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United Nations Daily Highlights, 02-07-02

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

Tuesday, July 2, 2002

ANNAN TO DEPART FOR VIENNA TO TALK WITH IRAQIS

Secretary-General Kofi Annan will be leaving this afternoon for Vienna, Austria, where the next round of UN-Iraq talks are scheduled to begin on Thursday.

After two days of talks with Iraqi officials in the Austrian capital, the Secretary-General is scheduled to head to Durban, South Africa, where he will attend the Summit of the Organization of African Unity on July 8 and 9.

SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES MANDATE OF UN MISSION IN BOSNIA

The

Security Council held consultations this morning on its program of work for July and on Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Security Council, in a Sunday evening vote, extended the mandate of the UN mission in Bosnia by 72 hours, until the end of Wednesday.

The Council expects to hold further consultations on Bosnia on Wednesday.

AFGHANISTAN: UN MISSION ASSISTS BOMBING VICTIMS

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has offered the Afghan authorities any assistance that may be required to the victims of the tragic bombing that took place Monday in Uruzgan province. It has helped to arrange a government convoy to Uruzgan with medical supplies provided by the UN agencies. The UN mission expressed deep condolences to the families of the victims and said that it expected that the joint investigation by the Transitional Administration and U.S. forces would provide a full clarification on the circumstances of the incident.

The UN Mine Action Centre for Afghanistan (MACA), meanwhile, has dispatched several teams to the Spin Boldak area in southern Afghanistan for technical assessments, along with supporting capacity from the Swiss De-mining Federation, following the explosion at an ammunition compound there last Friday. The ammunition compound itself will take up to one month to clear. With approximately 60 skilled Mine Action personnel on the site, working extended eight-hour shifts, the Centre anticipates that the surrounding area will be cleared within the next 10 days.

UNHCR HALTS RETURN OF DISPLACED IN NORTHERN AFGHANISTAN

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has suspended the return of internally displaced persons in some provinces of northern and central Afghanistan due to the precarious security situation. UNHCR says it is extremely concerned about the escalating violence and the worsening human rights situation in those areas. Scores of attacks and intense fighting have caused the deaths of civilians, especially women and children. There is also an upsurge in criminal activities, including robberies, rapes and murders.

The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a press statement today regarding a $2.2 million rehabilitation program for the Afghan healthcare system, designed primarily to bring medical services to women. One of the most important issues is psycho-social trauma among women. WHO estimates that 40 percent of the Afghan population is suffering from psycho-social distress due to conflict in the country.

REPORT SAYS MOST YOUNG DO NOT KNOW HOW AIDS IS SPREAD

A new report released today finds that the majority of the worlds young people have no idea how HIV/AIDS is transmitted or how to protect themselves.

The report, Young People and HIV/AIDS: Opportunity in Crisis, was jointly produced by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNAIDS (the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS). It stresses that young people are the group the hardest hit by the disease and are also the key to overcoming it.

Surveys of 60 countries indicate that more than 50 percent of the 15-24 age group have serious misconceptions about how the disease is transmitted and as few as 20 percent know how to protect themselves.

REPORT NOTES PROBLEMS IN ARAB HUMAN DEVELOPMENT

The Arab Human Development Report, a report commissioned by the UN Development Programme detailing the human development achieved in the 22 Arab States, was issued in Cairo today, and notes that life expectancy in the region has increased by 15 years over the past three decades, while adult literacy has almost doubled.

The report, however, warns that over the past two decades, growth in per capita income in the Arab world was lower than any other region except sub-Saharan Africa, with an average annual growth rate of 0.5 percent for the region. Labor productivity in Arab nations is low, and has been declining; productivity has been 32 percent that of the North American level in 1960, and has actually fallen to 19 percent of the North American level in 1990.

The way forward, the report says, involves promoting good governance, based on expanding human capabilities, choices, opportunities and freedoms, and empowering women and those most marginalized in society.

OSHIMA COMPLETES VISIT TO SOUTHERN AFRICAN STATES

Emergency Relief Coordinator Kenzo Oshima has just completed a mission to Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia, intended to assess the humanitarian situation in southern Africa.

While in the region, the mission met with senior Government officials, UN agencies, donors and NGO partners. The effects of the HIV/AIDS pandemic have been devastating throughout the region, and have increased vulnerabilities and weakened coping abilities. This is a new dimension that has not been part of previous food shortages.

The mission further concluded that there is an opportunity to avert a famine in Southern Africa, but this window of opportunity is closing quickly. To generate funds for this crisis, Oshima will brief donors on July 10 in Geneva, and then launch the Regional Appeal -- which includes five national appeals for Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho and Swaziland -- at the humanitarian segment of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in New York on July 18.

COMMISSION APPROVES $4.9 BILLION IN REPARATIONS BY IRAQ

The Governing Council of the UN Compensation Commission concluded its 44th session today and approved almost $4.9 billion dollars in compensation.

Although the bulk of the work was done between June 18 and 20th, the session was extended to continue to discuss one agenda item. The Commission has the same membership as the Security Council, and is presided over by Ambassador Sverre Bergh Johansen of Norway.

LEVEL OF IRAQ OIL EXPORTS REMAINS UNCHANGED

The Office of the Iraq Programme, in its weekly update, says that oil exports remained almost unchanged from the previous weeks total, standing at 8 million barrels in the week ending on June 28. The weeks exports netted an estimated $185 million in revenue.

Owing to a revenue shortfall, 991 humanitarian supply contracts, worth about $2.2 billion, while approved by the United Nations, are currently lacking in funds and cannot be processed further. Almost all the sectors of the program continue to be affected by this shortfall in funds to some degree.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Terje Roed Larsen, is in London today for a meeting with his counterparts from the Russian Federation, the United States and the European Union, who collectively comprise the Quartet.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees reports that the daily numbers of those arriving in Sierra Leone from Liberia had fallen to 500-700 persons from an average of 1,300 a day last week. While the numbers had gone down, aid workers reported an increase in vulnerable cases. Elderly, ill and handicapped people, as well as pregnant women and newborn babies and unaccompanied children, accounted for about one-tenth of those leaving.

High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson on Monday afternoon signed an agreement in Mexico with Foreign Minister Jorge Castañeda, providing for her agency to open an office in Mexico to help draw up an inclusive national human rights program. Among the issues the new office will address are torture, the work of the national human rights commission, indigenous rights and the administration of justice.

  • Todays guest was Peter Hansen, the Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), who discussed the agencys appeal for $55 million in extra aid for humanitarian assistance in the West Bank.

    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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