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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-05-17

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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 17, 2007

GENERAL ASSEMBLY ELECTS NEW MEMBERS TO HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL

The General Assembly held elections today for 14 members of the 47-member Human Rights Council.

[Following the noon briefing, the General Assembly Spokesperson, in an announcement of the results of the elections, reported the following elected members: Angola, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Italy, Madagascar, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Philippines, Qatar, Slovenia, South Africa.]

GAZA: INTERNAL VIOLENCE DOWN IN GAZA,

BUT PALESTINIAN-ISRAELI VIOLENCE ON THE RISE

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that, following the Palestinian ceasefire that took effect at 8 p.m. yesterday, internal violence has calmed in Gaza. However, there has been an escalation in Palestinian-Israeli violence in the Gaza Strip.

There are some signs of improvement regarding civilian movement and the delivery of services throughout the Gaza Strip as the extent and intensity of violence has abated somewhat. The situation in Gaza City, however, remains more volatile, OCHA says.

Two schools run by the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), hosting about 3,000 pupils in Rafah, came under fire earlier this afternoon as a result of ongoing armed clashes between Hamas and Fatah gunmen in the area. The children were forced to congregate on the first floor of the school for their own safety pending evacuation.

SECRETARY-GENERALS DARFUR ENVOY VISITS U.N. HEADQUARTERS

The Secretary-Generals Special Envoy for

Darfur, Jan Eliasson, is at UN Headquarters today, having wrapped up his third joint visit to Sudan with his African Union counterpart, Salim Ahmed Salim, as part of their effort to revitalize the Darfur peace process.

He will be here today and tomorrow to discuss how to move the political process forward.

COUNTER-TERRORISM SYMPOSIUM GETS UNDERWAY IN VIENNA

A major symposium opened today in Vienna to discuss the implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. This is the first major forum for Member States and UN actors to discuss the Strategy since its adoption by the General Assembly last September. It is being convened jointly by the Executive Office of the Secretary-General, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and the Government of Austria.

In remarks to the symposium today, Bob Orr, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Strategic Planning and Chair of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, said the main responsibility for implementing the Strategy falls squarely on Member States themselves.

He also said that, since the Strategy is a holistic, comprehensive document, implementation must not be a pick-and-choose exercise by Member States.

CONCERN EXPRESSED OVER UNREST AT AFGHAN

REFUGEE CAMP IN PAKISTAN

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has expressed concern over the unrest yesterday at a camp in south-western Pakistan and appealed for a calm and orderly resolution ahead of the governments closure of the camp next month.

UNHCR says it cannot confirm any casualties in yesterdays unrest, in which residents at an Afghan refugee camp in Balochistan threw stones to protest the bulldozing of some walls of an uninhabited compound in the camp.

A UNHCR representative said that the agency recognizes the Pakistani Governments right to close camps on its soil for security purposes, but urges the authorities and Afghans to do so in a peaceful way.

U.N. TEAM ASSESSES POST-FLOODING DAMAGE IN URUGUAY

A UN Disaster assessment team is on the ground in Uruguay, where the worst flooding in nearly 50 years has caused widespread damage and displaced thousands of people.

Teams from UNICEF, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) are visiting the hardest-hit locations.

A comprehensive assessment of damage to housing and infrastructure is still being impeded by the continued flooding.

D.R. CONGO: GOVERNMENT INTIMIDATION

FOUND IN POST-ELECTION CLASHES

The monthly human rights report by the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) covering the month of April says that, despite tepid cooperation from the DRC authorities, its multidisciplinary special investigations team has managed to interview some 200 victims and witnesses of the post-election clashes of late March in Kinshasa.

The team uncovered numerous examples of government agents intimidating victims, witnesses and medical staff to prevent them from speaking to the UN investigators.

The Mission also found that police officers were involved in a large number of serious human rights violations, especially in the eastern Kasaļ Province. Government troops were also found to have summarily executed civilians and to have engaged in other egregious human rights abuses.

U.N. ENVOY MEETS WITH GREECE AND FYROM REPRESENTATIVES

Ambassador Matthew Nimetz, the Secretary-Generals Personal Envoy for the talks between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), met representatives of those two countries yesterday.

The parties continued to exchange views on the name issue and decided to meet again on a date to be agreed.

BAN KI-MOON STRESSES LINK BETWEEN INFORMATION

AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AND DEVELOPMENT

Today is World Telecommunication and Information Society Day. This years theme is Connecting the Young.

In a message to mark the occasion, the Secretary-General called for young people everywhere to be given equal opportunities to rise out of poverty and illiteracy, and to realize their full potential. He also stressed the connection between information and communication technologies and development.

Meanwhile, the International Telecommunication Union has announced several initiatives, including a two-year plan to combat cybercrime by improving international cooperation in cybersecurity and a campaign to improve internet connectivity in Africa.

Also today, 16 UN information centres in sub-Saharan Africa launched new websites.

HUMANITARIAN VIDEO GAME IS REPORTED A HUGE SUCCESS

The worlds first humanitarian video game for children is apparently taking Europe by storm.

Food Force, launched by the World Food Programme (WFP) two years ago, explores the problem of global hunger and the logistics of humanitarian aid work. Its available in 10 languages and has been downloaded roughly 5 million times.

DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL TO PARTICIPATE IN AIDS WALK NEW YORK

This Sunday, the 20th of May, Deputy Secretary-General Asha Rose-Migiro will be walking with the UN Cares Team and about 50,000 New Yorkers in the annual AIDS Walk New York.

The UN Cares Team has participated for many years, raising more than $35,000 in 2006.

The Deputy Secretary-General, in announcing her intention to participate in the event, says AIDS remains one of the most serious challenges of our time.

Our collective efforts are needed if we are to stop the spread of the disease and ensure that everyone has access to the prevention, treatment, care and support services they need, she said in her message to staff.

She encouraged staff members to join her and demonstrate their commitment to the fight against AIDS.

UNDP VEHICLES NOT INVOLVED IN ZIMBABWE DIAMOND SMUGGLING

In response to questions on allegations of diamond smuggling believed to involve UN Development Programme (UNDP) vehicles in Zimbabwe, the vehicles alleged to have been used in the suspected diamond smuggling ring do not belong to UNDP.

An external investigation is now ongoing and UNDP is eagerly awaiting its conclusions.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

DOCUMENT ON U.N. STAFF NATIONALITY USED TO TRACK COUNTRY REPRESENTATION: Asked about the reason the United Nations has a document which provides data on UN staff by nationality, the Spokeswoman noted that the document provides information on which countries are over-represented or under-represented at the United Nations.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY MUST DECIDE WHETHER TO MARK SREBRENICA MASSACRE WITH A SPECIAL DAY: Asked whether the United Nations would designate a day to observe the Srebrenica massacre, the Spokeswoman said that was a matter for the General Assembly to decide.

MIDDLE EAST COORDINATOR TO TALK TO ALL PARTIES IN PEACE PROCESS: Asked whether the appointment of Michael Williams as UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and as the Secretary-Generals Personal Representative to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority creates a bias in his work, the Spokeswoman noted that Williams talks to all the parties in the Middle East peace process.

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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