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United Nations Daily Highlights, 04-10-05
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SPOKESMAN'S NOON BRIEFING
BY FRED ECKHARD
SPOKESMAN FOR THE
OF THE UNITED NATIONS
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Tuesday, October 5, 2004
NO PROGRESS MADE IN SECURITY AND ENDING IMPUNITY IN DARFUR,
SECURITY COUNCIL TOLD BY U.N. ENVOY ON SUDAN
Security Council began its work today by listening to the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Sudan,
Pronk said in an open briefing that in the key areas of security and ending impunity, there was no progress during the past month.
He noted, however, signs of improvement on the political front, referring to the acceptance of an expanded African Union force and the resumption of political negotiations.
The force, he said, needs to be sizeable. It needs to be speedily deployed. It also needs to be a force with a mandate far beyond overseeing the cease-fire agreement. For example, the force should ensure the safety of displaced persons in the camp, and monitor the behavior and actions of the Sudanese police.
The second most important issue to be solved in the month ahead concerns the political talks between the Government and the rebel
Sudanese People's Liberation Movement (SPLM). The outcome of the North-South peace process, he says, can serve as a basis for Darfur.
Pronk suggested that the Security Council may wish to send a small delegation in order to make clear that the international community is watching and will not accept any further delay or hindrances.
He also spelled out seven ways for the international community to support
Sudan. One of them was to increase financial assistance for the victims of the conflict in Darfur. The number of affected people, now close to 2 million, could rise to 3 or 4 million if the civil war continues and renders agriculture and food production impossible, he said.
Following the briefing, the Security Council discussed Sudan in closed consultations.
ANNAN EXPECTS SECURITY COUNCIL TO DEPLOY AU FORCE QUICKLY;
MAINTAIN PRESSURE ON SUDANESE AUTHORITIES
Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who attended the open briefing, was asked by reporters what he would like to see the
Security Council do.
Weve raised the importance of getting the African forces in as quickly as possible, and the support they need from the international community to be able to deploy as quickly as possible," he said, adding, Im sure that the Council will focus on that aspect, and also maintain the pressure on the Sudanese authorities to protect its population.
SECURITY COUNCIL TO DISCUSS DRAFT RESOLUTION ON MIDDLE EAST
At 4:00 p.m., the
Security Council has scheduled closed consultations on the Middle East, with a view to holding a formal meeting afterwards.
Up for discussion is a draft resolution on the Middle East, which is in blue the form that can be voted upon.
Asked about the team from the United Nations that is going to look into the allegations, the Spokesman said that the team would be leaving New York tonight. He said the team, led by Geir Pedersen, Director of the Asia and Middle East Division of the
Department of Political Affairs, had intended to go to the region anyway, to review UN operations, but would now investigate the allegations.
He added that the team would include Pedersen, Susan Allee as the senior official from the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, and two other people.
Asked about the UNs reaction following news that Israel had pulled its display of its video of the incident, the Spokesman said the United Nations had based its assertion that the object being handled was a stretcher on its own view of the videotape.
The UN assessment of what the tape showed, he said, was that the object could not be a missile, given its lightness it was carried by a UN employee in one hand and the fact that it had been thrown into the vehicle, rather than being handled more gingerly.
Asked about Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations, Dan Gillermans comments that the United Nations hires terrorists, the Spokesman replied, We dont hire terrorists. He said that the United Nations does not tolerate any militant activity of any kind by its staff, whether in Gaza or anywhere else in the world.
ANNAN: IRAQIS SHALL DECIDE ON HOLDING OF ELECTIONS
Secretary-General was asked by a reporter today whether it was still technically feasible to hold free and fair elections in Iraq. He said, One has to be clear: the ownership of the elections belongs to the Iraqis.
He added, We are there to support and assist. He said that the decision to go ahead with elections in January would belong to Iraqs Independent Electoral Commission.
The Secretary-General was also asked whether Israel should apologize if what it had claimed to be a rocket being loaded on a UN vehicle was in fact a hospital stretcher. He said that, in his discussions with the Israeli Ambassador, he raised the matter that, if the allegations were not correct, Israel would issue a disclaimer on its side.
U.N. PEACEKEEPERS PATROL HAITIAN CAPITAL IN WAKE OF VIOLENCE
The situation in
Port au Prince, Haiti, remains tense following several days of violence during which three police officers were killed and four leaders of the Fanmi Lavalas party were arrested.
Police and troops from the
UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti and police continue to patrol the downtown area of Port au Prince in support of the Haitian National Police.
The Secretary-Generals Special Representative,
Juan Gabriel Valdés, met yesterday with interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue to review the situation. Further meetings are expected today.
In a statement issued Monday, Valdes expressed his deep concern and called upon the Haitian population to avoid being drawn into a vicious cycle of revenge and violence. He condemned the brutal murder of the police officers.
He also called for the Haitian justice system to pronounce itself on the legality of the subsequent arrests and noted that the authorities had assured him that the rights of the suspects would be fully respected. In this regard, the UN Missions Human Rights Advisor is monitoring the conditions under which the four arrested leaders are being held.
In Gonaives, efforts continue to provide humanitarian assistance, with UN peacekeepers securing distribution points for food and water throughout the city.
U.N. MISSION CONCERNED OVER ALLEGATIONS OF
HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES IN COTE DIVOIRE
UN Operation in Cote dIvoire
says it is very concerned by allegations that human rights violations took place on 29 September at the popular Adjame market in Abidjan.
Some 380 people at the market were detained by the Ivorian security forces, and released a few days later.
Some said they had to pay money for their release, while others report that they were beaten. Three are said to be in a coma.
The UN Mission is in contact with national and local authorities and is interviewing victims. It is asking the authorities to investigate the matter, and make the results public.
MAJOR PROGRESS MADE IN BOUGAINVILLE PEACE PROCESS,
BUT NO ELECTIONS EXPECTED THIS YEAR
Bougainville is not expected to hold elections by the end of this year, although major progress has been made in the peace process there in recent months, according to the
report to the
Security Council on Bougainville.
He says that the UN Observer Mission in Bougainville will continue to be required to chair the committee dealing with the peace process and to help in preparations for the elections. There is concern, he said, that a premature closure of the Observer Mission could have a negative impact on the peace process as it enters the critical months ahead.
GOVERNMENTS URGED TO SPEED UP LEGAL FRAMEWORKS TO CRIMINALIZE
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
The Secretary-Generals report on Violence against Women was issued today.
The report provides information about legal and policy measures undertaken by Member States to combat all forms of violence against women. It also includes a section of responses from Member States on measures to eliminate crimes against women committed in the name of honour.
The report recommends that governments should accelerate legal frameworks to criminalize all forms of violence against women.
The report also recommends that governments should put in place adequate penalties for perpetrators and ensure that violence against women is prosecuted and punished.
U.N. EFFORTS HAVE HELPED STRENGTHEN CAPACITIES OF MINE-AFFECTED STATES
The UNs efforts have strengthened the capacities of mine affected states to effectively manage all aspects of
mine action policy planning.
That is one of the conclusions the
Secretary-General comes to in his report to the
General Assembly on progress achieved in the UNs mine action strategy for 2001-2005.
He also says that donors are recognizing the importance of supporting mine action from development and reconstruction budgets and not solely through humanitarian and emergency budgets.
MORE THAN $5 MILLION SOUGHT FOR STORM-BATTERED DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
UN agencies are asking for $5.2 million dollars to meet emergency needs in the Dominican Republic in the wake of tropical storms that battered that nation last month.
Assessments have been carried out to identify priority needs and these include food packages for 5,000 families; food packages for 12,000 children under 5 years; roofing materials; hygiene kits; and school kits.
CHILDREN FACE HIGHER RISK FROM PESTICIDES: Children
face higher risks from pesticides than adults and need greater protection against these chemicals, particularly in developing countries. That is a key finding of a joint report released today by the
Food and Agriculture Organization, the
UN Environment Programme and the
World Health Organization. The number of children affected is unknown but, based on the experience of many countries, likely to be large. The report highlights both the magnitude of the
problem and the need to put more efforts into better reaching and helping the rural, disadvantaged populations who are most affected by pesticide poisoning.
NEARLY 57,000 PEOPLE NEED IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE IN SOMALIA: A UN delegation visited two affected regions of Somalia that have been without UN humanitarian assistance for 14 years. The
Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that nearly 57,000 people need immediate assistance and that their livestock are not likely to survive beyond October 2004 without external support.
Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General
United Nations, S-378
New York, NY 10017
Tel. 212-963-7162 -
All other inquiries to be addressed to (212)
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