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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-05-11

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

Friday, May 11, 2007

DARFUR: BOMBARDMENTS HAVE WORSENED

AN ALREADY DIRE HUMANITARIAN SITUATION

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has provided more information on the aerial bombardments in North Darfur about which the Secretary-General had issued a statement earlier this week.

The High Commissioners Office today reported that there were a series of attacks near El Fasher, North Darfur, carried out between 19 and 29 April. The bombardments appeared to have been indiscriminate and disproportionate, failing to distinguish between military and civilian targets.

The disproportionate use of force constitutes violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. The Office went on to say the attacks were reportedly carried out with helicopter gunships and Antonov aircraft. They resulted in numerous civilian casualties and destruction of property, school buildings and livestock.

In one incident that was cited by the Secretary-General in his statement, the school in the village of Um Rai was struck by rockets fired from a Government helicopter. Some of the 170 pupils in the school at the time were injured in that particular attack. Two civilians were killed in the attack on the village.

The Spokesman for the Human Rights Office identified four other villages attacked during that period and said more information was being gathered on those and their consequences.

What we do know, he said, is that the attacks have contributed to an already critical humanitarian situation, causing renewed displacement and spreading terror among the civilian population.

Meanwhile, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has announced that its Goodwill Ambassador, Angelina Jolie, and actor Brad Pitt have donated $1 million to provide humanitarian relief for those affected by the crisis in Darfur. The money will be divided between UNHCR, the International Rescue Committee and SOS Childrens Villages, an international non-governmental organization.

SOMALIA: U.N. ENVOY URGES RECONCILIATION

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Somalia, François Lonseny Fall, is in Mogadishu today for a series of

meetings with key leaders and a visit to peacekeeping troops from the African Union mission.

Fall held consultations earlier today with President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed and Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi. He urged them to work toward an agreement on a cessation of hostilities and to preserve the independence of the National Governance and Reconciliation Committee in order to achieve genuine and inclusive reconciliation. Fall then met with the chairman of the Reconciliation Committee to survey preparations for the delayed reconciliation congress.

In all his meetings, Fall stressed the Security Councils concerns about the dire humanitarian situation. Later, he will travel to the Puntland and Somaliland regions and will seek, among others, to obtain the release of two aid workers abducted in Puntland.

Still on Somalia, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), reports that people displaced by the recent fighting are gradually returning to Mogadishu. Nevertheless, some have not been able to return to their homes because their houses were destroyed by mortar shelling, or because of insecurity.

Meanwhile, UNHCR is continuing to deliver relief supplies to the numerous families who remain in the town of Afgooye, 30 kilometers away from Mogadishu. In the past weeks, it has handed out plastic sheeting, mattresses, blankets and jerry cans to some 50,000 people there.

BAN KI-MOON IS CONCERNED BY CHILD RECRUITMENT

IN SOMALIA & UGANDA

The Secretary-Generals reports on children and armed conflict in Somalia and Uganda are available today.

In the Somalia report, he says the recruitment and use of child soldiers by Somalias Transitional Federal Government and other armed groups is a significant concern.

In the Uganda report, he urges the leaders of the Lords Resistance Army to take immediate steps to end child recruitment and the use of child soldiers, and to immediately release all children to child protection agencies.

Meanwhile, Radhika Coomaraswamy, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, briefed the Security Councils working group on that topic yesterday afternoon. She discussed her recent trip to the Middle East and welcomed the groups recommendations on Sri Lanka and Nepal.

HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF CALLS FOR UGANDA PARTIES TO REJECT IMPUNITY

High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour today

urged the Government of Uganda and the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) to reject impunity and uphold international standards during talks expected to resume tomorrow in Juba, the capital of southern Sudan.

She recalled that the International Criminal Court has issued warrants for the arrest of five leaders of the LRA for crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The High Commissioner also appealed to the parties to commit to what she called a victim-centered consultative process. That process would help to collect the opinions of all concerned on the best way of delivering justice, and on an appropriate mechanism for reconciliation.

Meanwhile, on the humanitarian front, the World Food Programme today said it would be able to restore rations for more than a million displaced Ugandans to normal levels, following new donations.

MORE THAN $20 MILLION NEEDED TO AID DISPLACED PERSONS IN CHAD

The United Nations today

launched a $23 million supplementary appeal to enhance international aid to internally displaced persons in eastern Chad.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that, over the past six months, the number of internally displaced persons in that area has more than doubled -- from less than 50,000 last November to some 140,000 today. Thats mainly due to the growing insecurity in eastern Chad, which has been caused by increasing violence and military activities.

This latest appeal will cover the next three months.

DRAFT RESOLUTION ON KOSOVO STATUS

TO BE CIRCULATED THIS AFTERNOON

The Security Council today held consultations on Sierra Leone, in which it heard from the Executive Representative for the UN Integrated Office in that country, Victor Angelo. He briefed on the Secretary-Generals latest report on the Office.

Under other matters, Council members received a new draft resolution concerning the mandate of the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which was circulated by France.

Meanwhile, the Security Council President, United States Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, announced to the press that a draft resolution on Kosovo sponsored by several European members of the Council, Germany and the United States will be circulated this afternoon.

BAN KI-MOON IS CONCERNED BY REPORTED

PLANNED ISRAELI SETTLEMENTS IN EAST JERUSALEM

The Secretary-General is concerned about the media reports of plans for new settlement construction in East Jerusalem. He and his senior advisers will discuss these reports with the appropriate Israeli officials, and with Quartet members.

A halt to settlement expansion is one of the basic obligations in Phase One of the Quartets Roadmap. Furthermore East Jerusalem is occupied territory, and its ultimate status is subject to negotiations between the parties.

AUDITORS WORK ON DPRK IS ONGOING

The Spokeswoman, in response to a question, said that the External Board of Auditors had not yet visited the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) and noted that, contrary to reports that they had been denied access, they had not yet formally requested entry.

Montas reiterated that the Auditors' report would go first to the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) of the General Assembly.

Asked about the auditors possible travels, she said that such trips would need to be funded, with funds being approved by the ACABQ. The course of the investigation was in the hands of the auditors, she added.

Asked about the Secretary-Generals views on the DPRKs cooperation with the auditors, she said he would await the auditors report. She said he had not intervened in their work.

Asked whether the Secretariat had requested funding for the auditors, Montas said that the process was not yet at that stage.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

UNITED NATIONS TO SEND ASSESSMENT TEAM TO FLOOD-HIT URUGUAY: The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is mobilizing a Disaster Assessment and Coordination team for deployment to

Uruguay early next week. The worst flooding to hit the country in half a century has driven some 12-thousand people from their homes. The situation is expected to worsen when the flood waters reach low-lying areas.

BAN KI-MOON CLOSELY FOLLOWING AFGHAN SECURITY SITUATION: Asked about the Secretary-Generals reaction to recent aerial bombings in Afghanistan, the Spokeswoman said that he is following the issue closely. She later added that, in a statement last month, the Secretary-General expressed his deep concern at the security situation throughout Afghanistan, which results in increasing numbers of civilian casualties.

BAN KI-MOON TO DISCUSS MIDDLE EAST WITH AMBASSADORS: Asked about a meeting this afternoon between the Secretary-General and the ambassadors of France, the United Kingdom and the United States, the Spokeswoman said the meeting came at the request of the three Permanent Representatives.

LEBANON PLEDGES ARE NOT UNDER U.N. CONTROL: Asked whether the United Nations was following up to ensure that funds received by the Government of Lebanon during a recent conference in Paris were not misspent, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General had participated in the conference, but had not organized it, and did not control the distribution of the money pledged.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

[This document is for planning purposes only and is subject to change.]

Sunday, May 13

High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour begins a two-week visit to the Great Lakes region of Africa. She will be in the Democratic Republic of the Congo until 18 May before traveling on to Burundi and Rwanda.

Monday, May 14

From today through 24 May at Headquarters, the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues holds its Sixth Session, focusing on the theme of Territories, Lands and Natural Resources. The opening ceremony will be held at 11:00 a.m. in Conference Room 2.

At 1:15 p.m. in Room 226, there will be a press conference by Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Chairperson of the Permanent Forum, and Ms. Ida Nicolaisen and Mr. Hassan Id Balkassm, members of the Permanent Forum, on the opening of the Forum.

The three-week 38th Session of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) gets underway in Conference Room 4.

The 2007 Resumed Session of the Economic and Social Councils Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations meets from today through Friday in Conference Room 1.

At 3 p.m. in Conference Room D, there will be a presentation on Integrity in reconstruction: Findings from research in eight post-conflict countries.

From 3 to 6 p.m. in Conference Room 7, the Group of Least Developed Countries will meet at the expert level to discuss its ministerial conference in Istanbul and other matters.

King Albert II of Belgium is scheduled to visit UN Headquarters today.

From today through 23 May in Geneva, the World Health Organization holds its Sixtieth World Health Assembly.

From today through 18 May, the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, Paul Hunt, will conduct an official visit to Ecuador investigate the spraying of illicit crops along the Ecuador-Colombia border.

From today through 18 May, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Mr. Ambeyi Ligabo, will visit Ukraine, at the invitation of the Government.

From today through 18 May, the Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the rights of peoples to self-determination will conduct a fact-finding visit to Fiji, at the invitation of the interim Government.

Tuesday, May 15

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to adopt a resolution on the UN Mission in the Democratic of the Congo (MONUC).

Today is the International Day of Families. From 1:15 to 2:30 p.m. in Conference Room 4, there will be a panel discussion on Families and Persons with Disabilities.

At 6:15 p.m. in the Visitors Lobby, there will be an opening of an indigenous cultural exhibit timed to coincide with the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, with performances by indigenous artists from around the world.

Wednesday, May 16

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to hold a debate on Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Organizational Committee of the Peacebuilding Commission is scheduled to hold its 7th meeting all day in the Economic and Social Council Chamber.

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Conference Room 6, informal consultations are scheduled on the UN Population Fund Strategic Plan and Related Matters. Consultations will continue tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Conference Room 8.

The guest at the noon briefing will be Alicia Bárcena Ibarra, Under-Secretary-General for Management, who will discuss the Capital Master Plan and the greening of the United Nations.

From 1:15 to 2:45 p.m. in Conference Room 9, there will be an interactive dialogue on recent trends in lands, territories and resources in Asia.

From 3 to 6 p.m. in Conference Room 7, a United Nations University panel discussion on Environmental refugees: The forgotten migrants is scheduled to take place.

From today through 25 May, the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Mr. Martin Scheinin, will visit the United States of America, at the invitation of the Government.

Thursday, May 17

The General Assembly is scheduled to elect 14 new members to the Human Rights Council.

Today is World Telecommunication and Information Society Day. From 3 to 6 p.m. in the Economic and Social Council Chamber, the Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technologies and Development is scheduled to hold a special commemorative event on Tale of Two Worlds: Keeping Pace with a Moving Target.

Today and tomorrow in Vienna, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime is hosting a symposium on practical measures to implement the United Nations global counter-terrorism strategy.

From today through 23 May in Almaty, Kazakhstan, the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific is scheduled to hold its 63rd Session.

At 3:30 p.m. in Room 226, H.E. Ms. Tarja Halonen, President of Finland, will brief the press after her meeting with the Secretary-General.

Friday, May 18

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to hold consultations on Côte dIvoire.

At 11 a.m. in Room 226, there will be a press conference by the Save Africa Concerts Foundation, an NGO that promotes HIV and AIDS awareness through entertainment and education.

From 1:15 to 2:45 p.m. in Conference Room 2, the launching of the International Decade of the Worlds Indigenous People Final Report will take place.

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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