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United Nations Daily Highlights, 10-08-26

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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

MARTIN NESIRKY, SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Thursday, August 26, 2010

SECURITY COUNCIL MEMBERS WELCOME SECRETARY-GENERALS DECISION TO DISPATCH TOP ENVOY TO THE D.R.CONGO

The

Security Council held consultations on the Democratic Republic of the Congo this morning. Following the closed meeting, the President of the Council read a press

statement in which the members of the Security Council expressed their outrage at the recent case of mass rape in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) allegedly perpetrated by elements of the Front Démocratique de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR) and Mai Mai. They called upon the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to swiftly investigate these attacks and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice.

The members of the Security Council also welcomed the Secretary-Generals decision to dispatch immediately Assistant Secretary-General Atul Khare, Officer-in-Charge of the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations to the DRC to consult with relevant national authorities, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the DRC and United Nations personnel on the ground, to ascertain to the fullest extent possible the facts and circumstances surrounding this incident and to assess what more could be done in order to ensure more effective protection of civilians. They also welcomed the Secretary-Generals instruction to his Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Margot Wallström, to coordinate the United Nations response and follow-up on this incident. The members of the Security Council intend to be briefed by Mr. Khare and Ms. M. Wallström on their findings.

Asked about this mornings consultations, the Spokesperson said that the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Atul Khare, was on his way to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, following the Secretary-Generals decision to send him to that country immediately. Nesirky added that both Mr. Khare and Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Conflict, Ms. Wallström, would report to the Security Council.

The Spokesperson also noted that the Secretary-Generals Special Representative in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Roger Meece, had made clear that the UN had first heard of FDLR movements in the general area and on 31 July. But, he also noted, there was no suggestion of an attack, much less of the kind of events on such scale as mass rapes.

PAKISTAN: U.N. PROVIDES CLEAN WATER TO SOME 2.5 MILLION PEOPLE

In Pakistan, the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) and its partners have provided access to clean water to some 2.5 million people in flood-devastated areas of the country. But an estimated 3.5 million meanwhile only have contaminated water to drink, bath and wash.

Since the onset of the floods in late July, UNICEF and partners have been delivering clean water through tankering to 750,000 people, while an additional 1.8 million have been able to access clean water thanks to the rehabilitation of the water system totaling over 2.5 million who now have access to clean water daily. This figure is 42% of the six million people to whom the humanitarian community initially aims to provide clean water.

Meanwhile, an overall 3.2 million people have received medical attention in the flooded areas since the onset of the floods, with 462,000 cases of diarrhea, 596,700 cases of skin diseases, 441,000 of acute respiratory infections. Malaria is also on the rise with almost 65,000 cases reported in southern areas.

SOMALIA: U.N. POLITICAL OFFICE, ALONG WITH OTHERS, CONDEMS ONGOING ASSAULT ON MOGADISHU CIVILIANS

Norway, the United States, the African Union Mission in Somalia, the European Union, the InterGovernmental Authority on Development, the League of Arab States and the United Nations

Political Office for Somalia, have condemned in the strongest possible terms the ongoing assault against the people of Mogadishu being carried out by extremists. In a joint statement, they state that this brutal offensive is being conducted on several fronts and includes both the illegal blockading of food and humanitarian assistance as well the cold-blooded murder of innocent Somali citizens as witnessed in the attack on the Muna hotel which caused so many civilian deaths.

The statement notes with particular concern the presence of foreign fighters, working in collaboration with Al-Shabab, against ordinary Somalis. It adds that the peace process will continue in Somalia despite the attempts of a violent minority to stop it.

SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS JACK LANG OF FRANCE AS SPECIAL ADVISER ON LEGAL ISSUES RELATED TO SOMALIA PIRACY

The Secretary-General has appointed Mr. Jack Lang (France) as Special Adviser on Legal Issues related to Piracy off the Coast of Somalia.

Mr. Lang is a professor of public law and has extensive experience as a national and international policy maker. He has been elected as a deputy of the National Assembly of France and as a member of the European Parliament. He was the special envoy of the President of France to Cuba in February 2009 and to North Korea in November 2009. He has previously served as Minister of Culture and Education and as President of the foreign affairs committee of the National Assembly. In addition to his political career, Mr. Lang has also served in a number of academic legal posts. He holds a degree from the Institut dEtudes Politiques de Paris (Paris Institute of Political Studies) and a postgraduate degree in public law. Mr. Lang was born on 2 September 1939.

The international community, including the Security Council, has clearly emphasized the need to achieve and sustain substantive results in combating the scourge of piracy. The human, commercial and security threats posed by piracy are enormous and widespread.

The Secretary-General has requested Mr. Lang to: identify any additional steps that can be taken to assist States in the region, as well as other States, to prosecute and imprison persons who engage in piracy; and explore the willingness of States in the region to serve as potential Host for any of the options for potential new judicial mechanisms set out in the report of the Secretary-General prepared pursuant to Security Council resolution 1918 (2010).

Mr. Lang will coordinate closely with the Office of Legal Affairs and the Department for Political Affairs.

SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS MR. JOAN CLOS OF SPAIN AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF UN-HABITAT

Following nomination by the Secretary-General, the General Assembly, on 25 August 2010,

elected Mr. Joan Clos (Spain) as Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) at the level of Under-Secretary-General.

He succeeds Anna Tibaijuka to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for her dedicated service to the Organization and her commitment in leading

UN-Habitat.

Mr. Clos brings to this position, a combination of diplomatic skills and hands-on experience in the management of urban issues. He is currently the Ambassador of Spain to the Republic of Turkey. Previously, he served as Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism from 2006 to 2008. Prior to that, from 1997 to 2006, Mr. Clos served as Mayor of Barcelona and Chairman of the Metropolitan Greater Area of Barcelona. In this role, he implemented a far-reaching investment programme in the city of Barcelona, including the Barcelona 22@ Project, enlargement of the Barcelona tram and subway network and the Barcelona Social Low-cost Housing Plan 2000-2010.

In his previous activities (1985-1991) he commanded the regeneration programme of downtown Barcelona (Ciutat Vella), the most difficult and deprived district of the city including the city port, one of the biggest rehabilitation projects at this time in Europe; which was carried out in parallel to the investment programme for the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games. He began his local government activities as Director of the Public Health Department of Barcelona in 1979, and lead the investigation team that established the causal relationship between severe asthma attacks and exposure to a specific class of soybean dust.

Mr. Clos is expected to bring to the United Nations Human Settlements Programme proactive leadership and strategic direction in enhancing UN-Habitats role as a key player in sustainable urban development. He was chairman of the United Nations Advisory Committee of Local Authorities (UNCLA), the advisory body of local governments to the UN-Habitat Executive Director from 1998 to 2005. In the context of the Forum of Cultures Barcelona 2004, the second World Urban Forum (WUF) was celebrated and confirmed the relevance of this initiative.

Born in Parets del Vallés, Barcelona in 1949, Mr. Clos is married with two children. Mr. Clos graduated with a medical degree from the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona and studied his speciality in Public Health and Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

  • *** The guest at the Noon briefing today was John Holmes on his last day as Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.

    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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