
Security Council this morning heard a briefing on Côte dIvoire by the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for that country, Choi Young-jin. He warned the Council that the pairing of reunification and elections has produced a political impasse that has proven to be complex. He added that the events of the past February and March have demonstrated that the continuing failure to hold elections in Côte dIvoire and to reunify the country contributes to heightening tensions.
Choi added that, amid conflicting views about the role of the UN Mission (UNOCI), it is recommended that the Mission maintain its current overall troop and police strength until the end of 2010.
The Council continued its discussions on Côte dIvoire in closed consultations. It is also expected to hold consultations on the humanitarian situation in Sudan and Chad.
SECRETARY-GENERAL HAS STRESSED NEED TO MINIMIZE CIVILIAN CASUALTIES
The Spokesperson, in response to a question, noted that Philip Alston, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, had
put out a report on targeted killings in his capacity as an independent expert.
She said that the Secretary-General and his senior officials have repeatedly underscored the need by armed forces on the ground to do everything they can to minimise civilian casualties, regarding Afghanistan and Pakistan. She added that, as a result of the contacts that we have had with the relevant military officials, concrete steps have been put in place to keep civilian casualties to a minimum, and we trust that they will make further efforts to this end.
HAITI: WFP OUTLINES PREPAREDNESS PLANS FOR STORMS AS HURRICANE SEASON OPENS
As the hurricane season officially opens, the World Food Programme (WFP) today
outlined emergency readiness plans to help Haiti meet the challenges of potentially devastating rains and tropical storms.
We are urgently getting food stocks and other life-saving supplies in thirty-one strategic positions for the most vulnerable people and locations," said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran. Two million humanitarian daily rations and 1,000 metric tons of high energy biscuits are currently being pre-positioned.
WFP is undertaking other measures to minimize the impact on food security of any storms that might strike the island nation in the coming months. Among them, WFP is erecting six hurricane-proof portable warehouses where no permanent warehouses exist. It is also putting in place alternative transport systems to bypass mountain roads that may become blocked by mudslides and employing satellite and other remote sensing technologies to identify vulnerable locations and populations.
ABDUCTED DARFUR PEACEKEEPERS CONTINUE THEIR MISSION
Four peacekeepers of the African Union/UN Hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID), who were abducted and released following 16 days in captivity, have today returned to Darfur to continue their mission.
Upon their arrival in El Fasher, North Darfur, Deputy Joint Special Representative Mohamed B. Yonis greeted the South African officers on behalf of Joint Special Representative (JSR) Ibrahim Gambari. They could have stayed at home, back to work and amongst family and friends. However, they saw it their duty to continue to serve the Mission, to serve the people of Darfur. He also praised their resilience, commitment and determination to complete their assignment.
The police advisors, two men and two women, were abducted in Nyala, South Darfur, on 11 April. They were freed on 26 April, following extensive efforts by the Government of the Sudan, local authorities and UNAMID to gain their safe release.
REPORT MAKES ECONOMIC CASE FOR REPAIRING DAMAGED AND DEGRADED NATURAL WORLD
Restoring lost and damaged ecosystemsfrom forests and freshwaters to mangroves and wetlandscan trigger multi-million-dollar returns, generate jobs and combat poverty,
according to a new report compiled by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
Launched on the eve of World Environment Day (WED), the report draws on thousands of ecosystem restoration projects worldwide and showcases over 30 initiatives that are transforming the lives of communities and countries across the globe.
The report, entitled "Dead Planet, Living Planet: Biodiversity and Ecosystem Restoration for Sustainable Development", underlines that far from being a tax on growth and development, many environmental investments in degraded, nature-based assets can generate substantial and multiple returns.
U.N. CALLS TO IMPROVE AID DELIVERY TO VULNERABLE
The Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Sha Zukang, is in Helsinki where he is participating in the High-level Symposium of the 2010 Development Cooperation Forum, today and tomorrow.
At the two-day meeting, which will address "Coherent Development Cooperation: maximizing impact in a changing environment", Sha is calling on all stakeholders to help improve the delivery of aid to the vulnerable - those who have been left behind and those who are bearing the brunt of the multiple crises.
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
United Nations, SA-1B15
New York, NY 10017
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