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United Nations Daily Highlights, 02-07-25

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

Thursday, July 25, 2002

JUDGES APPOINTED FOR SIERRA LEONE SPECIAL COURT

Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the Government of Sierra Leone today announced the appointment of eight judges who will serve on the Trial Chamber and Appeals Chamber of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, based in Freetown.

For the Trial Chamber, the Secretary-General appointed Pierre Boutet of Canada and Benjamin Mutanga Itoe of Cameroon, and the Government appointed Bankole Thompson of Sierra Leone.

For the Appeals Chamber, the Secretary-General appointed Emmanuel Ayoola of Nigeria, Alhaji Hassan B. Jallow of the Gambia and Renate Winter of Austria, and the Sierra Leonean Government appointed Gelaga King of Sierra Leone and Geoffrey Robertson of the United Kingdom.

In addition, the Secretary-General and the Government of Sierra Leone have agreed that if the Special Court wants to avail itself of alternate judges, Isaac Aboagye of Ghana and Elizabeth Muyovwe of Zambia should be appointed as alternates.

The registrar and prosecutor of the Court, who have been appointed earlier, are expected to assume their functions in Freetown in the second half of July.

SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES WOMEN, PEACE AND SECURITY

The Security Council today is holding an open debate on women, peace and security. The Security Council discussed this issue for the first time in October 2000 and adopted resolution 1325 aimed at strengthening womens protection in armed conflict and to support womens role in peace-building.

Among the speakers involved in todays debate were Angela King, the Secretary-Generals Special Advisor on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean Marie Guéhenno and Executive Director of the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) Noeleen Heyzer.

Angela King briefed the Security Council on a study being prepared on the impact of armed conflict on women and girls and the role of women in peace-building. She said the study, carried out over 18 months, provided the first systemic overview of gender-related activities carried out by the UN family in the field of peace and security.

She listed eight recommendations the study makes to move women off the sidelines and into everyday peace and humanitarian activities of the United Nations. But King said that challenges include the lack of political will to recognize women as equal partners. She noted the work that has gone into developing gender-sensitive guidelines but expressed disappointment on how little monitoring and self-evaluation are carried out.

Guéhenno mentioned examples of concrete progress in implementing resolution 1325 within specific peacekeeping operations, notably in East Timor, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He said in East Timor, women represented 27 percent of the total number of candidates elected to the Constituent Assembly the highest ever under a UN-sponsored election.

Todays Council debate began less than 12 hours after the open debate on the Middle East ended Wednesday night, following statements by 37 speakers.

TASK FORCE MEETS WITH ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTER, OFFICIALS

In Israel today, the International Task Force on Palestinian Reform met with senior Israeli officials, including Foreign Minister Shimon Peres as well as representatives of the Prime Ministers Office, the Finance Ministry and the Israeli Coordinator for the Territories.

The Task Force is comprised of members of the Quartet (United Nations, United States, European Union and Russia), as well Norway, Japan, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

The Foreign Minister told the Task Force that Israel was about to release 10 percent of the $650 million it is holding of Value Added Tax collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.

The Israeli officials said that security remained their over-riding concern, but they expressed their willingness to work with the Task Force to facilitate its work.

The Task Force is working to create the conditions for reform within the Palestinian Authority. This includes working closely with Palestinian officials on specific areas such as law, elections and finance.

During the meeting, members of the Task Force sought to engage the Israelis on ways to allow freedom of movement of Palestinian Ministers and members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, as well representatives of international organizations.

UN MISSION, LOCAL POLICE INVESTIGATE BOSNIA ABDUCTION

The Special Trafficking Programme of the UN Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) is examining, along with Bosnian police, an incident that took place in Kiseljak on Monday night in which six women were kidnapped by a group of about 15 armed men.

On Wednesday night, the Special Trafficking Programme accompanied Bosnian police as they raided a nightclub in Busovaca, where five of the kidnapped women who come from Moldova, Romania and Ukraine were found and brought to a safe house. The freed women reported that they had been raped, beaten and tortured by kidnappers.

They were brought to a hospital, where they received medical attention. However, the UN Mission, in a press statement available upstairs, said the women were treated at the hospital without dignity and respect, which it said was absolutely unacceptable.

The UN Mission will continue to work with local police to investigate this matter.

YUGOSLAVIA TRIBUNAL SAYS MILOSEVIC HAS HEART PROBLEMS

Today in The Hague, Judge Richard May of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) read out some of the results of an independent report, which had been requested by the Tribunal, that had examined the health of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic following concerns about his recent illnesses.

That report, Judge May said, concluded that Milosevic is at severe risk from cardio-vascular problems, and recommended that he reduce his workload and possibly undertake further cardio-vascular treatment. The Tribunal judges recommended further treatment for the former President, and have requested a report from a cardiologist before they consider further steps to ease any stress on Milosevics health.

Milosevic has been representing himself at his current trial underway in The Hague. His last appearance before the Tribunal takes a four-week summer recess is Friday, after which his next court date is scheduled for August 26.

ECOSOC RECOMMENDS ADOPTION OF PROTOCOL ON TORTURE

On Wednesday afternoon, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) recommended for adoption by the General Assembly a draft optional protocol to the Convention against Torture, which is to establish a system of regular visits by independent bodies to centers where people are deprived of their liberty, in order to prevent torture and other such punishment. The draft text of the optional protocol was adopted by a vote of 35 in favor to eight against, with 10 abstentions.

That vote was taken after the Economic and Social Council defeated an amendment, proposed by the United States, that would have recommended that the General Assembly convene an open-ended working group during its next session to continue consideration of the draft protocol, given concerns expressed about the current text. That proposed amendment was defeated by a vote of 15 in favor to 29 against, with eight abstentions.

In its consideration of human rights issues Wednesday afternoon, ECOSOC also voted 46 in favor to one against, with one abstention, to adopt a resolution demanding that Israel comply fully with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

UN RELIEF COORDINATOR TO VISIT KOREAN PENINSULA, EAST ASIA

Kenzo Oshima, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, is scheduled to leave Friday on a two-week mission to East Asia. He goes first to China, where he is planning to meet with government and UN officials.

On Tuesday, he is expected to go to the Peoples Democratic Republic of Korea for a four-day visit that will take him to Pyongyang and Kangwon Province on the east coast.

Oshima is scheduled to wrap up his mission with a two-day stay in the Republic of Korea, followed by two days in Japan. He plans to return to New York on August 11.

UNICEF COMPLETES THREE-DAY POLIO CAMPAIGN IN AFGHANISTAN

The UN mission in Afghanistan today provided an update on the visit to Afghanistan by the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Olara Otunnu and an update on a three-day UN Childrens Fund (UNICEF) regional polio eradication campaign that ended today.

UNICEF reports that more than 6,500 vaccinators have been mobilized to reach some 1.2 million children under the age of five in 66 districts of southern, southeastern and eastern regions of Afghanistan.

So far in 2002, over 10 million children in Afghanistan have been successfully immunized against polio.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson welcomed the indication by the Iranian Government that it is willing to extend an open invitation to special procedures of the Commission on Human Rights, and said that visits by the Commissions special rapporteurs and working groups to Iran could be effective in improving the promotion of human rights.

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has welcomed Wednesdays announcement by the European Union of an additional 32 million Euros for projects in developing countries. The additional resources were negotiated over the last year and come at a time when the Fund is seeking to fill the gap left by the withdrawal of funds by the United States.

The Secretary-General, in a report today on the follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing, which took place in Madrid, Spain in April, says that meeting served as a truly global forum on ageing, with 159 countries participating. The Plan of Action adopted in Madrid, he says, forms the basis for action to face the remarkable demographic transition that is currently underway.

The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) today announced the appointment of West African singing star Angelique Kidjo as a Special Representative. Kidjo is committed to childrens issues, in particular education, which she sees as crucial in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Executive Director Carol Bellamy said her focus on education would go a long way in helping to get children in school and to keep them there.

Office 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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