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United Nations Daily Highlights, 10-08-16

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

FARHAN HAQ, ACTING DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Monday, August 16, 2010

SECRETARY-GENERAL RETURNS FROM HEART-WRENCHING VISIT TO FLOOD-AFFECTED AREAS OF PAKISTAN

The Secretary-General returned this morning from a day-long visit to Pakistan, where he saw for himself the human suffering and damage caused by the current floods.

Speaking to reporters after seeing the flood-affected areas on Sunday, the Secretary-General said, This has been a heart-wrenching day, and I will never forget the destruction and suffering that I have witnessed. He said that he has visited the scenes of many natural disasters around the world, but nothing like what he saw in Pakistan, with so many people, in so many places, in so much need. Nearly one out of ten Pakistanis has been directly or indirectly affected, he said -- possibly 20 million people.

During his visit, the Secretary-General announced a further contribution of $10 million through the UNs Central Emergency Response Fund, in addition to $16.3 million already contributed through that Fund.

The Secretary-General had visited a relief camp in the district of Multan, located in the countrys central-eastern province of Punjab, where he met flood victims and saw the assistance being provided to them. He was accompanied by the Emergency Relief Coordinator, John Holmes, who said that this is likely to be his last trip in that capacity.

The Secretary-General also met with Pakistans President, Asif Ali Zardari, and Prime Minister, Yousaf Raza Gillani. He said he hoped his visit would help to accelerate the rate of generous support from the international community.

The Secretary-General will be back at UN Headquarters this afternoon for a few meetings. He will report to the General Assembly on his visit to Pakistan on Thursday.

PAKISTAN: U.N. AIRLIFTS ASSISTANCE, WARNS OF DISEASE RISK FOR CHILDREN

An airlift of relief supplies provided by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) arrived in Quetta today, to help the soaring numbers of flood victims in the province of Balochistan. The Agency was able to move 64 tonnes of tents, plastic sheets and mosquito nets from its stockpiles to Quetta to help speed up relief efforts. More airlifts are expected in the coming days, pending availability of aircraft.

To date the Refugee Agency in Balochistan has helped some 46,000 people with shelter materials. The office is hoping to help some 90,000 people, but urgently needs more aid.

As many as three and a half million children in Pakistan may be at risk of contracting deadly diseases carried through contaminated water and insects, according to UNICEF.

DARFUR: HUMANITARIAN CONDITIONS IN KALMA CAMP CONTINUE TO DETERIORATE

The UN/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) is reporting that humanitarian conditions at South Darfur Kalma camp for internally displaced persons continue to deteriorate.

Fuel reserves in the camp have been exhausted, and motorized water pumps can no longer be operated. Two clinics inside the camp continue to assist those in need of medical attention, but their resources are dwindling by the hour. The Mission says one of the clinics has reported more than 60 cases of malnutrition.

The situation inside the camp remains tense, even though instances of gunfire have significantly decreased overnight. Most of the civilians who had sought protection around the Missions Community Policing Center have now relocated to other parts of the camp. Meanwhile, negotiations continue between the Mission leadership and local authorities to improve conditions, including humanitarian access to the camp.

The Mission also reports that two of its police advisors were abducted at gunpoint by unknown persons in Nyala, South Darfur, over the weekend. An investigation into the incident is underway by Sudanese authorities and UNAMID.

Asked about reports of Sudanese complaints against the presence of some UN agencies and other bodies in West Darfur, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations has seen the preliminary reports of these developments and is awaiting further clarification from the Government of Sudan.

He said that it was understood that the statements were related to security matters in West Darfur state. However, expulsion orders have not been officially issued.

Haq said that discussions are ongoing between the UN and the Government in Khartoum. The ICRC has requested that it handle these developments on its own behalf, which the United Nations will respect.

Asked whether the referendum in Sudan should be delayed, the Spokesperson said that the UN system, including the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), was working to ensure that the referendum could be held safely and on schedule.

LEBANON: U.N. STRESSES IMPORTANCE OF CONTINUED CLOSE COORDINATION BETWEEN MISSION AND LEBANESE ARMED FORCES

Major-General Alberto Asarta Cuevas, the Force Commander of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), held separate meetings in Beirut today with Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

Their discussions focused on the security situation in south Lebanon, UNIFILs investigation into the incident in El Adeisse of 3 August and the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, including the issue of Ghajar.

Afterward, Major-General Asarta said that he had stressed the importance of maintaining the existing close coordination between UNIFIL and the Lebanese Armed Forces.

Concerning the incident near El Adeisse, Major-General Asarta said: This tragic incident must remain isolated. I have received assurances from all the parties that they want to defuse the tension and continue working closely with UNIFIL to restore and maintain calm in the area. No one is interested in an escalation.

Asked whether the UNIFIL investigation into the 3 August incident had been completed, the Spokesperson said it had not. Once completed, the results of the investigation will be shared with the parties.

INDICTMENTS FILED FOR FOUR KHMER ROUGE OFFICIALS IN CAMBODIA

The Co-Prosecutors for the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) have filed a request for indictments against four former Khmer Rouge officials - Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary, Khieu Samphan and Ieng Thirith on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and violations of the 1956 Cambodian Penal Code.

Also today, the Co-Prosecutors have appealed the judgment from last month by which Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, was convicted and sentenced to a period of 30 years imprisonment. The Co-Prosecutors requested the Supreme Court Chamber to increase the term of imprisonment against Duch, saying that the sentence against him gave insufficient weight to the gravity of Duchs crimes and his role and his willing participation in those crimes.

U.N. LAUNCHES DECADE FOR FIGHT AGAINST DESERTIFICATION

The United Nations Decade for deserts and the fight against desertification was launched today in Fortaleza, Brazil. In a

message marking this occasion, the Secretary-General called for intensified efforts to nurture the land we need for achieving the

Millennium Development Goals and guaranteeing human well-being.

He said continued land degradation is a threat to food security and also poses growing social costs. But, he added, by providing sustained assistance to local communities, we can preserve or recover millions of hectares of land, reduce vulnerability to climate change and alleviate hunger and poverty for one-third of humanity.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

U.N. LEADS FIRST MISSION TO BRAZIL ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE: Sha Zukang, the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and Secretary-General of the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), is leading the first mission to Brazil, which is the host country for the UNCSD, also known as Rio + 20. Among other high-level officials, Sha will meet with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of the Environment, and the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro.

MIDDLE EAST QUARTET MEMBERS ARE IN CONTACT: Asked about Israeli complaints about a possible statement by the Middle East Quartet, the Spokesperson said that the Quartets members were in contact, and he noted that a statement might be forthcoming in the coming days, although there was no specific date when one would be issued.

U.N. CONTINUES CONTACTS ON HUMAN RIGHTS INVESTIGATION IN KYRGYZSTAN: Asked about human rights in Kyrgyzstan, the Spokesperson recalled that the United Nations is in contact with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and the Government of Kyrgyzstan to see whether an international investigation into developments there can be formulated, and what kind of role the United Nations would have in such an investigation.

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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