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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-05-22
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
LEBANON: BAN KI-MOON DEMANDS IMMEDIATE HALT TO ATTACKS
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon deplores the criminal attacks carried out over the past several days against the Lebanese Army and security forces. These actions constitute an assault on Lebanons stability and sovereignty, and have seriously endangered civilians. They must halt immediately.
The Secretary-General also deplores todays attack on the UN Relief and Works Agencys (UNRWA) humanitarian supply convoy, and expressed his grave concern about the conditions for Palestinians living in Nahr el-Bared refugee camp. He calls for the immediate establishment of safe corridors to allow medical staff to assist and evacuate those in need.
He is deeply saddened by the civilian casualties that have resulted and appeals to all concerned to do their utmost to avoid further bloodshed.
The Secretary-General also strongly condemns the second terrorist bombing that took place yesterday in the Verdun district of Beirut. He appeals to the Lebanese people to unite in confronting the challenges facing their country.
The Secretary-General is continuing to monitor the situation very closely and is in contact with Prime Minister Siniora and other regional leaders to help alleviate the situation.
The Lebanon Director for UNRWA, Richard Cook, has expressed deep concern about the worsening humanitarian situation and the losses of civilian lives in the Nahr El Bared camp. Working in close cooperation with the Lebanese Army, the Lebanese Red Cross, UN agencies and other parties, Cook said that UNRWA is attempting to provide essential care, food and water to the camp residents and to evacuate the injured and the dead.
An estimated 31,000 people live in the camp. UNRWA provides basic services, including primary health care, at a clinic where, under normal circumstances, UN doctors examine some 500 patients daily.
Asked if the Secretary-General has been taking up the issue of humanitarian access to the Palestinian refugee camp, the Spokeswoman said that Ban Ki-moon has been doing precisely that in his phone conversations with leaders in the region, including Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and the Syrian and Saudi foreign ministers. "His discussions with the leaders were about the humanitarian situation and how we can alleviate human suffering" in the camp, she emphasized, adding that the Secretary-General will continue to raise this issue, among others, during further telephone calls he intends to make this afternoon to other regional leaders.
In response to a question, Montas said that the Secretary-General was very concerned about the reported spread of the violence to other camps for Palestinian refugees across Lebanon and he also raised this issue in his conversations with regional leaders.
U.N. ENVOY HEADS TO THE MIDDLE EAST
The Secretary-General is dispatching his new Middle East envoy, Michael Williams, to the region for consultations.
Williams is en route and is expected to begin holding meetings on Thursday with senior Israeli and Palestinian officials.
He plans to travel from there to Cairo for further consultations.
SECRETARY-GENERAL DESIGNATES SPECIAL ADVISER
TO SUPPORT HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY IN MYANMAR
The Secretary-General has designated his Special Adviser on the International Compact with Iraq and Other Issues, Mr. Ibrahim Gambari, to continue to pursue the good offices mandate on Myanmar entrusted to the Secretary-General by the General Assembly, effective immediately.
In the discharge of his functions, Gambari will work in coordination with relevant parts of the UN system in order to support Myanmars efforts in implementing relevant General Assembly resolutions.
The Secretary-General looks forward to the continued cooperation of the Government of Myanmar and all relevant parties to the national reconciliation process, with a view to making tangible progress towards the restoration of democracy and the protection of human rights in Myanmar.
INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT LAUNCHES INVESTIGATION
INTO ALLEGED ABUSES IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) this morning announced that the Prosecutor has decided to start an investigation in the Central African Republic.
After a review of the available information, Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo says he believes that grave crimes falling within the jurisdiction of the Court were committed between 2002 and 2003 in the Central African Republic (C.A.R.). Civilians were killed and raped, and homes and stores were looted in the context of an armed conflict between the Government and rebel forces, he says.
This is the first time that the ICC is opening an investigation in which allegations of sexual crimes far outnumber alleged killings.
UNITED NATIONS APPEALS FOR RELEASE OF CAPTURED HEALTH WORKERS
IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
The United Nations has firmly condemned the capture of two international health workers in the northwestern Central African Republic (C.A.R.) and is urging their captors to free them.
The United Nations is highly concerned by the recent decline in the security situation in the northwest, which is threatening humanitarian work.
Meanwhile, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that the humanitarian crisis in the northeast and center of the country persists and has even worsened, with more internally displaced persons than before. At the same time, however, the humanitarian response is improving, with 18 NGOs now operating in the region, as opposed to just six back in November 2006.
UN MISSION IN SUDAN: ATTACKS SPAWN POPULATION
DISPLACEMENTS IN DARFUR
The UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) reports today that the efforts of the humanitarian community to increase its outreach to the conflict-affected populations in North Darfur have received a serious blow due to recent carjacking and other incidents.
And in South Darfur, large population displacements have been reported by various sources as a result of reported Government of Sudan and militia attacks, including alleged aerial bombardments against rebel forces in Buram locality this week, the mission reports. The United Nations is visiting the village of Korshaman and Antikina to verify these reports of large displacements and to assess humanitarian needs.
SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED BY CHAIRS OF ITS SUBSIDIARY BODIES
Today the Security Council held an open meeting to hear briefings by the Chairmen of the Councils subsidiary bodies.
Panama chairs the Counter-Terrorism Committee, Belgium heads the Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee, and Slovakia chairs the so-called 1540 Committee, which deals with the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
MALDIVES APPEALS FOR AID AFTER WAVE SWELLS AND FLOODING
The Government of the Maldives has appealed for international aid following a series of wave swells that hit at least 35 islands in 13 atolls in the country.
Except for the 2004 tsunami, the Maldives has never before faced such widespread and simultaneous flooding of so many islands, according to Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes.
UNICEF is providing water tanks and rain-water harvesting kits to the hardest-hit atoll. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been coordinating with the Ministry of Health on possible assistance that may be required, and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) is providing support in the areas of livelihoods recovery and coordination.
U.N. REFUGEE CHIEF VISITS NEPAL TO DISCUSS SITUATION
OF REFUGEES FROM BHUTAN
High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres has arrived in Nepal. Hes on a four-day mission to the region to focus on the plight of more than 100,000 refugees from Bhutan who have been living in camps in eastern Nepal since the early 1990's.
Guterres is expected to visit one of the camps, as well as meet with Nepalese officials, UN agencies and donors.
On Thursday, he heads to Bhutan for discussions with government officials there.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR GREATER EFFORTS TO ADDRESS
LOSS OF BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
Today is the International Day for Biological Diversity. In a message to mark the occasion, the Secretary-General noted that biodiversity is being lost at an unprecedented rate and called for greater global efforts to address the causes climate change and shifting land use patterns.
Meanwhile, the UN Environment Programme
says it has completed seven months ahead of schedule its one-year global campaign for promises to plant one billion trees. The campaign now shifts to turning those pledges into plantings by the end of the year.
BAN KI-MOON WILL HELP FIGHT STIGMA ASSOCIATED WITH AIDS
The Secretary-General yesterday met with a group of UN staff living with HIV from across regions and UN agencies.
Afterwards, he described the meeting as one of the most moving experiences in his life.
He told colleagues that he has met many people in his life -- presidents, kings, diplomats but this was one of the most important events of his life. He said that he was very touched by their courage and, more, by their directness in talking about their lives.
The Secretary-General spoke about the discrimination those with HIV often face in many parts of the world, including in Asia and his own country, Korea. I felt ashamed on their behalf," he said.
He said that on his next trip to the region, he would make a point of visiting an AIDS clinic or similar facility, the better to speak up for those living with HIV and help fight the stigma so often associated with the disease.
Asked if Ban Ki-moon had made any appeals or voiced any messages on behalf of the group of UN staff members living with HIV/AIDS, Montas said the meeting was mainly a personal and human contact for Ban Ki-moon who had yesterday elaborated before the General Assembly on his approach to addressing HIV/AIDS.
SECURITY COUNCIL REMAINS SEIZED OF IRAN NUCLEAR MATTER: Asked for a comment by the Secretary-General on the fact that Iran has not suspended its nuclear activities as requested by the latest Security Council Resolution on nonproliferation, Montas said that the situation did not warrant a Secretary-General comment as the Security Council is fully seized of the matter.
Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General
United Nations, S-378
New York, NY 10017
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