Speaking on behalf of the members, Council President Juan Somavia of Chile said they were "aware of the Secretary-General's wish to have an advance military headquarters deployed to Libreville, a proposal on which he would like to see action taken in the very near future".
Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the press that the United Nations wanted to "send an advance headquarters element which would also have two advisory teams that would be able and prepared to help the parties monitor a ceasefire, if we were to get a credible ceasefire", adding, "that is what we are pressing them to do".
"Given the involvement of neighbouring countries, given the possibility that this will spill over to other countries in the region, if we do not act now and put pressure on them and show action, it may be much worse later on", the Secretary-General said. "I believe that if, given the action that the Council is taking and the signal that we are sending that we are prepared to follow through with action, I hope that the protagonists will see the determination of the international community and begin to talk seriously about a ceasefire and reconciliation." He added that the United Nations was prepared to work with leaders in the region towards that end.
Ambassador Somavia told reporters that Council members were concerned about the sharp deterioration of the situation in the country, and that they "share the opinion of the Secretary-General that the situation poses a threat to the peace and security of the subregion". He noted that the Secretary-General had urged the Council to take action to address the situation, stating that "inaction is more dangerous than the risk involved".
The members of the Council strongly urged the parties to adhere to the ceasefire agreement they had signed and to agree on first steps for a political settlement, Ambassador Somavia said. "The members of the Council strongly urged neighbouring countries and other external parties involved to withdraw any forces they may have sent to the Republic of the Congo and to refrain from intervening in the country's internal affairs", he added.
Ambassador Somavia also said that the members of the Council called on Member States with influence in the subregion to do what they could to help resolve the situation.
The new non-permanent members, who were elected in one round of voting, will assume their Council seats on 1 January 1998. The five other non- permanent Council members -- Costa Rica, Japan, Kenya, Portugal and Sweden - - will serve for another year.
In a letter sent to the President of the Security Council on Monday afternoon, the representative of the Republic of Congo said that a convoy of heavily armed men from Cabinda province entered Congolese territory through the village of Pangui in Komongo District on 11 October.
"The convoy consisted of five tanks, two BM-21, seven OURAL-37J personnel- carriers, two tank trucks, one engineer vehicle, one tank transporter, three Chilcas and tractor-drawn guns", the Congolese Ambassador Daniel Abibi said in the letter.
He also said that the convoy was deployed in the town of Kimongo, where it took district administrative and police officials hostage and seized all weapons at the police stations and military posts. According to Ambassador Abibi, the estimated 1,000 troops wore either Congolese or Angolan army uniforms, and some spoke French or Congolese national languages, while others spoke Portuguese or English.
The Republic of the Congo also informed the Council that on 13 October, two unidentified military aircraft had dropped bombs on Brazzaville, killing at least 20 civilians.
"The Government of the Republic of the Congo solemnly denies the allegations by the Luanda authorities of attacks by the Congo which are being used to justify raids by Angolan troops on Congolese territory" the letter concludes.
Ambassador Andre M. Kapanga said in the letter that the Congolese capital Kinshasa has, for several weeks, been subjected to sporadic mortar fire from the city of Brazzaville across the Congo River. Citing three incidents of shells hitting Kinshasa on three different days, Ambassador Kapanga said his country is outraged by "this intolerable provocation and these gratuitous and barbarous criminal acts".
The Ambassador also said that the Congo "will not shrink from any sacrifice in order to ensure its population peace, tranquillity and security", and calls on the Security Council "to assume fully its responsibility" in order to halt this "incipient crisis" and restore harmony in the region.
Patrick McCormack told reporters that UNICEF is providing essential drugs and other basic medical supplies for distribution to health centres throughout South Kivu. During the second half of September, UNICEF distributed 30 basic health kits, 27 supplementary health kits, three surgical kits, 900 boxes of quinine and 500 boxes of choroquinine. In order to help reduce the risks for pregnant women, UNICEF had also distributed 69 home delivery kits and 45 midwife kits, he added.
UNICEF was also helping reunite unaccompanied children with their families, Mr. McCormack said. In recent weeks, it had repatriated nine unaccompanied Rwandan children from the Bukavu transit centre to their home country, while eight Congolese children were reunified with their families.
Param Cumaraswamy of Malaysia will be in Brussels from 14 to 18 October to meet senior government officials, lawyers and the judiciary to discuss moves under way to reform the judicial system. The reform process follows the public response to the handling of cases involving child abuse and murder in which an investigating magistrate was removed from a case.
The Special Rapporteur will meet the Prime Minister of Belgium, the Minister for Justice and the President of the Court de Cassation -- the highest court of appeal.
From 20 to 30 October, Mr. Cumaraswamy will conduct a fact-finding mission to the United Kingdom with the aim of investigating complaints he received alleging intimidation and harassment of defence lawyers by the police. He will also investigate regulations which are alleged to impede the effective legal defence of clients in Northern Ireland.
According to the United Nations Information Service in Geneva, the Special Rapporteur would like to examine certain procedures in the United Kingdom whereby "high-risk" prisoners are allowed legal visits in prisons only when separated from their lawyers by a transparent screen. He also intends to look into the "tension that exists in the United Kingdom between the Government and the judiciary concerning the judicial review of administrative decisions".
A UN spokesman in Sarajevo told reporters on Tuesday that "the terrorist attack which affected that institution should be considered as "an attack against the basic human rights of the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina". He said the Special Rapporteur called upon the relevant authorities to undertake all necessary steps to stop terrorist activities and to apprehend and punish their perpetrators.
In a statement to the UNHCR Executive Committee on Tuesday, Mary Robinson said "human rights are deeply connected to the problem of refugees: first and foremost, because human rights violations often represent the root causes of refugee flows; and secondly because the problem of refugees can be properly managed and effectively solved only through an improvement in the standards of protection of human rights".
She said that there was some informal cooperation between her office and the UNHCR, but added that such cooperation must be strengthened. "The ongoing United Nations process of reform should improve cooperation among our institutions and ensure greater comprehensiveness and consistency in the system-wide response to refugee problems."
Willi Mernyi also told the Committee that real economic progress would only be achieved "when adults are at work and when children are in school". While there were laws against child labour in many countries, he said, few enforced them. "Those who profit from the exploitation of children should be held responsible and brought to justice", he said. He supported the work of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in its efforts to combat child labour.
Meanwhile, in Geneva, the ILO on Tuesday announced that it would participate, along with UNICEF, in an International Conference on Child Labour, to be held in Oslo from 27 to 30 October. The Conference will bring together ministers from 40 countries, as well as leaders of trade unions and employers' organizations, non-governmental organizations, United Nations agencies and leading experts on child labour.
According to the ILO's latest estimates, over 250 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 are working around the world "in countries rich and poor". Many are denied education and are trapped in cycles of poverty. Their most basic rights, their health and even their lives are sometimes placed in jeopardy.
The Ambassadors of Liechtenstein, Kazakstan, Turkmenistan, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Australia, Guinea and Kyrgyzstan wanted to discuss gender balance in the Secretariat as well as the need for more women representatives among envoys and special representatives of the Secretary- General. They were expected to be submitting names of qualified women for those posts, according to a UN spokesman.
The Secretary-General currently has 20 people variously designated as special representative, special envoy or personal representative or personal envoy who deal, on his behalf, with situations in regions around the world. None of them are women. Two women do hold "special assignments" - - Gertrude Mongella, the Special Envoy for Women and Development, and Sylvia Fuhrman, Special Representative for the United Nations International School.
According to the spokesman, women hold 36.6 per cent of all United Nations Secretariat jobs. Broken down by rank, they hold only 9.4 per cent of all posts at the level of Under-Secretary-General and Assistant Secretary- General. That figure rises significantly at the lower echelons of the professional hierarchy.
The WFP reported on Tuesday that a convoy of barges left Malakal with 2,664 metric tonnes of food to the city for the first time this year, following months of delays caused by insecurity in the region, particularly along the Nile River. It plans to distribute the food aid along the Nile River to a total of 373,835 people living in areas under the control of the Government or rebel forces.
Fighting between government and rebel forces around Juba, the largest city in southern Sudan with 185,000 people, has created chronic food shortages and forced most of the inhabitants to flee their homes. The barge convoy to Juba is expected to reach its final destination in November.
Another barge convoy carrying 453 metric tonnes of food aid is scheduled to depart on Kosti for Bentiu on Thursday. That food will be distributed to some 41,000 people in Unity State in southern Sudan. The area is facing food shortages as a result of crop failure and civil war.
Rubens Ricupero told the opening session of the Trade and Development Board in Geneva on Monday that as countries struggle to understand, and come to grips with, the impact of global trends and other powerful forces beyond their control, they should fully exploit the possibilities offered by UNCTAD.
"Greater international flows of goods, finance and investment associated with globalization are not the only basis on which the development process should be judged", Mr. Ricupero stated. "The ultimate objective of development policy is raising living standards for everybody." He emphasized that "the business of UNCTAD is development."