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United Nations Daily Highlights, 02-07-01

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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

HIGHLIGHTS

OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY FRED ECKHARD

SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Monday, July 1, 2002

ROME STATUTE OF INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT ENTERS INTO FORCE

Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in an official statement issued on the day the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court entered into force, said: The entry into force of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court is an historic occasion. It reaffirms the centrality of the rule of law in international relations.

It holds the promise of a world in which the perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes are prosecuted when individual States are unable or unwilling to bring them to justice. And it gives the world a potential deterrent to future atrocities.

I congratulate all the States parties [which stands at 75] on taking the lead in ratifying the Statute, and I appeal to all States that have not yet done so to ratify or accede to it as soon as possible.

There must be no relenting in the fight against impunity or in our efforts to prevent genocide and the other horrendous crimes that fall under the Courts jurisdiction.

ADVANCE TEAM BEGINS WORK AT INTERNATIONAL COURT IN THE HAGUE

Today in The Hague, an advance team for the International Criminal Court, consisting of technical experts, began its work on preparing the ground for the Court to start recruiting and beginning its basic operations.

The team consists of eight experts, and will work closely with the Government of the Netherlands on preparatory work before the first budget of the Court is to be adopted by its States Parties when they meet this September. At that time, recruitment and procurement can formally begin.

The States Parties to the Statute expect to elect a prosecutor and 18 judges for the Court in another meeting, scheduled for January 2003.

UN MISSION IN BOSNIA MANDATE EXTENDED UNTIL WEDNESDAY

Sunday afternoon, the Security Council, after closed consultations, went into a formal meeting to consider the mandate of the UN Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH).

The United States vetoed a resolution to extend the mandate by six months, while 13 other members voted in favor and Bulgaria abstained; U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte, in the public meeting on Bosnia, linked that veto to U.S. concerns about obtaining immunity for U.S. peacekeepers from the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.

The Secretary-General told Security Council members after the vote that would be most unfortunate if the premature termination of the Bosnia Missions mandate set back efforts to help the country after it had been ripped apart by the 1992-95 war. He appealed to Council members to intensify their high-level negotiations to find a solution on this issue and warned that the world cannot afford a situation in which the Security Council is deeply divided on such an important issue, which may have implications for all UN peace operations.

The Secretary-General told reporters outside of the Security Council chamber afterwards that the search for a solution was continuing, adding, I dont think this should be beyond the creative minds of all these brilliant lawyers around the world to come up with a solution.

He said that, if a solution is not found, the mandates of other peacekeeping missions including the UN Interim Force in Lebanon could be affected.

The Security Council followed the U.S. veto with further consultations, and then, in a Sunday evening vote, adopted resolution 1420 (2002) extending the Bosnia Missions mandate by 72 hours, until the end of Wednesday.

The Security Council is not holding any consultations today, which, being the first day of the month, brings in a new Council President, British Ambassador Sir Jeremy Greenstock. Ambassador Greenstock is holding bilateral discussions with other Council members on its program of work for July and will brief the press tomorrow at 12:45pm..

Asked if the United Nations was ready for a worst case scenario if the UN mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina was forced to shut down on Wednesday, the Spokesman said it was hard to imagine that the mission would not be substantially damaged if it had to shut down late night Wednesday night. However, he added, there has been planning going on for months for an orderly hand over of the missions responsibility to the European Union and that handover was going to be done over six months. The United Nations, the Spokesman went on to say, is very concerned about what will happen in Bosnia and Herzegovina if the mission is abruptly terminated later Wednesday.

In continuing his answer, the Spokesman highlighted the Secretary-Generals statement yesterday in which he urged the high-level negotiations in search for a solution to continue and added that it was within the scope of human imagination to find a solution to save this mission.

Asked how long it would take to leave Bosnia and Herzegovina in the eventuality the mission was closed down, the Spokesman said it takes months to close down a mission. The missions substantive activities would have to stop, he added, if the Security Council does not make some provision for it to continue beyond Wednesday night. If not, the Spokesman said, the Secretariat would have to get from the General Assembly a budget for the orderly phasing out of the mission. In this particular case, he said, in addition to liquidating office space and supplies, there would be the added cost of canceling of contracts for supplies and employment, which could run into the millions of dollars.

Since the mission was to hand over to the European Union, the Spokesman added, one would have to see how quickly they could move up their operations in the eventuality of an early shut down.

In response on what else could be damaged from a termination of the UN mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General had pointed out the decision taken on this particular mission could have an effect on all peacekeeping operations. Of the peacekeeping missions that are coming for renewal this month, he added, the fate of the UN mission in Lebanon was especially worrying.

MIDDLE EAST: UN ENVOY TO ATTEND QUARTET MEETING IN LONDON

Terje Roed-Larsen, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, will join the other three members of the Quartet for meetings in London Tuesday afternoon and evening.

The other three are U.S. Assistant Secretary of State William Burns, and Middle East envoy for Russia, Andrei Vdovin, and his Europe Union counterpart Miguel Moratinos.

The issues of Palestinian Authority reforms and the security situation are among a number of issues that are expected to be discussed.

ANNAN: HEALTH AND EDUCATION ARE PILLARS FOR WELL-BEING OF INDIVIDUALS

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) today opened its three-day high-level segment, bringing together government officials and analysts from around the world to discuss the importance of human resources development in the effort to foster progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.

The Secretary-General opened the high-level segment by saying that the past year has put the United Nations to new tests, with the world economy suffering its biggest setback in a decade, and the September 11 attacks also affecting world economies.

Only limited improvement is foreseen in the developing world for the current year, with the world economic outlook plagued by an unusual degree of uncertainty, he warned.

He told ECOSOC that health and education are the twin pillars on which we must build the well-being of individuals, and thus a more healthy, equitable and peaceful tomorrow. He stressed in particular the importance of girls education, noting that the majority of the 120 million children who should be in school, but are not, are girls.

He added that the Economic and Social Council must make the implementation of the Millennium Declarations goals its first priority.

The opening of the substantive session will also feature a report by the Secretary-Generals Special Adviser on the Millennium Development Goals, Jeffrey Sachs, on financing requirements to meet health and education targets.

"IT IS THE DUTY OF LEADERS TO LEAD," ANNAN SAYS IN NEW SOMALIA REPORT

The report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council on the situation in Somalia was published today and in it he notes that regional peace effort spearheaded by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is at an impasse because of differences on how to proceed on national reconciliation in Somalia.

He also says that Somalia has witnessed an escalation of violence in recent months, which has cost many civilian lives and resulted in a worsening of the humanitarian crisis.

The Secretary-General urges Somali leaders to refrain from military action and violence and make every effort to participate constructively in the peace process.

It is the duty of leaders to lead, not to pursue narrow partisan advantage, he says.

He also appeals to the IGAD member states and other countries in the region not to allow differences among themselves to impede the national reconciliation process in Somalia.

UN MISSION IN SIERRA LEONE WARNS OF HUMANITARIAN CRISIS

The UN mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) reports that over the last three months, the situation in Liberia has precipitated a steady flow of Sierra Leonean returnees and Liberian refugees into Sierra Leone. Since the beginning of June over 17,000 refugees and close to 8,000 returnees have arrived into the country.

The UN mission warns that if rates of influx follow similar trends over the next few weeks, agencies will be unable to respond appropriately to the needs of newly arriving refugees and returnees and there will be a serious humanitarian crisis in Sierra Leone.

The Chairman of the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee on Sierra Leone, Ambassador Adolfo A. Zinser of Mexico is currently on a visit to the country. Yesterday he visited the district headquarters town of Kenema and Koidu in the diamond-rich district of Kono to assess the current peace process and political developments in Sierra Leone.

WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME LAUNCHES MASSIVE APPEAL FOR SOUTHERN AFRICA

James T. Morris, Executive Director of the World Food Programme launched a massive appeal to provide emergency relief food to six countries in southern Africa, where millions of people are threatened with starvation over the next nine months.

The agency is asking for $507 million to fund close to one million tons of food, enough to feed 10.2 million people until the next main harvest in March 2003. WFP has only one-quarter of the food it needs for the next three months.

WFP says the humanitarian crisis which affects Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland is the worst that southern Africa has experienced for a decade

In Angola, the number of people in urgent need of food assistance is estimated at 1.4 million, according to a joint report released today by the Food and Agriculture Organization and WFP.

UN FOOD RELIEF OPERATION TO AID OVER 2 MILLION INDONESIANS

WFP launched a $65-million relief operation in Indonesia today. The operation, running from July 1 to December, 31 2003, will help 2.1 million Indonesians who face the highest risk of hunger and malnutrition because of the spiralling costs of food and other commodities.

The operation is designed to solve at least one problem for these people getting enough to eat, said WFP Country Director for Indonesia Mohamed Saleheen.

Through the relief operation, WFP will enable 1.5 million urban poor to buy subsidized rice at a fraction of the normal price. It will also give rice to 300,000 internally displaced people and vital nutritional supplement to children under two years of age and their mothers.

ANNAN, IN WORLD CUP MESSAGE, HAILS BENEFITS OF SPORT ON CHILDREN

In a message delivered to the Organizers of the World Cup on Friday, the Secretary-General said: You have all united the world at least for this month, through our love for this sport.

In the message, which was delivered in Japan by Carol Bellamy, the Executive Director of the UN Childrens Fund, the Secretary-General said that it is the world-wide passion for football that enables the sport to have a broader impact on the lives of millions around the world, particularly children.

Football, he added, can promote improved health and education for the worlds children, prevention of HIV/AIDS and, yes, a childs right to recreation.

ILO REPORTS PROGRESS IN WORKING CONDITIONS IN CAMBODIAN FACTORIES

The International Labour Office (ILO) today reports "encouraging signs of improvement" of working conditions in some 30 garment factories located in Cambodia.

The "Third Synthesis Report on the Working Conditions Situation in Cambodia's Garment Sector" provides an overview of progress made by the factories in implementing suggestions made by ILO monitors.

The report said recent monitoring found no evidence of child labour or sexual harassment in the factories. While some problems remain, the report found improvements in ensuring freedom of association and the correct payment of wages.

These reports are critically important, as foreign buyers, mostly from North America and Europe, say they use ILO monitoring information to make purchasing decisions.

GHANAIAN DOCTOR TO RECEIVE UN POPULATION AWARD

This afternoon, the 21st annual UN Population Award was to be presented to a Ghanaian doctor and an NGO from the United States.

The winner of this years individual award is Dr. Kwasi Odio-Agyarko, the Executive Director of Rural Help Integrated in Ghana for his outstanding leadership and achievements in promoting community-based reproductive health services in his country.

The Institutional award will go the EngenderHealth for its work all over the world in safe and voluntary sterilization and family planning counseling programmes.

Gillian Sorensen, Assistant-Secretary-General for External Relations, will deliver a message on behalf of the Secretary-General.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

The International Day of Cooperatives will be observed on Saturday and in his message to mark the occasion the Secretary-General urges the international community to make the best and widest possible use of the cooperative spirit and experience in the service of the global community.

This morning, Cyprus became the 42nd country to ratify the International Convention on the Harmonization of Frontier Controls of Goods.

This afternoon, Turkey will become the 37th country to ratify the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and will sign the Protocol on the Trafficking of Firearms supplementing the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime.

Asked what the Secretary-Generals expectations were of moving beyond an exchange of views into real negotiations that could resolve the issue of inspectors during his upcoming talks with Iraqi officials, the Spokesman said he would like to see a concrete understanding on the return of inspectors. The Iraq delegation, the Spokesman added, said they had a much broader agenda but from the beginning the Secretary-Generals emphasis has been on the inspectors and he will continue to push on that issue.

  • The guest at today's noon briefing was Olara Otunnu, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict. Otunnu briefed on his visit to the Russian Federation including the Northern Caucasus.

    fice of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General United Nations, S-378 New York, NY 10017 Tel. 212-963-7162 - press/media only Fax. 212-963-7055

    All other inquiries to be addressed to (212) 963-4475 or by e-mail to: inquiries@un.org


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