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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-05-10

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 NOON BRIEFING

BY MICHELE

MONTAS

SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

U.N.

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Thursday, May 10, 2007

BAN-KI-MOON IS ENCOURAGED BY PEACEFUL ELECTIONS IN TIMOR-LESTE

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is greatly encouraged by the peaceful conduct of the final round of presidential elections in Timor-Leste on 9 May.

Reports from the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) indicate that the people cast their votes in a calm and orderly manner, reflecting once again their commitment to democracy. The final round caps a similarly peaceful electoral campaign.

The Secretary-General congratulates the people and authorities of Timor-Leste and trusts that the same peaceful and democratic spirit will prevail during the vote counting and tabulation process over the next few days.

BAN KI-MOON SPEAKS AT ASSEMBLYS INFORMAL DEBATE ON PEACE

The Secretary-General spoke this morning at the beginning of the General Assemblys two-day informal thematic debate on civilians and the challenge for peace, saying that the meeting comes at a time of rising intolerance and growing cross-cultural tensions.

He said that events of recent years from terrorism and the means used to fight it, to offending words or publications have only accelerated these trends.

Today, the Secretary-General warned, there is an urgent need to rebuild bridges and to enter into a sustained and constructive intercultural dialogue, one that stresses common values and shared aspirations.

He said that we need to reassert the truth that diversity is a virtue, not a threat, and noted the role that the media and religion can play in promoting such diversity.

DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL SUBMITS

FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE STATEMENT

Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiros financial disclosure statement for the period 01 February 2006 31 January 2007 was submitted to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the external financial firm hired by the United Nations to confidentially review the financial disclosure statements submitted by UN staff. The Financial Disclosure Programme is administered by the UN Ethics Office.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, in reviewing the Deputy Secretary-Generals financial disclosure form, has determined that no further action is required of her with respect to her compliance with the requirements of the Financial Disclosure Programme.

Now that the review is complete, the Deputy Secretary-General is following the Secretary-Generals lead by making the financial disclosure statement public. Public disclosure is not a requirement of the UN Financial Disclosure Programme and is done on a voluntary basis.

The financial disclosure statement is available on the Secretary-Generals web page under the section Ethical Standards. Certain personal details have been removed from the Deputy Secretary-Generals financial disclosure statement for security reasons.

THREE MEMBERS APPOINTED FOR BOARD OF U.N. REGISTER OF DAMAGE

FROM O.P.T WALL CONSTRUCTION

The Secretary-General, in compliance with the relevant General Assembly Resolution of December 2006, has decided to appoint in their personal capacity three prominent international experts as members of the Board of the United Nations Register of Damage caused by the Construction of the Wall in the occupied Palestinian territory.

They are Ms. Harumi Hori from Japan, Mr. Matti Paavo Pellonpää from Finland and Mr. Michael F. Raboin from the United States. The Board is expected to commence its mandated work on 14 May in a meeting at the United Nations Office at Vienna.

The Board of the Register of Damage has the overall responsibility for establishing and maintaining that Register, which was requested by the General Assembly. The Board, among other responsibilities, is to determine eligibility criteria, categories of damage and the procedure of registration of claims, and it have the ultimate authority in determining the inclusion of damage claims in the Register of Damage.

Asked whether the Secretary-General had consulted with the parties, the Spokeswoman confirmed that he had.

SECURITY COUNCIL HOLDS OPEN MEETING ON KOSOVO

The Security Council held an open meeting this morning on Kosovo.

Belgian Ambassador Johan Verbeke briefed on the Councils recent mission to the region. The missions report says the overall security situation in Kosovo remains calm but tense. It adds that, while the Kosovo Albanian community is confident about the future, the Kosovo Serb community is more apprehensive.

The report notes that Kosovo Albanian and Kosovo Serb communities remain divided and live to a large extent separately from each other. In that regard, the process of full reconciliation and effective integration will require a long-term commitment by all stakeholders.

Nevertheless, the commitment and readiness to build a Kosovo for all its communities, conveyed by Kosovos political leaders, were encouraging, the report concludes.

SPECIAL ENVOY FOR SUDAN WRAPS UP JOINT VISIT TO KHARTOUM

The UN Special Envoy for Darfur, Jan Eliasson, is wrapping up his third joint visit to

Sudan with his African Union counterpart, Salim Ahmed Salim.

Eliasson, in a joint press conference held earlier today in Khartoum, said the political process was in high gear as they moved toward preparations for negotiations but he noted serious obstacles on the ground. He listed as troubling realties on the ground: the dire humanitarian situation, continuation of tribal clashes, unrest in the camps housing displaced persons and understandable impatience.

He said that he and his AU counterpart had been tasked by the Secretary-General, who gives his absolute highest priority to finding a solution to the Darfur crisis, and by the AU Commission Chairperson Konare, to present to them a roadmap for the way forward.

Eliasson is expected to brief the Secretary-General in New York next week.

UNICEF SIGNS AGREEMENT TO DEMOBILIZE CHILD SOLDIERS IN CHAD

UNICEF reports that it has signed an agreement with the Government of Chad to begin the demobilization of child soldiers in that country.

UNICEF and Chad have already identified over 300 child soldiers from former rebel groups, and efforts are underway to identify more. After demobilization, the next step is the childrens reintegration into society.

According to UNICEF, the recruitment of child soldiers is a widespread phenomenon in Chad.

STEADY PROGRESS MADE AHEAD OF ELECTIONS IN SIERRA LEONE

According to the Secretary-Generals latest report on Sierra Leone, with the assistance of UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL) and the UNDP, the National Electoral Commission has made steady progress ahead of the July elections.

This progress is marked by the recruitment and training of election workers, the drafting of elections petition rules and the installation of technical advisers, among other benchmarks.

The deployment of state authority across the country, however, continues to lag behind and efforts to combat corruption and promote accountability have been painfully slow to yield results.

Even so, the Secretary-General says he is encouraged by the peace consolidation process and the remarkable success of the first stage of the electoral process.

COUNTER TERRORISM COMMITTEE LAUNCHES ONLINE

INFORMATION ASSISTANCE

The Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) has launched a new comprehensive matrix containing information about technical assistance both requested by and provided to States, to help them in the global fight against terrorism.

The matrix is accessible through the website of the Security Council's Counter-Terrorism Committee (www.un.org/sc/ctc). Potential donors will be able to gain an overview of where assistance is still needed by States in implementing Security Council resolution 1373 (2001) and the relevant provisions of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

The matrix will also help donors in deciding how best to develop their own counter-terrorism programmes and where it might be most useful to focus their efforts.

I.L.O. RELEASES ANALYSIS OF WORKPLACE DISCRIMINATION

The International Labour Organization (ILO) today

released its most comprehensive analysis of workplace discrimination to date.

While noting major advances, the report expressed concern about mounting inequalities in income and opportunity, including the persistence of gender gaps and occupational segregation by sex.

While the female labour force participation rate has risen to more than 55 percent, women still only hold roughly one quarter of good quality legislative, senior official or managerial jobs, the report found.

In addition, the report notes continued discrimination on the basis of race, religion, social origin, or caste, as well as against migrant workers, indigenous people, and younger and older workers.

U.N. DRUGS AND CRIME OFFICE CALLS FOR DRUG TESTING OF WORKERS

FOR HAZARDOUS OCCUPATIONS

The head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime today called for the introduction of drug testing for drivers and people who work in hazardous occupations.

Addressing the Mayors Conference of European Cities Against Drugs in Istanbul, UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa compared his proposal to road testing for alcohol, which was clearly effective.

He also encouraged European cities to twin with cities in developing countries, and share expertise on tackling drugs with them.

DREW BARRYMORE IS NAMED AMBASSADOR

AGAINST HUNGER FOR WORLD FOOD BODY

The World Food Programme (WFP) has named American actress Drew Barrymore as one of its Ambassadors Against Hunger. Barrymore just recently returned from a second trip to Kenya to visit WFP-supported school feeding projects.

This week she will join fellow Ambassador and Kenyan marathon runner Paul Tergat, as well as WFP chief Josette Sheeran, in Washington. There they will lobby for US legislation that would expand and regularize funding for US-supported school feeding programs.

DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS AND SPEECHWRITING IS NAMED

The Secretary-General has appointed Mr. Michael Meyer as his new Director of Communications and Speechwriting.

Mr. Meyer, a U.S. citizen, has had a long and distinguished career as a journalist with Newsweek Magazine. Most recently, he was the Europe/Middle East editor for Newsweek International. He has also served as the magazines Bureau Chief in Central Europe and in Los Angeles.

Meyer also brings field experience with the United Nations. From 1999 to 2001, he was assigned by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe to work with the UN Mission in Kosovo on media development projects.

Meyer will be responsible for overseeing the Secretary-Generals strategic communications and speechwriting.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

A U.N. OFFICE IN PAKISTAN CLOSES AFTER VIOLENCE: Asked about the withdrawal of humanitarian workers from Pakistan, the Spokeswoman said that the United Nations had decided to suspend its operations and close UN offices with immediate effect in Tehsil Bagh, Pakistan, for a period of two weeks. That happened, Montas said, following violence against aid workers, including the reported burning of aid workers houses. Asked whether the violence resulted from the hiring of women by the aid workers, the Spokeswoman did not attribute a motive to the attacks but affirmed that the United Nations would not reconsider its policy of employing women.

SYRIAN PRESIDENT CONTINUES TO HOLD HIS PREVIOUS POSITION ON LEBANON TRIAL: Asked about comments by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on the Lebanon tribunal, the Spokeswoman said that the President was expressing his previously held position. She said that the process concerning the tribunal was continuing in Lebanon, adding that there has to be a Lebanese solution. She added, in response to a further question, that the Secretary-General did not plan at this time to travel to Lebanon.

EMERGENCY CASH GRANT IS GIVEN TO URUGUAY FLOOD VICTIMS: The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is providing an emergency cash grant of $30,000 to Uruguay, to support relief activities in the wake of its worst flooding in 50 years. OCHA says the flooding has driven some 12,000 people from their homes. Much of the public infrastructure in the affected areas including the water supply, sewer and drainage systems has been damaged.

SECRETARY-GENERAL REVIEWS RESULTS OF POLL ON PEACEKEEPING: Asked about the results of world public opinion polls showing support for UN peacekeeping, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General had noted the results with great interest.

REVIEW CONTINUES ON UN HUMAN RIGHTS RAPPORTEURS: Asked whether UN human rights rapporteurs will be abolished, the Spokeswoman later said that the review of the special procedures is continuing behind closed doors and is expected to go up to the time when the Human Rights Council meets for its next regular session, on 11-18 June.

HAITIAN SHIP ISSUE BEING DEALT WITH BILATERALLY: Asked about the ramming of a Haitian ship, the Spokeswoman said that it is a tragedy. She added that the issue was one being dealt with bilaterally between the Turks and Caicos islands and Haiti.

Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General

United Nations, S-378

New York, NY 10017

Tel. 212-963-7162

Fax. 212-963-7055


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