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United Nations Daily Highlights, 10-07-26
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Monday, July 26, 2010
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS KILLING OF FRENCH HUMANITARIAN WORKER IN THE SAHEL
The Secretary-General strongly condemns the killing of Michel Germaneau, a French national working on humanitarian projects in the Sahel region, a reprehensible act for which Al-Qaida in the Maghreb has claimed responsibility.
The Secretary-General considers this latest incident a strong reminder of the urgent need to defeat terrorism throughout the world and in the Sahel region in particular.
UNESCO, IRAQ MISSION CONDEMN ATTACK OF AL-ARABIYA OFFICE IN IRAQ
The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for
Iraq, Ad Melkert, condemned in the strongest terms the attacks that targeted the regional satellite channel Al-Arabiya, in which four of its employees and another two bystanders were killed.
He said, The attack of this morning shows once more that an immediate response is needed through an effective agreement on the formation of a new government that will be dedicated to the protection of citizens and freedom of the press.
Irina Bokova, Director-General of
UNESCO, condemned the attack today. She added that journalists must be able to go about their work freely, without fearing for their lives.
She called on the Iraqi authorities to do everything within their ability to ensure that the perpetrators of this crime are brought to justice.
The Secretary-General also condemned the attack.
CAMBODIA: EXTRAORDINARY CHAMBERS FINDS KHMER ROUGE PRISON CHIEF GUILTY OF CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY
The Trial Chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) today found Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, guilty of crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and sentenced him to 35 years of imprisonment.
Kaing Guek Eav was
convicted of crimes against humanity, as well as the numerous breaches of the Geneva Conventions.
The Trial Chamber decided that there are significant mitigating factors that mandated the imposition of a finite term of imprisonment rather than one of life imprisonment. These factors include cooperation with the Chamber, admission of responsibility, limited expressions of remorse, the coercive environment in Democratic Kampuchea, and the potential for rehabilitation.
UNITED NATIONS HAS DOCUMENTED CIVILIAN TOLL OF AFGHAN CONFLICT
Asked about recent leaked reports indicating a high level of civilian casualties caused during the fighting in
Afghanistan, the Spokesperson noted that the United Nations human rights office in Afghanistan has documented each year that there has been a terrible toll on civilians in the Afghan armed conflict.
All sides to the armed conflict, he said, have an obligation to avoid civilian casualties. The recent reports of the leaked military documents highlight this human cost further.
Nesirky noted that the 2009 UN human rights report in Afghanistan on the protection of civilians documented that 67% of civilian casualties were caused by anti-government elements. The UN report on the protection of civilians for the first half of 2010 will be published in early August.
ANNOUNCEMENT ON NEW HEAD OF INTERNAL OVERSIGHT EXPECTED SHORTLY
The Spokesperson, in response to questions, said that an announcement on the new head of the Office for Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) would be made in the coming days. First, he said, the Secretary-General would transmit a name to the General Assembly, and the Assembly would then decide on the nomination.
Asked about criticism in the end-of-assignment report from the previous OIOS head, Inga-Britt Ahlenius, the Spokesperson said that the report contained some inaccuracies and misrepresentations that would need to be corrected. He noted the letter sent to all UN staff by the Chef de Cabinet, Vijay Nambiar, in that regard.
Nesirky added that the new OIOS head will need to do a great deal of work at that Office, including filling a backlog of vacancies.
Asked about criticism by Ahlenius of the Secretary-Generals performance, the Spokesperson described the large amount that Ban Ki-moon has done since taking office. Whether standing in front of the smouldering wreckage of a UN compound in Gaza, meeting with displaced persons in Darfur or bringing together diplomats for a climate change agreement in Copenhagen, Ban Ki-moon has demonstrated his effectiveness as a Secretary-General, he said.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL ADDRESSES AFRICAN UNION SUMMIT
Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro
spoke on behalf of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the opening of the African Union summit in Kampala, Uganda, on Sunday.
In her remarks, she said that the recent terrorist attacks in the Ugandan capital show that the Somali crisis has a direct impact on regional and global security. She said the world must do more to support the Somalia Transitional Federal Government in its reconciliation efforts and in its fight against extremism.
On the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), she noted that progress has been lagging across Africa on maternal and child health. She also urged an end to violence against women and called for their full participation in society.
DARFUR: U.N.-A.U. MISSION IS PREVENTING ESCALATION OF TENSIONS AT KALMA CAMP
The UN/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) says that leaders of the Kalma camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) have received threats over their participation in the latest round of peace talks in Doha, Qatar.
The Mission says that individuals claiming to be from the Sudan Liberation Army-Abdul Wahid faction (SLA-AW) shot indiscriminately inside the camp during the early hours on Sunday.
One person was wounded, and two suspects were detained by police after a failed assault on a camp leader. Meanwhile, five camp religious leaders sought refuge at a nearby UNAMID locale.
The Mission says it is negotiating with camp leaders and others to prevent an escalation of the situation. It says that tensions had been rising at the Kalma camp since the latest round of talks concluded last week with some IDP groups saying they were not fully represented.
PEACEKEEPING CHIEF VISITS U.N. MISSION IN LEBANON
The Under-Secretary-General for United Nations Peacekeeping Operations, Alain Le Roy, visited the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) over the past weekend.
Le Roy met with UNIFIL officials in Naqoura, and with Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Lebanese Armed Forces Commander General Jean Kahwagi, other senior Lebanese Armed Forces officials, among others, in Beirut.
Le Roys trip to Lebanon came as part of regular visits to UN Peacekeeping Missions, to assess the situation on the ground and to liaise with UN and local officials. The visit precedes the Security Council's consideration at the end of August of the extension of UNIFIL's mandate, as requested by the Lebanese Government.
SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES WORLD LEADERS TO WORK TOWARDS NUCLEAR ABOLISHMENT
In his message to the Hiroshima Conference for the Total Abolition of Nuclear Weapons by 2020, set to open in Japan on Tuesday, the Secretary-General urges all leaders to intensify efforts towards nuclear abolishment.
He also urges world leaders, especially those of the nuclear-weapon States, to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to see firsthand the drastic reality caused by nuclear war.
The Secretary-General stresses the need to work together toward the day when governments no longer have a choice but to respond to the will of the people for a nuclear-free world.
He also refers to his own five-point plan, put forward in October 2008, and stresses that the world must build on the momentum generated by the successful outcome of this years
NPT Review Conference.
SECRETARY-GENERAL HAS SENT NOTE TO GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON IMPLEMENTATION OF GOLDSTONE REPORT: Asked about the Secretary-Generals report on the implementation of the Goldstone panels recommendations, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-general is sending a note to the General Assembly today, which says that he received the replies from the Israelis, Palestinians and Swiss, but they still need to be translated. He won't send their inputs, or his own observations, until that translation has been completed.
SECRETARY-GENERAL HAS STRESSED IMPORTANCE OF DIALOGUE ON IRANIAN NUCLEAR ISSUE: Asked about a reported offer from Iran to engage in negotiations on its nuclear programme, the Spokesperson said that was a matter for the Vienna Group to consider. He noted that the Secretary-General has consistently said that it is important to return to dialogue on that issue.
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
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New York, NY 10017
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