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United Nations Daily Highlights, 04-10-28

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

ARCHIVES

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SPOKESMAN'S NOON BRIEFING

BY FRED ECKHARD

SPOKESMAN FOR THE

SECRETARY-GENERAL

OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Thursday, October 28, 2004

ANNAN REGRETS ABDUCTION OF UNDP STAFF IN AFGHANISTAN

Secretary-General Kofi Annan today learned with deep regret and dismay that three international staff contracted by the UN Development Programme were abducted from a UN vehicle at approximately 1:00 in the afternoon, local time, in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Very few details are known at present.

The United Nations is in close contact with the authorities and is hoping for the staff members immediate and unconditional release.

Asked with whom the Secretary-General had been in contact regarding the abductions, the Spokesman said that he is in touch with the Afghan authorities through the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.

Were just trying to establish what happened, where these people might be, the Spokesman added.

SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS ON ROLE OF WOMEN IN CONFLICT

This morning the Security Council began an open debate on women, peace and security. This is to mark the fourth anniversary of landmark resolution 1325, which for the first time highlighted the needs and role of women in conflict situations and in the peace building process.

Speaking at the meeting this morning were Jean-Marie Guehenno, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping, Louise Arbour, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, Executive Director of the UN Population Fund.

They outlined how the UN system is working to prevent and respond to gender-based violence in conflict situations and how the UN and civil society can further cooperate to strengthen this response.

The meeting is currently underway, with statements by Member States, and it is expected to continue during the afternoon.

At the beginning of the afternoon session, the Council is expected to take up a resolution on Western Sahara. Also on the Councils agenda for today is the Central African Republic.

U.N. ENVOY MET TOP PALESTINIAN LEADERS IN RAMALLAH TODAY

The UN is following the situation in Ramallah closely, following the reported illness of Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat..

The UNs Middle East Envoy Terje Roed-Larsen was in that city the whole day where he met with top Palestinian leadership. In addition, he is in close contact with officials inside the Muqata.

SITUATION IN

DARFUR

HAS NOT IMPROVED MUCH IN OCTOBER

The Secretary-Generals Representative for Sudan, Jan Pronk, is on his way to New York via Washington, D.C., to present his monthly report to the Secretary-General and the Security Council on what progress has made towards restoring security in Darfur and disarming the Janjaweed militia.

In

Khartoum

yesterday afternoon, Pronk briefed reporters on the status of the Abuja peace talks on Darfur, and the situation on the ground.

According to his Spokesman, Pronk said the situation on the ground had not improved much over the past month, and that much of the recent violence was attributable to rebel groups, which continue to hinder humanitarian access.

Meanwhile, the need for security and access to displaced people's home villages were the key concerns raised by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie as she ended a three-day visit to West Darfur.

In two weeks' time, the journal of her mission will be posted on the UNHCR website.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT ALLEGATIONS AGAINST U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY CHIEF COULD NOT BE SUSTAINED

Asked why the Secretary-General had decided against taking action against UN High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers following a sexual harassment allegation against him earlier this year given that an early draft of the annual report of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), released yesterday, supported the claim the Spokesman said the Secretary-General has the right to accept or reject such recommendations.

At the time we told you that, after carefully reviewing the OIOS report and the submission by Mr Lubbers, he found that the allegations against Mr Lubbers could not be sustained. He did however, send letters both to Mr Lubbers and to OIOS so nothing has changed since then, the Spokesman said.

The Spokesman added that nothing should be read into the wording contained in an earlier draft of the OIOS report and the final report as it came out, noting that the wording was that of the Under-Secretary-General for Internal Oversight Services, Dileep Nair.

Its perfectly normal for drafts, particularly ones of this length and complexity to go through many revisions before being finalized. It was a technical error that an earlier version of this report came out in English but any questions you have about the wording of the earlier draft versus the final draft should be put to Mr. Nair, the Spokesman said.

Asked on what basis the Secretary-General could say there was no evidence of misdeeds on Lubbers part, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General did not say there was no evidence; rather, that he had found the charges unsustainable on a legal basis.

OIOS provided an analysis, the Secretary-General read their report carefully, he sought legal advice and on the basis of that advice he concluded that the allegations were not sustainable, the Spokesman said. Thats his judgement call to make and he stands by it.

U.N. AGENCIES TO PROVIDE HUMANITARIAN AID TO

CAMP

IN

NORTHERN UGANDA

A humanitarian assessment of the oldest camp housing internally displaced persons in northern Uganda, where thousands were left homeless after a severe rain storm, found that more than 5,500 huts were damaged.

Distribution of tarps and other supplies is beginning today at the Pabbo camp, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The World Food Programme will undertake a food distribution in Pabbo within the next few days, and the Food and Agriculture Organisation is undertaking a crop damage assessment later this week.

NOBEL LAUREATE TO DISCUSS GLOBALIZATION

Tomorrow, from 10:00 a.m. to noon in Conference Room Four, at United Nations Headquarters, Amartya Sen, the Nobel Laureate in Economics, and Martin Wolf of the Financial Times will speak about globalization.

Professor Sen will deliver a keynote address to the General Assemblys Second Committee on the Millennium Development Goals and globalization. The event is organized by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

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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