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United Nations Daily Highlights, 05-01-24

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

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Monday, January 24, 2005

ANNAN: WORLD NEEDS TO BE VIGILANT AGAINST HATE-BASED IDEOLOGIES

Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the

General Assemblys

Special Session, commemorating the liberation of the Nazi death camps 60 years ago, that the world needs to be vigilant against all ideologies based on hate and exclusion whenever and wherever they appear.

The Secretary-General

said that we must watch out for any revival of anti-Semitism. But he added that we must also not remain indifferent to other examples of inhumanity.

The Secretary-General argued that terrible things are happening today in Darfur, Sudan, and added that tomorrow, he expects to receive the report of the international commission of inquiry that will determine whether acts of genocide have occurred in

Darfur.

Today, he said, is above all a day to remember not only the victims of past horrors, whom the world abandoned, but also the potential victims of present and future ones. We must look them in the eye and say, You, at least, we must not fail. We have copies of his speech upstairs.

Todays special session began with a moment of silence for the victims of the Holocaust. The General Assembly President,

Jean Ping, and Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel also spoke.

In response to a question, the Spokesman confirmed that 150 countries had supported todays Special Session.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY MARKS

60th ANNIVERSARY OF LIBERATION OF NAZI DEATH CAMPS

Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel.recalled the horrors of the Holocaust, and told the

General Assembly at its

Special Session that, as a teacher, he pays attention to one key question: Will we ever learn?

Former UN Under-Secretary-General Brian Urquhart, who was one of the first Allied soldiers to reach the Bergen-Belsen death camp, said that one of the problems in preventing genocide is that, for ordinary people, it is unimaginable -- until it is too late to prevent it.

Among the events marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the death camps will be a reception at the UN Visitors Lobby this evening, hosted by Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, for the opening of the exhibition Auschwitz the Depth of the Abyss. The

Secretary-General will speak at that reception.

The Secretary-General also will hold bilateral meetings with many of the senior officials attending todays event, including the foreign ministers of Germany, France and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, as well as the President of the Italian Senate.

COMMISSION OF INQUIRY REPORT ON SUDAN

TO BE SUBMITTED TO SECURITY COUNCIL IN EARLY FEBRUARY

Once the report of the International Commission of Inquiry, headed by Judge Antonio Cassese, goes to the

Secretary-General, he would, as is often done, submit it to the Government of Sudan for comment. Any comments that the Government of Sudan might have will not result in the report being changed in any way.

The report would then be processed as a document and submitted to the

Security Council, most likely around 1 February.

It would be made available to the press at about the same time.

Asked whether the United Nations would suspend its usual protocol and make the report public once it goes to the Secretary-General, the Spokesman said it would not.

He acknowledged that, in light of todays

Special Session, it would have been appropriate to put out the report as soon as possible, but the report will need to be translated into all six UN languages and processed, making 1 February the earliest likely date that it will be released.

U.N. ENVOYS TALKS WITH REBEL LEADER

FOCUS ON PREPARING FOR SUDAN PEACE AGREEMENT

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Sudan,

Jan Pronk, is back in

Khartoum after his meeting yesterday in Rumbeck with the Chairman of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army, John Garang.

During this meeting, discussions focused on the preparations for the implementation phase of the recently concluded peace agreement, particularly the preparations for the UN peace support mission's deployment.

Meanwhile, the

UN Mission in Sudan notes several security incidents reported in Darfur last week, including clashes in South Darfur involving government forces and armed tribesmen with the rebel SLA on 19 January.

U.N. ENVOY IN IRAQ HOLDING INTENSIVE MEETINGS AHEAD OF ELECTIONS

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq,

Ashraf Qazi, has been holding intensive meetings in

Baghdad with various Iraqi personalities and officials in an effort to identify specific mechanisms for advancing the political process ahead of the countrys crucial elections, set to take place on 30 January.

Talks also addressed the security and political environments and their impact on the elections which will be conducted by the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq.

In his separate meetings with the President of the Independent Democratic Alliance, Adnan Pachachi, and the leading member of the United Iraqi Alliance, Hussein Al-Shahristani, and other political personalities and groupings contesting the polls, Qazi stressed the importance of unifying the efforts of all Iraqis in ensuring a smooth transitional process that would lead to the building of a democratic, stable and prosperous Iraq.

U.N. ENVOY DEPLORES MURDER OF PROVINCIAL GOVERNOR IN BURUNDI

The

Special Representative of the Secretary General in Burundi,

Carolyn McAskie, deplores the murder of the Governor of the province of Bubanza, as well as of his bodyguard, yesterday.

Equally concerned by renewed threats against the Banyamulenge community who have sought refuge in Burundi, McAskie expressed her indignation in relation to any incitement to hatred and the demonization of any community living on Burundis soil.

McAskie re-emphasized that targeted violence, whether against individuals or ethnics groups, is not acceptable.

SECURITY COUNCIL MEETING TROOP-CONTRIBUTING COUNTRIES

On the

Security Council agenda today are back-to-back meetings with troop contributing countries to U.N. peacekeeping operations.

The first was on the

UN Observer Mission in Georgia and the second is on the

UN Interim Force in Lebanon.

KOBE CONFERENCE ENDS WITH COUNTRIES

AGREEING TO PRIORITIZE DISASTER RISK

The

World Conference on Disaster Reduction wrapped up on Saturday in Kobe, Japan, after 168 delegations adopted a framework for action. That plan calls on states to put disaster risk at the center of their national policies for the next 10 years.

The conference also adopted a declaration that, among other things, recognized the relationship between disaster reduction, sustainable development and the fight against poverty.

Other key outcomes were the launch of the International Early Warning Programme, and delegates pledges of support for a regional tsunami early warning system in the Indian Ocean.

ANNAN URGES GOVERNMENTS TO RATIFY BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY CONVENTION

Biological diversity stabilizes the Earths climate, provides millions of people with livelihoods, and helps to ensure food security. Yet unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, exacerbated by poverty, continue to destroy habitats and species at an unprecedented rate.

Those remarks are part of the

Secretary-Generals

message to the

International Conference on Biodiversity, being held at the Paris headquarters of the

UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

The Secretary-General also calls on Governments that have not yet done so to ratify the

Convention on Biological Diversity and its Biosafety Protocol.

The Conference will last from January 24 to 28, and will look at ways to monitor biodiversity, among other things.

U.N. DISASTER EXPERTS HELPING GUYANA GOVERNMENT RESPOND TO FLOODS

A four-member UN team of disaster experts has been dispatched to Guyana to help the Government respond to devastating floods that have forced thousands of people from their homes in the capital, Georgetown.

The Guyanese Government has appealed to the international community for food, boats, power generators and water pumps.

For its part, the

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has released an Emergency Cash Grant of $50,000 to purchase inflatable boats with motors.

UNICEF and the

UN Development Programme have also committed emergency funds, in the amounts of $75,000 and $100,000 respectively.

Meanwhile, the

World Health Organization, together with the Pan-American Health Organization, is providing technical support to the assessment team.

NEPAL: U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF URGES

GOVERNMENT AND REBELS TO TACKLE ABUSES

The

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights,

Louise Arbour, today urged the Government of Nepal and the Maoists in that country to do more to tackle the grave human rights abuses that were taking place there.

Arbour began her

official visit to Nepal today by participating in the Conference on Peace and Human Rights, which is being organized by the National Human Rights Commission of Nepal.

Her trip will last through Wednesday, when Arbour will take part in the launching of a report on children in the Nepal conflict issued by Watchlist a New York-based NGO network.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SCHOOLCHILDREN HURT BY LACK OF SAFE WATER:

UNICEF has

warned that over half of all schools worldwide lack basic safe water and sanitation facilities, jeopardizing the health and education of millions of schoolchildren. It made that statement on the opening day of the Roundtable on Water, Sanitation & Hygiene Education for Schools, being held from 24-26 January in Oxford, England.

NEW ATLAS HELPS OFFICIALS ASSESS DAMAGE IN TSUNAMI-HIT AREAS: The

Food and Agriculture Organization has

produced an atlas for areas in Southeast Asia hit by the

tsunami. The atlas shows the areas before and after the disaster, thus helping experts in evaluating damage and estimating reconstruction and rehabilitation needs.

INCREASED HIV/AIDS RISK IN TSUNAMI-STRICKEN THAILAND: As Thailand rebuilds its

tsunami-stricken coastline, the government and its non-government partners must be extra vigilant in promoting

HIV/AIDS prevention in those areas, says Patrick Brenny, the

UNAIDS Country Coordinator for Thailand. Mr. Brenny

warned of the need to guard against increased HIV/AIDS transmission in devastated areas due to increased risk behavior and vulnerability among the affected populations.

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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