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United Nations Daily Highlights, 99-04-15

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

DAILY HIGHLIGHTS

Thursday, 15 April, 1999


This daily news round-up is prepared by the Central News Section of the Department of Public Information. The latest update is posted at approximately 6:00 PM New York time.

Latest Developments


HEADLINES

  • US Congressional committee votes to restore funding of UN Population Fund.
  • Former Rwandan official pleads not guilty to six counts on initial appearance before UN tribunal.
  • UNICEF profoundly shocked by brutal rape of staff member in South Africa.


The US House of Representatives International Relations Committee has voted 23 to 17 to restore American funding of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which was stopped in September 1998.

The amendment to the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, H.R. 1211, which was passed on Wednesday, received bipartisan support by members of Congress who argued that the US should support UNFPA, which played a critical role in protecting women's health and curbing population growth. The full House of Representatives is expected to vote on the amendment next week.

As passed, the amendment would authorize a $25 million contribution to UNFPA in fiscal year 2000 and $25 million in 2001 under a strict set of conditions. None of the US contribution to UNFPA may be used in China and US funds would be maintained in a segregated account and may not be mixed with other UNFPA funds.

In addition, the US contribution would be reduced dollar- for-dollar by the amount that UNFPA spends in China unless the US President certifies that the agency's country programme in China focuses on improving the delivery of voluntary family planning information and services. The programme would also have to conform to internationally recognized human rights principles, operate only in Chinese counties where all targets and quotas have been abolished and work under the oversight of UNFPA's Executive Board.

UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Nafis Sadik welcomed the renewed commitment by Members of Congress to restore funding. "The United States has always been a leader in the population field and played an important role in global family planning efforts," she said.


A former Rwandan Minister of Information on Thursday pleaded not guilty to crimes allegedly committed during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

During his initial appearance before the newly-established third chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, based in Arusha, Tanzania, Eliezer Niyitigeka pleaded not guilty to six counts of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity. Mr. Niyitegeka is alleged to have committed the crimes in Bisesero, Kibuye prefecture, where thousands of predominantly Tutsi men, women and children sought refuge between April and June 1994.

According to the indictment against him, Mr. Niyitigeka brought armed individuals and directed them to attack the people seeking refugees at various locations in the Bisesero area. "In addition, at various locations and times, and often in concert with others, Eliezer Niyitegeka personally attacked and killed persons seeking refuge in Bisesero," the indictment alleges.

Mr. Niyitegeka was arrested on 9 February 1999 in Nairobi, Kenya, and transferred to the Tribunal's detention facility in Arusha on 11 February 1999.


The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) said on Thursday that it was profoundly shocked and saddened by the news that one of its former staff members had been brutally raped at her residence in Johannesburg, South Africa.

A UN spokesman said that the incident occurred early on Thursday morning when an unknown number of intruders broke into the house where she was staying, raped the victim at gunpoint and looted the house. The police response was swift and efficient and a number of suspects were arrested within hours, the spokesman said.

UNICEF has arranged medical and other attention for the former staff member. The UN children's agency has also asked that the news media respect the privacy of the individual staff member in this situation and not make public her name.


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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