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United Nations Daily Highlights, 97-06-30

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From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org

DAILY HIGHLIGHTS

Monday, 30 June 1997


This document is prepared by the Central News Section of the Department of Public Information and is updated every week-day at approximately 6:00 PM.

HEADLINES

  • Security Council decides to establish a new observer mission in Angola effective from 1 July 1997.
  • United Nations Secretary-General applauds China and Great Britain for peaceful transfer of Hong Kong.
  • UN Secretary-General pledges partnership of the world body to Caribbean leaders meeting in Jamaica.
  • The Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo rejects the composition of UN mission to investigate the human rights situation in the country.
  • The Joint UN/OAU Special Representative in the Great Lakes region consults with French officials on the crisis in Congo- Brazzaville.
  • The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights expresses concern over a decision by a High Court of Malaysia to put a UN expert under its jurisdiction.
  • UN industrial development agency unveils business plan on its future role and functions.
  • A new UN report on HIV/AIDS says children are under increasing threat of the disease.


Recognizing the successful contribution of the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III) to the restoration of peace and the process of national reconciliation in country, the Security Council on Monday decided to establish, as of 1 July, the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA). The new follow-on mission would replace UNAVEM III.

In a unanimous vote on Monday, the Council also decided that the initial mandate of the new mission would end on 31 October 1997.

The Council strongly urged the Government of Angola and, in particular, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) to complete without delay the remaining political and military aspects of the peace process, including, among other things, the normalization of State administration throughout the territory of Angola, the transformation of the UNITA radio station into a non-partisan broadcasting facility, and the transformation of UNITA into a political party.

Appealing to both parties to refrain from any use of force which could obstruct the full implementation of the peace process, the Council "strongly urged the parties to complete the registration and demobilization of all remaining military elements, the elimination of all obstacles to free circulation of people and goods, and the disarmament of the civilian population".

The Council demanded that UNITA provide to the Joint Commission without delay complete information regarding all armed personnel under its control in order for them to be verified, disarmed and demobilized in accordance with the Lusaka Protocol and other agreements between the parties.

It urged the international community to provide assistance to facilitate the demobilization and social reintegration of ex-combatants and the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Angolan national economy in order to consolidate the gains in the peace process.


UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan says important commitments have been given to the people of Hong Kong, "guaranteeing that the way of life and rich diversity of Hong Kong society would be preserved and enhanced under the formula of--one country, two systems".

Applauding the Governments of China and Great Britain on the peaceful transfer of Hong Kong, Mr. Annan noted that the world had viewed with admiration and respect the process that had come to a satisfactory conclusion. He stated the economy of Hong Kong was both strong and vibrant, adding that "for the resourceful and dynamic people of Hong Kong a new future beckons, based on the solid foundations already laid down".

"I have wished Mr. Tung Chee Hwa, Chief Executive of the Special Administrative Region, every success as he works with the people of Hong Kong to bring about an even more prosperous and dynamic Hong Kong, in which the rule of law and respect for human rights remain a major unifying factor", said the Secretary-General.

The UN leader said he was looking forward to a further strengthening of the new Special Administrative Region of China as a world financial and economic centre.


United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has pledged the partnership of the world body to the efforts undertaken by the Caribbean leaders in combatting problems in the region including poverty and the scourge of drugs.

In a message to the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in Jamaica, Mr. Annan said that only through partnerships with regional organizations, the private sector and civil society "can we achieve the high aims to which our Charter has committed us".

Referring to last week's special session of the General Assembly which was dedicated to the environment as "indeed a landmark", the Secretary-General said the Caribbean would be among the important beneficiaries of that global awareness, adding that the problem of climate change and rising sea levels were "the most serious long-term threats facing the Caribbean".


The Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has rejected the composition of a United Nations mission to "investigate allegations of massacres and other issues affecting human rights as a result of the situation prevailing in eastern Zaire since September 1996".

According to a statement issued by the United Nations on Sunday, the Congolese Government also insisted that the time period covered by the investigation should be from 20 March 1993 until 17 May 1997.

"The United Nations advance team explained to the Congolese Government that it had no authority to negotiate on the composition and mandate of the investigation which were specified in a resolution passed by a consensus vote by the 53 member States of the Geneva-based Commission during April this year", the statement said.

Acknowledging that the issues of composition and mandate could not be resolved at this stage, the Congolese Government confirmed the need to carry out an investigation and for talks to continue with the advance team on a draft protocol covering the basic principles for an investigation, including guarantees to be provided by the Government, the statement noted.


The Special Representative of the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity for the Great Lakes region, Ambassador Mohamed Sahnoun on Monday held consultations with French officials on a potential multinational force for Congo-Brazzaville. Ambassador Sahnoun went to France following his participation in the international mediation committee which met in Libreville, Gabon to discuss the crisis in Congo- Brazzaville. Ambassador Sahnoun is scheduled to arrive in New York to brief the Security Council later this week, a United Nations Spokesman announced on Monday.
A United Nations official at the Geneva-based Centre for Human Rights has warned that the decision of a court in Malaysia could undermine the independence of human rights experts.

Ralph Zacklin, Officer-in-Charge of the UN High Commissioner/Centre for Human Rights on Monday said he was deeply concerned over a decision of the High Court of Malaysia that it had jurisdiction to hear an application brought by plaintiffs claiming that Param Cumaraswamy, the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, had made some defamatory statements.

The Court held that it was not bound by the certification of the UN Secretary-General confirming the Special Rapporteur's immunity from the legal process. According to the Court the certification was merely an opinion.

Mr. Zacklin, however, said that "in deciding that a national court has the jurisdiction to determine whether a Special Rapporteur is acting in the course of the performance of his mission, the court is usurping the exclusive authority of the Secretary-General to determine whether the words spoken or written or acts done by experts on missions, are performed in the course of their missions, and therefore, entitled to immunity from legal process of every kind", said Mr. Zacklin

He warned that if allowed to stand, the court's decision would undermine the ability of independent experts and special rapporteurs to carry out their mandates and to report on violations of human rights.


The Governing body of the United Nations agency responsible for promoting industrial development has adopted a business plan on the future role and functions of the agency.

The first part of the business plan, adopted by the 53-member Board of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Vienna, focuses on the promotion of investment and technology, industrial policy advice, institutional capacity-building as well as quality, standardization and metrology.

The second area, among other things, involves the promotion of environmentally sustainable industrial development strategies, transfer of environmental technologies, and development of norms and standards relating to environmental strategies and technologies.

UNIDO said special priority would be given to agro-based and small and medium enterprises in least developed countries, particularly in Africa. The agency also said that the new priorities would be reflected in a new organizational structure based on two substantive divisions involving programme execution and administration.

According to UNIDO, the new business plan will enable it to continue its work as a specialized entity within the UN system and to provide industrial services to developing countries and transition economies.


A recently released report by the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS says the number of children worldwide living under the threat of HIV/AIDS is dramatically rising.

According to the report some 1 000 children are infected with the HIV virus. The report estimates that by the end of 1997, one million children under the age of 15 will be infected.

Commenting on the increasing threat of HIV/AIDS, Dr. Peter Piot, head of the Joint UN Programme on AIDS said the disease had changed the world of children, adding that it was the responsibility of everyone to rise to the challenge and bring urgent support to children and their families as they face the "painful realities of life in a world with AIDS".


For information purposes only - - not an official record

From the United Nations home page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org


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