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United Nations Daily Highlights, 04-10-29

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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

Friday, October 29, 2004

U.N. AGENCY CHIEFS BACK ANNAN'S PLANS TO IMPROVE SECURITY MEASURES

Secretary-General Kofi Annan is meeting with the

UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB), which includes the heads of all UN agencies, funds and programmes.

Their morning session today at UN headquarters is focusing on management issues, including the Secretary-Generals

proposal to the General Assembly for a $97 million security package.

CEB members spoke in strong support of the proposal.

After lunch, they will travel outside of New York City to continue their meeting, which will conclude tomorrow.

The CEB meets twice a year, once in New York and once at other duty stations.

U.N. ENVOY IN LIBERIA URGES ELDERS TO HELP END VIOLENCE

The

UN Mission in Liberia today

issued a strong warning to rioters who attacked innocent civilians and caused extensive destruction of property, including houses of worship, business centres and residences in and around the capital,

Monrovia.

Jacques Paul Klein, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Liberia, made repeated appeals for calm.

He also announced that he had given orders to UN police and peacekeepers to be deployed to all affected areas and to react with maximum force to any activities of violence against innocent civilians and property.

Klein said the UN mission will enforce a curfew applicable to all residents of Monrovia, declared by Gyude Bryant, Chairman of the National Transitional Government of Liberia.

He appealed to elders of the Liberian society and religious leaders to intervene immediately and join the UN mission to put the violence to an end.

Disturbances first began Thursday night in suburban Monrovia and spread overnight to other areas. The exact cause of the sporadic violence is yet to be established.

Meanwhile, the return of

Liberian refugees and internally displaced people to their homes is gaining momentum with the first convoy of returnees from Guinea scheduled to arrive tomorrow and the return of

internally displaced persons starting on Monday, 1 November.

U.N. ENVOY BRIEFED ON SITUATION IN FALLUJAH, IRAQ

Earlier today in

Baghdad, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative in Iraq,

Ashraf Qazi, met with a delegation of religious, tribal and civil society leaders from Fallujah.

The delegation briefed Qazi on the situation on the ground in the city.

Qazi expressed concern about civilian casualties in Fallujah. He also expressed the hope that a peaceful settlement of differences will bring about an end to violence and use of force.

He asserted that the United Nations will do everything it can to contribute to a successful political transition and to a peaceful resolution of differences in Iraq.

Asked for a reaction to reports of criticism made by Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari that the United Nations had shown a lack of enthusiasm for organizing elections in Iraq next year, the Spokesman said it came down to a security issue.

We are as eager to get in to Iraq to work on the elections as the Foreign Minster is to see us there but the security situation will determine the Secretary-Generals judgement as to when he feels its safe enough to increase our presence in the country beyond the present limit of 35 international staff, the Spokesman said.

Asked to comment on claims that the United Nations is hiding behind the safety issue and had in the past sent UN electoral workers to other dangerous environments, the Spokesman said, The Secretary-General is going to make his judgement based on the security evaluation of his security coordinator. Its as simple as that and hes not going to be rushed or pushed on that.

HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS STRESS NEED FOR PUBLIC SECURITY IN HAITI

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for

Haiti,

Juan Gabriel Valdés, met with representatives of human rights non-governmental organizations yesterday to discuss the mandate of the

UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti and hear their concerns.

Valdés spoke of the Missions mandate to assist the Transitional Government to organize free, fair and democratic elections, to reinforce and modernize the National Police, to consolidate national institutions and to protect human rights.

The representatives of the human rights organizations stressed the need for public security, the re-establishment of the rule of law, and the search for truth and transparency. They asked for crimes and political violence to be investigated and also called on the media to play its role in calming the climate of violence prevalent in Haiti.

UNITED STATES TO ASSUME SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENCY ON MONDAY

There are no meetings or consultations of the

Security Council scheduled for today.

Sunday is the last day of the U.K.

presidency of the Security Council.

Starting Monday, 1 November, the United States assumes the Security Council presidency for the month.

Thursday afternoon the

Security Council unanimously adopted a

resolution extending the mandate of the

UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara for a further six months. The Council reiterated its call for the parties and States in the region to cooperate fully with the United Nations to end the current impasse and reach progress towards a political solution. The resolution requests the

Secretary-General to provide an interim report within three months on the evolution of the situation in Western Sahara and on the missions size and concept of operations.

Council members also adopted a

Presidential Statement on Central African Republic in which they welcomed the Secretary-General's decision to extend the UN's political office's mandate until the end of the 2005.

UNITED NATIONS IN CONTACT WITH AFGHAN AUTHORITIES ON ABDUCTIONS

The United Nations is in touch with the relevant authorities in

Afghanistan as it seeks to obtain the immediate and unconditional release of the three staff members contracted by the

UN Development Programme who were

abducted in Kabul yesterday.

At present, UN staff in Afghanistan continue to go about their work, with no change to UN operations.

TOP HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICIAL CALLS FOR PROBE INTO DEATHS IN THAILAND

The

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights,

Louise Arbour,

urged that an investigation into the deaths earlier this week of some 87 demonstrators in southern Thailand be swift, independent and thorough.

In a statement issued yesterday, Arbour expressed her grave concern at the deaths, which took place on 25 October, and said that the results of the investigation by the authorities in Thailand should be made public. She said, This is crucial in bringing to justice people that may be responsible for violations, as well as in preventing a climate of impunity from taking hold.

She also urged the Thai authorities to grant a reported 1,300 people, who were taken into custody under martial law after that incident, immediate access to lawyers, relatives and medical care.

UNESCO, ITALY SIGN PACT TO BETTER PROTECT HERITAGE SITES

UNESCO and the Italian Government have

signed an a Joint Declaration for the Safeguarding, Rehabilitation and Protection of Cultural and Natural Heritage, which will reinforce the Organizations ability to react quickly to protect heritage sites.

The agreement will see the formation of an ad hoc group of experts named by the Italian Government with UNESCOs approval to respond to specific emergencies.

An example of the kind of emergencies the experts will deal with is the stabilization of the fifth minaret of Heratin Afghanistan the minaret would have collapsed within weeks if it wasnt for the rapid intervention of UNESCO and Italy.

MATERNAL HEALTH IS FOCUS FOR WORLD HEALTH DAY 2005

The

World Health Organization (WHO) is

making

maternal and

child health the focus of World Health Day on 7 April 2005, with the slogan Make Every Mother and Child Count."

WHO is also launching the World health report also dedicated to

maternal and child health on World Health Day for the first time ever.

In developing countries, pregnancy and childbirth is one of the leading causes of death for women of reproductive age, and one child in 12 does not reach his or her fifth birthday yet, the fate of these women and children is too often overlooked or ignored.

WHO says the slogan for next years World Health Day reflects the reality that today, governments and the international community need to make the health of women and children a higher priority.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

Monday, 1 November

At 10:30, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar will hold a press conference.

Amb. John Danforth, of the United States, takes over the Presidency of the Security Council for the month of November. He will hold bilateral meetings to discuss the programme of work for the month.

Tuesday, 2 November

Guest at the noon briefing is Catherine Bertini, Under-Secretary-General for Management, who will brief on the Organizations financial situation.

Wednesday, 3 November

Thursday, 4 November

Guest at noon is Vincent McClean, New York Representative of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), who will launch the Afghanistan Opium Survey 2004. Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of UNODC, will present the survey simultaneously at the launch in Brussels.

Friday, 5 November

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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