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United Nations Daily Highlights, 10-07-20

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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

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS KABUL CONFERENCE MARKS BEGINNING OF A FUNDAMENTAL TRANSITION IN AFGHANISTAN

The Secretary-General this morning

opened the

International Conference on Afghanistan in Kabul, saying that the conference marks the true beginning of a very fundamental transition. He told the Afghan people that the officials gathered in Kabul today share their aspirations and understand their frustrations. But he delivered a personal message to the Afghan people: to unite in the national interest.

The Secretary-General said that, just as Afghans are taking greater responsibility for governance and development, so must they take greater responsibility for security as well. Improving security for Afghans is not just a matter of physical protection, he added. It also requires accountability for serious violations of human rights those happening now and those that took place in the past.

At the end of the day, the Secretary-General gave the conferences

closing remarks, saying that never before have we had a more concrete vision of Afghanistans future. Now we must focus all our energies on making this vision a reality.

SECURITY COUNCIL RECEIVES BRIEFING ON DISPUTE BETWEEN DJIBOUTI AND ERITREA

B. Lynn Pascoe, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, briefed the

Security Council this morning on the Secretary-Generals recent report on Eritrea and its dispute with Djibouti. He said that those two States had decided to resolve their border conflict through a negotiated settlement, in an agreement they signed last month in Qatar. Since then, he said, the Prime Minister of Qatar reported that Eritrean troops have withdrawn from the areas of Ras Doumiera and Doumiera Island.

Pascoe commended the recent steps taken by Eritrea and Djibouti on the border issue, and added that the Secretary-General has offered the United Nations technical support, should it be requested.

The Security Council followed up with consultations, including on the work of the Monitoring Group on

Somalia and Eritrea.

Following those consultations, the President of the Council, Ambassador Joy Ogwu of Nigeria, read out a press statement, in which the Security Council noted that the measures in paragraph 5 of resolution 1916 remain necessary to address the situation in Somalia, which continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security.

SECURITY FORCES IN SOUTHERN KYRGYZSTAN FOUND TO HAVE VIOLATED HUMAN RIGHTS IN RECENT UNREST

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay,

said that she has information that security forces in southern Kyrgyzstan have been responsible for repeated human rights violations including arbitrary detention, torture and ill-treatment. She added that their actions threaten the fragile peace and re-establishment of the rule of law there.

Pillay said that large numbers of people most of them young men, and virtually all of them Uzbek have been arbitrarily detained in ways that not only demonstrate flagrant ethnic bias, but also break many of the fundamental tenets of both Kyrgyz and international law. The High Commissioner said her team in Kyrgyzstan had received reports of detainees being tortured or ill-treated immediately upon being taken into detention, either by police, military or local militia forces.

Pillay said the current situation underscored the need for ongoing monitoring of the human rights situation, especially in the South. The High Commissioner also stressed the urgent need for a thorough international, independent and impartial investigation into the events in June.

SRI LANKA PANEL MEMBERS CONVENE IN NEW YORK

In response to questions, the Spokesperson confirmed that the members of the Panel of Experts who will be advising the Secretary-General on Sri Lanka began three days of initial briefings in New York on Monday. They will be meeting amongst themselves and with their staff, as well as with senior Secretariat officials.

Nesirky said that they have a range of meetings planned, including with the Under-Secretaries-General for Political, Humanitarian and Legal Affairs, the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the Chef de Cabinet and Political Director in the Office of the Secretary-General.

The panel, he said, will have a small staff that will work on a full-time basis for the duration of the panel, and will include persons with the appropriate experience in relation to the issues the panel will be examining. The panels Chief of Staff is Richard Bennett, until now the representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal, who before that held a similar position in Afghanistan.

Asked whether the four-month duration of the Panels term begins with this weeks meeting, the Spokesperson said it did not.

UNITED NATIONS EXAMINING END-OF-TERM REPORT BY FORMER HEAD OF OVERSIGHT OFFICE

In response to questions about an end-of-term report put out by the now-departed head of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), Inga-Britt Ahlenius, the Spokesperson said that the Secretariat is examining the substantive elements of the report very closely for what lessons we can learn from it. He said that we welcome constructive advice aimed at strengthening the work of the Organization.

Regarding Ban Ki-moons leadership, Nesirky pointed out that the Secretary-General, like his recent predecessors, has had to strike a balance between acting as a Chief Administrative Officer of the United Nations on the one hand, and providing truly global leadership on the other.

He drew attention to the Secretary-Generals efforts, along with those of his predecessors, to strengthen the system of accountability at the United Nations. And he noted the Secretary-Generals leadership on a range of issues, from climate change and the empowerment of women to Haiti, Afghanistan, Gaza and disarmament issues.

The Spokesperson said that change is difficult, especially in an organization as large and diverse as the United Nations. Change often meets with resistance. But change is necessary, he said, adding that business as usual is not an option and would be a prescription for irrelevance.

Asked about appointments to the Investigations Division in OIOS, Nesirky noted that the Secretary-General is also concerned about the delay in filling the post of Director of OIOS Investigations Division. However, the Under-Secretary-General for Internal Oversight Services allowed the post to remain vacant since mid-2006, with a notice for the vacancy only going out in 2008. The Secretary-General is looking forward to filling the post of Director with a good candidate, and he also intends to name Ahleniuss successor shortly.

Asked about the question of hiring Robert Appleton to an OIOS post, the Spokesperson emphasized the importance of following due process.

REFUGEE AGENCY CHIEF VISITS D.R CONGO, UGANDA TO STRESS NEEDS OF DISPLACED CIVILIANS

High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, is

visiting the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda this week to draw attention to the needs of displaced Congolese civilians.

In the DRC, Guterres will visit the Equateur and Noth Kivu provinces, where he will be joined by WFPs Executive Director, Josette Sheeran. The two officials will then proceed to Kampala to stress the need to ensure humanitarian access to Congolese internally displaced persons in their meetings at this weekends African Union summit.

Violence in eastern DRC has displaced some 1.85 million people internally and forced 450,000 refugees into neighbouring countries. Widespread insecurity has also blocked humanitarian access in several areas. So far this year, UNHCR says it has recorded 116 attacks against humanitarian workers.

W.F.P. MASSIVELY EXPANDS FOOD AID OPERATIONS IN NIGER

The World Food Programme said it is massively expanding its food aid operation in

Niger to reach up to 8 million hungry people. Those include farmers who lost crops and livestock in a drought, which WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran has called an unfolding catastrophe.

Sheeran is in Niger today to assess the scale of the needs and the challenges in her agencys expansion of hunger operations, especially those aimed at feeding vulnerable children.

Although the food crisis in Niger has grown gradually worse since September 2009, WFP says it has received less than half of the $213 million it needs to address the crisis.

BAN KI-MOON HAS STRESSED NEED FOR STATES TO COOPERATE WITH SECURITY COUNCIL REQUESTS

Asked whether Chad should arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, in accordance with an

International Criminal Court warrant, if he travels to that country, the Spokesperson reaffirmed that the Court is an independent body.

He said the Secretary-General had made clear that, where there is a specific request from the Security Council for individuals to be taken into custody, that request should be carried out.

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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